Burger Jams 2017: Wendy’s and Spotify Partner for Ad Campaign

If you’ve heard a food-related song and instantly started craving said food, Wendy’s digital advertising software department has taken notice. By introducing its own version of the Pavlovian response—a combination of square-shaped patties and timely Spotify playlists—the fast-food giant is looking to reach potential customers at exactly the right moment.

To contribute to this initiative, Wendy’s has collaborated with Spotify as a launch partner for its Branded Moments product. Branded Moments allows brands to sponsor playlists on Spotify’s mobile app that correlate with specific activities and times of day that consumers listen to music. As a result, brand-specific vertical video ads are displayed when a company’s target audience is known to be listening. The timing of this partnership purposefully coincides with the Double Stack sandwich being included in its 4 for $4 menu.

“Essentially, it’s a vertical video ad that talks to the user in a key moment. It allows the brands to give the user 30 minutes of uninterrupted music [and to] reach that listener multiple times throughout that session with [display] overlays.” said Danielle Lee, global head of partner solutions at Spotify, said.

This is Spotify’s first experience with vertical video, likely due to the fact that is has become the preferred method of mobile ad consumption––it is also an intriguing space for advertisers, with 360° video and virtual reality (VR) capabilities taking off.

Spotify is introducing Branded Moments with six thematic playlists: chill time, workout, party, chill, sleep and focus. Brands can sponsor both the Spotify-owned-and-operated thematic playlists for these moments, as well as user-generated playlists that are segmented into these moments, based on their names and the type of music they contain.

Wendy’s is sponsoring the dinner portion of the campaign with the intention of targeting already hungry, on-the-go customers.

“For us, it’s about reaching the right person at the time they’re thinking about making a decision,” Brandon Rhoten, VP and head of advertising, media and digital marketing at Wendy’s, said.

Insights into the Partnership

While this is certainly an interesting match, Wendy’s and Spotify are looking to tap into the hyper-personalization craze that has infiltrated marketing and advertising. In this case, music is being used as the catalyst to identify, target and speak to a particular consumer’s interests. Then, using an appealing, well-placed vertical video ad in an appropriate playlist, Wendy’s is hoping that consumer will choose its restaurant over McDonald’s, Burger King or Arby’s.

“When you’re driving to lunch and you’re not sure if you’re going to go right into McDonald’s or left into Wendy’s or around the block to Chipotle, we need to make sure we’re in the back of your head through our broader brand advertising and in front of you right as you’re starting to turn that wheel,” Rhoten said. “Streaming audio is one of those checkout line target moments where we can hopefully persuade you before you make the decision.”

Potential Security Issues

Wendy’s strategy seems clear enough, but how does it know what type of music you listen to? And how does it identify people who have eaten at Wendy’s and listen to Spotify? Get ready, because, for lack of a better phrase, it’s weird.

Wendy’s will overlay its customer data such as credit card information (yikes), with Spotify’s playlist data to identify potential burger-eaters and hit them with the right message at the right time. It will also take into account the frequency of Wendy’s visits and demographics.

Essentially, if you used the same credit card for your Spotify subscription and a Wendy’s cheeseburger, they are able to swap your personal information.

Even in a culture quick to accept terms without reading, this raises some interesting questions: When you use your credit card in a restaurant, should you assume that your information is no longer private? Or does that need to be stipulated?

Regardless, the way personal and financial information is exchanged will continue to evolve. While only Wendy’s and Spotify are sharing your information this time, privacy and security of personal information will be major issues in the coming years.

Digital Advertising

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