Spotify Wrapped works as a marketing concept because we are all our favourite subjects. In a slide presentation of vivid colours and basic shapes, it seems to say, “Hey, you. We listened to you this year even if no one else did.”
This personalised element of Wrapped allows it to succeed not only in the app but also seamlessly transfer to OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising – when we catch sight of the ads in the wild, they immediately connect us to our own musical recaps and our beloved artists, arresting our attention.
The annual Spotify Wrapped billboard campaign has earned a reputation for its playful and witty ads, such as the following from a few years back:
“Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day: What did you do?”
This year, Spotify continues its breezy OOH for Wrapped, building it around childhood games such as word searches, mazes and fill-in-the-blanks.
Alex Bodman, global ECD at Spotify, said one of the main reasons the company embraces outdoor ads is that when a billboard features a particular artist, fans can’t resist sharing it on social media. This organically and exponentially expands the campaign’s impact.
At this point, Spotify OOH also seems to have become a winter tradition. “People seem to enjoy seeing us out in the world at this time of year,” Bodman said. “We show up in a colourful and hopefully witty and insightful way.”
As a marketing device that deepens a customer’s engagement with the platform, Wrapped is powerful, with its value exchange perhaps its most impressive aspect: the more you use the product, the more you look forward to the year-end roundup.
It’s surely something that other brands can learn from (Peloton has done something similar – the more you ride, the more detailed your annual analysis). But Spotify possesses a definite advantage in that Wrapped revolves around music, which carries with it a built-in element of nostalgia. The recap brings us back to where we were physically and emotionally at certain points in the previous year, letting us reexperience those places and feelings.
Plus, when a song appears on our Wrapped that we’d forgotten about, we play it.
And thus, the cycle begins again…
Spotify is one of the rare major brands to exploit the potential of outdoor advertising in such a natural way, going from our phones to billboards with ease.
The overall campaign succeeds by swearing by that old advertising adage that flattering the customer will get you everywhere. It focuses on the thing each of us finds most fascinating: ourselves.