Audi’s creative agency Philipp & Keuntje had a clear vision for their sustainability campaign Tilted World: a visionary film that tells a story using the lyrics of an iconic song interpreted in a new way. In addition, the client hope the song would be able to become a hit outside of the campaign.
It was decided to create a film and song based on “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley.
We were brought in to negotiate the usage rights for the song copyright and identify the right sound, recording artist and release strategy for the full length song.
Given the importance of the song for the concept, we negotiated the rights for the track along with a few other options before the scripts were presented to the client. We wanted to make sure the writers were willing to license the song to Audi at a realistic fee and that no one else was currently planning to launch a campaign with the song.
When planning the style of the song, we discussed several potential artist ideas with the agency and director that weren’t necessarily available for a commissioned song production, but helped set the tone for our production.
Since the goal was to create a song that would have a life of its own outside of the campaign, we knew we were going to closely work with performing artists releasing under their own name, rather than typical media composers.
We presented ten artists with reference tracks and artist background and picked four of them to record demos with: NEBBRA feat The Great Escape, James Mercy, The Qemists, Robot Koch and Jungle as producers.
Here are the demo version of their interpretations:
It was decided that NEBBRA was the ultimate fit for this campaign. The finalization of the film version and full length release version became a global collaboration with our in-house music producer Marc in Berlin, the artist arranging the song in France and The Great Escape recording their vocals in Los Angeles.
Here is the final film:
Timed in line with the campaign, we also released a full lenght version of the song as a single release:
Thousands of songs are being released every single day, so we also had to make sure that Audi’s music would receive support beyond the campaign media. We decided to make small strategic investments into presenting NEBBRA’s new single to radio stations as well as pitching the track to various tastemaker playlists.
The song was released after the campaign and entered #1 in the Shazam trend charts and in the top 100 in several other charts. It received thousands of radio rotations and plays and millions of streams across Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and other streaming providers. In France, soon after the launch, the song was locally released on Scorpio Music, one of the biggest electronic music labels in the world.
The film is currently shortlisted for Best Music at New York Festivals and ADC Global and won a silver at Die Klappe.
Famous songs have always been a double edged sword for brands. On the one hand, they are an effective way to add validation, authenticity and premium appeal to any campaign. On the other, famous songs are never exclusive to a brand. Cover versions that re-imagine a popular hit in a unique way are a very effective way to use a famous song whose version is owned by the brand in the perception of the audience. If one is lucky, it can even extend the brand campaign into popular culture.
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