“Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day”: Spotify and Heroing Personalisation

“Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day”: Spotify and Heroing Personalisation

Anyone called Paul taking the London underground towards the end of last year may have been in for a surprise…

For their end of 2016 ad campaign, Spotify utilised their vast quantities of data to point out some of the more curious idiosyncrasies of consumers’ listening habits. This included the following example:

There’s a playlist called “Paul, You’re Fired.” Sorry you had to find out this way, Paul.

Spotify turn to one of their key consumer propositions; the ability to entirely personalise and customise your listening experience through playlist creation and recommendations, heroing it and placing it firmly at the heart of what the brand stands for. The witty and informal tone of voice not only highlights personalisation as a functional benefit, but also taps into the deeply emotional and individual nature of music consumption.

Spotify demonstrates the uniqueness of their proposition, that they understand the who behind the what, when and how of music streaming that data provides, allowing them to offer consumers a truly tailored experience. Adaptation of the campaign by country reinforces that Spotify understands the personal relationship consumers have with their music on a daily basis. ‘Paul, You’re Fired’ is actually a genuine, user created playlist, lending tangibility and credibility to Spotify’s experience in offering a personalised user experience.


“Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” the day of the Brexit vote, Hang in there.”


Spotify’s prowess in personalisation allows them to achieve emotional lock-in with consumers, who are increasingly wary of tech brands that require them to buy into their entire product range for functional reasons (those of you in the UK may well be familiar with the example of consumers sticking with BT through thick and thin in order to keep their @btinternet.com e-mail address!). When Apple first launched their music streaming service, one of the main barriers for swapping from Spotify was that consumers would lose their carefully crafted and highly personal collection of playlists and music.


Spotify have taken a key proposition that sits behind the platform’s features (playlist creation, discovery etc.) and championed it in a brand-led way, allowing them to more effectively reach consumers and drive change for their business. A carefully crafted and emotionally resonant proposition achieves consumer lock-in, helping to retain consumers in increasingly crowded and competitive markets.

Oh, and Paul – we hope you find a new job soon…

Heather Young Heather Young