THUNDERS & WATT believes that music can provide a unique connection for brands in ways that other points of activation cannot. The bottom line is that music enhances everything. Think about it, if you’re in a great mood and walking to the club and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” comes up on your playlist, you have that much more strut in your step. This enhancement extends to the consumer/brand experience. Brands are far more likely to make an impression on consumers by integrating music than anything else because music is a natural call back, a trigger and an identity token that informs us beyond our formative years.
One of the cooler music integration pieces that we have developed at THUNDERS & WATT is the collaboration between Tivoli Audio and the Boston Music Awards. Tivoli Audio was a key sponsor for the 2015 event, which expanded to two nights this past year.
Tivoli Audio’s challenge was to expand awareness of their product to influencers. To help notch up awareness, the signature activation for this sponsorship was creating actual physical awards (Best New Artist, Artist of the Year, etc.) out of Tivoli Audio Radios. Tivoli engraved 36 Model One Tivoli Radios for individual award winners in place of your typical statue-type awards. This created a lasting, physical awareness of the product for the target consumer. Additionally, artists were handed their awards at the event’s step and repeat, which led to natural photo opportunities resulting in organic product placement for social content.
We recently caught up with Tivoli Audio’s Director of Development, Paul DePasquale, to get more insight on this activation.
Can you give us a little history on your brand and where it’s headed in 2016?
Tivoli Audio is an internationally recognized consumer audio brand known for creating simple-to-use, high-quality, design-driven audio systems. Sixteen years ago, at the time of the company’s inception, we started with The Model One AM/FM table radio, which was designed by audio legend Henry Kloss (KLH, Advent, Cambridge SoundWorks), and Tivoli Audio founder/designer Tom DeVesto (Advent, Kloss Video, Cambridge SoundWorks). The Model One today is considered an iconic piece among audiophiles, as well as designers and now lives within large collection of other Tivoli models ranging from High-Fi systems, portable radios, Bluetooth radios, CD players, and Internet radios. Today Tivoli Audio has a headquarters in Boston, with a European office in Utrecht, Netherlands, and is currently selling product in over 40 countries. In 2016, Tivoli Audio is steered by a young group of both creative and business talents, planning to refresh the brand with new products, that will aim to deliver a unique mix of style and sound—by leveraging newer technologies without sacrificing beautiful design.
What separates Tivoli Audio from its competitors?
DESIGN. The audio consumer market today is highly congested, with most brands claiming they sound the best and yes, there are many great sounding brands out there, but do they all look as good as they sound? Tivoli Audio’s attention to detail when it comes to design is the sole reason why we have the international appeal that we do and it is also the very thing that has allowed the brand to collaborate with other brands and markets outside the audio industry, such as the hotel and hospitality industry, gift market, home décor, and fashion world.
It seems like an obvious question, but how important is music to Tivoli’s target consumer?
It is extremely important. Tivoli Audio’s products express individuality through our design and enhancing the experience by offering a product that will fit into one’s lifestyle. This is more or less the same experience created when one listens to a genre of music, as it speaks to the listener and creates moods, thoughts, emotions etc.
What collaborations with musicians and artists has Tivoli done in the past and how do those collaborations compare with your sponsorship of the 2015 Boston Music Awards?
Tivoli Audio has collaborated with many companies in the past such as, BBC, NPR, Coach, Peter Max and Fiat. These collaborations were based around our products and design, offering Tivoli Audio to a new audience. The Boston Music Awards was this, but more. It was an opportunity to have Tivoli Audio be a part a newer, younger and influential audience. It was also the first opportunity in a long time that put Tivoli Audio in touch with the local music scene, as well as a Boston institution, such as the BMAs.
Overall, what value did Tivoli Audio gain from sponsoring the 2015 Boston Music Awards?
Connected by the love of music, this sponsorship was rewarding for Tivoli Audio to see how much excitement the Model One award brought to the winners and all the unique social media buzz the event received. This was probably the first collaboration Tivoli Audio has done that was effective both in person and through social media and influential marketing buzz.
Can you talk a little bit about the 2015 Tivoli Audio mock-jingle campaign?
The jingle was something we never thought we would do or would have wanted to do, but it made sense. For an audio brand with a long history in radio, it made sense to do an old-fashioned radio jingle. It was also fun and brought a smile to people’s faces when they heard it. Most of Tivoli Audio’s marketing efforts in the past were more chic and serious, so this was a nice change.
What music sounds best through Tivoli radios?
All types work. I would say with some models in the past being designed and tested with Classical music. I have noticed Jazz or piano-fronted music sounds particularly nice. However, electronic sounds good as well. We are small systems, so not like “lets go clubbing” electronic, but chill electronic stuff. Or maybe I just really like chill electronics stuff. Sounds lame, but I have listened to all types of music across all of our models and I can say it all sounds good. By the way did you know that some of Tivoli models are used in recordings studios throughout the world as a mono mix listen back speaker?
If you as a brand could collaborate with one musician who would it be and why?
Hendrix. Why not? It would be the coolest looking thing, splattered in colorful trippy fashion and across the top it would say, “Are you experienced?” Maybe he would give us ideas to push boundaries, as he always did, with our design.
If you were in charge of hiring this year’s Superbowl half-time performer, who would it be?
Well, being in a local band [Vary Lumar] for 12 years, I would hire us for our big break moment!
However back in reality, I would probably pick Squarepusher. No one would have the slightest clue and it would be music that would probably make a lot of people uncomfortable and weird feeling smack in the middle the largest sporting event. It would make for an extremely unpredictable fan participation in the second half. I would probably be fired from the job, but experiences like that are worth it.
Jake Brennan is the Director of Audio Branding and Music Integration for GYK Antler’s music division, THUNDERS & WATT. In this role he uses music to amplify a brand’s message by creating musical content for bands and brands to collaborate on. Jake has recorded, toured, produced, curated and collaborated with countless artists from Fugazi to Foster The People. He’s taken that energy and applied it to brands like MasterCard, Converse, PF Flyers, etc. His original music has appeared on NBC, HBO, MTV and Showtime among others.