It's hard working in marketing. Websites, TV shows, magazines... None of them are entertainment anymore. They're outlets. Luckily for me, I get almost as excited about finding an amazing outlet for a brand as other people do about discovering a great new show.
One of my favorite "outlets" is imeem.com - a fun, engaging site that allows you to interact with your favorite music (creating playlists, choosing favorites, connecting with people who share your tastes, discovering new artists, etc), and connect with brands in really unique ways.
The first time I noticed this was when 5 Gum was running their "Stimulate Your Senses" campaign. I documented the occasion with this tweet:
"Enjoying 5 Gum's promotion on http://www.imeem.com/ Some seriously good music on these playlists! Oh how I love good interactive marketing!"
If I remember right, they had roadblocked the homepage with a gorgeous flash banner and also owned the featured playlist. A lot of brands go this route on the site, but what 5 Gum did differently was design a separate playlist for each flavor of gum. I was so intrigued that I sat and listened to several flavors. I subsequently bought a pack of 'Rain' which tasted as good as it sounded - and came in a cool package.
I was recently struck by a similar Fanta effort that was just so lively and bold on the homepage that I couldn't help but stop and listen to their playlist. The imeem platform is very flattering to brands. Even Wal Mart is getting in on the action, and as much as I want to hate them for invading one of my favorite sites, I just... can't. It's too unbearably cute.
Dr. Pepper has been running a campaign that takes the engagement factor to a whole new level. They've had a huge presence on the site for the past couple months, connecting with their target audience through album premiers, a crazy remix tool and contest, giveaways on "New Music Tuesdays," and featured celebrity playlists.
Music has always been a solid bet for marketers looking to reach the younger generations, and now sites like imeem are giving them a whole new arsenal of tools. Other music sites like pandora and last.fm are awesome too, but from a marketing perspective I feel like they aren't giving their advertisers the creative freedom to turn their brands into personalities and create meaningful connections. I'm intrigued by Spotify if anyone wants to hook me up with an invitation (wink, smile), and I'd love to hear about other sites (music or not) that give brands a wide range of interactive marketing options.
Edit: Imeem has (tragically) been purchased by MySpace and shut down.