Plan Ballantine’s: Pop Song Lyric Crowdsourcing


Pernod Ricard’s Ballantine’s brand, one of the world’s best selling blended whiskies, has partnered with Spanish pop stars ‘La Oreja de Van Gogh’ on a new crowd-sourced creative initiative which gives fans the chance to pen the lyrics for the band’s new track.


This whisky-backed consumer song writing campaign, part of Ballantine’s ‘Plan B’ marketing initiative, drives consumers and fans online to a digital hub (El Plan Ballantine’s) where they can listen to the Grammy-nominated group’s new song (thus far, in instrumental-only format). Then they are invited to write and submit their own lyrics for the track.


The band members themselves will sieve through the suggestions and entries and then select the lyrics that will make it into the final track. The final version of the song is scheduled for release in Q1 2013.


The site also offers shareable options, so that all the consumer lyricists can convert their work into audio files and then share them across their social networks (Twitter and Facebook). Another feature of the initiative enables consumers to co-write their own song with their friends.


The digital hub also includes a web-based ‘inspiration’ feature which offers lyrical and vocabulary tools for synonyms, antonyms and rhymes. A further stats feature shows how many other entries have used a specific word or phrase in their compositions.


The further grease the campaign’s wheels, the group themselves have released a set of online web films offering lyric-writing tips.


Thus far the campaign launch video has only racked up 6,000-plus views so it remains to be seen how many entries the project generates and how good they are.


This is part of the Ballantine’s umbrella Plan B / Plan Ballantine’s strategy: a music sponsorship strategy which is built on the idea that social media is not merely a means of marketing or a channel, but the actual marketing itself.


The idea spreads right across the open innovation, co-creation and crowdsourcing space within the music industry. Part of the objective is to discover talent in a time when record companies and major industry players do not invest in new artists the way that they once did.


The brand claims that Plan Ballantine’s is demonstrating how crowd-created, cross-media, branded content designed to entertain can become part of what a brand is and what a brand does rather than just part of its marketing strategy.



The initiative has already earned several awards in Spain in both the advertising and the music spheres. For example, it was won the ‘Sol de Oro in San Sebastian Golden Award EFI Effectiveness Media Award’, as well as winning three nominations for Spain’s ‘Top 40 Music Awards’.


In terms of measurement and metrics, according to the brand, to date Plan B has 300,000 social network followers, plus 9,200 users subscribed to the channel Plan B and a healthy 7.8bn video views.




By most measurement standards, thus far Plan B has shown itself to be a successful project and there is no reason to think this latest initiative won’t add further to that success.


There is also a physical CD produced and edited by Subterfuge including the best songs from Plan B. The album cover also includes an integrated QR code that links to a video and interactivity that gives the cover, and if you read the cover comes to life.


This is something of a refresh on Ballantine’s marketing heritage, which has previously been built around traditional brand values focused on authenticity, prestige and flair.




Campaign Webfilm


Campaign Website


Plan B Webfilm

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