Benita Chacko

After Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, Spotify is going after Malayalam-speaking listeners now

Spotify’s latest campaign aims to penetrate deeper into South India. The audio streaming platform has just released its first ad in Malayalam.

As a part of its latest campaign, Spotify has launched a series of ads highlighting how music can change one’s mood in any situation. With the tagline ‘Mood toh tabhi banega, jab Spotify challenge’, the campaign uses various Gen Z situations, like a break up, a house party and a romantic drive, to highlight the impact of music on a listener’s mood.

Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the ads will play in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

Neha Ahuja
Neha Ahuja

Neha Ahuja, head of marketing – India, Spotify, says that the brief to the agency was to simply portray how music changes one’s mood. “We tried to play to our leadership position to say that music is equal to Spotify and it changes (one’s) mood. So, put on Spotify and be happy. The thought is rooted in a basic and relatable consumer insight that mood changes with music.”

Rajdeepak Das
Rajdeepak Das

Speaking about the campaign’s idea, Raj Deepak Das, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett, mentions that they had to convey a basic insight well-known to the listeners, but they had forgotten it.

“It is well-known to people that music changes the mood. We only needed to remind them of that behaviour. Music is available everywhere and at any time. How do you market something like that?”

Earlier this year, the audio streaming platform had released a campaign during the Indian Premier League (IPL). It highlighted how music can help listeners handle boring and frustrating situations.

“After the successful run during the IPL, we realised that we still have a lot of potential to build consideration among the audiences. We have learnt from that and other campaigns that India has many countries within it. So, it’s not about penetrating deep into a Hindi market alone,” Ahuja says.

This is the first time that Spotify has released an ad in Malayalam. In Kerala, when it comes to music streaming, Malayalam is the second-most consumed language after English, on Spotify. Ahuja says as Spotify is penetrating deeper into South India, it has identified a strong potential in that market.

“Kerala has a population of 35 million. It's a premium, digital-savvy population. About 15 million digital-savvy people are already on some social media apps. We were already reaching out to them through English, as its consumption is high both for music and podcasts. There was huge potential to grow, so, we thought it is time to grow deeper and capture the local audience.”

The campaign has a strong focus on South India, but Spotify also sees immense potential in Bengali, Bhojpuri, Haryanvi and Gujarati. It will be focussing on these languages next. Ahuja says that Spotify is investing heavily in regionalisation of music and podcasts.

While the ads are made in multiple languages, they are not simply dubbed from Hindi to the southern languages. Not just the songs, but also the cast for the Hindi ads are different. Das says it is important to keep the context and the content relevant for the southern audience.

“The time when you could dish out the same ads for the southern region, is past now. As can be seen by their cinema, like RRR, Pushpa and Vikram, their content is really strong. So, when they are exposed to such good content, why would they respond to dubbed content? We have to create relevant content for this audience. The cultural insights help add a flavour to it.”

The ads don’t highlight the features of the streaming platform, or how it is unique from other platforms. Instead, it focusses on music and what it means to the listener.

As Ahuja pointed out earlier, it is based on the premise that music is equal to Spotify. This has been the platform's strategy in its previous campaigns as well, including the IPL and last year’s campaign.

Spotify chose the themes for the ads – break up, party and drive – based on its data. “These are the moments when music gets consumed most,” says Ahuja.

Das admits that it was a challenge to zero in on the songs, as they were spoilt for choice. “There were so many tracks. The data helped us to figure out what people were listening to. We chose the themes based on what connected to them, what was relevant and the music genre.”

The campaign will be using a multimedia mix, including television channels and relevant online media, for the four regional languages.

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