The Deschutes River Recordings are simply brilliant.
The campaign captured my attention from the very first moment I discovered it. It engages me on many levels including my love of music, my personal experiences with the Deschutes Brewery, my passion for conservation, and my desire here on TimMiner.com to share the digital campaigns that are truly unique.
The concept, if you haven’t already clicked through to their site or the videos below, is to bring indie artists to the banks of the Deschutes River to record a cover of a popular river themed song chosen by the truly inspired constituency of the Deschutes Brewery. The artists were tasked with cutting the cover river-side, with nature as their backup singer, and the river their inspiration.
All tracks, including the three below, can be downloaded for free but donations are accepted and will go to support the efforts of the Deschutes River Conservancy. Show your support now with a donation and grab these truly moving tracks.
Watching inspiration unfold
I first discovered the Deschutes River Recordings in a tweet from the folks @NORTH, the agency behind this campaign. I contacted Rebecca Armstrong at NORTH and asked for an interview. Getting access to the minds that created this campaign was imperative for me. A lot can be learned from the people, the brands, and the campaigns that are forging ahead, into unknown territory. I have an entire category here on TimMiner.com called Digital Cairns for just that reason.
So thanks to the generosity of Rebecca, I give you her insights into the Deschutes River Recordings campaign.
The Deschutes Brewery is clearly defined by its natural surroundings. On their site, they say, “Everywhere we turn, nature tosses something epic, jaw-dropping or downright spiritual our way”. Crafting a campaign that supports and highlights the river seems like a perfect fit. What was the genesis for this campaign? How did the marriage of the river and music come about?
NORTH believes that to get traction with today’s demanding consumers, brands need to provide content of real value that they’d be willing to share.
The opportunity for Deschutes was to leverage an authentic connection to the Deschutes River (it’s the water source for the beer, and the brewery has donated over a billion gallons of water back to the river in 2012 to help its preservation.) We also know that our drinkers share an affinity for independent thinking, independent beers and independent music; specifically, the users of Pitchfork (our partner in this endeavor) index extraordinarily highly against craft beer drinking.
These truths (independence/beer/music lovers) triangulated into the Deschutes River Recordings program which grows qualified awareness for the brand, provides something of real value to the user and does some good in the world.
Anyone can download the tracks for free and make a donation to the cause. Why go with a name your price model and not charge outright for the download?
We believe that if we allow people to determine the value of what we are providing, they’ll be more likely to participate. It is gratifying that to date everyone who has downloaded the song has made a donation – as much as $20 for one download.
Music seems to be a big part of the DNA of NORTH (and the Deschutes Brewery for that matter). Where did that deeply ingrained love for music start and how does that influence your work on client projects?
We have a number of recording and touring musicians on staff, in different disciplines – strategists, producers, designers and so on. We know what a powerful brand engagement tool music can be. And since independent musicians were early adopters of the Internet for distribution of their product, we believe that brands have a lot to learn from them.
Many brands in the digital space default to images as their canvas. Sites like Instagram and Pinterest have been riding that wave. Producing quality video is time consuming, potentially costly, but very sharable for an audience that is moving towards a “mobile first” mindset. What goals did you set for this campaign in terms of engagement or audience involvement? What do you see as the flagship metric for success?
Our primary goal for this program is “qualified awareness,” meaning we want to the work to resonate deeply with a smaller but better qualified audience, one that is more likely to try Deschutes beer as a result of seeing and downloading the work. Sure, we could have posted some stills (and you might want to check out Deschutes Brewery on Pinterest) but we strongly believe that the depth of emotional connection we needed could only be delivered through music video. The second objective is brand participation – we want folks to share the content on Deschutes’ behalf.
All of the published information about the project names just three artist collaborations. Is there a possibility that there may be more? If so, what would be the trigger for that?
Yes! We’d love to produce more. The trigger would be the proven success of this campaign, so please encourage your readers to download the current collaborations and drink more Deschutes beer!
It’s show time
I’d like to thank Rebecca for taking time to share her insights on the campaign. Here are the three videos for your viewing enjoyment. Leave a comment sharing your favorite of the three and any thoughts you have about this campaign.