Nov 06, 2009 at 03:39 PM
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Clorox BBQ Brands Takes Billboard Promotion Award

In New York last night, Billboard magazine awarded KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce and Kingsford charcoal with the music industry's premier marketing honor -- Billboard magazine's annual Concert Marketing and Promotion Award -- for firing up the Keith Urban Escape Together World Tour. In winning the award, KC and Kingsford beat out campaigns from Rascal Flatts/J.C. Penney, Blink-182/State Farm, Mayhem/Rockstar Energy, Britney Spears/Virgin Mobile, Nickelback/Nikon/Microsoft and the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

During the campaign, the barbecue brands encouraged friends and families to get together and grill in their own backyard. The award recognized the brand's willingness to change the rules of traditional sponsorship and make a powerful business impact.

From Billboard:

"the Award confirmed that the traditional sponsorship model is rapidly evolving, with increasing emphasis being placed on the natural fit between artist and brand as well as the role of online community and mobile technology in reaching and engaging fans and consumers. The Concert Marketing & Promotion Award recognizes a sponsorship or promotion that benefited the concert industry at large by stimulating attendance to live events, providing value to fans, and promoting the artist and brands involved. This year's program received hundreds of submissions crossing every genre, narrowed down to seven finalists by Billboard's editorial team and then voted on by the public to ultimately select the winner."

Throughout the summer, KC Masterpiece and Kingsford Charcoal worked together with country artist, Keith Urban, whose Escape Together World Tour reached audiences across North America with a message of "Turn Up the Music and Fire Up the Grill." As part of the sponsorship, KC Masterpiece and Kingsford hosted the Keith Urban Backstage Barbecue Experience, VIP pre-show events at which attendees enjoyed a menu of delicious grilled foods, an intimate acoustic performance by Keith Urban as well as a group photo opportunity with him.

Additional program highlights included:

  • World Champion Pitmaster Chris Lilly, the official BBQ Pitmaster of the Escape Together tour, created tailgating tips, recipes and how-to videos, which lived on
  • Partnership with Country Music Television for a BBQ Week hosted in part by Pitmaster Lilly
  • "Me, You and a BBQ" sweepstakes at concerts, SMS, online and in retail
  • VIP and ticket-upgrade sweepstakes, grand prize trip to Nashville for a backyard BBQ and a chance to meet Keith Urban
  • A community site hosted on the Urban Web site for chat, downloads and tour information
  • Online "street teams" to promote the campaign through blogs and other participatory forums
  • Photo activation onsite at concerts for redemption and sharing after the events
  • Retailer "tool kits" to do in-store tie-ins with KC Masterpiece and Kingsford products -- Online promotion materials coordinated across product and retail partner channels

    "With everything going on in the world today, people are simply looking for a way to escape, whether it's tailgating before a show, being inspired during Keith's show or hanging out in the backyard grilling with family and friends. Working with Keith is a perfect match," said Drew McGowan, sponsorship group manager at Clorox. "This campaign works because we tapped into something authentic and real -- the way people come together and celebrate everyday. Hanging with friends in the backyard has become a year-round experience that extends beyond the summer months."

    Agencies involved in the "Turn Up the Music, Fire Up the Grill" campaign included George P. Johnson Entertainment Marketing practice (strategy and activation); CURRENT (public relations); and Mac Presents (talent procurement).

    Who do you think had the best music sponsorship campaign of 2009?