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Revolut admits fabricating stats for Spotify spoof ad following FCA referral


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

February 8, 2019 | 3 min read

Fintech firm Revolut has endured more fallout from its marketing campaign inspired by Spotify’s data-driven creative, with the brand now having been referred to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for fabricating user spending data in its advertising.


Revolut admits making up Spotify copycat ad data

Throughout 2019, Revolut has been running London Underground ads unearthing what appeared to be quirky purchases from its users. The work was reminiscent of Spotify's widely celebrated creative that transformed listener habits into fun, powerful marketing.

In response, last week, Spotify’s Alex Bodman, global executive creative director, shrugged off the copycat campaign: “Some of our favourite songs on Spotify are cover versions, so who are we to judge?"

Creatives also tore into the work, questioning the optics of a banking brand spotlighting user data in this manner.

The cash app, which launched in July 2015, claims to have 3 million global users who have made more than 250 million transactions at an excess of $25bn. Now the Financial Times has reported that the app has been referred to the City watchdog via Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complaints about the integrity of the user statistics used in the campaign.

Revolut has finally opened up on the campaign claiming that the ad was a spoof and the figures were “just made up”.

The campaign made very specific claims about user habits on the app including 'To the 11,867 people who bought a vegan sausage roll this month, Piers is fuming'; 'To the 7,643 people who set a monthly food budget called "Brexit Survival Fund"... hang in there'; 'To the 12,750 people who ordered a single takeaway on Valentine’s day, You ok hun?'.

However, the firm only has a limited view of consumer spend. Chiefly it would know when and how much was spent in an outlet, but not what was purchased. It would not have details on customer orders or motives.

To complaint only adds to fallout surrounding the campaign, which some saw as 'single-shaming'. The Guardian columnist Christina Patterson asked: ‘So Revolut, I’m a single woman. How does that make me a sad, lonely loser?’ She said: “The startup’s single-shaming ad relies on the old trope that women have to be defined by their relationships.”

The firm is inviting the public, particularly those offended by the Valentine’s Day creative to its London HQ 14 February for “vegan sausage rolls and other nibbles”.

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