Pandora Launches New Ad Campaign


Pandora Radio which in April 2013, announced that their radio streaming service had passed 200 million users, about 70 million of whom were active monthly, is about to hit it’s 10th anniversary next month and hot on the heels of that has launched a bold new brand marketing campaign.

At the center of this campaign is a stylish new video which has been launched online for now but is set to go on TV later in the Fall. What caught my attention is the implementation of one of the pillars of a great brand building – the power of story telling!

As the video starts off we see three teenagers driving in a car and a song blaring on the radio. Within the first few seconds, that song comes to an end a narrative starts:

“It’s not long, the tiny moment of anticipation, before the next song.” The video goes into slow motion and we see the faces of the teenagers, somebody lawn moving in front of a house etc.

“But it’s all the time we need. We have already studied every note, every beat, to bring you this song. Your song!” And then we see the faces of the teenagers in slow motion as they start to look in anticipation.

“Right here!”. The video cuts back to real-time as a song starts and the teenagers swing into action as they enjoy the music and sway to its beat!

The video ends with a “drive into the sunset” shot in a suburban road setting with the words “The Next Song Matters” in the center of the frame.

I think this video captures the essence of what Pandora is all about and the power of The Music Genome Project* on which it was founded. The ad makers have distilled the core message of the brand and showed it visually to create the right kind of emotional connection to the brand and the service.

Now that Apple Music has made its entry into the streaming-music service industry, I think this brand differentiation campaign can be really effective!

The Music Genome Project was first conceived by Will Glaser and Tim Westergren in late 1999. In January 2000, they joined forces with Jon Kraft to found Savage Beast Technologies to bring their idea to market. The Music Genome Project is an effort to “capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level” using over 450 attributes to describe songs and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them. The Music Genome Project is currently made up of 5 sub-genomes: Pop/Rock, Hip-Hop/Electronica, Jazz, World Music, and Classical. Under the direction of Nolan Gasser and a team of musicological experts, the initial attributes were later refined and extended. Read more here.