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Spotify is borrowing from Google's marketing playbook for its latest campaign.
Like Google's Super Bowl ad debut in 2010 and subsequent Chrome spots, Spotify will launch a set of video ads on Friday that document the streaming music service's role in people's lives through the lens of someone's computer screen.
"These films are three shorts that bring to life three user experiences. If you look at the stuff we're doing in our social channels, it's a continuation of the conversations happening there," said Spotify's VP-creative and brand strategy Jackie Jantos. She pointed to the Twitter hashtag #NowFeeling that Spotify has been using to aggregate those conversations.
Rather than film actors pecking away at their phones and computers, the three videos -- which range from 75 to 90 seconds in length -- use screencasts of Facebook chats, text messages, Instagram feeds, Skype and of course Spotify to stitch together the stories. In one video, a guy flips through Facebook photos of his estranged brother while listening to Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" on Spotify, then uses the service to share the song and reconnect with his sibling.
Spotify hired filmmaker trio Shy Kids to direct the videos alongside the music service's agency Droga5. Shy Kids won a Toronto Film Festival award for its short film "Noah" that chronicled a teenage breakup through a series of screencaptures. Patrick Cederberg, a member of the group, said that Google's "Parisian Love" spot was "one of the key inspirations" for Shy Kids before they filmed "Noah."
"The way people portrayed digital life and interfacing with devices felt tacky," Mr. Cederberg said. The screencasting method offered "a lot more room to really be honest about the depiction, but also an interesting challenge to develop body language, to develop emotional movement in how we show [a person] interfacing with a screen."
"What we figured out particularly with screen captures is so much communication is happening between the lines. How long it takes to respond to a text message, if you hold the mouse over a photo, it's all revealing of the person making that action," said Shy Kids' Matthew Hornick.
Spotify is putting some paid media behind the digital shorts. The videos will be showing in AMC and Regal movie theaters nationwide starting on Friday. They'll also be running as ads on Skype, The CW's site, Hulu, NBC.com and MTV.com. And Spotify has put together native ads to appear on BuzzFeed and Glam Media's network of sites.
The campaign is aimed at millennials, which Ms. Jantos said are "one of the most active audiences on our platform." She declined to disclose how much money Spotify is spending on the campaign, but said that the company's media agency Starcom is managing the buy.
Unlike Spotify's 2013 ad campaign, the company has opted to not run the spots on TV.
"We're not a brand that plays in traditional media. That's not where we interact best with our audience," said Ms. Jantos, who had been Coca-Cola's global creative director before joining Spotify last August.