Spotify’s ‘Listen Like You Used To’ Targets Dormant Audience

With high penetration and usage across its core younger audience, Spotify was looking to increase consideration within the elusive, and often forgotten, generation of 35-45-year-olds in the UK.

Generation X definitely didn’t listen to music like they used to. They were more likely to be found smashing avocadoes than listening to Smashing Pumpkins.

Spotify wanted to change this – so we hit rewind and tapped into music nostalgia, reminding people that whilst their life may have changed, their music taste probably hadn’t.

The Challenge

With 271 million active users today, Spotify is the most popular global audio streaming subscription service globally.

Yet research showed that 35-45-year olds simply weren’t listening to music like they used to. In fact, they’d pretty much stopped discovering new music altogether.

Our task was to show that Spotify makes it easier than ever to enjoy the music you love.

We used nostalgia to tap into the emotional connection that the 35-44 audience has with music, encouraging conversation and asking non- and lapsed users to engage with the platform.

In short, we challenged our audience to “Listen Like You Used To”.

With Spotify’s research showing that the music we listen to in our teenage years setting our musical taste as adults, we decided to create a nostalgia fuelled campaign focused on evoking personal memories of the iconic tracks our audience grew up with between 1979 to 1999; the formative years of their musical life.

Spotify has a long association with outdoor media, and our affluent, tech-savvy 35-44 target market tended to live in urban areas and were found to be more likely exposed and influenced by outdoor ads.

We also knew our creative had the power to go viral, and OOH was the perfect medium for our audience to snap a photo and share it online. The full creative process was actually executed with OOH front-of-mind.

Our Solution

We created a campaign filled with highly relatable, humorous and punchy home truths by commemorating old-school music classics to celebrate how our audience’s listening habits and lifestyle choices have changed.

We were talking to 24 Hour Party People – that are now 2 to 4 hour party people.

People who liked headbanging to London Calling – but who now nod off whilst conference calling.

Bespoke local executions were also created, including one displayed near the legendary Haçienda nightclub in Manchester – which has now been converted into luxury flats…

OOH drove consideration with a combination of powerful formats, ranging from high impact banners in our most important ‘winnable’ cities to smaller, frequency-driving roadside/public transport placements across the country.

By matching locally relevant creative executions such as ‘Haçienda’ and ‘London Calling’, with stand-out outdoor sites that naturally present a brand as being part of the local community, we successfully positioned Spotify as a ‘brand for me’ amongst 35-44s.

Social media and YouTube was used to bridge the online and offline world, encouraging conversation and engagement, with people even writing their own creative lines in response to the copy they’d seen – a true testament to the effectiveness of the creative approach in capturing our audience’s attention and imagination.


Due to the clear, celebratory and contextual messaging, the campaign performed phenomenally.

We reached an estimated 65% of the UK’s 35-44 audience, boosting consideration by +5% and growing our 35-44 audience on the Spotify platform by +10%.

But more than that, we got a whole forgotten generation to Listen Like They Used To.

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