Mood-based advertising could tune in to untapped markets

Lara O’Reilly is Marketing Week’s digital and telecoms specialist and here she gives her own view on what companies from Apple to Zynga are up to in the wired world of the web.


I often put on a certain song or album to allay or accentuate the mood I’m in. But when listening online I’ve been baffled as to why I have been targeted with ads for dance club nights and Jessie J album promotions on Spotify when I have been playing a staple aural diet of 70s punk and US no-wave.

It’s not as if Spotify doesn’t keep track of what I’m listening to – it introduced a top five artists and tracks panel last year so users can proudly (and sometimes apprehensively) display their listening habits on their profiles.

It makes sense for brands to offer relevant advertising based around the music its target audience is listening to – in the same way you that wouldn’t see Teletubbies in Channel 4’s Shameless ad breaks.

Syntonetic, the company behind playlisting app Moodagent has taken listening behaviour one step further by profiling individual tracks to create a dynamic playlist based on a user’s mood.

It scores tracks in a user’s music library on their computer or mobile based on five attributes: sensual, tender, happy, angry and tempo.

The technology has actually been around for years but for brands, Moodagent and similar programs present an exciting advertising opportunity.

Peter Berg Steffensen, Syntonetic’s CEO says Moodagent’s technology means a user listening to Bob Marley’s Sun is Shining could be presented with an ad for a “chilled relaxing beer or a groovy holiday destination”.

When listening online I’ve been baffled as to why I have been targeted with ads for dance club nights and Jessie J album promotions

Uffe Henriksen, business development director at Aegis Media, which counts brands such as Adidas, Coca-Cola and Fiat among its clients, says such brands have already reacted positively to that idea.

The use of such technology could even be extended to video or eventually TV.

Location-based and demographic-target advertising is already prevalent, but mood-based advertising could be the next step in the quest for truly targeted marketing campaigns.

I just wonder what kind of brands will be first on the list to sign up to appear alongside the more hardcore acts in the “angry” list. Somehow I can’t see a Rammstein and Coca-Cola lineup any time soon.

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