Wranglers excursion into live streaming concert pays off
By Rakin Azfar
November 22, 2016
Wrangler and George Strait came together for a pinnacle of soft marketing
American denim company Wrangler recently racked up a massive 14 million impressions through its partnership to live stream a performance by country music icon George Strait.
The two teamed up to live broadcast Mr. Straits performance from Texas historic Gruene Hall when he returned to the stage last Wednesday for the first time in 34 years, streamed on Wranglers media hub. The broadcasts resulting impressions set a viewership record for the platform, were seen in more than 42 countries and bolstered the efficacy of mobile-optimized live streaming to even the most seemingly marginal of brands to the platform.
"Our goal is to enhance our fans accessibility to the things they love and are most passionate about," said Craig Errington, vice president of marketing at Wrangler. "We recognize that consumers are constantly on the move, and that we must meet them with entertaining and engaging content on their mobile devices.
"Wrangler understands the importance of meeting the needs of the consumer at each point of their journey, and prioritizes mobile touch points because of the accessibility fans have with their devices and the ability to reach them 'in the moment.' The purchasing decision is sometimes made immediately, sometimes later, but what matters most to us is the ability to connect with fans in a native, organic way."
The show was both a brand play for Wrangler and a celebration of Mr. Straits new 56-track collection, Strait Out of the Box Part 2.
Texas, and specifically Gruene Hall, were not an arbitrary choice in environs, either: Gruene Hall not only served as a starting point for Straits career, but was also featured on the album covers for Straits 2009 Twang album along with his 1981 debut album, Strait Country.
The 28-song set itself was invitation only, and the virtual perspective from the live stream came close to matching those of insiders such as fellow Universal Music Group Nashville recording artist Jon Pardi.
The concert was broadcast on the Wrangler Network, Wranglers media hub, which usually hosts more rugged fare; rodeo competitions are a staple on the networks lineup. The decision to host a George Strait concert, however unsurprising it would be to the Wrangler Networks viewers, is still quite the departure for Wrangler, and one that was sure to cost them a pretty penny.
And the gamble looks to have paid off, generating widespread exposure, not only for both individual brands but also for their decades-old partnership, which extended for seven additional years the licensing agreement for the signature Wrangler George Strait Cowboy Cut Collection.
Upon closer scrutiny, it looks as though Wrangler looked to get the most for its buck as the event also kicked off a music content agreement between Wrangler and Universal Music Group Nashville promising viewers curated content available exclusively through Wrangler Network. Production is slated to include acoustic performances from top Universal Music Group Nashville artists and lifestyle vignettes featuring both legendary and rising talent.
"The agreement between the Wrangler Network and Universal Music Group Nashville will bring new and exciting video content to mobile users," Mr. Errington said. "Mobile smartphone users account for more than 70 percent of the Wrangler Network's user base; fans of the western lifestyle are more active, mobile and rural than the typical consumer.
"Our ability to deliver content to their smartphones has always been key," he said. "The UMG Nashville partnership will connect consumers with never-before-seen interviews, rare concert performances and original video content from fan-favorites out of Nashville.
"Live video streams on a device as personal as your smartphone, like George Strait's surprise performance from the legendary Gruene Hall in Texas, gives people a way to experience their favorite artists right at their fingertipssomething that is unprecedented in the country music industry.
Similarly, Colgate teamed up with the Country Music Association Awards to give fans intimate social access to a country music star, Jana Kramerwith some of the latest social media innovations such as Facebook Live in play (see story
And Toyota took a page from Willy Wonkas playbook by turning hidden Snapchat geofilters into golden tickets, providing entrance to a special musical performance at Lollapalooza open only to those who found and screen shot the content on their smartphones (see story
"George Strait is among one of the most well known artists in the country music industry," Mr. Errington said. "With 60 number one country hits, he is often referred to as the 'King' of country music.
"Our partnership with the King of country has become one of the longest-running brand-artist partnerships in the history of country music," he said. "What we noticed back then, and still holds true today, is the passion country music fans have for Straits authenticity and artistic abilities.
"Wrangler believes in facilitating experiences with the things our customers are most passionate about and what connects with them. This was ultimately the motivation for instituting the Wrangler Network, and why millions of fans have elected to engage with our rodeo and other western lifestyle content."