Publicis Envisions ‘Playlists for Everything’

LOS ANGELES A trio of ads touting RealNetwork’s music-subscription service appears in September issues of Rolling Stone, according to the effort’s creator, Publicis Group’s Publicis Seattle.

On newsstands this week, the magazine features three consecutive right-hand pages promoting the online music-download service, the agency said. Each page captures one moment in the life of a regular guy, in his late 20s. Accompanying text documents that one moment’s soundtrack, a diverse-genre mix of activity-specific songs, all available via

“People get what music subscription is, people are already making music playlists,” said Publicis group creative director, art director Rob Hollenbeck. Rather than dwell on explanations, he explained, Publicis decided to “dive into the heart of [Rhapsody]: What if you had a playlist for everything? A list for everything in your life?”

On the first page of the series, for example, the guy is pictured behind the wheel of a car, blankly staring at the road ahead. Text, headlined, “My left turn playlist,” lists songs including “Walk Idiot Walk” by the Hives,” “Cars Trucks Buses” by Phish and “Road Block” by Janis Joplin.

On the next page, “My high-carb playlist,” the guy is shown about to bite down on a French fry. That song roster includes “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops, “Eat It” by Weird Al and “Fat Daddy” by Dinah Washington.

On the final page, the same guy is lying awake in bed, his head resting on the shoulder of a bare-backed sleeping woman. That lineup, “My sleep with the neighbor playlist,” features Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way,” Missy Elliott’s “One-Minute Man” and Justin Timberlake’s “Never Again.”

The logo is also included on each page.

A second three-page series—this one featuring a female playlist-maker—is scheduled to appear in Rolling Stone next month, according to the agency.

In addition to Hollenbeck, the Publicis team behind both print series includes executive creative director, copywriter Bob Moore and media planner Andy Grayson.

Rhapsody spent $100,000 on advertising in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the majority of which was directed toward trade. From January to June of this year, the Seattle-based company’s budget soared to $4.1 million.

Unlike its industry-focused ads—mostly straightforward efforts highlighting the service’s features and accolades—Rhapsody’s new, consumer-targeted executions are designed to make an emotional connection with potential users.

“Rhapsody prides [itself] in its music expertise, its passion for music,” Hollenbeck said. “You know that person who turns you on to music at different stages of your life? Rhapsody is like that. But we didn’t want to tell you. We wanted to show you.”