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Motown x Marshall Lifestyle

The Challenge
Create a brand partnership to attract British audience (20+) to Motown The Musical.
Key Findings
 - Motown did a tour of the UK in the 1960's.
 - Marshall Amplifiers came to prominence in the 1960's and were used by musicians domestically and internationally.
Consumer Insight
- Motown music is predominately enjoyed by a mature audience who grew up listening to the music in their teens and twenties.
- Mature music lovers are familiar with Marshall Amplifiers.
- Millennials value retro clothing, items and music.
The Partner
 - Marshall is an English company that designs and manufactures music amplifiers, speakers cabinets and personal headphones/earphones.
 - It was founded by the drum shop owner and drummer Jim Marshall in the early sixities. 
 - The company came to notoriety after famous musicians of the era or their music systems by name.
Marshall Lifestyle
 - Marshall has a new extended product range headphones and speakers called "Marshall Lifestyle."
 - They are being positioned as the cooler, vintage alternative to market leader Beats by Dre - to achieve this the brand whats to highlights the brand's connection to the 1960's Rock n' Roll era.
- Their brand image - Classic, Retro, 1960’s - is reflected in the aesthetic design of the products which encourages consumers to think about a time when such designs were the norm, and by extension, the music of that era.
The Tension
Over the years the brand has become associated with the rock music  and individuals who ascribe to that lifestyle. This presents two questions"
1. "Aren't Marshall products only for rock music fans?"
No. Unlike the Marshall amplifiers which today have become associated with rock music, its new line of headphones and speakers are to yet to carve out a distinctive position in the market place.
Headphones and speakers are not often associated with a specific genre or type of music, rather just music in general. We can see this with the diverse portfolio of artists used to advertise used to advertise Beats by Dre e.g. Jessie Ware and Nicki Minaj.
2. "Won''t this partnership alienate the brands loyal fanbase?
The brand partnership is not repositioning the company as a whole. This campaign is focused on its Marshall Lifestyle range which are not exclusively associated with this genre of music.
In the communications for this product range Marshall have been focusing on the product's vintage design and affliation with the genre diverse Rock n Roll era. This has been done in an attempt to avoid alienating any specific consumer group.
The Proposition
Motown music and Marshall products played an iconic role in 1960's youth culture in the UK.
The Idea​
Motown The Musical was partnered with Marshall Lifestyle under the idea that together they were;
“The Sound That Inspired A Generation”
In the 1960’s, Motown’s distinctive sound went on to inspire what music we listen to today, while Marshall amplifiers revolutionised how we hear that music. So the primary reason for this partnership was their “Shared Cultural Heritage.”
I chose to partner specifically with ‘Marshall Lifestyle’,  this is Marshall’s extended product range; headphones and speakers. They are being positioned as the cooler, vintage alternative to market leader Beats by Dre  and to achieve this the brand wants to highlight their products' connection to the 1960’s rock n roll era. 

What would be the benefits of this partnership for Motown The Musical?
1. Partnering  with a distinctive British brand will help connect a very American production with British audiences.
2. It will emphasize the musical's USP i.e “ The story of the sound that moved the world”. This partnership will highlight Motown’s place in music history, attracting people who want to learn more about its influence. This is especially important for those who are not that so familiar with the music or the artists.​
3. The ‘Marshall Lifestyle’ range predominately is purchased by millennials, those between 18-35. Partnering with a cool 'young brand' will increase the musical’s appeal to this demographic.

What would be the benefits for Marshall Lifestyle?
1. The partnership amplifies their current differentiation and positioning strategy.
2. It will help diversify their fan-base  by helping to associate this new range with music as a whole as opposed to a specific genre.
3. It will help Marshall appeal to older music lovers who can resonate with both Motown and Marshall music systems. This is a very lucrative market with enough disposal income to afford Marshall's premium-priced market offerings e.g. speakers.

Experiental Event
It would be held at St Pancras International. 1965 was the first and only time Motown toured the UK and I would want to play on this historical event. So disembarking a Eurostar train, cast members would be dressed in costume and sporting Marshall headphones. The speakers would also be part of their hand luggage. A banner behind the cast members will say “After 50 years “The Sound that inspired a generation” is back at the Shaftesbury Theatre!
A crowd of fake photographers and journalists wearing 1960’s attire will mob the cast members as they walk through the main shopping area asking them for quotes and pictures. Extras will act as the entourage shielding the parazzi, while wearing promotional T-shirts. The main stars would then proceed to the Marshall Lifestyle stage and perform a collection of hit songs from the show.
Adjacent to the stage will be a ticket booth and a 1960’s make over area were audiences can dress up in traditional clothing and wigs, taking pictures with friends or members of the cast. People will be encouraged to share these images with friends on social media using the hashtag #MotownIsBack.


Myles Manyonda

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  • Junior Strategist, HeyHuman

Project Tags

  • motown
  • Marshall
  • Strategy

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