The partnership between Bayer birth control pill brand Yaz and the Veronicas is considered one of the key factors that broke the Australian electro-pop band in the U.S. market. The advertising and sponsorship deal, now three-plus years strong, was the subject of the final keynote at Billboard and Adweek’s inaugural Music and Advertising Conference in New York.

In the panel moderated by Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde, Group M North America CEO Richard Yaffa, Veronicas manager William Derella of DAS, and Lisa and Jessica Origliasso of the Veronicas discussed how the deal can serve as a model for objective-driven, mutually supportive band-brand partnerships.

In 2005, “Bayer came to us and said we’re looking for a way to connect with women a little bit better,” says Yaffa. “They really wanted to improve their brand messaging, really have people go and speak to their doctors—and those were the campaign elements that we really needed to deliver on.” To meet those criteria and build brand equity, he says, the company was looking for an artist that would bring the right personality and partnership potential.

As young, outspoken women who were multi-platinum artists in their home country but relatively unknown in the States, Yaffa says the Origliasso twins were promising in terms of what they could bring to Bayer as well as what they could gain. “It’s not about buying rights or assets, it’s really about a partnership," says Yaffa. “We asked William [Derella] what are your objectives, what do you want to help the girls achieve?”

“We thought it was cool,” says Lisa Origliasso, “all these Disney acts are sponsored by, I don’t know, My Little Pony or something, and here we are with a birth control pill.” More importantly, the campaign started a momentum of exposure for the Veronicas in the U.S. that all agree may not have occurred through traditional promotion. The Veronicas have now filmed two television ads for Yaz using their versions of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and Scandal’s “Goodbye To You,” as well as a series of Yaz-sponsored online webisodes about the sisters for Yahoo Music.

Before the partnership with Bayer, “Untouched,” the Veronicas’ first single from current album “Hook Me Up,” was in three small radio markets; the single has now sold more than 1.3 million units and has reached No. 17 on the Hot 100. The Veronicas were also invited to tour with the Jonas Brothers last summer, and have just begun a two-month U.S. headlining tour.

“Everything has changed, you need to find other ways to be exposed than you used to,” says Derella. “Remember, brands will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to launch a product; a label will spend maybe a million to promote an album. If you partner with a brand, maybe they won’t use the song on your album, but you’ll get those millions of impressions for your band.”

But that is also where a strong partnership can pay off. Now that Yaz is the number-one-selling birth control pill in the U.S., Bayer is moving into the third phase of its campaign with the Veronicas, where it will use one of the band’s own songs, “Change,” in an upcoming commercial. “We continue to add elements to the campaign every year, which creates consistency and relevancy for the audience,” says Yaffa. “It’s a great progression—the partnership is building in tandem on both sides.”

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