2020 was a year like no other, one that many of us will define by hardship and loss. Spotify, however, wants to highlight the positive in its global “Wrapped” campaign, its annual look back at the year in music through the lens of its user listening data.
This year, the brand has centered the effort on two themes: gratitude and resilience. “No one knew what was going to happen in March so there had to be a shift, and that shift meant that we had to be very intentional with our tone, knowing that this year has been incredible in terms of its challenges but also has shown incredible strength in communities around the world,” said Spotify VP-Global Executive Creative Director Alex Bodman during a virtual press conference on Monday.
Created in-house, the campaign pays homage to the artists, podcasters, playlist creators and avid fans who helped users endure, find comfort and be entertained during months of lockdown and turmoil. While giving thanks to all the creators, this year’s “Wrapped” also “tells the story of a resilient world, made of resilient communities, who powered through unprecedented challenges in a year that seemed to never end,” Bodman added.
The celebration plays out across multiple formats, including out of home, video, digital and social. Spotify has created a “Circle of Gratitude” on billboards and social media that thanks artists like the platform's most streamed artist of 2020 Bad Bunny, Cardi B, podcasters including former first lady Michelle Obama (“The Michelle Obama Podcast”) and Michael Baumgartner (“An Oral History of the Office”) and playlist creators like “women are keeping this rap sh*t afloat rn.”
The ads include colorful, kaleidoscopic images of the artists—an idea meant to reflect the idea of finding “beauty within the chaos” of year. Along with the art, the ads list interesting data points associated with each talent. The Cardi B billboard, for example, notes that her track “WAP (feat. Megan thee Stallion)” had 439,266,295+ streams in 2020, while Michele Obama’s show was the top podcast of the summer.
As part of the campaign, Spotify has also partnered with the National Independent Venue Association, the organization behind the “Save Our Stages” initiative to help struggling entertainment venues, on uplifting messages placed on marquees of COVID-shuttered stages across the country. The effort goes hand-in-hand with a donation to help the venues stay afloat as they remain closed during the pandemic.
The campaign also includes spots in the form of “Fan Films.” Told from the point of view of individual listeners and directed by Matthew Swanson of Epoch, they imagine how individual users would thank Taylor Swift, Megan Thee Stallion and Ashley Flowers, creator of the “Supernatural” podcast for making quarantine bearable, even enjoyable.
While the campaign pays mind to this year’s struggles, “as always, it does what 'Wrapped' does best,” Bodman said. “It tries to find unique perspectives and positivity from the year that was and generate positive momentum for the year to come.”
In total, the campaign gives a shout out to 40 artists and 15 podcasts. It will run across out of home and digital out of home, connected TV, digital video, social and on platform in 31 markets around the globe.