Partnerships between musicians and brands are now an established practice, but a new initiative from Intel and Vice aims to take the trend to a global level.
Last week, the technology company and the media agency announced the launch of the Creators Project, a multiyear, multidiscipline, multicountry campaign to expose new artists and facilitate collaborations—as well as build Intel’s consumer brand recognition.
The online component of the project has already launched, with a Web site (thecreatorsproject.com) hosting a series of video discussions with acts Richie Hawtin, Diplo and Phoenix, as well as innovators in art, design, film and architecture. The site will eventually host 84 videos, one for each of the “creators” chosen from seven countries.
In addition to the Web component, Vice and Intel will host a summer series of Creators Conferences in five cities: New York, London, São Paulo, Seoul and Beijing. The conferences include concerts, art exhibits, movie screenings and panels. The first event, which is June 26 at New York’s Milk Studios, will feature performances by Interpol, Sleigh Bells and Gang GangDance, among others. Alan Palomo, who performs as Neon Indian, says he wants to use the connections he makes to bring new, interactive elements to his live show.
“There are all sorts of possibilities,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about doing something where I take a series of theremins and rig it so they could read data and then convert it to MIDI data, or maybe something with biofeedback loops…If the timing works out, it would be amazing.”
For Intel, the chance to act as a patron of the arts is a nice perk, but the opportunity to grow its consumer brand in emerging markets was what sealed the deal.
“Millennials, who this campaign reaches, don’t want to be shouted at,” chief marketing officer Deborah Conrad said. “They want something authentic and generated by word-of-mouth.”
Conrad adds that Intel has hired people to work full-time on the project. “We’ve made investments in people and time,” she said. “It’s not just a financial commitment for us. It’s much richer than that.”
That level of commitment is necessary, given the global scope of the campaign. “We had to start somewhere, and we already had relationships in Brazil and the U.K., and the People’s Republic of China is really the future,” Vice founder Shane Smith said. Conrad adds that South Korea was chosen because it was a hotbed of mobile consumption and its music is breaking beyond its borders into Asia.
“If you looked at a heat map, some of these areas, like Korea and Brazil and Japan, are just on fire in terms of the adoption of the personal computer by consumers,” Conrad said. “So it made sense for us to start there and then go forward.”
Smith described the project as “the most ambitious experiential thing we’ve done so far,” but added that it’s also one of the most thrilling. “We had this idea before we even talked to Intel,” he said. “We would dream about the coolest thing we could do if we didn’t have any resource constraints, and I have to say, this comes close to it.”
This is not the first time that Intel has experimented with new forms of online media. Last November, Intel worked with Federated Media on LifeScoop, a Web site that features editorial content related to tech and is designed to appeal to consumers who are interested in the topic, but don’t consider themselves hard-core geeks.