Review: Pandora "Unwraps" A Best Holiday Ad Practice Catalog

By SXM Media InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Review:  Pandora "Unwraps" A Best Holiday Ad Practice Catalog

Once upon a time, and not so long upon at that, a big part of beginning a holiday season was getting a big catalog in the mail, filled with a torrent of items to shop and tips for using them way beyond the holiday season. Whether it was from Sears (in my case), Spiegel or Service Merchandise, it was a marvelous sight to behold. In many households of family members and friends, they became all-year-round keepsakes.

That's the kind of environment Pandora, one of the world's largest Internet-delivered music and podcast platforms, is cultivating in an engaging manner for current and future advertisers alike. Taking a page from department stores and other catalog producers of pre-digital era days, Pandora is distributing "Unwrapped: The Ultimate Holiday Ad," a treasure chest of audience research, tips and best practices for audio commercial results this holiday season.

The guide arrives 20 years after Pandora's formation, and nearly two years into the venture's existence as a division of satellite radio operator SiriusXM Holdings. Pandora's three tiers of programming—subscription, advertiser-supported and Pandora Premium, where customers craft on-demand playlists of their favorite tunes, reach more than 117 million users each month. The service is available through mobile, some smart TV sets and TV-connected devices, and Apple Watch.

"How will your brand sound this season?" poses copy on the opening slide. Given the coronavirus pandemic times throughout 2020, it's a more relevant question than ever. "As you prepare your messaging for the busy months of shopping ahead, a few simple best practices will ensure you a spot on everyone's wish-list."

The approach comes off like the best of those classic catalogs: set the reader up powerfully with a short introduction, then bring on the goodies for sale. In this case, for consumers' ears.

You'll sense a balanced approach running throughout "Unwrapped," and you can thank the elves at Studio Resonate, Pandora's in-house creative consultancy, for that. You end up with a plentiful assortment of listener insights, tips to get the most out of audio messages whether with the copy or sound quality, and those best-in-class examples. You also sense a can-do position taken for the advertiser, no matter how big or small. "We'll walk you through how to plan, perfect and deliver amazing holiday ad creative," summarizes another page.

A few factoids on Pandora listener habits to chew on, for example:
**94 percent of listeners will buy holiday gifts this season
**90 percent of listeners want to hear from companies and brands this time of year
**70 percent claim music gets them in the holiday spirit

From page to page, Pandora's guide offers ways advertisers can research to identify both the ideal consumers for their product or service, and the best way to connect with and influence those consumers. Considerable words and space are devoted to call-to-action, which company representatives view as the most important element of audio spots, especially during holiday seasons.

Another highlight here is the threesome of campaigns cited in an extensive best practices section. All three—top brewer Anheuser-Busch, department store chain JC Penney and home security outfit ADT—deliver unique aspects of recent audio creative, each with reaction from Pandora officials. Later on, tips on generating successful combo Pandora/SiriusXM campaigns get a showcase of their own.

One more touch worth checking out in this guide is Pandora's classification of specific listener habits, each with a multi-million following. Two of note: music enthusiasts and genre listeners.

"Unwrapped" is available through Pandora or SiriusXM's advertising representatives, who no doubt will be of good holiday cheer.

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