Cannes Lions

Spreadbeats

FCB NEW YORK / SPOTIFY / 2024

Awards:

1 Grand Prix Cannes Lions
2 Gold Cannes Lions
3 Silver Cannes Lions
3 Bronze Cannes Lions
9 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Imagine you’re a media planner. Your job depends on your ability to show ROI. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to RFPing, you prioritize efficient go-tos like Meta and Google, old reliables like YouTube, and shiny objects like TikTok. Spotify just seems like another digital audio platform, and an expensive one at that. Not exactly a must-buy.

But the thing is, Spotify is so much more than an audio platform. It has video and multiformat ads… it’s interactive and engaging, and its ROI goes way beyond numbers on a spreadsheet.

To break through, we had to find a way to hack the RFP process and change the conversation… showing media planners and the entire marketing industry why Spotify Advertising goes beyond just plain digital audio.

Objectives:

Improve ROI perception

Increase familiarity beyond audio

Drive relevance, consideration, and brand love

Idea

In 2023, Spotify launched new video ad units. But there’s a problem: Media planners and advertisers still consider us as just an audio platform. And audio only commands 2% of their ad spend. As a result, when reaching out for proposals, they often request media plans tailored exclusively for audio ads. So, to win over media planners, we brought Spotify’s video ad capabilities and its ROI superiority to the place where they spend the most time considering ad buys: their Media Plan spreadsheets. Spreadbeats. A never-been-done-before, eye- and ear-opening way to prove the power of combining video and audio in a medium perfectly tailored to its audience. We partnered with Coachella-headlining artist John Summit and coded a four-minute music video into the actual spreadsheets Spotify’s salesforce sends to its clients, turning rows and columns into a canvas that sprang to life when the file was opened.

Strategy

At CES, Horizon Media’s founder, Bill Koenigsberg, said, “I don’t know what Spotify Advertising is supposed to do for me.” He summed up what 66% of media planners felt: Spotify ads had no unique benefit.

So without fully knowing what Spotify Advertising offers, many media planners simply assumed that we were an audio-only platform. And they only spent 2% of their budgets on audio ads.

But Spotify Advertising offers so much more at every step of the marketing funnel than audio ads- our video ads actually yield better ROI than other advertising platforms’ video ads.

So we set out to make it crystal clear that not only does Spotify offer video ads; those video ads work harder for your media plan.

The clearest way to prove our video bona fides?

Put our video ad effectiveness data front-and-center when media planners were crunching numbers for their media plans: the RFP process.

Execution

We managed to code the whole music video in one single Excel file of 10MB. Ironically, to do something this advanced, we had to take a trip back to the origins of data and algorithms. We used old compression methods and visualization techniques that hadn’t been used for many, many years, all in the spirit of economy. We transformed Excel built-in functions like ASCII, Graphs, Unicode, and conditional formatting into cutting-edge visualization methods. No AI was used, just human ingenuity and a lot of love. But all technology means nothing without an emotional connection and a story: We told the story of E7 — born in a rational world of numbers and data, where everything makes sense, but where something is missing.

So one day she wakes up, and explores different visual worlds, on a journey to find herself and belong, taking on increasingly complex and beautiful forms along the way.

Outcome

By turning media planners’ main work platform into an entertainment experience, we achieved exactly what we set out to do, both internally and externally. Internally, we gave our Spotify sales team the ultimate tool to start a conversation about Spotify’s unique value with an audience of media planners. And in an industry that is known to persuade with numbers and data, it managed to convince potential clients on an emotional level, ensuring breakthrough in a sea of sameness of percentages and raw data. The media planner audience is highly receptive to a strong creative idea, and Spreadbeats is an idea that spoke to their hearts as well as their minds.

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