Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Automakers? mobile music tie-ins drive outreach to younger buyers

Car brands are building tie-ins with music offerings coupled with mobile and social platforms, taking control of content to reach younger buyers who resist traditional advertising campaigns.

Automakers such as Toyota, Mazda, Ford and Honda have all announced mobile and social-driven music tie-ins to reach buyers who lack their Baby Boomer parents? interest in cars or traditional ad spots. In the latest examples, Toyota is promoting its Sienna minivan through its socially driven ?Swagger Wagon Wagon 2.0" campaign, featuring hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes, and is pairing up with Mexican singer-songwriter Ximena Sarinana in a social media experience.

?Music has always taken an active role in our culture,? said Ben Jorgensen, founder of Klick Push, a San Francisco-based digital marketing platform which co-created Ford Motor Co.?s mobile promotion that offered free music downloads. ?Now, more than ever, people have a vast array of channels to consume music and discover new artists.

?While in the past, radio was seen as one of the only ways to listen to music,? he said. ?Now, communities and fan bases are built on social channels, thus giving people new ways to choose which music to listen to.

?This rise of choice and ability to personalize the music experience in an unprecedented granular way has shed light on new audience segmentation where brands can effectively emotionally connect with the user.?

Fashion Rocks
The music push reflects automakers? shifting resources away from traditional advertising to mobile to reach buyers who control their media choices in a crowded media environment.

Mazda?s Irvine, CA-based North American operation is involved in Fashion Rocks, a CBS TV special to air Sept. 9, produced by Three Lions Entertainment and Don Mischer Productions and co-developed with Mazda?s advertising and integrated communications partner, Garage Team Mazda of Costa Mesa, CA.

The six-week, multi-channel campaign began last week with the launch of the "Road to Fashion Rocks" digital campaign, hosted on The branded site will feature curated music content including videos from Fashion Rock artists and Mazda vehicles. 

Mazda will also launch co-branded TV and digital ads, viewable on the site through all mobile devices. Fans can keep up with the social media campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

The project will include the unveiling of the all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata roadster through a global live streamed event that will include a concert by a yet-to-be-named artist on Sept. 3 in Monterey, CA. Fans can follow the proceedings on Twitter at #MX5Turns25 and #LongLivetheRoadster.

?The campaign is device agnostic so whether users are on desktops or mobile devices, their experience will be seamless,? said Mazda spokesman Octavio Navarro. 

A Shazam application will give users a second screen experience, he said, adding that  

reaching younger potential car buyers is a main goal of the campaign. 

?Music is a passion-point of our target consumer,? Mr. Navarro said. ?That is why Mazda is selective in the music of our ads and why Mazda looks for partners like Fader Fort and the Rock n Roll Marathon Series.?

Swagger Wagon 2.0

Toyota?s socially-driven ?Swagger Wagon 2.0" campaign features hip-hop artist, Busta Rhymes. The campaign is the product of Toyota?s partnership with agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA. A Swagger Wagon video introduced in 2010 has garnered more than 12 million views to date. The 2015 Sienna was recently unveiled on Toyota?s YouTube channel.

Toyota's "Swagger Wagon 2.0" mobile commercial.

In a separate campaign, Toyota also is bringing back Grammy-nominated Mexican singer-songwriter Ximena Sarinana for a real-time social media performance from the Lollapalooza music festival and the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival.

Toyota is offering exclusive fan content and special on-site surprises to its social followers. Fans are invited to directly engage with Sarinana and Toyota by following and sending a message to @XimenaMusic [email protected] They can also connect with Sarinana on Instagram  (ximenamusic), Vine (ToyotaLatino) and YouTube (ToyotaUSA) to take part in her festival experience as she meets with musicians and festival attendees.

Fans are encouraged to share their own festival highlights and participate in a one-on-one Twitter Chat with Sarinana using the #VayamosJuntos hashtag.

The Japanese automakers? initiatives come on the heels of Ford and Honda announcing music tie-ins.

American Honda Motor announced in early June that it would invest millions of dollars in a YouTube video and live concert channel to attract younger buyers.

The unit of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. said the launching of its Honda Stage YouTube channel through deals with music industry heavyweights such as Google?s YouTube, Clear Channel Communications and Live Nation would help it build brand awareness and loyalty in an area where the millennial or Gen Y generation is active.

Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. has a new mobile promotion for the Ford Focus that engages customers with an offer of free music downloads.

The automaker is teaming up with Klick Push, a digital marketing platform, and Pretio Interactive Inc., an enabler of advertising-reward moments, on the North Africa-targeted effort. The program highlights the power of a mobile phone?s music player to be part of an emotional marketing experience as mobile?s growing dominance shrinks available advertising-display space.

?The foundation of music and market dates back to catchy jingles that hook people in perpetuity,? said Klick Push?s Mr. Jorgensen. ?I don't believe it is new, it is just the evolution of an industry. 

?Music relates to anyone! Because there are millions of songs out there - there is a type of music for everyone. Not just younger ones. Making it easy to consume music for everyone will be paramount, especially as younger generations grow up getting free access to music anywhere.?

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.