While the original dotcom era delivered plenty of expensive-looking and totally undecipherable TV ad campaigns by those early web-based businesses, who usually dabbled in television advertising in the week between securing their first $100 million in investment and going bankrupt, the consensus in the digital domain ever since has often been that the most successful companies build audience in more organic and ‘social’ ways, and without costly above-the-line activity.
But then, sometimes, digital firms find themselves in increasingly competitive marketplaces with a niche product that shareholders insist must go mainstream pronto, and the old fashioned ‘throw a few million at telly advertising’ option starts to look attractive again. And, lo and behold, Spotify launched a seemingly US-focused TV advertising campaign yesterday, with a spot appearing during the American version of talent-show mediocrity ‘The Voice’. Additional spots on the NBC and MTV channels are expected in the coming weeks.
The three ads that will appear as part of the campaign have concurrently emerged online. Promoting music as much as Spotify itself, with slow-mo imagery, ambient sounds and dry male voiceovers (whatever happened to that lovely “Roberta from Spotify”?), the promos do sort of make it look like the streaming service’s users are primarily self-absorbed pretentious wankers. But hey, these ads are primarily aimed at Americans, and they are a crazy, crazy people. Perhaps the crowd surfing tool, partying frat boys and sad old bus wanker will appeal to that lot.
The Spotify ad campaign, thought to be costing in the region of $10 million, launched alongside a fresh round of rumours that the Swedish streaming service had ambitions to be the television as well as be on it, ie that a TV or film-on-demand spin-off set up is in the works. These rumours have done the rounds before of course, and are partly fuelled by the assumption by some experts that only combined movie-music-telly streaming services have truly mainstream potential.
It still seems more likely that would come about through the acquisition of a Spotify by a Netflix, rather than the expansion of a Spotify to compete with a Netflix, but who knows? Though Spotify boss Daniel Ek issued a “never say never, but not now” response to the latest rumours yesterday, telling C-Net: “I won’t rule it out because we’re a company that looks at what we’re doing incredibly long term. But right now, we’re all focused on music”.
So there you have it. And here are the Spotify ads…