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Big reputation: Is Taylor Swift the new gimmick for marketers?

Big reputation: Is Taylor Swift the new gimmick for marketers?

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Taylor Swift has been hard at work releasing new albums and touring the globe, marketers have been working equally hard to swiftly trendjack her tours and appearances. 

In fact in October last year, not one to play catch up, Heinz created a new custom label ‘Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch’ after social media posts about what sauces Swift had when she attended a Chiefs game.

Meanwhile, ahead of her highly anticipated The Eras Tour in Singapore next month, Marina Bay Sands released special hotel packages that played a pun on her popular songs such as the "Stay stay stay" package that starts from SG$10,000 and the "Wildest dreams" package that starts at SG$50,000. Both these packages have already been sold out.

Don't miss: Taylor Swift's UOB ticket presale: What more can be done to retain consumers?

Just yesterday, Changi Airport’s Jewel also announced that it is launching a sing-along event, inviting fans of the singer or Swifties to get beJEWELed at its Shiseido Forest Valley that puns on her song Bejewelled.

As the list of marketing campaigns that leverage the singer’s fan base, music and personality continue to grow, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to six industry professionals on what makes Swift the new marketing gimmick.

Fiona Bartholomeusz, managing director, Formul8

Swift has indeed been creeping into marketing campaigns, according to Bartholomeusz. “Upon her announcement of her album, brands such as Lazada created social media posts that trend-jacked the announcement,” she explained.

In fact, when tickets for her tour went on sale in Singapore last year, a list of brands such as Ikea, Sentosa and foodpanda also came up with quirky social media posts and memes.

Her pure personal appeal and the fact that she is incredibly savvy in knowing her market makes her a treat for brands.

“Her pure personal appeal and the fact that she is incredibly savvy in knowing her market makes her a treat for brands,” said Bartholomeusz.

Peter de Kretser, chief executive officer, GO Communications

“Headlines perpetuate headlines and the more you’re out there, the more people want a piece…or so my late, great father used to profess. Not one to regurgitate the boring old adage, 'any publicity is good publicity,' but Tay Tay seems to be the headline act even when not on stage, guitar strapped and mic in palm,” said Krester.

Tay Tay seems to be the headline act even when not on stage, guitar strapped and mic in palm.

About Swift’s burgeoning romance with Travis Kelce, Krester said that the coveted trophy making its way to the Sunflower state of Kansas makes it like an ending to a fairytale classic with all eyes on Swift instead of the Vince Lombardi metallic structure.

“The ultimate PR Valentine’s Day gift for the rest of us or the ultimate brand machine where “Blank Spaces” turn into “Blank cheques,”” he said.

“Either way, the once-upon-a-time, bright-eyed country singer has proved the power of a (personal) brand to be transitional, beyond the realms of one’s industry, building ultimate hype with the supreme ability to “Shake It Off” and top consumer charts! If you ask me whether or not there’s a blank space, “I’ll write my name,”” Krester also added.

Bethany Bloch, head of content, Mutant Communications

“Celebrities like Taylor Swift, who have spent years cultivating a loyal and dedicated fanbase, are always attractive to brands,” said Bloch.

As Swift’s only APAC concert stops are in Japan, Australia and Singapore, Bloch also said that with many fans travelling internationally to see her, it comes as no surprise that brands would capitalise on the concert and her star power.

Celebrities like Taylor Swift, who have spent years cultivating a loyal and dedicated fanbase, are always attractive to brands.

“Whether or not they choose to do their due diligence and truly curate their campaigns and events to Swifties or are just using the superstar’s name as a way to get people through the door will be what determines whether they’re using Miss Swift as a gimmick,” Bloch explained.

Manisha Seewal, president, Redhill

What makes Swift highly marketable is the fact that her music appeals to the entire family with parents, children, aunties, uncles, nieces and nephews singing along to her music, added Seewal.

She also said, “brands want to be associated with her to cast their audience net wide while appearing to be “on-trend” as Swifties.”

Brands want to be associated with her to cast their audience net wide while appearing to be “on-trend” as Swifties.

Interestingly, amidst conversations and memes about Swift’s private jet usage leading to high carbon emissions according to media reports, Seewal cautioned brands to be weary of a celebrity’s carbon footprint.

“One band to learn from is Coldplay, who reduced their CO2e emissions by 47% vs their tour in 2016-17 and even publishes a sustainability report,” she said.

Coldplay recently performed in Malaysia and Singapore as part of their Music of the Spheres world tour and released a statement saying that they aim to reduce their direct carbon emissions from show production, freight, band and crew travel by 50%.

In fact, a majority of APAC luxury consumers would reduce their support of brands that neglect environmental sustainability, a survey found.

The comprehensive study by market research firm inspiring-i and commissioned by luxury and sustainable packaging specialist Delta Global surveyed over 2,000 luxury consumers from Gen Z to Gen X (ages 18–55) across Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China.

Casey Loh, creative chief, The Clan

“Everyone wants a piece of Taylor for the Swifties - she just has such a wide and loyal fan base that being associated with her is just going to do wonders for most brands,” said Loh.

“Her impact on the NFL and Kaizer Chiefs through her relationship with Travis Kelce has been tremendous. But of course, it’s not an overnight thing,” he added.

Taylor Swift herself is a brand that has taken decades to build.

As Taylor Swift herself is a brand that has taken decades to build along with her aptly named The Eras Tour, it would be foolish for brands not to take advantage of her presence and name, Loh also added.

Syed Mohammed Idid, GM of strategic communications and stakeholder engagement, West Coast Expressway (WCE)

Idid also discusses the appeal of Swift’s music across different age groups which makes her particularly popular among brands.

Marketers can learn from Taylor Swift in knowing how to be true to your persona and stick your brand guns.

“As a father to Swifties, Tay Tay is no marketing gimmick, in my mind. Her power is her personal brand that is alluring to the most marketable youth segment and the young at heart with purchasing power beyond imagination,” he explained.

“Marketers can learn from Taylor Swift in knowing how to be true to your persona and stick your brand guns,” Idid also added.

Related articles:
Taylor Swift partners Google for song reveal, 33 million puzzles solved
Taylor Swift skips HK on her upcoming Asia tour: What more can be done to attract global artists?
Klook delves into music tourism as official partner for Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’

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