Spotify Gets Nostalgic in These Delightful Outdoor Ads for the U.K.

'Listen like you used to' targets users 35+

The British are an intensely nostalgic people, and of course they also hold a singular place in modern music history as well. Those two facets of the British experience combine in a cheeky out-of-home campaign from Spotify, targeting consumers over 35 with the line "Listen like you used to." 

The executions, from agency Who Wot Why, follow Spotify's now-familiar OOH template—big, bold, colorful and witty. Each one pairs a year from the '70s, '80s or '90s with the year 2019. The captions for each year use musical references to humorously juxtapose then and now—in a relatable way that both salutes, and pokes light fun at, the aging target. 

As Who Wot Why puts it, the campaign "commemorates old-school music classics, and humorously celebrates how our listening habits and lifestyle choices evolve (or don't!) as we get older." 

Here's a sampling of the ads: 

The ads, like your better pop songs, are simply constructed and pleasantly formulaic. The "24 hour party people" execution—for us, maybe the best of the bunch—turns on a single hyphen. That cleverness, couched in the warmth of familiarity, makes the campaign very likable. Indeed, it's rocketed around social media in the last few days, with everyone singing its praises. 

The designs, while simple, are carefully considered. The "London Calling" ad, for instance, pulls its green-and-pink colors from the famous Clash album cover.

The OOH ads are running across the country. Seven video executions—essentially, moving versions of the OOH—will run on social and online. 

"What we love about Spotify is they totally get the art of great, punchy copywriting with a strong and provocative subject. The headlines leap off of the billboards and smack you right between the eyeballs," says Sean Thompson, one of Who Wot Why's founders and creative strategic partners. 

"The chemistry with Who Wot Why was immediate," says Spotify U.K.'s head of marketing, Olga Puzanova. "They get our brand, they get our tone of voice, and like us, are passionate about using creative storytelling to create and shape human connections." 

Who Wot Why was launched in 2016 by Thompson, Matt Gooden and Ben Walker. Earlier in their careers, the three work at Wieden + Kennedy on the classic Honda spots "Cog" and "Grrr." 

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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