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U.S. Cellular's Summer Presence Boosted With Country Star


It’s just about summer, so that’s about time for U.S. Cellular to get behind another country star as he tours the country. This year, the wireless carrier is teaming with Dustin Lynch, showing up at festivals in support of his new single, “Ridin’ Roads.”

As part of the arrangement, U.S. Cellular gets behind artist promotions like meet-and-greets, premium concert seating giveaways and showy stuff like a helicopter tour of Chicago. The campaign lasts six weeks across a mix of media based on a strategy devised by  Music Audience Exchange (MAX),  which has carved a niche in the musician branding business. 

MAX-backed artists deliver brand messages in their own voice across radio, social media and live performances. The company claims its proprietary data identifies which artists fit the client best, presumably delivering top-notch engagement opportunities. 

Last year, U.S. Cellular used MAX in its summertime arrangement with country star Colin Swindell and Canadian country stars High Valley, but in a more limited way. 

“We have sponsored and supported music festivals for several years, and this year, we really wanted to ramp up our efforts,” stated Michael Behee, sponsorship manager for U.S. Cellular. “This program is focused on amplifying, maximizing and bringing connectivity across our existing festivals, music events and sponsorships for an even greater level of engagement.”

U.S. Cellular, with about five million customers, is not necessarily a household brand name in the wireless business, especially compared to the four carriers that come ahead of it in customers and name recognition: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. 

The company does have traction  in parts of the Midwest and the South. For a few years, it had naming rights to the stadium where the White Sox play in Chicago, which is where U.S. Cellular calls home. And it used to be a sponsor of a major musical festival in Des Moines.

It still has its own stage at the much bigger Summerfest in Milwaukee, where a galaxy of brands do too, including Harley-Davidson, Miller Lite, Briggs & Stratton, BMO Harris bank and lead sponsor American Family Insurance. Dustin Lynch gets a prime 7:30 slot on the first night of the 10-day music event downtown.

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