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Sting to flog Compaq

Sting sings along to corporate sponsorship tune
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

In an unlikely duet, pop singer Sting and Compaq Computer are singing the same song.

Houston-based Compaq is expected to announce on Monday an exclusive agreement with Sting that will allow the computer maker to roll out an advertising and branding campaign using his new single, "Brand New Day," just when Sting is releasing his album of the same name to coincide with a worldwide tour this autumn.

It's an unusually close alliance of advertiser and artist, although major corporations for several years have sponsored music groups on tours. Many advertisers have mined music catalogues and used classic songs to sell computers, cars and more. For the most part those songs already had made their way onto the charts, and off, before being used to tug on consumers' purse strings. Microsoft launched its Windows 95 campaign with the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up".

Sting and his sponsor Compaq are taking it to another octave. Sting's single and album will be released at the same time Compaq will launch its own advertising and branding campaign -- featuring Sting's single. And Sting's Web site is linked directly to Compaq with the address sting.compaq.com. Sting's CD cover also features Compaq. And Sting may end up appearing in Compaq television commercials. The sponsorship goes through December 2000 and includes Sting's 40 tour appearances in North America and 40 more around the world. Additionally Compaq plans "consumer and trade advertising showcasing how Compaq technology affects Sting's professional and personal life."

Doug Wheeler, Compaq's vice president of corporate marketing, said the company, with the recent naming of its new chief executive Michael Capellas , has been looking for new ways to deliver Compaq's message. He said Sting "maps directly to our brand values as a company. He's gutsy. He's confident. He has been in the market for a long time".

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