New York City is going country for tonight with the County Music Association Awards, backing the annual show in its first time outside of Nashville with $4.5 million worth of sponsorships.
Fourteen leading brands are sponsoring the awards ceremony, which will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. on CBS from Madison Square Garden. The sponsorship, a collaboration between the city of New York and the CMA, gave brands a platform to activate various promotions in the weeks and days leading up to the main event.
NYC Marketing and sister agency, NYC Big Events, Inc., secured and managed partnerships for the 2005 CMA Awards with Chevrolet, Prilosec OTC, Lever 2000, Kodak, Kellogg’s, XM Satellite Radio, Chase, Kmart, Crème Savers Candy, AOL Music, Crisco, Gibson Guitar and BMG Columbia House. Partners helped spread the word of the CMA Awards through national music tours, free concerts, live satellite radio broadcasts and ticket giveaways.
“We were able to listen to what [the brands] needed…customizing specific programs to reach their target and core objectives,” Jim Donofrio, senior VP-partnerships of NYC Marketing, said. “The entire city knows country music is here.”
The brands not only pulled in enough sponsorship dollars to cover the cost of the awards program, but also are expected to generate an additional $36 million in revenue for New York City.
“New York City’s commitment to create additional sponsorship opportunities has increased our visibility [and] expanded our reach into more urban markets while keeping the net economic model for the show’s budget and marketing elements comparable to Nashville,” said Rick Murray, VP-strategic marketing for the CMA in a statement.” “It’s a win-win-win for Country Music, our sponsors and New York City.”
Under its sponsorship, Prilosec OTC created a bus tour that stopped in 18 cities across the U.S. offering free concerts, karaoke and health screenings while promoting the CMA Awards in New York City.
Chevrolet brought a free three-day festival, Country Music to the City, to Manhattan’s Union Square Park. The automaker also photographed its annual Chevy— in Country Music calendar in New York City. Chevrolet also toured the country with a co-branded semi-trailer, making 16 stops and offering free concerts with top country artists.
Scott Richman, VP programming for AOL, said the company’s sponsorship of the CMA Awards, it’s first ever, “made sense” to its audience and brand. AOL Music offers streaming audio and video online at Music.aol.com.
“For us, the country music genre is very important,” Richman said. “Country music has always been a fertile genre…with the opportunity to marry brands and promotions with great music. It is a great opportunity for us as a company to bring this great experience to our audience.”
AOL has beefed up its country music programming line-up in anticipation of the CMA Awards. The site at Music.aol.com/feature/cma.adp offers a separate section for fans to visit some of country’s biggest stars. Last night, AOL gave fans and AOL users a chance to hear a live concert with Keith Urban. That concert is available on demand.
Retailer Kmart also joined the sponsorship list, offering a sweepstakes in two New York City stores to boost awareness of its brand and store locations. For 20 days leading up to tonight’s event, Kmart offered customers a pair of tickets to the CMA Awards. Kmart gave away its last pair (80 tickets in all) on Monday.
Kmart tied in its sponsorship of the CMA Awards with in-store promotions. The retailer was one of the few that gave away tickets to the event as part of its sponsorship.
“We just saw this as a great fit,” Josh Stern, director of national advertising for Kmart, said. “Country music…appeals to everyone. We are a store that appeals to everyone. It was just a feel good [opportunity].”