Real people react to hearing their favorite songs in Pandora spot

In its latest campaign, Pandora is playing up the personalization aspect of its music service with a spot that shows how a person’s favorite song can evoke all sorts of memories and emotions.

Created by agency TwoFifteenMcCann, the spot features real people listening to songs that they love. Each person is then asked how that song makes them feel, and the wide range of responses drives home Pandora’s point that everyone has a deep and personal connection to their favorite music.

Since no songs are actually played in the ad, Pandora hopes that viewers will be drawn in when they hear the different responses and see each person’s reactions. At one point, a man covered in tattoos cries while listening to a track he loves, stating that it “takes me back to a point in my life when I had no worries.”

Adam Reeves, executive creative director at TwoFifteenMcCann, told The Drum that the agency chose to leave out the songs that inspired the cast of real people in order to "invite curiosity about what that song is and [allow] the viewer to fill in the blanks for themselves."

The spot aims to highlight Pandora’s ‘like and dislike’ buttons that allow users to let Pandora know which types of music and songs they enjoy, “so that when the next song plays, it will be the right one for you.”

Melissa Waters, vice president of brand and product marketing at Pandora, said that by casting real people instead of actors, Pandora was able “to observe deep, authentic moments that we believe will resonate with our listeners.”

“We believe that this campaign strikes a chord of universal human truth about the power of music, and that the visual expression is authentic and true to Pandora," she said.

Pandora’s emotional approach stands in stark contrast to Spotify’s recent campaign rollout, which took a more comedic route by highlighting fun facts about its streaming service and users, like the fact that the song from ‘80s film ‘The NeverEnding Story’ is still streamed every day.

Reeves said that since Pandora believes that "the right music for you is extremely personal," the agency wanted to create a campaign that highlights Pandora's commitment to connecting its users with the songs that they love.

"Apple leans on tastemakers to tell us what's cool. Spotify defers to the community. Pandora believes the only connection to music that matters is you," he said.

Running under the strapline ‘The Next Song Matters,’ Pandora’s campaign will run on national broadcast and online. It also includes music festival activations, email marketing and social elements.

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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