To sign off 2016, Spotify has created an absolutely brilliant global ad campaign that celebrates unusual user data. Due to run in 14 markets worldwide, the campaign pokes fun at the bizarre listening habits of Spotify’s users while making astute references to local topical issues. It’s the perfect example of how personal user data can become the focal point for a brand, rather than its dirty secret.

Big data is scary. At least, that’s the story we’ve all been told for the last few years. However helpful it is for tailoring experiences, 71% of consumers still feel uncomfortable about how much brands know about them through data. Spotify has met this issue head on, instead choosing to celebrate it.

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Their new ad campaign picks out funny, interesting, and downright strange user metrics from the last year, focusing on them in regularly hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking ways. Rather than trying to hide their extensive and highly detailed bank of user data, Spotify has instead chosen to put it front and centre. Spotify is already a brand that is well known for its clever use of user data (their much fêted Discover Weekly algorithm being the perfect example), so this makes perfect sense for them.

It isn’t just the way Spotify utilises user data that makes this campaign so brilliant. It is also the highly localised targeting of the ads: no mean feat for such a large campaign. In London, Spotify is running an ad that references the controversial closure of nightclub Fabric – “To the 21,043 people who played “Dancing On My Own” the day that Fabric closed… you weren’t” – while in LA they call out an unfortunate Valentine’s Day romantic:

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People are far more likely to connect with an ad if they feel that it is directly relevant to them. The ads in this Spotify campaign do this by linking metrics to specific locations, or to national holidays or events that people can easily relate to. It’s the perfect way to get people to turn their heads, laugh, and then mention what they saw to a friend.

(Credit all images: Spotify)