Maybe it was how the show all got started this year ... with a note from CBS executives outlining a more "family friendly" dress code: no butts, no breasts. I have a feeling it set the tone for the entire awards show ... keeping things in check shall we say.
The last few years have been quite exciting, with surprise appearances and unique musical combinations. And BTW, this is rock & roll so expect that there's going to be a little skin.
It all felt a little on the safe side, including the "performances" from the brands. The usual suspects were there from Live from the Red Carpet with E! with lots of hair care, skin care, and cosmetics brands as you would expect.
Of course we held our annual Twitter party at #GrammyExp, and there was lots of chatter. While nothing really stood out per se, here's a recap of what got most of the buzz and is worthy of an honorable mention IMHO.
Pepsi. The brand had several executions during the awards show, above and beyond the Sophia Vergara campaign which seems to be losing steam, at least in social media circles. Several spots introduced musical talent that will be touring, with help from the brand. Tying the brand to upcoming concert tours is quite smart given the Grammy context and musically-oriented audience.
Herbal Essences. This brand hits home with me, mostly because it gained critical mass right when I was starting in brand management at Johnson & Johnson. It was an instant case study in how to differentiate emotionally, based on key product attributes. At the time, it was brilliant, and it was fun to see it back in the spotlight. To see the brand bring that retro feel with fresh young talent, including scenes from classic advertising back in the day, was amazing.
Justin Timberlake. The man refreshed his musical brand last night, in a New York minute, from the minute he took to the Red Carpet on E! to his performance on stage to his branded partnerships in the advertising. Now what he did has been done many times over, but he still made it fresh and uniquely JT. Of course it didn't hurt to have a Target exclusive deal come up right after his on-air performance and then a Bud Light Platinum appearance a few minutes later. "From one platinum performer to another" ... perfect marketing timing. JT was the brand of the night, hands down, with a little help from his other brand friends. Oh, you can sign up to follow his tour on MySpace, which he now owns!
Target. A nod has to go to Target here, who appeared to be the largest advertiser of the night. The brand is tying itself to exclusive content on CDs for Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, and Pink (probably more too) as a way to differentiate ... it's a smart way to stay competitive with other retailers as well as iTunes and all the other online music sources. The brand seemed to dominate the night.
The Grammy Awards, no matter what, are always worth a view, and definitely worth a Twitter party as we follow along and comment every step of the way! Go #GrammyExp!
What's your experience? Jim.
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series