Sunday, 31 August, 2008 10:50 PM
Kenny Chesney and Corona Team
courtesy of Crown Imports
for Corona Extra features Kenny Chesney
2008 CMA Close Up News Service
Celebrities have consistently
scored big endorsement deals, but Michael Jackson's arrangement
with Pepsi in the early 1980s lifted the practice to an unprecedented
level of income potential. Alabama, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn,
Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis and Shania Twain are among
the many Country artists who have worked out similarly lucrative
arrangements with tour sponsors.
As significant as this has become as an income source, it will become
even more critical as the topography of the music industry continues
A prime example of this
potential is three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney's
"Poets & Pirates Tour" this summer, which is sponsored
by Corona Extra, one of the many products distributed by Crown Imports,
LLC, a Chicago-based company that distributes Corona in the United
In the spring, Chesney's
single "Don't Blink" remained at No. 1 for four straight
weeks, raising expectations that attendance for the summer's "Poets
& Pirates Tour" would peak even higher than the 1.2 million
fans who attended his "Flip Flop Summer Tour" of 2007.
Extra draw was supplied by adding LeAnn Rimes to the bill along
with Gary Allan, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar
and Keith Urban on selected dates, plus Chesney's "Next Big
Star" contest that allowed local acts to vie for the chance
to open the show in their hometown and even play the final weekend
of the tour.
"Kenny Chesney is,
in terms of attendance, the top touring act in North America over
the past five years, in any genre," said Ray Waddell, Executive
Director of Content and Programming, Touring and Live Entertainment,
Billboard. "As the impact of traditional advertising models
decreases, sponsors are increasingly looking to live music as a
way to reach consumers in an efficient, targeted manner. Country
Music fans are very highly regarded by brands as loyal, active consumers.
Given the images of both, in my opinion, Chesney and Corona are
a natural fit."
The partnership that
Chesney inked with Corona doesn't end Sept. 13, when he plays his
last date on this tour in Indianapolis. "This will be a seven-year
deal, including a five-year tour sponsorship," said Clint Higham,
VP, Morris Management Group, which manages Chesney. "We already
filmed the first two commercials down in Tulum, Mexico, a few months
"We approached Kenny's
team a while back about the idea of exploring various projects that
might be a good fit for both Kenny and Corona," said Timm Amundson,
VP of Marketing, Corona Extra and Corona Light for Crown Imports.
"As we began these discussions, it became very clear in very
short order that this would be a perfect fit for both parties. And
we just kicked things off this year."
"The term 'partnership'
really is the most accurate description of the relationship between
Kenny and Corona in that it goes well beyond your standard tour
sponsorship," Amundson continued. "The partnership involves
a whole range of activities, including advertising campaigns, digital
initiatives and retail programs. In fact, we introduced the TV commercials
with Kenny this spring."
"Corona is something
Kenny has always been identified with," Higham added. "They
are selling the same message we are. They get our vision and we
get theirs as well: Corona personifies escape."
Chesney was fully onboard
with the idea from the start. "If you want to capture my audience,
the thing that stands out is their ability to have more fun in a
single day than most people have in a month," he said. "Corona
is part of those relaxed, hanging-out-with-your-buddies kinds of
The arrangement with
Chesney is not the first long-term deal that Corona has signed with
a major artist. The company did have a 25-year-long contract with
Jimmy Buffett, another good fit for their product, which ended recently.
are just about cashing a check, but not this one," said Higham.
"As we continue to figure out ways to grow the Kenny Chesney
brand, this is going to be a big piece of the puzzle. The vision
of the two brands intersects very well. They refer to the brand
as a 'vacation in a bottle' and we refer to ours as a 'vacation
on the stage,' and when you can marry those two brands so well,
it just makes sense. I mean, it's not like Kenny's selling Cheez
Whiz or something."
"Songs like 'Old
Blue Chair,' 'Beer in Mexico,' 'No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems'
all speak to the laid-back, island vibe that Kenny articulates so
well in much of his music," Amundson observed. "It's that
same attitude and persona that Corona has been communicating over
the years. So although there are a number of obvious reasons we
would love to work with an artist of Kenny Chesney's stature, that
one would certainly be right at the top of the list."
"I can't think of
an artist more devoted to his fans than Kenny Chesney," he
added. "It's an amazing thing to experience that connection
between Kenny and his audience at a live show. And for Corona to
be part of that is really exciting. It has much less to do with
demographics and target audiences than it has to do with the level
of involvement and enthusiasm that comes out of that whole experience."
On the Web: www.kennychesney.com
is Detroit's exclusive media outlet for this syndicated weekly column!