Spotify's 2021 'Wrapped' campaign is the soundtrack to the 'new normals'
The streaming platform's look back on the year in listening embraces how typically weird our everyday has become
Given the struggles the world endured over the last 18+ months, who knows what normal is anymore? That’s the thinking that drives Spotify’s 2021 “Wrapped” campaign, the music streaming platform’s annual push that looks back on the year in listening.
The 2021 effort highlights some of the year’s most-streamed artists including Bad Bunny, Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Bieber and Doja Cat as well as fan-favorite podcasts “Misfits” and “Science V” while communicating the idea that “in 2021, there isn’t one normal,” said Spotify VP-Global Executive Creative Alex Bodman during a virtual press conference yesterday. “There are normals—lots of them. Spotify ‘Wrapped’ is a chance to celebrate all of them. While this year has been wildly different for all of us, there’s one thing we can collectively say: 2021 ‘Wrapped’ is the soundtrack to the new normals.”
The integrated campaign debuts today in 33 markets and across multiple platforms, including out-of-home, social, connected TV digital, along with in-app elements running in over 100 markets.
The executions include graphically bold billboards featuring a dynamic “thread” that ties together photography, typography, witty copy and—as has long been central to Spotify’s marketing—data telling the story of consumers’ listening habits over the past year.
One ad featuring BTS (above), for example, reads, “In 2021, it was normal to consume lots of Butter, guilt-free.” Certainly over the past year, many of us gave ourselves a free pass to indulge in more-than-healthy amounts of dairy, but the billboard also notes that BTS’ track “Butter” was streamed nearly 650 million times on Spotify in 2021. Other posters (below) highlight Spotify's most globally streamed artists Bad Bunny and Olivia Rodrigo, the talent behind the year's top streamed song and album.
Another out-of-home poster highlights viral sensation Jackie Weaver, the Liverpool woman who created a buzz after she shut down the bossy and patronizing men at a local parish council Zoom meeting. She now has her own podcast featured on Spotify. The company also asked her to create a playlist themed around her big moment and features it in the ad.
Spots in the campaign also play on the theme of how absurd our idea of normal has become.
In-app “story” offerings are perhaps the funnest part of the campaign. There, users can get their own personal “movie soundtrack” that pairs together some of their favorite tunes with key cinematic moments or scenes, such as opening credits, a fight scene or theme song.
There’s also an “Audio Aura” offering that visualizes listeners’ aura based on their top two music moods of the year. Spotify actually worked with an aura reader to develop this.
Another feature, “Playing Cards,” riffs on the “Two Truths and a Lie” game that invites users to share with their friends three statements about their listening in 2021 and challenge them to guess which one is false.
Another part of the campaign plays on the platform’s new “Blend” feature launched earlier this year and allows Spotify listeners to see how their 2021 music taste matched up with friends, allowing them to stream and share their blended playlists.
The campaign also features an out-of-home “Good Soup Truck” activation today in New York City. The truck features the 2021 Wrapped branding and plays on the meme that inspired almost 13,000 Spotify playlists. Spotify is partnering with bone broth company Brodo to provide New Yorkers with bowls of tasty soup out of the truck.
Finally, the brand has tapped more than 170 artists and creators to create surprise “thank you” videos that will show up in the apps of fans on whose top playlists they appear.
The campaign was created in-house at Spotify but it will also serve as a "toolkit" that the brand's teams around the world can use when working with local agencies to build out the push in their respective markets.