Ad of the Day: Pandora Gives Real People the Brutal Task of Describing the Power of Music

Twofifteenmccann tackles an impossible mission

Advertisers have been trying forever in commercials to communicate the power of music, and it's almost an impossible task.

Yes, ads can use particular songs as examples of music's transcendence (the iPod silhouettes series is probably the most notable example). But that hardly gets at the universality of music's power. Beyond that, commercials have just words and pictures, but visual and textual metaphors often fail at describing something that is neither. 

Enter Pandora's new 60-second spot from twofifteenmccann. For its latest stab at capturing people's deep, meaningful and personal connection to music, the streaming service gave up on licensed music entirely—the spot has none—and instead recruited "real people" to simply describe in their own words what particular songs mean to them. 

It's Pandora's first campaign without using music or musicians. Check out the spot here:

The characters are charming and quirky and nicely diverse. And their emotion is evident and seems genuine—particularly the crying guy, whom we meet, somewhat jarringly, after he's already weeping. And if their words are a poor approximation of the feeling they're trying to describe, that's just par for the course in this category. 

In fact, the spot (inadvertently?) admits as much in its final scene, when an off-camera interviewer asks one of the music fans, as she's taking out her headphones, "Tell me how this song makes you feel." When it comes right down to it, she can't. And when she doesn't even try—the honesty of that—is when the spot finally hits its stride. 

The tagline remains, "The next song matters."

The campaign includes a :30 and upcoming :15s and spans national broadcast, online, DR, music festival activations, email marketing and custom digital/social across media partnerships including Thought Catalog, Cracked, Cluep, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Twitter and Whisper.


Client: Pandora

Agency: twofifteenmccann

Chief Creative Officer: Scott Duchon

Executive Creative Director: Adam Reeves

Creative Director: Ezra Paulekas

Art Director: Sean Flores, Nicole Birch

Copywriter: Ben Wolan, Matt Bunnell, Bri Hand

Director of Integrated Production: Alex Spahr   

Sr Producer: Kacey Hart

Sr Digital Producer: Eryn Lovich

Digital Producer: Amanda Punzalan

Digital Video Assistant Producer: Brandon Chen

Interactive Art Director: Ken Macy

Digital Video Editor: Carson Bell, Ivan Shumaker

Account: Charlie Byron, Anne Cathcart

Strategy: Gabrielle Tenaglia, Janene Lin, Paige Robertson

Production Company: Smuggler

Director: Henry-Alex Rubin

Director of Photography: Ken Seng

Line Producer: Leah Fleischmann-Allina

Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero

Editorial: Stitch

Editor: Dan Swietlik

Assistant Editor: Weston Cadwell

Producer: Ben Bragg

Executive Producer:  Mila Davis

Colorist: Tim Stipan

Company: Efilm

Mixing: Lime Studios

Original Music: Cliff Martinez

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