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Kurt Hanson: Pandora quietly launches major TV spot buy

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With no fanfare or PR announcement behind it, leading online radio service Pandora has apparently launched a major TV spot schedule in the past week or so, including network TV, cable channels, and online video prerolls. (See the video at the end of this post.)

The 30-second spot depicts three suburban teenagers in an automobile listening to Pandora on a smartphone, with the tagline “The next song matters. Pandora.”

The website iSpot.tv, which tracks TV spot schedules of various ad campaigns, says the spot, named “The Next Song,” has already received 1,075 national airings and is the #75 spot in terms of spending in the past week.

The spot copy runs as follows: “It’s not long — the tiny moment of anticipation before the next song. But it’s all the time we need. We’ve already studied every note, every beat, to bring you this song, your song, right here.” The song, assuming I Shazamed it correctly, is “Raise Hell (Hell Yes)” by Dorothy.

It should be noted that iSpot.tv has characterized the spot in the category of “Apparel, footwear, and accessories,” either because it’s confusing Pandora the online radio brand with Pandora the jewelry company or because the individual at iSpot.tv who watched the spot couldn’t figure out what the product being advertised was.

While it’s exciting to see an online radio brand making a national TV buy, I must admit I’m kind of surprised by the creative.

It features sexy, glamorous, slow-motion video of the three teenagers — one teen blowing a bubblegum bubble, one teen looking surly in the back seat (as seen via the rear-view mirror), one doing a slow-motion, heavily made-up eye blink.

I realize that Pandora’s core audience is largely 18-34, but this spot seems to be positioning the brand as even younger than that.

(That said, in terms of placements, I saw it in a preroll position this morning as I was looking at a video on CNN Money.)

Also, my favorite marketing books advise that the best angle for a leading firm in a new industry is to promote the growth of the industry. This spot doesn’t seem to do that. Rather, it seems to a reminder message for young people who are already fully aware of the brand.

Still, to reiterate, it’s exciting to see Pandora finally able to afford to mass-market consumer advertising. Hopefully it’s on the leading edge of a trend that will further the growth of online audio!

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