Yesterday, Spotify rolled out its largest marketing campaign to date, highlighting the brand’s free, ad-supported service. The campaign includes a series of wonderful fake movie trailers with some inspiring music choices and another round of brilliant, witty out-of-home marketing, all dreamt up by the in-house creative team at Spotify.
Adweek caught up with Spotify global ecd Alex Bodman to discuss the latest work, the inspiration for the “Love What You Love” campaign and why out-of-home advertising continues to be an important part of the brand’s marketing mix.
Adweek: Tell me a bit about why Spotify created this major marketing campaign around its free streaming service.
Bodman: About three or four weeks ago, we had a press event to announce the update of the free tier and all of the enhancements and improvements. That’s been many months and years in the making to bring this to our users and consumers, so it was a priority this year that we had a large marketing push in order to raise awareness for the new offering. Even just to raise awareness that Spotify can be free. I think some people still imagine that we have our $9.99 premium offering and that free is a trial, it’s not a product, and an excellent product, that you can enjoy forever.
This is a platform that has been created to create a great experience for free. People can upgrade, but that’s not the expectation. What we realized was to make this truly credible and to make people understand what the value proposition is, [letting] people know what the tradeoff is—listening to the occasional ad—they’ll understand why it’s free. So we really leaned into that.
Having identified that, we needed to know where to start. We wanted to talk to the truth of the music and the power of the platform. Our starting point, funnily enough, was the product itself. You don’t just want to talk to features and functionality, but one of the additions to the free product was this heart button that is core to the entire user experience. Before, we used to just ask people to save a song and put it on a playlist. Now, you don’t even need to do that. You just need to [press] that heart button, and then we know that you love that song, and that helps us to give you better songs and experiences on the platform.
That’s the first really emotional function we’ve had, and music really is so emotional and so personal. We started from there and we thought, what is the experience of loving music? How can we—in a way that is true to our brand and our tone and in a way that will resonate with our customers—explore people’s relationship to music and the way that they love it? The work is different facets of that.
Let’s talk a bit more about those two trailers. Where did the idea come from?
[In] the action trailer, really what we were diving into there was the truth of the guilty pleasure. Sometimes, people might not expect you to love a certain song. … No matter how tough you look, maybe Wrecking Ball breaks you down every single time and all of your defenses fall away. For most of us, at different times in our life, that has been a truth. We wanted to find a ridiculous way to bring that insight to life, and that’s what led to that particular trailer.
[W]e also had that insight of that addictive song that—even though you feel like it’s driving you crazy—every time you hear it, you’re happy to hear it. You can’t quite resist playing it again and again. For many of us in the office recently, that was Havana. It’s always on the radio, but it’s always welcome when we hear it. We thought that would be the perfect song to dramatize the horror genre.
What about the out-of-home ads? How did dating apps inspire this round of outdoor work?
We started with the idea of finding the songs that you will love. [T]he way we help people discover songs or rediscover a song, people tell us that it’s really effective and that they’re constantly discovering new artists they love or they are getting their new jam. Then [we thought]: Imagine if a dating app could be as effective as we are at finding you songs. … We thought we would have fun with that. That’s what the Match Instantly songs are about. The beauty, that rush you feel when you find that perfect song.
The outdoor ads lean into a more ridiculous thought: No matter how bizarre, or fussy, or how strange or kinky, we can find the right match for you.