Saturday, July 25, 2009

Marley Coffee Brews Canadian Distribution Deal

The story of the Marley coffee brand continues to unfold. Here is a recent update from the Global License magazine:

"La Grotta Del Formaggio has been tapped to distribute Marley Coffee throughout Vancouver, British Columbia. The coffee brand is also awaiting approval of its Jamaican coffee industry board license to expand its presence internationally.

“My first priority is to ensure that our farm reflects my father’s dream of a better world for all people,” says Rohan Marley, co-founder and chairman of Marley Coffee. “My day-to-day job is to share his dream with the world and to help guide this company so that the dream is embodied in all of our business activities.”

Rohan Marley, son of iconic musician Bob Marley, and friend Shane Whittle launched the coffee line in June. The beans, cultivated from the Marley family farm in Jamaica, are certified organic and feature five blends with titles such as Mystic Morning Wake Up, Simmer Down, One Love, Lively Up! and Jammin Java. Proceeds from the sales of the coffee will go to the Marley Coffee Foundation, which helps youth soccer programs in rural coffee-growing regions in Jamaica. The coffees are also available at

In February, Hilco Consumer Capital was tapped by The Bob Marley family to handle the musician’s licensing and retail ventures."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Considerations for Design Contracts

"Creative ... is the soul of entertainment, but copyright is the key to the cash", wrote Al Lieberman, professor and Executive Director of the Entertainment, Media and Technology Program at NYU's Stern School of Business, in his book The Entertainment Marketing Revolution. Ignore the legal side of the business and your sojourn within the entertainment business is bound to be one with many regrets.

On the other hand, its not terribly difficult to ensure you always have the law on your side. To do this will require some common sense decision making and discipline on your part. The truth is there are many who know the right thing to do, yet not do it. It's a human condition.

In virtually every business project that I've been involved with I've had to work with a graphic artist at some point. Given those experiences I know that this design contract post by Brian Hoff from The Design Cubicle is relevant. The post is titled, What to Include in Your Design Contracts. As he points out, this is just a start given that so much more can be included. However, if you consider these pointers when you begin to engage design services you will be well on your way. It is true that knowing is half the battle. Of course, there is no harm done in consulting a lawyer when doing your project since this should not be understood as a substitute for legal advice.

I am thankful to Donnie Crawford for this link, What to Include in Your Design Contracts.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Licensing and Brand Management for Musicians

I recently gave an interview to Music Business Consultant Simone Harris for her new online program Mind Your Own Business. We had a good chat and it was an honor to share some insight on the business of licensing as a way to move forward for our creatives. You can listen to the interview here, its a little choppy since we chatted using Skype, but you will hear the important stuff nevertheless.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Evian Puts Internet Marketing To Work

The Evian Live Young campaign seems destined to be an advertisement campaign we'll be talking about for a while. Things seem to be going exactly as the Evian marketers expect and the proof is the fact that people are actually going online to search out these advertisements. Check out the campaign's Evian roller babies page when you have some time.

The videos were released July 6 on YouTube. Since then I've seen many mentions online, including them being the feature of news reports in print and on TV. That kind of exposure is the envy of many. A quick check on YouTube shows that each of the released versions has already passed the 5 million views mark, and I don't think that will slow down any time soon. The plan from the start was to go viral and make full use of social media. On facebook you will find an Evian babies fan page as well as at least 3 profiles for some of the 96 babies used to create these commercials (no kidding). And just in case you want your own copies of the music there are links for that too.

Here is a paragraph from the press release:
The new ad campaign personifies the “Live YoungTM” message in a humorous and entertaining fashion with a pop-culture slant. Directed by Michael Gracey (part of the creative circle behind Baz Lurhman’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge”), 96 babies were filmed for the spots, which feature roller break-dancing routines set to a Rapper’s Delight remix by Dan the Automator. The famed California hip-hop producer’s remix will be available as an MP3 from all major international digital download sites, just one way Evian is placing the Web at the heart of this campaign.

Here's the US version of the ad:

Below are two teasers the company released in their viral pre-launch. Ebru TV reported that these were released on YouTube and DailyMotion as well as to a platform of about 8,000 bloggers who would help generate some buzz. Have a look.

Teaser #1 - Baby Breakdance

Teaser #2 - Baby Moonwalk

Of course, no recent film production would be complete without a behind the scenes look, so here you have it - the making of Evian roller babies.

I'm interested to know how much was budgeted for this campaign and what percentage of that went into production versus distribution. We can be fairly certain that going viral would have reduced the company's distribution costs of this advertisement. By all appearances the viral spread has traction and it seems that Evian is walking away from this a winner. I suppose then that the question is how will this campaign impact the sales of the brand? Are you more likely to buy the Evian branded water when you go shopping?

