Kontoor Brands (Lee and Wrangler)’ VP marketing APAC: Formulating brand strategies before choosing music is crucial to success

Music is a great companion for creative industry practitioners. Whether they need to hit a deadline or relax at home, they can resort to various genres of music to help create or disconnect them from the world. Marketing magazine is working with JOOX to invite creative industry practitioners to talk about their music consumption habits, and how to better leverage music in marketing.

In our eighth interview for the Marketers’ Music Mind series, we talk to Christy Kilmartin, VP Marketing (Asia Pacific) for Kontoor Brands – Lee and Wrangler.


Music can do a lot of things. It could change our mood, the atmosphere of a place, or even improve our well-being. For Kilmartin, music is a dialogue between the artist and the listener.

“I’m a sucker for anything with a big, full sound. Whether it’s guitars, soulful backup choirs, a full swing band, a Rhodes Piano or an orchestra, the interplay of instruments is what I’m hooked by,” he says. 

But when he’s on a deadline, Kilmartin goes for jazz or piano to fuel his creativity.

This was in full view when Marketing asked him about his top five favourite artists. “I like Eros Ramazotti although I have no idea what he’s singing about!”

Popular in Italy and most European countries, Ramazotti plays guitar and piano and is on vocals. Kilmartin’s other favourite artists include Elvis Costello, the Police, You am I and Dave Grohl.

Kilmartin uses music streaming platforms to look for music and is grateful for playlists and algorithms that provide him with good lists and suggestions for new artists.

“It’s a one-stop shop where you can listen to what you know, but discover new artists and genres. The format makes it a really low commitment to test out new sounds and anything is just a click away now,” he explains. 

Taking JOOX as an example, it offers recommendations catered to users’ preferences and ad content to target audiences. Such strength allows users to access their preferred tunes anytime and anywhere easily, no matter how niche their favourite type of music may be. Currently, JOOX provides more than 30 million songs in its music library from all over the world, connecting audiences to a huge collection of artists, songs, albums and personalised playlists in different genres.
recommended playlist decSpeaking of JOOX’s expertise in Asia, Kilmartin comments,”I’m familiar with JOOX. I know it’s filling a localisation gap for Asian markets and has plans to grow from streaming to other content forms.”

As a leading streaming platform in Asia, JOOX encompasses a wide variety of entertainment content and innovative features for users to enjoy music entertainment experience, interact with each other and express appreciation to each other. The content forms include audio and video karaoke, concert livestreaming, a number of exclusive programmes and podcasts for local markets. In particular, JOOX’s podcasts include topics such as artist-sharing, music reviews and language learning, as well as localised entertainment content such as daily horoscopes, or horror and love stories.
joox podcastWhen it comes to work, music streaming platforms really help him get what he wants. Kilmartin says, “Being in the fashion industry, we use a lot of tracks for events and internal pieces. It really helps us find the precisely right track much easier.” 

Although music streaming platforms are useful to help businesses curate marketing plans or campaigns, marketers need to ask themselves what brand strategies they hope to use before choosing music. 

“No two brands have (nor should have) the same creative vision and values. Music creates the strongest semiotics for a brand, so brand managers must be consistent with genres and artists,” he says. 

By combining music and ads, brands could create something that lasts long and build an image among customers. A branded Karaoke campaign is one example that could naturally blend in your brand messages and images with music. 

At the end of the interview, Kilmartin also shares an iconic use of music in a brand’s content, which could act as a good reference for marketers: Nike’s ad in 2002. 

In the advertisement, a total of 24 players starred in the ad and they were divided into eight teams and played against each other. This ad featured Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation throughout the entire piece. 

 “It’s a well-worn path today, but at the time this was a groundbreaker and made me want to create work like this”, he comments.


For each one of our Marketers' Music Mind features, Marketing is collaborating with JOOX to produce a bespoke [playlist] based on our interviewee’s answers for our readers. Scan the QR code to see what we made and enjoy!

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https://open.joox.com/s/rd?k=jmioK


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This content was sponsored by JOOX