The Deconstructed Brief
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Make Them Listen

Make Them Listen

Brand: Musicbed
Agency: Ryan Smith and Musicbed 

Challenge

Agency creative directors are some of the most sophisticated and jaded media consumers on the planet. They’ve seen everything. They’re busy.

So, how does an independent music licensing company grab the attention of this select group?

One Thought:

Yes, this ad is about you.

Rationale:

Musicbed decided to directly call out agency creative directors. The Texas-based company spent $500,000 on a microtargeted digital and out-of-home campaign. How targeted? Musicbed put up posters near the office of agencies, with personalized messages like:

  • “Seth Jacobs — We hope you are not on vacation. We spent a lot of money on this.”
  • “Would a company spend $7,490 just to introduce themselves to Seth Crane? Yes.”
  • “A man walks to work, looks at a window and sees a sign just for him. Hello, Andy Carrigan.”

The campaign was a blatant appeal to the ego of the creative directors. Who wouldn’t want to be the focus of a bespoke advertisement — especially as a person that creates ads for a living? Musicbed hung signs on subways where creative directors would likely commute and worked with street vendors to hand out posters near offices. The brand bought coffee for entire agency teams from local coffee shops.

Besides a cease and desist letter from Droga5, the campaign was positively received by agencies. Many creatives expressed their love on social media, with pictures of the posters. Frank Cartagena, executive creative director at 360i, wrote on Twitter: “The best subway poster I’ve ever seen, and I’m not even biased or anything.”

What they told Adweek:

“Advertisers have the largest BS meters,” Daniel McCarthy, founder and CEO at Musicbed, said. “They live in their own little world. It’s a weird little group. How the hell do you tap into this?”

Lessons to be learned:

  • Be unconventional. Musicbed’s goal was to become known on a “global level,” so it needed a big idea to generate buzz. The microtargeting idea was different, but it showed the advertisers that Musicbed understood their work.
     
  • Go micro.  Musicbed originally planned to target 5,000 to 20,000 creatives but scrapped that idea because it felt it was trying too hard. Instead, Musicbed just targeted the creatives it admired, which helped to build an authentic relationship. (For what it’s worth, 71 percent of consumers prefer ads tailored to their interest and habits, according to research by Adlucent.).
  • Think it through. — Musicbed took some criticism on social media for focusing on only male creatives in an Instagram Stories part of the campaign. The company decided against it featuring women because they thought it would look like they were harassing them. (Female creative directors were featured in posters.) Musicbed believes it made the right choice, based on feedback to the stories from female co-workers.

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