Case study: Herbal Essences and Spotify

December 13, 2011

Facebook, Social media

Herbal Essences is the first brand I have seen do any type of integration with Spotify. You?


I don’t do case studies that often on this blog. Especially when they involve relatively new social platforms. After all, I’m still not sold on Google+, regularly make fun of Quora and am proud that I never bought stock in any of y’all on Empire Avenue. Pinterest…I’m willing to listen. But I don’t have an account just yet.

Why am I so hesitant? I think it’s because I see so many brands not using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs as well as they could be. Not to mention websites. My high school basketball coach always said: “If you can’t hit your free throws consistently, I don’t want to see you chucking up a bunch of three-pointers.”

So if we’re talking about new case studies, especially with emerging social applications, I’m going to be hesitant to yell “shiny penny” in a crowded theater. But Spotify is different. And I think all brands need to take note of Herbal Essences recent campaign integrating the world’s most popular social music app. Because music has always been a way to be social and build relationships. Plus, Spotify is our first glance at the way the new Facebook app UI is going to change our user experience.

Herbal Essences and Spotify

Herbal Essences campaign was pretty simple. It’s a shampoo company. So it only made sense for them to ask fans to share their favorite song to sing…in the shower. Here’s how the rest of the user experience developed:

- Fans shared a lot of different shower songs.

- Herbal Essences took those songs and made a playlist on Spotify for its fans to enjoy.

- Fans can access the playlist from a Facebook tab on the Herbal Essences fan page.

- They can also search Spotify for their favorite shower songs to suggest for the playlist.

- Suggesting a new song enters them for a chance to win a year’s supply of Herbal Essences shampoo.

Behind the scenes

An integration like this one has to be orchestrated in partnership with Spotify. The brand can’t create request songs and build the playlist by itself.  Trust me, I asked Spotify about this today.

There are issues with using artists’ music to endorse your brand without their permission. Those are issues you want your legal team and Spotify’s legal team to discuss. And plugging into Spotify’s music catalog is vital to the execution of this program.

Other aspects to consider are the execution of the Facebook tab and contest management.

Why a Spotify integration is smart

As I said before, music is social. And Spotify has taken over Facebook recently. Raise your hand if you’ve seen a Spotify notification in your Facebook news ticker. How about in the last five minutes.

So Spotify is a common ground for all Facebook users. And music is another common ground. Plus Herbal Essences is allowing fans to help create the playlist. So there’s a reason for them to keep coming back. Suggest new songs and see what others suggest.

But music doesn’t have anything to do with their product, you say. I agree for the most part. But most brands spend too much time talking about themselves via social channels anyway, right? No one likes “that guy” who keeps talking about himself at a party.

Music is something that can bring people together and via this integration, the Herbal Essences brand can get credit for it. That’s smart.

At least I think it’s smart. Much smarter than a question site or Google+ brand pages that everyone has and no one is really using. What do you think about Herbal Essences’ campaign? Seen other brands creatively use Spotify? Please share in the comments.

Oh, and I almost forgot: What’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?

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fergusonsarah 97 pts

The best choice to keep us looking and feeling young is to return to nature with products like Herbal choice that have all natural all organic ingredients. Look for products that you can pronounce when reading and you recognize as words!

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joelfortner03 25 pts

This is quite thought provoking. Thanks for sharing!