New ads for YouTube Music make a statement about identity

YouTube has released a series of new video ads for its music app. The spots focus on statements of identity, with the tag line: “It’s not just what we listen to. It’s who we are.” Some of them explicitly portray people who are part of groups that have historically faced discrimination or prejudice. One shows a young Muslim woman in hijab rapping along with Blackalicious, and another shows a teenage boy dressing up as a woman.

Danielle Tiedt, YouTube’s chief marketing officer, told Billboard that this campaign is the biggest the company will run this year. The clips will air nationally on digital platforms in addition to running in movie theaters and on billboards in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Tiedt also addressed how the spots dive head-long into some subjects that are currently generating debate in the news. “These are exactly the kind of lightening rod identity politics that are going crazy in the world right now,” she said. “One of the reasons why we’re kind of leaning into that a little bit is because at YouTube we have such commitment to this idea that everyone should have the freedom to belong. It’s really, really a core part of our mission and how we run our business and that’s part of why we’re sticking strong to characters like this because if not us, who?”

Anna Washenko

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