Streaming Audio App TuneIn Shows It’s More Than a Music Service in First Ad Campaign

Work sets it apart from Spotify, Apple Music

Audio streaming service TuneIn currently has more than 60 million active monthly users across the world, but you won't often hear it mentioned alongside such heavyweights as Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM.

The privately-held startup hopes to change that with a campaign led by its new creative agency of record McKinney, which launches this week.

"[TuneIn] started as an aggregator of radio stations," VP of marketing Scott Parker told Adweek. "We evolved and pivoted considerably, with the biggest move being last year's launch of the premium subscription business."

Parker previously served as VP of sports and brand marketing at ESPN, and he said that TuneIn differs from companies like Spotify because the streaming service doesn't focus on just music. It caters to passionate sports fans and talk radio listeners with an impressive lineup of news and sports content. "In October we signed a deal with the NFL; in January we launched NHL news; in March we announced our partnership with the NBA," he said. "We were at a point where we had incredible content … Marketing hadn't been a major focus for the company, but we really wanted to get the word out."

TuneIn then chose McKinney to help raise brand awareness without a creative review. Parker told Adweek, "I had a tremendous experience working with them in my previous role at ESPN when they helped launch the SEC Network, and I was confident they would help us to position and bring life to all that TuneIn has to offer."

McKinney's work will launch as part of a phased campaign which began with a teaser event at last month's South by Southwest Festival and includes outdoor, radio and digital/social media promotions focused on the New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston markets.

The Cheil Worldwide agency is handling all aspects of the work, which will eventually include video content.

TuneIn will remain a free service for millions of users as it attempts to increase its subscriber base much like Spotify before it. Regarding its key messages on that front, Parker said, "We're all about championing audio, and the work McKinney has developed includes a great call to action: Listen like you mean it. It puts the user at the center of the experience and captures what is uniquely special to TuneIn."