SPOTLIGHT ON: Spotify's 'Weird' 2016

With 2017 coming to the pointy end, I realised that I didn't reflect on some of my favourite campaigns of 2016. And the winner, hands down, has to go to Spotify's 2016 wrap up campaign "Thanks 2016, It's Been Weird".

Let's face it, 2016 was a very...interesting... year. From the death of David Bowie, to Brexit, to a tangerine tyrant being elected to become president of the United States, it was safe to say that a lot of people would prefer that 2016 should be just be wiped from the memory of every human being and pretend the whole thing didn't happen. But of course, 2016 was not a catastrophe to everyone; to the advertising creatives of Spotify, it presented an opportunity.

Now I am lover of data - I find it really interesting and I am fascinated by human behaviour (maybe I should have been a strategist!) but I know to many people, data can be dry and dull. Luckily, Spotify was able to tap capitalise on their vast user data to discover some of the most colourful user insights and execute them in a global copy-driven campaign that thrived on pop culture and humour. Localised to specific markets and audiences, they highlighted user's specific musical quirks and matched them with key moments of 2016.  For example, a U.K. poster reads: "Dear 3,749 people who streamed 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It' the day of the Brexit Vote. Hang in There." And a New York poster reads: "Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton soundtrack 5376 times this year. Can you get us tickets?"

Spotify CMO Seth Farbman said the campaign transpired after discovering data from listeners in different geographical areas provided some interesting insights. "That led to the idea of reflecting culture via listener behavior."

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I love the quirkiness, the tone of voice and the simplicity of this campaign. You immediately get a sense of the Spotify brand and who they are, it demonstrates the capability and possibilities of the service and product you can expect with Spotify but more importantly, it inspires the audience and Spotify users to get creative with their own listening behaviour which ultimately, engages their audience in the way that the brand wants them to.

I have enjoyed seeing how this campaign has been extended into 2017, predominantly in the Australian market. Utilising the "user listening behaviour" platform, it has extended it's execution to target one of their most valuable services and products, which is thousands of categorised playlists, as well as personalised playlists and mixes based on your music preferences (the latter only being available to those on a premium subscription).

In this campaign extension, they decided to celebrate their users once again and putting them, and their peculiarities, at the centre, by showcasing some of the most goofy and quirky playlists names they have created. This not only demonstrates how the users can make the service their own but, once again, inspires the audience to be more creative with their own listening habits.

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Overall, a brilliant idea to creative utilise some of the best user data and leverage it into a humourous, relatable and effective campaign that will inspire their users to interact with their brand more personally and creatively. I cannot wait to see what Spotify does next.

Ash Myburgh