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? http://beautyandthebeast-spotify.co.uk/
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: http://spotify-strangerthings.com/
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?
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?
The digital and real worlds are coming closer and closer to colliding each day. This has incredible implications for anyone trying to communicate and engage with an audience. As tech developments continue in the AR field, content creators will be able to merge the digital and real worlds in more intuitive ways. This will drastically alter what we can do as we create communications, promotional experiences, events, websites and apps. Now we have to tools to guide people through spaces, show them products in their homes and get them to interact with brands face to face. The best part is that we don’t need to convince them to get expensive devices or learn new technologies. All we need is to repurpose a device they are already using: their smartphones.
Major changes are coming to AR development with Apple releasing ARKit (a set of tools that enable developers to create augmented reality apps.) Apple is already developing AR as a feature for their maps. Imagine what you could do to guide people through a space.
Google has also been exploring AR with Project Tango. This project seeks to develop mobile devices that can map indoor spaces and to know the location of the device within that space using sensors. This project aims to integrate your body and movements, as well as, your surroundings into its simulation; changing the way we interact with physical spaces.
As Apple and Google develop their technologies, brands have also been exploring the use of augmented reality to engage their audience. Here are some examples:
Ikea is making the most out of this technology allowing people to virtually place objects into their spaces before buying them. Customers will be able to take a photos of their room and use the app to place a photo-realistic render of an Ikea product into their space. They have partnered with Apple in the use of their new AR tech and it is said to be so precise it will show how the product’s size and lighting will look.
L’Oréal has several apps that let people try makeup on their selfies before trying the products. They are also working on some in-store AR applications, installing AR at beauty counters in stores. This gives them data on the kinds of products people are buying as well as how the interactions affect their purchase decisions.
CEDAR POINT THEME PARK
Cedar Point is taking a more playful approach and has included AR in their app creating The Battle for Cedar Point experience. People visiting the park can join different roller coaster-themed clans and compete by scanning the park with their smartphones. The app transforms the physical park into a video game and changes the way attendees interact with the space.
What is the coolest AR experience you’ve seen or had?