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So We’re Spying on You…. But is it Really All THAT Creepy? – Spotify’s ‘Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird’ Campaign

October 6, 2017

Guest Article By: Michael Swanton

 

By now just about everyone under 90 is aware that the platforms and social media that they use are tracking as well as recording their data and selling it to devious marketers. That’s why that ad for a Cuban vacation won’t stop following you.

But is it really as creepy as it seems? One of my all time favourite campaigns was Spotify’s “Thanks 2016.. It’s been weird”. It totally breaks the stigma and provides a clear example of what marketing ought to be. The concept is simple yet genius, Spotify’s CMO Seth Farbman put it best when he commented on it saying “Utilizing data from listeners led to the idea of reflecting the culture via listener behaviour”.

So Spotify went global putting up massive billboards and trolling local audiences about their listening behaviour, some classics include: “Dear person who played “sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s day, What did you do?” Or better yet; “Dear person who made a playlist called “one night stand with Jeb Bush like he’s a bond girl in a European casino… We have so many questions.”

Spotify also managed to make witty yet insightful comments on popular culture during some of the of the most tumultuous and polarizing times this generation have seen. Comments like “Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s the end of the world as we know it” after the brexit vote, Hang in there.”

It’s almost as if the brand is engaging in a literal one on one conversation with you, and they’re pretty damn funny. They took the spirit of the moment and literally said what everyone was thinking… on a 42 foot billboard. This unique style gives the impression that Spotify knows us but stays within the bounds we are comfortable with, never mentioning any names, only commenting on funny and universally relevant insights. The way marketers typically use big data to follow you around the internet with pop up ads, or attempt to sneak in your social media feed has become transparent and tacky. But Spotify’s up front and in your face comments make way better use of this information, by relating to its users in an individual fashion and commenting on their quirks. It isn’t so creepy if they’re just trying to get to get to know you and crack a few jokes.

Spotify nailed this one, the fact that they “showed their hand” while playfully teasing their audience about their most private moments took serious marketing tact and poise. The copy was written in a tone that reminds you of funny twitter memes, or the way that a close friend might bust your chops. And this is what makes the campaign so genius, and a perfect example of proper marketing. Using listener data to mirror the culture to itself and communicating with the audience the way they communicate with themselves literally makes Spotify seem like they’re “part of the squad”, it makes the stigma around big data seem overblown and clarifies that that’s just how they know us. Not only that but it’s also how they can relate to us.

The campaign humanized Spotify as a brand, and got us to laugh at ourselves. It’s a risk to tease your audience, admit you know them a little too well or make political comments but that’s exactly what you would expect from a friend who knows you. And that’s why this is an exemplary example of marketing, they proved they know us implied that they accept us and made us feel as if they were one of us. What if the brands you use continue to try to become your “friend”, would you mind if Nike starts trolling on your Instagram photos if you rock Adidas?

 

Michael is a University of Toronto Digital Enterprise Management student, Freelance E-commerce solutions specialist, web designer and digital marketer. When he isn’t plotting on his next business moves or trying to sell you something, he’s at the gym at ungodly hours or making great memories with great friends. Check him out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat @mswanton1

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (September 16 – September 22)

September 22, 2017

In the world of advertising and marketing, a lot can happen in a week-not to worry, we have you covered. Check out some of the biggest trends, ads, and stories that have been happened this week in our recap below!

Written by: Dak, Malick, Kathleen, and Nick

 

Netflix Premieres a Spot for the Emmy’s

D: At this point, I would be shocked if Netflix wasn’t in your top 5 list of favourite brands. And although that would primarily speak to millennials, I believe their reach is much further. To pair perfectly with The Emmy’s earlier this week, the entertainment company released an ad that featured scenes from their most popular shows being interrupted by comedians such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle as a way to show the comedy aspect that Netflix brings. An example is a scene where Frank Underwood, a character from House of Cards is in a limousine staring blankly outside of the window. He’s joined by Jerry Seinfeld who appears to be testing a stand up gig. The end super for the ad? “Netflix is a joke”. I think it goes without saying that they have been able to do an amazing job connecting with the culture in terms of the content they provide as well as the way it’s promoted. Check out the hilarious video below.

Coca-Cola Goes Virtual

K: Coca-Cola just signed an endorsement deal with a virtual athlete?? It’s true! Alex Hunter is the superstar in FIFA 18. In case you are not very familiar with FIFA like myself, Alex Hunter is not a real person. He is just a player in FIFA who started to make a name for himself in the game last year. Hunter was the lead character in a new feature of the EA Sports game story mode called “The Journey”. It allows fans to leave the pitch and follow a player’s personal life. Last year Alex Hunter signed his first endorsement deal with Adidas, this year fans will see his new endorsement deal with Coca-Cola. He will be the brand ambassador for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in a remake of the classic “Mean Joe Green” from 1979. What do you think about this advertising being done on video games? Check out the videos below.

