Marketing

Spotify and Smirnoff launch ‘unconscious gender bias’ campaign


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Like us, you’ve probably been wondering when a prominent vodka brand would weigh in to 2018’s music-industry debates around diversity and inclusion.

Congrats if you had ‘early March’ in the sweepstake: Smirnoff has teamed up with Spotify on a marketing campaign called the Smirnoff Equaliser. It’s based on the fact that the top 10 tracks on Spotify in 2017 were all by men.

“How much of your listening is made up of men vs women artists? Connect to your Spotify to discover more amazing music from women artists,” invites Smirnoff’s micro-site.

Once logged in, people’s listening-profile is analysed to gauge their unconscious gender-bias – whether they’ve listened to many more men than women in the last six months – before creating an ‘equalised’ playlist that’s equally split between men and women.

Which sounds good, although it falls down a bit when you actually get the playlist: when Music Ally tried this morning (and FYI it turned out 67% of the artists we’ve listened to are women) a playlist including Harry Styles, Kaskade, the Wombats, T-Pain, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Jason Derulo and Lady Gaga didn’t bear any resemblance to our actual tastes.

Update: creative agency Cornerstone has contacted Music Ally with an update on this. The Equaliser launched with just the top 1,000 tracks on Spotify tagged by gender, but as of next week, it’ll expand considerably to cover 80% of all tracks on the streaming service, which should make a big difference to the playlists served up to listeners.

Still, it’s at least an introduction to the wider Smirnoff Equalising Music initiative, which is joining industry efforts to push for a more-even gender ratio on club and festival lineups by 2020. So in fairness to Smirnoff, it’s been active on this issue for a while now.

Stuart Dredge

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