Elton John and the Alliance for Lifetime Income Continue Their “Yellow Brick Road to Financial Freedom” Partnership

I have been watching with interest one of the most intriguing developments in music and sponsorships for the last several years. In 2021 the Alliance for Lifetime Income first engaged with the Rolling Stones on the band’s American tour, to great success. That led to an even more successful collaboration a year later for the US portion of Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. I had a chance to again speak with Jean Statler and Cyrus Bamji (the Alliance’s CEO and CCO, respectively) about the recent announcement that Elton John had extended his relationship with the Alliance. We were able to go under the hood about the intriguing trajectory of the Alliance’s forays into sponsorship.

I asked Jean how the sponsorship with Elton continued after his tour left North America. She took me back further and described how the Rolling Stones’ manager was talking to Elton John’s production company Rocket Entertainment. The Stones’ camp said the relationship was terrific and the more Elton’s team from Rocket thought about it, the more they became intrigued. Elton’s fanbase is an even better fit for the Alliance’s mission, which is neatly encapsulated in its title. A deal for Elton’s US tour was struck and the Alliance activated at 20 of the 50 US shows, setting up a theme around the ‘Yellow Brick Road to Security.’

Rather than selling a product, this message was something that Elton believed was necessary for all his fans, which skew more female and LBGTQ. Elton fully embraced that this initiative (‘don’t go broke in retirement’) helped his fans. Although I saw plenty of kids at Elton’s final show in San Diego, it is clear the majority of folks had plenty of grey hair (or very little hair).

Jean and Cyrus were effusive at how Elton’s team, led by his husband David Furnish (a former advertising executive), were all in about the relationship.

More Americans will turn 65 in 2024 than at any point in history. However, the effects of Peak 65 are accelerated by the unexpected spike in the number of Americans who retired prematurely during the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to layoffs or by choice.

Elton discusses his bucket list

Jean revealed that whereas “Mick would not say retirement, Elton was OK with mentioning retirement, he loved the idea of a bucket list. It is a perfect alignment.”

In the video that was released today, Elton is seen fully incorporating the idea of his bucket list.

“My fans and I have traveled this yellow brick road together for decades, and I want to do what I can to make sure that what lies beyond it in their retirement is as fulfilling as possible,” said John in a video message released today by the Alliance.

But let’s go back to Elton’s tour. Fans would come hours early with time to spare, play the games set up as part of the Alliance’s activation, do the trivia contests and become surprisingly engaged. Rocket loved the pre-show, and how it set up the concert still to come that evening.

Jean also elucidated that the Alliance’s ROI was 30% better than with the Stones. She pointed to metrics related to massive increases in subscribers, online followers, traffic and engagement beyond the Elton page on the Alliance’s site. “We see less than a 1% unsubscribe rate, and we see ongoing interaction.”

She also pointed to the brief Super Bowl ad Elton did for Doritos, and by her calculation the Alliance spent 47% less per second.

As Elton’s US tour progressed, Rocket also saw the benefit of the experiential marketing.

In a fascinating insight, Jean pointed out that Elton’s team initiated the outreach about extending the relationship, not the Alliance.

As to the relationship going forward, the Alliance gets three distinct benefits from the relationship: access to Elton’s social media, Elton’s fan club and Elton’s face.

Jean and Cyrus were ebullient about how sweet David and Elton were during the process and the production for the video, “a dream to work with.”

Elton a few years after the release of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (photo by Brad Auerbach)

With the 50th anniversary of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” coming up this summer, the attention of the relationship with Elton will undoubtedly grow. Although his tour only has European dates remaining, Jean is understandably confident that the sponsorship relationship will continue to reap benefits.

In closing, Jean pointed out a subtle additional benefit to the message being driven home by the sponsorship: the financial advisor needs to deliver what this cohort needs – a plan for financial security.

Elton is not letting the sun go down on him, that is for certain.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.