Thursday, 5 August 2010

BRANDS AND BANDS: Arcade Fire Live. Free and directed By Terry Gilliam. Funded by Amex

If a brand funds a musical project, but no one is talking about their involvement, is it still a successful campaign?

Last week, I heard that Arcade Fire was streaming tonight's live performance from New York online.

As their new album was about to be released, the band was getting a lot of buzz, and it seemed like a great promotional strategy for them - release a new album, then stream the performance of that album on YouTube so that audiences around the world can experience it. Plus, they secured Terry Gilliam to direct the stream - which gave what they were doing a point of difference. This wasn't just another concert you could watch online - you'd be watching a Terry Gilliam live creation with Arcade Fire in your living room!

What I didn't realise, was that American Express are behind the whole thing.

In a great sounding campaign, American Express have teamed up with YouTube and Vevo to produce a concert series called Unstaged.

The Unstaged project will see American Express live-stream five concerts from breakthrough artists over the next 12 months, all from iconic locations.

Tonight (US time) sees current FBi favourites, Arcade Fire, stream their live performance of new album "THE SUBURBS" from Madison Square Garden here.

During the performance, you’ll be able to control how you view the show, by switching between the director’s stream and a second camera which will allow you to check out other vantage points – including backstage or the front row. And to encourage audience interaction with 'The Suburbs' show, American Express is allowing people to upload photos of their suburb which may then get featured on stage during the band’s performance.

American Express have taken an existing concept and made it bigger, but implementing big name artists, big name directors, big locations, and audience interaction - so you don't need to be at the show to feel like you can be a part of it.

However, up until 15 minutes ago, I thought of this performance as just an amazing idea which Arcade Fire had organised with Terry Gilliam. It was only when I searched for more information that I came across a press release from American Express that enlightened me to their involvement in it. Is it still money well spent by Amex if audiences are more educated on the bands and directors involved than the brand that is bringing them this experience?

Either way, I'll be watching.
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