IKEA App

M: I told you…AR is changing the consumer technology game right now. Through their App (and the new Apple iOS 11 update) IKEA is using AR technology to allow people to place virtual furniture in their homes. This basically allows people to see how different pieces would look/fit into the design of their house without actually purchasing. While this is still pretty brand new and there are a few kinks in it, I still think it’s fascinating. Allowing people to see what kind of furniture can match their home pre-purchase truly allows for customization and personalization of one’s home. I can’t wait to see how this kind of technology develops even further. Check out how it works below:

Budweiser and Lift Are Offering You a Free Ride

These days we’re so inundated with advertising that campaigns need to go above and beyond to have any impact. Some brands offer direct benefits to their consumers. Others partner with a different brand, combining their resources. Bud and Lyft are doing both.

The two brands have paired up for their Give a Damn campaign, encouraging consumers to plan ahead for nights out on the town. But they’re doing more than just preaching “don’t drink and drive”. They’re offering to pay for your ride. 10,000 free rides to be exact. Every. Single. Weekend. From now until the end of the year. (Though unfortunately for local readers, Lyft is only available in the US.). This is a brilliant campaign. It requires regular interaction on the part of the consumer, drives social media following and engagement, increases the number of Lyft subscribers, and is a public display of corporate responsibility on behalf of Budweiser.

 

 

That’s our weekly recap to keep you up to date on the best ads, trends, and more that we could find over the week. You can check out our last weekly recap here where we gave our thoughts on the latest Pepsi ad. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (August 12 – August 18)

August 18, 2017

It’s been a crazy week in the world of advertising and marketing. Not to worry, we got you covered. Check out our weekly recap that highlights some of the best, worst, and hottest in what’s going down in the industry for the week!

Written by Malick and Dakarai.

 

Facebook introduces ‘Watch’

D: Facebook – The social network giant that pretty much has a hand in everything. From taking on Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and now you can add YouTube to the list. Facebook is slowly rolling out ‘Watch’, which will be an episodic video service. It will be accessible through a video tab on Facebook’s desktop and mobile app which features all sorts of content. The social network has enlisted the help of content creators to create shows such as “Nas Daily” on the Watch platform. Nas Daily features 1 minute clips from around the world each day. On top of this, Facebook is able to tap into the 2 billion user base they currently have and offer something that YouTube can’t; the ability to truly connect with friends. This means that you can easily see what you’re friends are watching, laughing at, and interacting with overall. Once it officially launches, Facebook Watch could be a serious threat to other video platforms simply due to the fact it will start with access to a 2 billion user base. Check out the official intro video for Watch here.

 

Obama Tweets

M: Can we just have Obama back? In the last week, there has been some crazy action in the U.S. I’m not going to get into the details of it, but Barack Obama really hit a home run of a tweet. As Adweek described, the tweet underscores the power of timely, positive social media engagement and interaction. Obama released a series of three anti-hate tweets quoting the late Nelson Mandela in obvious contradiction to the current President’s support of hate groups in the U. S. One of the tweets even became the most liked in Twitter history-racking up 3.3 million likes.

Cheetos opens a restaurant in New York

D: The popular chip brand is giving their loyal and cult-like consumers exactly what they want: a pop-up restaurant. Customers were able to reserve a table in advance to the New York restaurant which opened from August 15th-17th. The menu is specially crafted and features items such as: Cheetos Meatballs, Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake, Cheetos Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup, and lots more. You can check out the full menu here. This is a great example of providing an unconventional interactive experience for consumers. Who could possibly think of taking a chip brand and creating a temporary restaurant out of it? Cheetos hit the nail on the head with this one.

 

That’s our weekly recap to keep you up to date on the best ads, trends, and more that we could find over the week. You can check out our last weekly recap here where we gave our thoughts on the latest Pepsi ad. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dakarai Turner

4:44 by Jay Z – Does Tidal’s Exclusive Content Work?

July 11, 2017

Maybe you’ve heard of a relatively unknown artist named Jay Z dropping his 13th studio album ‘4:44’ a couple of weeks ago. If you have, chances are a good portion of you weren’t able to listen to it. And why’s that? Because ‘4:44’ was made as a Tidal exclusive, meaning it was only available to their subscribers. So for the majority of us that don’t stream music, or use other platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, we had to wait a full week later until it was available to the rest of the public (except Jay Z doesn’t like Spotify so they’ll never get it). Picture it like watching a wild party happening every day knowing you won’t be able to join it for a full week. The question is: is that desire enough for you to pay for entry? Do you need to listen to something so bad immediately that you’re willing to pay for a monthly Tidal membership, or can you simply wait the full week?

