Alcohol and music go together perfectly in so many different ways. Audiences love a good drink while they're dancing the night away at their favorite club or at a music festival, and alcohol has helped plenty of musicians put on phenomenal shows and create the tunes that everybody loves. It's a cycle that is always turning, and the two worlds are becoming more intertwined than ever before with musicians starting their own brands, and those that are already leaders in the space partnering with the hottest acts in every genre to help them get closer to their consumers.
Sometimes these partnerships can be rather uninspired, and sometimes even pretty lame. Any musician can shell for any brand, and some will take any paycheck they can get and run. On the other side of the business are those companies that are willing and ready to think outside the box and try new things, just to see if they excite the fans and get people talking. That's exactly what Budweiser and Tiësto did this summer at Tomorrowland, one of the biggest and most important EDM festivals in the world.
In a recent call, Tiësto talked briefly about working with Budweiser, and how easy it was for him to maintain the creative control that artists everywhere should demand when working with a brand, and he can perhaps explain the massive beer company's feelings from the get-go better than I can:
"Budweiser approached me, I think, one and a half years ago and they were like, 'You know, we're ready for anything! If you have any crazy ideas or want to do something special, just let us know.'"
The two powerhouses came together to show those in attendance at Tomorrowland something they'd never seen before, and then the longstanding alcohol brand took things one step further to let fans continue the experience weeks and even months after the set was done.
Tiësto was, if you can believe it, the surprise opener for the weekend-long Belgian festival, and his time on stage was supposed to be a "surprise." Well, when the name is that big, nobody can keep it to themselves, and he wound up playing to tens of thousands of people who came one night early to start their partying right.
During his set, Tiësto played his new song "Infected," which Budweiser asked him to create. Again, the company stepped back and let the DJ (who selected up-and-coming talent Jauz to collaborate with) work his magic, and the result is a single and a music video that is exactly what his fans love. Just when things seemed like they couldn't get any cooler, a giant Budweiser truck, complete with fireworks and flames, rolled out and added a whole new element to the already-insane experience. That is something that neither the DJ nor the company had ever tried before, but they were both up for whatever, and it paid off.
As it turns out, that truck was filled with beer, which the company is now selling to hardcore Tiësto fans in the U.K. That's right, if you are a huge EDM lover and you could use a beer, take a look in local supermarkets for a bottle that bears the producer's logo, as the liquid inside has actually been to Tomorrowland and back (and it's still worth drinking, I swear). He has "infected" it with his sound...and if you don't believe that, it's still pretty cool that the beer you're drinking probably had a better spot at the festival than you did.
Was all of this branding? Yes. Was it advertising? Yes. Was it a multinational, billion-dollar business marketing its product to potential customers? Absolutely, but it was all of these things done right, and instead of detracting from an experience, they actually added to it, and those in attendance didn't feel like someone was just trying to sell something to them, but rather just be included in the party.
Alcohol brands, take note: Tiësto and Budwesier have raised the bar (pun intended).