Playlists – Marketing Tools in the Era of Streaming

by in Big Ideas 

With the rise of streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the music industry has been taken over by playlists. No longer are listeners confined to a single or album, there are playlists for every mood, situation and day of the week. The way consumers interact with music via these streaming services has made playlists incredibly important. Artists and record labels want to get their songs in them. They are curated not only by individuals but by Spotify’s data analytics. Their algorithms determine which songs, artists and playlists are working, making the curating of lists into a science. This has turned playlists into the perfect marketing tools for more than just musicians and record labels. Due to their interactive and customizable nature, playlists reach listeners and engage with them; an engagement that can be targeted and measured. Brands haven’t failed to noticed this and thus have been making the most of streaming services for the last couple of years. They have started inserting themselves organically in the lives of listeners by sponsoring and curating playlists. Of course, the traditional ads will come on promoting their products, but with their lists they can now reach even the listeners who pay for music with no ads. Companies have moved beyond ads and sponsoring ad free listening time, they are now curating their own lists and targeting specific demographics with them.

Take a look at some successful uses of playlists as promotional activations:


Disney and Spotify have partnered several times to promote movies. Besides the traditional ads and video pop-ups in the platform, they have created exiting activations for a few films that have included carefully curated playlists and personalized listening experiences.

For Beauty and the Beast Disney created a digital campaign where, using ads, they directed Spotify users to a digital Beast’s Castle they could explore. Every room in this castle had a Spotify playlist filled with Disney songs and users were encouraged to explore and find their favorite. The website is still live and once you log in with your Spotify profile it’ll use it’s algorithms to direct you to the room that matched your music taste.

Want to know which would be your room?

After their Beauty and the Beast collaboration Disney and Spotify collaborated once again to create an interactive experience that allowed users in over 16 countries to generate playlists inspired by both their personal music habits and the soundtrack to the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2. This was called the “Throw back your playlist” and it was an engaging way to promote the movie in a personalized interactive way by making the most out of Spotify’s audio recognition algorithms.

The Guardians of the Galaxy integration is a unique experience which will transport Spotify users back to the music of the 70s, taking the movie for inspiration.”

More Information about their playlist here.


NETFLIX – Stranger Things

Stranger Things was the perfect show for Netflix to promote through Spotify. Given its status as a cultural phenomenon, its love for the 80’s and its plethora of pop culture references it’s natural to think of music as promotional tool. The show already has a great soundtrack and using it and the character’s personalities to curate playlists is a perfect activation for the brand. Netflix and Spotify took this integration one step farther, taking a cue from the popular “Which character are you?” quizzes they used user’s listening habits and the platforms algorithms to match them with a character’s playlist, all filled with great 80’s hits.

Curious about which character you match, give it a go:


HULU  – Handmaids Tale

Hulu did something similar for their show The Handmaid’s Tale, even though it was a less interactive activation than the other examples they used playlists to promote the show. First Hulu curated a playlist for the show that took songs from their soundtrack and songs that matched the feel and spirit of the show. Many revolving around the theme of freedom. They also had the actors curate their own playlists which matched their character’s journey.

 More information about the Handmaid’s Tale song choices here.


What are your favorite movie or show playlists?


Images courtesy of: Vulture, Spotify, and The Drum.

Bitcoin’s Rise

by in Big Ideas, Technology 

Technology has helped us reach new frontiers. E-commerce has exponentially grown because of the advancement of technology. Is digital currency next in line for a huge growth? Bitcoin is a very popular topic of discussion among tech and economic peers. What makes Bitcoin a modern-day mystery and a ground-breaking innovation is that no one knows who actually created it, not many understand the process of how it works, and what its future will be.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is a digital form of assets working as a medium of exchange. Cryptocurrency is accepted as a form of currency. There are few major companies like Overstock and eBay that accept Bitcoin as payment, because of its unknown not many major companies are currently accepting it as payment. Bitcoin isn’t the only type of cryptocurrency. There are several other cryptocurrencies which are Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero.

How does it work?