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mobile Marketing Trends In Entertainment

For the next few weeks I'll be attending the course Mobile Marketing and Commerce. This promises to be very interesting. The instructor, Bill Thompson, shared with us an interview he gave to the CD Baby DIY Musician Podcast team in March 2009. I found it very informative and so I'm sharing the link with you, click the link below to listen -

#053: Bill Thompson - Mobile Marketing

From the intro:
For the indie artist, the mobile phone offers a world of possibility... The cell phone has rapidly evolved. It’s hard to even think of another technology that has changed as quickly as mobile phone technology. The way we use our phones has changed drastically as well. What started as just a portable phone, has turned into what is now basically a pocket computer. In many cases, the actual phone is the least used feature of the device.

I think whether you're an upcoming artist or a corporate manager, there is some useful information in this 35 min interview for you. I don't expect that most readers will be in a position to implement anything, but it is useful to be aware of the trends since it gives you options.

In addition to the Mobile Marketing Association resource mentioned in the interview, here's the link to another new resource, Mobile Marketer.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If you want to know what Social Media is - be nice or leave!

Are you a part of the passive massive? If you are reading this, then you're probably mediated and are a part of the social media landscape (and not among the passive massive), so this post should have some relevance to you. I came across this presentation on Monty C. Metzger's blog. It is a presentation by Faris Yakob, Chief Technology Strategist, McCann-Erickson in New York.

This 49 min. presentation has some heavy stuff and touches on many related topics, but I chose this quote to make my point, "people love brands, they are artifacts of culture, they are the things by which we define ourselves." I think this is such an accurate statement. Yes, in today's world, brands are artifacts of culture. What does this mean for how we understand and re-present our culture? This is a good discussion point. I do believe that our culture has to be the base of any entertainment economy that we can expect to grow in the Caribbean, which is the source of my obsession with how do we make it happen.

Faris points out that social media is not one thing but rather a collection of many things which makes it all the more interesting. Nevertheless, he emphasizes that all media is social. It worth pointing out too that his emphasis is on the emerging cultural practices and not what are the emerging technologies. This is big, because it means his message will be equally relevant to the folks who aren't among the tech savvy.

Here are some tips he gives for engaging social media if you are a brand:

1. listen
2. respond
3. nurture
4. create social objects - bring people together, give them something to do
5. be transparent
6. join the conversation

He concludes that we are all inherently social. It means then that how brands engage people through social media need to be carefully approached, because social media does not like ads that are about products, rather, interacting with people should be the main objective. Be nice or leave!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Legacy Licensing: Bob Marley and now Michael Jackson

Branding the dead is big business, and with the transition of Michael Jackson we can expect to be seeing more of him around than ever before. Its morbid, I know, but don't shoot the messenger. I was is disbelief for days when I first heard the news of MJ's passing, it took days to sink in, and when it did, I started bracing myself because I immediately knew that his memory would be kept alive for generations to come, even more that Elvis. Check out this link, Bluewater to Release Michael Jackson Collectible Comic. Many of us see this phenomena of famous dead people's merchandise and wonder what's the draw, but it really comes down to the emotional connection that the individual made through their work. In this case, its all about the living and them wanting to express respect for that relationship. Such is the power of building a fan base while alive if you're a creative. Love your fans and they will take care of you and your generations yet unborn, its no fluke, its real. As regards our very own Jamaican superstar, Bob Marley, since you know we couldn't be left out, the article Legacy Licensing Lives On reports that,
Hilco will license a 2010 Bob Marley 65th Anniversary program that will include accessories, apparel, footwear, food and beverage, collectibles, luggage, musical instruments and promotions/entertainment, stationery, plus the hospitality segment covering restaurants, cafes, hotels and resorts/spas.
For those of you who've been wondering about the Bob Marley shoes, hol' tight, dem coming back. Here's another article for you, Dead Celebs: Branding Beyond the Grave, it details far more than I need to say here. If nothing else though I hope I am able to move the current thinking about our Caribbean entertainment and cultural products further along. There are a host of unexplored dimensions to this business my people, break the mold!
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Business Lessons from the World-Class Usain Bolt

Here's a management lesson for you. John Weeks, Professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD, a leading global business school in Switzerland, draws on examples from Usain Bolt to illustrate his management lessons in the article Business Lessons from a World-Class Athlete. Thanks to Dr. Noel Cowell from the Dept of Management Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for sharing this link. It is inspirational and makes a very good read. If nothing else, it serves to have us look at ourselves in a different light. I'm pretty sure there are more of these management lessons that could be found among some of our entertainment and sports stars. It certainly makes for more relevant and interesting teaching material. I am pleased to see in the article that Professor Weeks will take part in an event with Usain Bolt on July 6, 2009 (today) at IMD in which the Olympic gold medalist will share his insights on motivation with a business audience. It pays to be good at what you do, doesn't it?
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