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LidRock puts its disks where kids’ mouths are

It may be hard to sing along with a straw sticking out of your mouth, but the creators of a unique new form of entertainment packaging are hoping consumers will do just that. Atlanta, Georgia-based LidRock has come up with an innovative way of distributing music-based premiums - they're putting them in your drinks.
October 1, 2003

It may be hard to sing along with a straw sticking out of your mouth, but the creators of a unique new form of entertainment packaging are hoping consumers will do just that. Atlanta, Georgia-based LidRock has come up with an innovative way of distributing music-based premiums – they’re putting them in your drinks.

The company has developed a lid for 32 oz. fountain cups that acts as a case for mini disks that have so far featured music content such as songs, multimedia extras and links to www.lidrock.com, which houses additional music, streaming videos, artist interviews and coupons for promo partners’ products.

‘We look at LidRock as not just a promotional premium, but as a new network – a medium in and of itself,’ says Dawn Whaley, executive VP of Convex Group, the Atlanta, Georgia-based company that bought the global distribution and marketing rights to the LidRock technology from its creators at Strategic Integration in February. ‘The potential to distribute entertainment this way is huge considering that 20 billion fountain drinks are sold in the U.S. each year,’ she adds.

The concept launched this July in Regal Entertainment Group’s 500-plus U.S. theaters (including Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters and Edwards Theaters) and Universal Studios theme parks in L.A. and Orlando, Florida. For an extra US$2, consumers got a mini disk featuring songs and video clips by pop artist Rachel Farris. Promo partner Universal was heavily featured on the LidRock, with a logo on the disk, a video promoting the amusement park rides tied to Farris’s song ‘Soak,’ and a contest for a trip to the Orlando Universal Studios theme park.

Convex has since released a new LidRock disk at Regal theaters each month, featuring artists like Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, Ashanti and, most recently, the King. On October 3, the chain will feature an Elvis disk with two preview songs and a video from the re-mastered compilation CD being released by BMG on October 7. Whaley says the company is always on the lookout for content that is either in advance of its regular release or exclusive to LidRock, like the short film starring Ashanti being released later this month.

In August, Melville, New York-based QSR chain Sbarro partnered with Pepsi, DreamWorks and Hollywood Records to put together a LidRock CD featuring songs by Lifehouse, Boomkat, 40 Foot Echo and Kooler Kids. The 500,000 lids sold out in just under three weeks, surprising everyone, Whaley says. The QSR chain is planning to make a bigger splash with another disk featuring a platinum-selling artist in time for the holiday season, and this time it’s ordering in the millions.

Though the company plans to release content that appeals to all ages, Whaley says the initial offerings have been primarily targeted at the 11 to 14 set. Kids are usually early adopters of any new form of media, she explains, especially if it’s entertainment-related. Following that logic, at press time the company was on track to sign a deal with an undisclosed video game producer to create LidRocks featuring a kid-targeted PC game. Though console games are a possibility, Whaley says it would be difficult to determine which distribution channel would be best for each individual console brand.

Rounding out the entertainment offering, the company plans to move into movies next year. Whaley says talks are underway with an undisclosed national QSR chain to put together a dinner-and-a-movie concept that would allow families to pick up a full-length feature movie with their meals for an extra US$3.99.

‘The QSRs all want ways to differentiate themselves – it’s the Happy Meal mentality. Everyone’s looking to one-up each other, so the idea of turning the drive-thru into the drive-in is very exciting,’ says Whaley. ‘For example, you could go to McDonald’s and get your meal and [the latest Disney movie] all in one fell swoop. It’s really, really powerful.’

The company’s next focus will likely be on finding a partner to manage the retail side of www.lidrock.com. ‘If you get an Elvis LidRock and you take it home and put it in your computer, chances are you’re an Elvis fan. And it makes so much sense to offer additional music or digital tracks or something like that,’ Whaley says. ‘There’s a huge opportunity here for a company like Amazon.com. This as an extremely elegant front end to an extensive back end.’

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