What makes Bitcoin so interesting is how it works. Imagine having a dollar in your pocket. Do you know where that dollar has been or where it came from? With Bitcoin, all of that information is available and closely monitored. Bitcoins exist on what is called a block chain. The block chain is a “file” or ledger of all the transactions where the Bitcoin has been. Imagine knowing where your dollar has been all the way from the printing press and being able to verify authentication. It’s a little more complex, Bitcoin essentially eliminates the middleman-which are banks-making it one of the reasons it is so controversial.

How did it start?

No one really knows who invented Bitcoin! Somebody using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto is credited with creating/mining the first Bitcoin in 2008. To this day the person has not been identified; some even believe it’s a group. Others have tried to take the credit of creating Bitcoin, but have been debunked. Other than a few clues here and there, not much is known of Satoshi Nakamoto. The algorithm Satoshi created only allows for 21 million bitcoins to be mined by the year 2140. Back in 2012 the price of Bitcoin was $12. As of today, it’s worth nearly $7000 per Bitcoin! The value is anticipated to only increase as time goes on.

Cons of Bitcoin

One of the biggest issues surrounding Bitcoin is that since it’s difficult to explain its origin and use, there’s a lot of mistrust and misinformation. There have been groups that create “savings and trust funds” with bitcoin and end up being Ponzi schemes or fake “wallets”. Wallets are mostly used to store, send and receive Bitcoins.  Another factor is the intimidation of it. The method of sending and receiving isn’t complicated for savvy computer users, but for the average computer users all those numbers and letters attached to the bitcoin seems intimidating. The price of Bitcoin is volatile. Recently is has been an advantage for owners of Bitcoin because of the rise of the price. For more information, we recommend the very interesting Netflix documentary “Banking on Bitcoin.” What do you think of cryptocurrency? Do you think it’s the future of all commerce?


Images Courtesy of: Tech Crunch, NY Post,

Millennials as Decision Makers

by in Big Ideas, Interns 

Did you know that millennials are three times more likely than any other generation to reference social media networks when making purchasing decisions? Well according to a 2014 study by Market Strategist International, most consumers today use Facebook for making decisions regarding purchasing- on the other hand, millennials are 19% more likely to use Instagram and 14% more likely to use Tumblr than any other generation’s influence on what they buy. Whether it’s tweeting, pinning, or double tapping- millennials are a different breed of consumers.

Millennials are a group of people that are experimenters; they like to test new things and push the limit on what is “normal.” I, myself, am a millennial and the idea to talk about something like this came to me when I came across an article that was harping on millennials. “Those millennials need to stop looking down at their phones and look up at the world!” I’m sure we’ve all heard this a few times, whether it be through an article written by an older author or quite literally- when walking down the sidewalk and realizing you aren’t paying attention and almost get hit by a car.

Whether your point of view on us crazy millennials is good or bad, you have to admit that we are evolving the digital world and changing the power of purchasing goods. Word of mouth, crowdsourcing, and influencers. Who has what product, or who’s promoting what brand- is very important for consumers in the millennial age. Whether it be former Bachelorette Jojo Fletcher promoting Diffey eyewear, or Kylie Jenner constantly posting ads for “Fit Tea.” The name behind the product is going to make a huge difference in who’s buying it. There is also a fine line when it comes to too many advertisements being thrown your way. When I’m constantly seeing, pictures promoting Sugar Bear hair gummies on my Instagram feed, it doesn’t make me want to buy them, it really is just annoying.

According to Forbes, millennials make up about one fourth of the entire population. Which ends up coming out to about $200 billion in annual buying power. Now that’s a lot of money at stake and a lot of consumers to market towards. So, is there really a secret when it comes to our decision making? Brand loyalty does exist upon us, and if you present us with an authentic product that catches our attention- we will keep on going back for more. Brands need to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind. Brand loyalty can go out the window the minute something becomes irrelevant to the social media world, and the millennial’s mind. Keep evolving and coming out with new marketing schemes to bring in new customers. With the millennial’s decision making process constantly changing, so should the product.

