MediaCom’s communication task was clear – but not simple. To take the risk out of giving (Universal artist’s) CD’s as a Christmas present. Risk will be discussed more in a second. By doing so Universal would increase its share of the lower $ value gift pie (not just the shrinking CD pie). In turn delivering its key business task – a greater share of the Aria charts by Universal artists.
Why did this matter? A disproportionate share of the charts delivers more media coverage and more importantly more retail support - which in turn helps sell more CD’s – which pushes Universal higher up the charts – and so on. Why Christmas? Physical music sales are in decline; however this trend is reversed at Christmas.
At Christmas Universal competes against other lower value gifts. So Mediacom commissioned (panel) research to unlock this gift giving occasion – by finding out who still buys CD’s and their attitudes towards gifting music.
CD’s are on everyone’s gift consideration set – but are perceived as ‘high risk’. Music is such a personal choice. Even if you know someone well – you can be surprised by their music tastes. People who had bought CD’s had talked of getting it ‘really wrong’ in the past.
So here was the problem. CD choice as a gift says a lot. Getting it wrong screamed – ‘I don’t really know you’ or worse – ‘I didn’t really think about this’.
The truth? Music is one of the hardest gifts to give. It is too easy to get it wrong and appear thoughtless.
Mediacom needed to encourage people to give the gift of music once again, without the fear of getting it wrong. Traditionally the brand would pour all of its money into a few big name artists and hope their broad appeal made them a safe gift. A genuine boom or bust approach.
Mediacom pushed to go the other way. To give people a broader palette of choice – without the risk. So it created, and promoted, the Give Music Generator (GMG). A, fun and ultimately useful e-commerce tool that took the risk out of choosing the right music gift.
The GMG was an ingenious social media application that scanned the profiles of your friends, looking at their likes, Twitter followers and Spotify listening data to select the perfect music gift for them.
Importantly this was not just another – ‘let’s throw an app at the problem’ type thing. It was an approach born out of insight – creating a service for people that took the fear out of – and built a little bit of fun back into the CD gift-giving retail experience.
There were two critical elements to executing this brilliantly.
1. Creation: Creating recommendation engines isn't as simple as flicking a switch.
While the GMG looked simple, Mediacom spent a bunch of time trawling through UMA's music catalog, plus external sources of genre and album classifications, to understand why people who like One Direction might also like Short Stack (turns out they do).
Once it had that data, it was a matter of applying some serious maths to match up and rank different artists and albums, all in the blink of an eye as the user punched their information into the app. What truly set this apart was its unique set of complex data sources encompassing social data from Facebook, Twitter and the Spotify API to unearth clues about people’s music preferences.
2. Getting it used and shared: The idea behind the GMG wasn't simply to build an app - rather it was also about actually engaging people in a useful and entertaining idea that generated its own media.
Mediacom tapped into something people love to compare – taste in music. So they made all of the actions within the Generator shareable with friends, driving organic reach.
To drive usage, it was promoted via highly targeted use of Facebook and interactive banners across key entertainment destinations, such as News Digital and NineMSN.
Users could either click through to the app or use the complete functionality of it within the banner. Importantly app users could purchase the album right there and then or add to a wish list where they could store all gift recommendations and print off when they hit the shops.
Universal owned the ARIA charts with a 33% share of albums in December, the highest of all the record labels. This was a 14% jump in share of ARIA’s compared to 2011; despite Universal’s share of record label spend decreasing by 41%, neatly closing the loop between promotion and purchase.
The campaign reached 3.9m unique browsers and delivered 11,023 clicks through to the application. This was over 200% more than the original target.
88% of all people that landed on the Generator page allowed the app and proceeded to the first page. 59% of people successfully matched music to their friends, with 45% of people matching music to themselves.
63% of visits were through mobile devices – a channel Universal had not previously used to promote physical sales giving us vital learning’s for future campaigns.
The combination of creativity and effectiveness for the Give Music Generator caught everyone’s attention being picked up in the trade press and being shared across Facebook and twitter.
Jeremy Scott, UMA’s Marketing Director said: “The idea behind using someone’s social profile to make sure they don’t end up with just another unwanted album was a great solution to a wider category problem.”
The generator proved so effective it will be rolled out to Universal globally.