The proposed merger of Bertelsmann's and Sony's music businesses was launched against a hostile background of previous failed mergers and a perception that the industry was ripping off consumers. The campaign needed to address key issues to generate debate and understanding of the changed dynamics within the music industry.
In a merger of this type, it is important to create a positive climate for regulators to view the proposals and assess consumer impact. Finsbury and FIPRA focused on two key messages: the need for the industry to respond to a changed competitive environment and the benefits that the accrued savings would deliver to consumers.
The media coverage demonstrated the first key message had been delivered.
The campaign was not as successful in promoting the resulting consumer benefits, but managed to convey that it was at least not bad for consumers.
Against the real test - the merger being approved - the Finsbury campaign demonstrates the benefits of a multi-faceted PR approach. However, it is clear the combined entity of Sony BMG still has work to do in highlighting the tangible benefits of the merger for consumers in terms of choice and value.