CraveOnline has lined up mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson as the sponsor of its new concert-themed website aimed at music lovers and audiophiles. Launched last week, the Summer Concert Hub offers video, interviews, photo albums, and concert footage from dozens of festivals and concerts, ranging from the Electric Daisy Carnival this weekend in Los Angeles, to the Warped Tour, Bonnaroo, and the Mayhem Festival.
Though the hub's primary role is to provide behind-the-scenes access to cutting-edge bands, such as The Constellations, Eagles of Death Metal, and Them Crooked Vultures, it also features links to other content aimed at a young audience, including a recent interview with Richard Branson on the launch of Virgin Gaming.
The concert Web pages feature only a single ad (though it's prominently placed) for the Sony Ericsson Equinox phone. That's in contrast to the traditional display advertisements that appear on CraveOnline's homepage, including a banner and 300x250 ad for the Samsung Strive from AT&T.
Betty Tran, director of marketing for CraveOnline, said that brands seemed to be increasingly interested in these event-type sponsorships, noting they recently did an online content program around the E3 video game conference and are working on one for next month's Comic-Con in San Diego. "I think brands want to sponsor content surrounding events because they find them a little more organic and a bit less like an advertorial," she added.
The Equinox ad creative contains a mix of general brand messaging and specific calls to action, such as Web-exclusive deals that will be changed every four weeks. While CraveOnline is aimed primarily at young males, the ads are designed to appeal to both men and women, partly because the music content is expected to reach fans of all types. "We did want to also appeal to females and this is a great way to do that because we have a variety of musical genres and we're giving people access to their favorite bands behind the scenes and up close," said CraveOnline Marketing Manager Lisa Birgelaitis.
CraveOnline has done summer concert content programs in the past, but those were far smaller in scope. Now, thanks to a strong early response to this year's concert site, Tran said CraveOnline is already looking to extend the program beyond the summer, adding, "We're still talking to Sony Ericsson about sponsoring it in the fall, but we do have a lot of other interest from consumer product goods in particular."
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David Ward is a veteran freelance journalist based in San Diego, who currently focuses on online marketing, digital entertainment and the growth on new consumer technologies such as 3D in the home.
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