That would be easy to answer if the album wasn’t trending on Twitter with a plethora of different lyrics being tweeted out and solved as if they were written in code. This right here creates FOMO. Tidal hopes that creating FOMO is enough to bring you over to their side.

SO does this work? It’s too early to tell as 4:44 was just recently released, but we can take it back to last year when Kanye West released ‘The Life of Pablo’, a Tidal exclusive. It was reported that Tidal subscribers jumped from 1 Million to 2.5 Million after its release. Keep in mind that this was during a time when a 3 month free trial was being made available, but it would still be a major success if they could retain half of those new members.

Tidal has positioned themselves as that too cool for school club that attracts new users through exclusive content. This is through concerts, video, new music, playlists, etc. With that being said, they still only have 3 million users while Apple Music and Spotify carry over 20 million users respectively. So why isn’t this working for them? This exclusive strategy works just about everywhere else from clothing, tech, automotive, and more.

The issue starts from the product and the way its presented. Tidal has rubbed people the wrong way from the start with their botched product launch. Back in 2015 the service was presented as the second coming of christ. A group of top tier and very wealthy musicians where speaking about how the other streaming services do not pay the artists enough and that Tidal is the solution with their pricing model that was twice that of their competitors.

This right here is a brand and audience disconnect.

I truly believe that this is where Tidal went wrong. At first you could say that Spotify had too large of a grasp on the music streaming market. However, Apple Music launched after Tidal and they have done exceptionally well, so there goes that argument. Exclusive content drives sales when people like the brand and the product. Apple Music offers tons of exclusive albums such as Drake’s ‘More Life’ which broke a streaming record with 300 million worldwide streams in its first week. The service also carries exclusive radio shows with Beats 1.

Will 4:44 bump up Tidal’s subscribers? Sure, but as a service they need to come up with a way to increase subscribers aside from waiting on one of their big name artists to release an exclusive album. If not, they’ll be chasing the likes of Apple, Spotify, and Google forever. What do you guys think? Are you motivated to sign up for a service just to be one of the first ones to use on of their products?

 

Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Guest

The Future of Netflix: Will it cost more?

December 19, 2015

For over half a decade now, the online video-streaming service, Netflix, has made a killing over its “Unlimited Movies for only $7.99 a month” sales hook. Ever since, it has taken over as the primary source to watch movies and TV shows whereas before 2011, Blockbuster still existed and people had to drive (oh, the humanity) to pick out whatever DVDs were on the store’s shelves.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Well, here’s something that most of you Netflix fanatics don’t know.

There isn’t just Netflix for $7.99/month. In fact, there are now plan options where you can choose to spend more to get more out of your Netflix service (see snapshot below). So now, if you wanted high-definition (or “Ultra HD” – couldn’t tell you the difference) for all the movies and shows you watch, or use Netflix on multiple screens at the same time, you have to pay extra to do so – whereas before, you could get everything that the Netflix service has to offer at one monthly price.

Current monthly plans for Netflix – includes Basic, Standard, and Premium options.

 

You might think this is just a scam. But…it’s also marketing genius.

Netflix knows how much the demand for their product has rapidly increased since 2011. Almost every Canadian consumer now has a Netflix account, and the online video-streaming service has become so popular in mainstream society, that almost everybody is jokingly (or sometimes, not jokingly – wink, wink) using the phrase, “Netflix and chill?” As so, Netflix is taking advantage of a great business opportunity by slowing creating mark-ups in order to continue using their service – which is starting to happen with these new Basic, Standard, and Premium monthly plan options. They know that Canadians are hooked on Netflix, and slowly but surely, everybody is going to be willing to pay more, and more, and more.

Before you know it, maybe around 2017, the lowest price to use Netflix is going to be what the Standard or Premium price-tag is to use Netflix today – and it might not even come with “Ultra HD” (gasp!). As an example, let’s say the Standard and Premium Netflix service in 2017 will cost you $13.99/month for Standard and $15.99/month for Premium. Don’t be surprised if that happens! If Netflix still sees a steady increase in monthly subscribers over the next couple of years, especially if many subscribe to Standard or Premium, then they will continue to see that “For-only-an-extra-$2-a-month” promotion as a successful marketing tool for gaining profit potential.

But the real question is: “Will Netflix actually continue to add these $2 markups a month to get more service (or even just to get the same service you have now)?” Only time will tell, but it’s safe to predict so with Netflix’s rapidly-increasing demand and overall success, thus far.

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn