Concerted Efforts For 'Live Earth' Rest On Marketers' Backing

A survey taken just more than a week before Saturday's Live Earth event showed that about half of Americans had no idea who was sponsoring the global concerts dedicated to raising awareness of climate change.

In fact, the survey showed that as many people correctly identified Pepsi as incorrectly identified Coca-Cola. There are eight official U.S. corporate sponsors: Absolut, DaimlerChrysler's Smart car, Esurance, MSN, Pepsi, Philips, and Stonyfield Farms along with its parent, U.K.-based Stony. Philips, Zune and Chevy (see related story in today's Marketing Daily) are sponsoring online coverage of the event.

One of the reasons for the soft-drink giant confusion could be the fact that Coke is sponsoring its own, admittedly smaller, music festival, the 13th annual 2007 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. That three-day event ends on Saturday and overlaps the Live Earth event. Coke is also a partner of the South African Live Earth event.

Live Earth will reach a worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media architecture covering all media platforms -- TV, radio, web and wireless channels.



It is expected that Live Earth will be the largest music event ever staged with more than 2 billion people taking part in concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg, and Hamburg. They will feature a mix of both legendary music acts like The Police, Genesis, Bon Jovi and Madonna with the latest headliners like Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas and Jack Johnson.

Live Earth's 24 hours of music across six continents will deliver a worldwide call to action and the solutions necessary to answer that call. Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis.

The 24-hour, multi-location, multi-concert Live Earth extravaganza is one of those events -- like the once-in-a-lifetime 2000 millennial celebrations ... or every Olympic Games ... or perhaps just the 2005 Live8 concerts a scant two years ago -- that seem to infiltrate every facet of media and marketing.

Michael Solomon, professor of marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, is working on a project about climate change called the Mass Roots Project*.

Solomon says sponsorships of such mega-events as Live Earth can benefit consumer product companies "at least for now. That is, at least until they become so de rigeur that no one notices anymore.

"Corporate social responsibility is the single most important attribute consumers look for when they evaluate companies and their brands," he says. "However, consumers -- especially younger ones -- are equipped with really sensitive 'BS detectors,' so they are looking for more than token gestures. If these sponsors can demonstrate convincingly that they are 'giving back' in substantial ways, this is probably the best kind of promotion at this time when 'conscientious consumerism' is getting ready to hit a fever pitch."

*Editor's note: The article was changed after publication.

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