Quite a few of us working here at FLIRT are millennials, and I think that having a diverse range in age is a valuable asset for the team. Whether it be offering different insights to a client, or being able to teach each other new skillsets. The team is forever growing and learning and that’s that makes FLIRT such a well-oiled machine.

The Future of Reading – Personalized and Interactive Experiences

by in Big Ideas 

For years we’ve been hearing that books are dying. With tablets and phones taking over our reading habits, it seems books have lost the magic they held when we were children. Why would new generations be interested in static images in their illustrated storybooks, when they have richer and responsive images right at their fingertips? Kids today seem to inherently know how to work an iPad and have experiences with richer colors, movement and interactions that make books fall short. Book designers and developers have seen an opportunity here. Instead of mourning for the death of printed books they are innovating and revolutionizing the book industry to bring kids back to reading.

It’s an obvious solution: this audience with a limited attention span who seem to be tech savy from birth are the perfect catalysts for a book revolution. As these children sit with smartphones and tablets in their strollers while their parents walk through stores, book designers lure them back into the world of literature with new interactive and personalized experiences.

New generations are experiencing storytelling in a more immersive way we ever could. Stories we read as kids are being turned into interactive worlds children can explore. One might think that these immersive experiences all take place in the digital world and while some of they do, Wonderbly a publishing company is pushing the boundaries of printed books by creating personalized stories for children. They have created an alternative version of Charlie and the Chocolate factory that immerses children in the book by turning the story into a personal journey through the factory.

Other companies have taken to the digital world, creating interactive books where the illustrations come to life as the children read out loud. Using voice recognition technology AKQA developed a digital book titled Snow Fox that animates with voice commands so as the children read certain words the illustrations start moving across the page. The best part is the app can be downloaded on the App store and it allows users to personalize the story adding their kid’s character to it.

The way storytelling is transforming into an interactive and personalized experience has huge implications for marketers who are following publishers’ steps and creating similar experiences. Facebook is using their full-screen mobile format Canvas to help marketers explore new ways of communicating.

São Paulo shop Africa and Latin American bank Itau used this technology to turn smartphones into interactive children’s books for a campaign that highlighted the brand’s involvement with an initiative that encourages parents to read to their children.

This approach to storytelling brings new generations back to reading and as they grow it can change the future of what constitutes a book. It is transforming education and has giant implications for marketers as well. This approach to storytelling as interactive and personalized experiences speak to things that might help when looking generate more engagement and it can begin to shape the way we communicate with audiences beyond bringing children back to reading.

What do you think is the future of reading?


Images Courtesy of Wonderbly, AKQA and AdWeek

eSports: The Future of Sports?

by in Big Ideas, News, Technology 

eSports is becoming one of highest growing markets in the sports world. ESPN has its own section on their website dedicated to eSports. Who could’ve imagined 20 years ago that playing video games could become as successful as being a professional athlete. Superstars in eSports make millions comparable to athletes in basketball, football, and baseball. There are Madison Square sized stadiums jam packed during a playoff game. Al of this has us wondering: is eSports the future of ALL sports?

Okay back up-so what is eSports? In layman’s terms, eSports consists of professional video game players competing in teams or individually against each other in a league. The winners of these leagues win prizes, most of the time the prize being money. eSports athletes not only make money like other professional athletes, they also receive sponsorships like them too. The arenas are capable of filling thousands upon thousands of people, one would think they’re at a football game by the size of the crowds in the arena. Tickets to these events cost upward of $99.

So is this the future?, Well, the U.S. government already recognizes the gamers as professional athletes. In 2013, the U.S. allowed the gamers to receive visas and same traveling privileges as other athletes so they can compete internationally. In the 2016 closing ceremonies for the Olympics, they showed a brief teaser video of Mario and the legendary Pac-Man for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It’s interesting because although it’s a long shot, the Olympic committee has looked into considering eSports as an event for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

The future of sports is changing in front of our very eyes. eSports is drastically growing and the advancement of technology is only going to catapult it even quicker to the mainstream. Major corporations and groups are identifying them as professional athletes. It’s only a matter of time before we starting cheering on for our favorite eSport player.

Images courtesy of: DoteSport , Business Insider, MyGaming