News & Insights

Now streaming: A Song for Every CMO, only on Spotify

No splashy IRL events, no problem. At Spotify Advertising, we came up with a new way to make connections with our top advertiser partners. Grab your headphones and read on to learn more.

Introducing A Song for Every CMO: Our playlist of custom songs for (and about) CMOs from some of our top partner brands, like CVS, Frito-Lay, Indeed, Kimberly-Clark, Intuit, and more.

So what does it sound like when a marketer is your muse? Listen to a sample:

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To unpack the initiative’s strategy, we talked to Sarah Kiefer, Spotify’s Global Director of Enterprise Marketing.

How would you explain what A Song for Every CMO is to a friend?

A Song for Every CMO is our playful way of celebrating the industry leaders who inspire us — and who we might normally get a chance to network with in person, at an industry event like Cannes, CES, or SXSW. We reached out to CMOs from a range of top brands in different categories to ask what their favorite music genre is, and then created a custom song for each person in partnership with creative agency FCB New York. The lyrics in each song are tailored to (literally) sing the praises of the individual, in a way only Spotify could. This was a chance to highlight these individuals, and thank them for their partnership over the years.

What inspired you to celebrate Spotify’s brand partnerships this way?

Music is in Spotify’s DNA, so it came up pretty early in the brainstorm. We agreed that music is an obvious way to celebrate some of the most notable names in marketing in a cheeky, lighthearted, and fun way.

We also know that CMOs are music fans too. We’re often in conversations with partners about how central music is to their lives. Like all of us, they have distinct personal tastes and listen to music in their downtime to relax, bond with their families, soundtrack a workout or commute, and get a mood boost. So we got loads of positive reactions in the process of reaching out to CMOs to participate — including a lot of laughter, which we all need more of right now, and also genuine love for the final tracks. This initiative was a chance to have some fun with our partners, and showcase the creative potential of audio to inspire rich storytelling.

Why did you choose these CMOs in particular? What was their reaction when you first pitched the idea?

All of our CMO participants were hand-picked by Brian Berner, Spotify’s Head of North America Ad Sales, and Rak Patel, Spotify’s Head of EMEA Enterprise Sales. Some are existing partners, and they’re all people we admire. Ultimately, we wanted to celebrate their creative and strategic work, and their unique ability to deliver results for their brands.

Can you walk us through the creative and rollout process? How did this campaign go from idea to playlist?

Turns out, the marketing community has an incredibly varied taste in music! We created each song with the individual CMO’s musical preferences in mind to pay homage to the work they’re doing as marketing leaders through song. The CMOs themselves were involved at every step, from advising on their preferred genre to approving the lyrics and song cuts. The “album” cover art included a nod to both the genre and the CMO, from an ‘80s-inspired pop track and neon cover for Kimberly-Clark’s Zena Arnold, to the graphics for Frito-Lay’s Rachel Ferdinando’s rap track, and more.

For launch, we teased the playlist on our Spotify Advertising social channels with an intentionally over-the-top hype video for a tongue-in-cheek nod to other Spotify editorial playlists. Then we sent a public calendar invite to each CMO for a five-minute music meeting to hear their final track. And to commemorate their Spotify chart debuts, we sent each CMO a framed platinum record of their single — so they can spice up their shelf of industry awards. I think we had as much fun building this campaign as the CMOs did receiving their track.

Not every brand can create a playlist of custom songs for a campaign — but what are some other ways brands should be thinking about digital audio and its creative potential?

The beauty of digital audio is that it’s a flexible, nimble format, even remotely. Over the past 12+ months of pandemic life, we’ve seen first-hand that people turn to music and podcasts for an escape from screen time, to relax, to learn, and to be entertained. So it’s not only a format that’s accessible and relatively simple to produce for marketers, but it’s also a format that’s universally beloved and deeply immersive. Advertisers can reach this audience in relevant moments when their audience is listening intently to high quality content.

You absolutely don’t need a team of songwriters and producers to make audio campaigns that resonate. We work with brands of all sizes across global markets to bring big ideas to life, whether it’s with 3D audio ads to mimic a new Volkswagen feature, or pairing economics with reggaetón music for the Interactive Museum of Economics in Mexico. From custom campaigns for enterprise clients, to quick-start campaigns on our self-serve advertising platform, Spotify Ad Studio, digital audio is a uniquely accessible medium. And of course, the podcast advertising space is rapidly evolving, giving advertisers new ways to reach highly engaged podcast listeners.

Speaking of podcast ads: Digital audio advertising — especially on the podcast side — is heating up. What do you think it is about Spotify that's allowed the platform to drive such rapid growth in the digital advertising space?

It’s been a combination of podcast ad tech that Spotify is pioneering, and our commitment to building the best possible content library. We introduced Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), an industry-changing podcast ad technology that unlocks digital planning, reporting, and measurement for advertisers. We acquired Megaphone, a leading podcast advertising and publishing platform, and launched the Spotify Audience Network to allow advertisers to target their audiences at scale. We made strides to reimagine the audio experience with innovations like Video Podcasts and Music + Talk. And we continued to invest in content with the acquisition of The Ringer and exclusive partnerships with some of the world’s most influential voices, including President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan, Alex Cooper, and Dax Shepard. Spotify is now home to more than 2.2 million podcasts.

Where do you see the future of digital audio advertising heading?

We’re just beginning to unlock the creative potential of digital audio. In my role at Spotify, my team and I are constantly working on innovative ways to educate and excite enterprise advertisers about how to harness the power of digital audio. But I also think the future of digital audio advertising is accessibility for advertisers of all sizes. We’re continuing to launch Spotify Ad Studio in more markets around the world. It’s a lot more straightforward than people think to get started making audio ads and running campaigns. As we continue to see tremendous growth on the platform of listeners, I expect advertising investment to catch up with the scale of the audience.

In the meantime, digital audio remains an ideal creative canvas for brands. One of the most fun parts of my job is collaborating with our creative partners and strategists on campaigns that truly stand out. A Song for Every CMO is a perfect example of how audio can adapt to any tone to tell a story. In this case, we went for a purely playful one.

And finally — what genre would your custom A Song for Every CMO track be?

Ooh, fun question. I think ‘90’s R&B mixed with a bit of Brit-pop. Janet Jackson, TLC, Destiny’s Child, with a dash of Blur. Now there’s a creative challenge for a songwriter!

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