Jim Beam’s Pitchfork Nightcap Extends Music Festival Alliance Online

Jim Beam’s innovative and ambitious 2014 Pitchfork Festival sponsorship is part of a growing trend for sponsors and music property owners to use digital platforms in order to extend the life of music show partnerships long after the last live note has been played.


The ‘Pitchfork Nightcap’ initiative not only sees the drinks brand back the shows and activate with the usual at event sampling, pouring, logo and hospitality strands, but it also sees Pitchfork film six after-show concerts at its music festivals this summer and make them available via a Jim Beam branded Nightcap microsite.


These shows, and individual tracks from them such as this example of Future Islands performing ‘Doves’ at the after party of MusicFestNW in Portland, Oregon are posted online for ongoing engagement.



The content is also available to the sponsor for further, upcoming campaigns.


Thus Pitchfork has created a national music marketing platform for Jim Beam that includes live events, sponsored content and other assets.


The program revolves around a series of six late-night concerts by emerging artists called ‘Pitchfork Nightcap’.


This Jim Beam initiative opened in the summer with a show by Majical Cloudz and Dutch E Germ at New York City’s Webster Hall and continued with additional shows in Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle and Portland.


All these branded concerts took place during major music festivals: for example, the NY show occurred during the Governors Ball Music Festival, while the Chicago gig occurred during the Pitchfork Music Festival itself, while the Portland show was held during MusicFest NW.


November’s gig in New Orleans will be held during the city’s Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.


The idea for the whiskey brand is that it is able to leverage the buzz around these festivals for its music branded platform.


‘People are thinking about the festivals, which puts music front and center,’ explains Pitchfork Sales VP Matt Frampton.


With the exception of Pitchfork, Jim Beam is not an official sponsor of any of the music fests.


At Pitchfork Music Festival itself, the spirits marketer activates via a range of branded features such as backing the event’s arcade lounge (complete with vintage pinball games and a VIP area where attendees can sample products).


The brand is also present in the Pitchfork band interviews – which are filmed and posted online as further festival content – such as in this video of the band Metz chatting before their show at the Crocodile in Seattle, Washington for the Pitchfork Nightcap series.


Metz Interview – Pitchfork Nightcap from Pitchfork TV on Vimeo.


‘We are creating contextually relevant creative from the events that we’ve partnered [with Pitchfork on], so all of that is in the digital space, and then we’ve been able to bring that outside the digital space to really connect with the Pitchfork readers, Pitchfork fans and Jim Beam fans live as well,’ said Jim Beam senior brand manager Halley Kehoe.




This Jim Beam initiative is linked to its wider ‘Make History marketing initiative launched earlier this year.



While in the past summer music festival sponsorships have been seen largely as timely, one-off marketing events that give brands a quick boost in awareness within a certain target demographic.


But it seems this single-shot’ tactic now evolving into something longer lasting across digital platforms?




Pitchfork Nightcap Website



Pitchfork YouTube



Jim Beam Website



Jim Beam YouTube





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