‘Have-A-Go-Heroes’ beware… Nick Knowles can’t fix up your botched campaign

Imagine for a moment, that I am the manager of… Oooooh, let’s say… a “Pencil Museum” somewhere in rural England. I know, it’s a stretch, but such a thing does exist, so bear with me.

Despite residing in a sleepy backwater and scratching a living in what could hardly be described as… the fast-lane of local tourism, I’m still a reasonably young, intelligent and entrepreneurial individual. I use the latest smartphone technology, I do my weekly shop online and have just invested in a ‘connected device’. An ‘Echo Dot’ to be precise. I use this to listen to the radio, podcasts and Spotify.

Recently a friend told me about a new drive for advertising clients on the streaming site. Talking about ‘personal and geo-targeting’. My friend thought it might be a cost-effective way to get locals and visiting tourists alike, to sample the unique delights of our attraction.

I later search ‘Spotify Ads’ and land on this page:

Wow! They have a ‘Self-Serve Ad Studio’ and by the looks, I’m very much in charge of it. “Tell us how your ad should sound” they cheerily suggest. How would I know? I eventually notice some ‘top-tips’ farther down the page, but decide I’ll come back to that one. It seems important. Let’s do ‘pick your audience’ and ‘customise your campaign’ instead.

Ah, target demos. We’d better come back to that too. So, let’s customise! Mmmm that’s the bit where we actually pay. But for what? We don’t even have an ad yet. Hang on though, I’ve just noticed that I don’t necessarily have to tell Spotify how my ad ‘should sound’ after all. I can just upload my own! So, in that instance all I have to do is write it and record it, yes? Now, I hate to sound like a stuck record but… I run a Pencil Museum. So what I know about writing and recording commercials could probably be etched in gold leaf on the back of… well, an antique pencil! Surely, something as crucial as this should really be handled by professionals. Shouldn’t it? Aaaggghhhh!

Seriously now, I confess that over the years, I’ve stumbled across one or two radio clients who would positively relish the opportunity that Spotify appears to be promoting.  

To conceive and write, maybe even cast, voice and produce – their own commercial. Like this famous effort from yesteryear:

Putting all the mirth aside though, when did any such botched DIY project ever turn out well? For anyone? Particularly the client. Who you can always argue should have known better of course, but who certainly should have received far better advice too.  

And I really can’t imagine what Spotify’s big brand advertisers will make of being potentially lumped onto the platform alongside a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs.

There again, they’d rather we didn’t hear any ads at all of course. Preferring instead for us to subscribe to the Premium service.

So perhaps this is just a cunning way of dragging us all kicking and screaming towards the ‘30 Day Ad-Free Trial’? Altogether now…


Mark Gregory 

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash