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Spotify Wrapped is being shared by millions worldwide, is it marketing genius?

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Spotify Wrapped is being shared by millions worldwide, is it marketing genius?


Each year the leading streaming platform Spotify releases Wrapped – a personalised end of year retrospective. 

Spotify describes Wrapped as, “Where Spotify listeners get a deep dive into their most memorable listening moments of the year.” 

The highly anticipated “Wrapped” marketing campaign has been running annually since 2016. To keep it fresh and engaging, each year is a little different. 2022 Wrapped dropped last week with two exciting new features – “Listening Personality” and “Audio Day.”

Listening Personality: Spotify’s 16 Listening Personality types are based on your listening behaviour throughout the year. It’s not only about what you listen to—but what that reveals about your music taste, user behaviour and personality traits. 

Audio Day: Is an interactive story that gives you a peek into how your music taste evolved throughout the day. It includes descriptions of your music for morning, noon and night.

Four reasons why Spotify Wrapped is marketing genius:

1. It taps into a human truth: we love learning about ourselves

Who doesn’t love personality tests? We’re obsessed with them. Spotify taps into this powerful human behaviour with their new Listening Personality feature.

Dr. Dana Dorfman, PhD Psychotherapist says, personality tests give us a lens through which to understand ourselves. They help us achieve a sense of belonging. 

Inspired by the classic Myers-Briggs profiles, the Wrapped personas also feature a four-letter acronym. This is not the first time Spotify has culture-jacked. With their iconic Music for Every Mood campaign, Spotify riffed on meme culture and made us take a long hard look in the mirror.

2. The execution was nailed

Brands have great ideas all the time but often, what lets the idea down is the execution.

Wrapped is not only interactive and hyper-personalised, it is insanely shareable. You can share from within the app to Meta platforms, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, email and text.

Marketers like me bang on about personalisation daily. Still, many brands struggle to put this into action beyond “Hi {{Mia}}” at the beginning of an email. True personalisation like Spotify Wrapped, builds a deeper connection with customers. They feel seen, heard and special. This goes a long way toward building trust with a brand.

I’m a campaign specialist with 21 years’ campaign experience. I’ve worked for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Vegemite, Maybelline and BIC. I consume campaigns for breakfast (hello, Gruen producers, I’m waiting for your call).

What I know from experience is, the most successful campaigns use a mix of: paid, earned, owned, and borrowed channels.

Spotify ticks all four boxes.

A dedicated landing page is another powerful component of successful campaign strategy, and often overlooked. Wrapped has more than a landing page. It has a microsite packed with content like top tracks, editors picks and a best of, for both curious users and journalists. Brands that help our time-stretched friends in the media write a great story, win the coverage.

Campaigns should aim to create a seamless end-to-end brand experience. I have lost count of the number of times I have clicked an ad, only to be directed to a page that looks (and reads) completely different to my initial interaction. Cue: confusion.

3. It’s a masterclass in user-generated content

Brands like Spotify understand the value of user-generated content (UGC).

When you allow your audience to become part of your narrative, your marketing is more authentic, human and believable. A staggering 96 percent of consumers don’t trust ads. Yet stats show 92 percent of consumers trust earned media. This makes it crystal clear how persuasive UGC can be as part of your marketing.

Spotify Wrapped is designed to be shared, and that’s exactly what users are doing in the millions across the globe. Users are sharing their Wrapped reports and personalities on social media like a badge of honour.

Brands hit the jackpot when their campaigns are parodied and become part of pop culture. Think Got Milk? which is as much a cultural icon as a marketing campaign.

Wrapped is having its cultural moment too, popping up in memes everywhere.

4. The customer is at the heart of the campaign

Wrapped is an annual celebration. It reminds customers of their memorable (and sometimes questionable) moments with Spotify. This is a powerful marketing tactic, rewarding users for their loyalty and showcasing how much they’ve experienced together. 

Wrapped cuts across digital, social and out of home (OOH) channels. It’s a global, integrated campaign and the delivery is slick.

2022’s themes are self-expression and play. These come to life in the visual identity, messaging and creative execution. Spotify has dialled up the playfulness with a subway poster to offer New York commuters a word-search game around guessing popular genres.

There’s a lot that brand marketers can learn from Spotify Wrapped. 

We can see the undeniable benefits of user-generated content and real-deal personalisation. Tap into human truths and behaviours to inform your creative strategy, then execute with an integrated, omnichannel approach.

And remember, creativity wins.

That’s a wrap.

Mia Fileman is a marketing campaign strategist and the founder of Campaign Del Mar, an Australian marketing education startup. She has worked in the marketing industry for two decades with global brands, including Kraft, BIC and L’Oreal.

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