Pandora launched a new campaign called “Sound On” that connects with holiday travelers along each point of their journey. The slogan was chosen as a kind of battle cry, declaring that sound—whether that be music or podcasts—can help make a stressful situation better.
“Sound On” will be featured in high-traffic airports, buses and railroad stations across the country as well as a 250 foot LED billboard at the Oculus transportation hub in NYC. “Sound On” features approximately 1,200 different iterations, developed to coincide with specific travel moments and destinations. Signs are strategically placed to coincide with a particular travel experience such as waiting at baggage claim or dealing with a canceled flight. For example, one sign says,” Lost Luggage? Grin and
bear BLARE it.”
“We wanted to make sure that we’re reaching and engaging users in a way that feels very specific to that exact moment that they’re in,” Pandora’s newly appointed VP of brand marketing and communications Brad Minor told AList.
“We took a very focused approach on how we tell a macro story about holiday travel, but then made every single touch point feel like it was very personalized for that moment.”
Users will experience different playlist suggestions depending on where they are located when they open the app. A traveler in Nashville, for example, would find country Christmas music while someone landing in Oakland would be greeted with hip-hop.
Pandora is, by nature, a personalized experience, but it lives exclusively in a digital environment. Rather than meet consumers on its home turf, the in-house creative team devised a campaign that focuses on a common human experience.
“We looked at the landscape and what our competitors are doing across the board,” Lauren Nagel, VP and executive creative director for Pandora. “So many [competitors] are focused on content but we wanted to focus on context.”
Nagel led Pandora’s in-house team on the project and once hired, Minor stepped in to help oversee its launch.
“I think what I really love about the approach that we have here is that we don’t view the creative team as our internal agency,” said Minor. “It’s not an agency-client relationship, it’s a true partnership in every since of the word.”
“Lauren and I, even this short time have an unnaturally warm and friendly relationship and we view both sides of the equation and understand that we are successful together and that we need to figure out these challenges quickly in real-time, we need to be able to iterate on the fly.”
Considering the rising popularity of podcasts—and brands marketing on/with them—Nagel explained that “Sound On,” rather than “Music On” was a more inclusive choice of slogan.
When you have over 71 million listeners, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to a marketing strategy. Nagel and Minor explained that Pandora avoided the “creepiness factor” by telling a universal holiday travel story while gearing messages toward specific moments.
Minor joined Pandora just two weeks ago, but he’s excited about the future of the brand. The key, he says, will be to resonate with consumers in a unique way. Chances are very good that “Sound On” will become the rallying cry of many a future Pandora campaign.
“We’re really focused on changing the conversation to less about the content we have but the context in which you’re receiving that content and how we’re delivering it,” said Minor.
“If you think about this notion of ‘life is better with sound on,’ it literally opens up endless opportunities for us to build campaigns around that. It could be seasonal, a cultural moment in the news, key events like Grammys, etc—all those moments are really fertile ground for us to build campaigns and creative to support and show how those moments are made better with sound on.”