Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

What did your year “SOUND” like? UNWRAP your life’s greatest hits with this company’s campaign! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

December 31, 2021

Today is the last day of the year! 

What did your 2021 “sound” like? 

Did you… 

Fall back in love with a past favorite artist or musician? 

Listen to a genre you’ve never listened to before? 

Binge motivational podcasts for the first time ever? 

While we all have different answers on how this year has been like for us, one thing we can agree on is that whatever happened in our lives is something that’s UNIQUE. 

… and that WRAPS our year 2021. 

Wait a minute. Did you know one company has a marketing campaign that helps consumers look back and wrap their whole year through curated playlists? 

That company is…


Spotify is an audio streaming platform that revolutionized the way people pay for music. Launched in 2008, the company is the world’s largest music streaming service provider with over 381 million active users, including 172 million subscribers. 

As of September 2021, Spotify has over 70 million tracks users can listen to for free or for a fixed monthly price. 

Spotify’s Digital Guerrilla Marketing: Spotify Wrapped 

Wrapped is a personalized feature that shows users a slideshow (or story) of the songs and artists they’ve listened to the most throughout the year, the new music they’ve discovered, and the total minutes or hours they’ve listened to songs or podcasts. 

As the company’s digital and out-of-home guerrilla marketing tactic since 2015, Spotify Wrapped updates every December and is easy to share on social media or with friends. 

Let’s take a look at Spotify’s Wrapped highlights from 2015 to 2021: 

  1. 2015: Year in Music 

In the first launch of the Wrapped campaign, Spotify provided users with a personalized and interactive “Year in Music” that can be shared as snapshot-style cards across social media. 

The playlist included a user’s first played song at the start of the year, top artists, songs, and genres, and the total number of minutes or hours spent listening to music on Spotify. 

The only thing users had to do? 

Click on the “Get Your Year in Music” button to get their Year in Music playlist! 

  1. 2016: Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird. 

In this year-end personalized playlist, Spotify showed it pays close attention to users’ music preferences and life by providing them with a list of songs that reflected their streaming activities all year round. 

This playlist came with striking billboard messages that connected users with Spotify and with each other. 

  1. 2017: 2018 Goals

“#Goals” became a popular hashtag in 2017. So, when the year was about to end, Spotify jumped in on this trend and created a playlist that highlighted users’ goals for 2018. 

Same as the previous year, the brand put up billboards that talked about music and revealed the habits of some Spotify users. Some of these billboard messages were hilarious! 

  1. 2018: #2018Wrapped

Spotify knows what its users listen to when they’re happy, sad, or even while in the shower. That’s why during this year, the company decided to use such data to create a curated playlist for users during its annual Wrapped campaign. 

But wait, there’s more! 

The next big thing is knowing the current trend of the year… and in 2018, it was a viral online auditory illusion that Spotify took advantage of (much like the visual gold-and-white-or-black-and-blue-dress debate that went viral online). 

In the brief audio recording, 53% of people said they heard a man saying the word, “Laurel” while 47% said they heard the word, “Yanny.” 

Joining in on this trend enabled Spotify to capture more attention and interact with a lot more consumers! 

  1. 2019: Music for every mood. 

One of Spotify’s goals is to connect with millennials and Gen Zs. How did the company achieve that goal? 

Through memes! 

Using some of the songs on the 2019 Wrapped playlist, Spotify put up billboards with funny memes and messages that a lot of young users would relate to. 

The playlist’s theme reinforced the message that whatever it is that people are feeling, Spotify has “music for every mood.” 

  1. 2020: #2020Wrapped

Aside from giving users a personalized review of their listening habits for the year, Spotify’s #2020Wrapped honored all the musicians, artists, and podcasters who kept listeners “entertained, grounded, and informed” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This campaign turned into a short review of the eventful year through the musical preferences of different nations. 

  1. 2021: 2021 Wrapped 

For this year’s Wrapped playlist, which was released on December 1, Spotify celebrates the millions of “weird and wonderful” ways to live in a world that keeps people on their toes. 

The yearly marketing tactic also has added features, such as: 

  • 2021: The Movie – This pairs users’ top songs with classic movie scenes that reflect their music streaming activities for the year. 
  • Audio Aura – Spotify worked with an aura expert to visualize users’ audio aura based on their top 2 music moods. 
  • Playing Cards – This is an interactive, data-based game that users can play and share with their friends online. Like the game, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Spotify will display several statements about the user’s listening habits and his or her friends will have to guess which one is the lie. 
  • 2021 Wrapped Blend – In line with the new Blend feature that was released this year, Spotify lets users see how their music tastes for 2021 matches with their friends. They can also stream their blended playlist and share it on social media. 
  • A “New” Social-Sharing Card – Spotify users like to share their Wrapped cards on social media platforms like Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This year, Spotify added TikTok to that list. 

Based on what we discussed above, we can see that the Wrapped experience is full of fan-favorite experiences mixing with new ones that connect users with each other and with their favorite artists. 

Was Spotify’s Wrapped campaigns effective? 

Spotify Wrapped is the company’s way of thanking customers who use the platform to meet their audio streaming needs throughout the year… but it looks like the campaign benefitted not only the users but also Spotify! 

  • In 2015, the first year when Spotify launched the Wrapped campaign, the company’s mobile downloads during the first week of December increased by 21% compared to its mobile downloads during the same period in 2014. 
  • With the help of the Wrapped campaign, Spotify’s number of active users grew from 60 million users (including 15 million subscribers) in December 2014 to 75 million users (including 20 million subscribers) in December 2015. 
  • The campaign contributed to Spotify’s increase in revenue in 2015. According to the 2015 annual report, the company’s revenue rose to EUR 2 billion. That’s an 81% increase from the previous year’s EUR 1.1 billion in revenue! 
  • The company continued to record higher revenues in the succeeding years with the help of the campaign. 
  • –   2016: EUR 2.93 billion
  • –   2017: EUR 4.07 billion
  • –   2018: EUR 5.24 billion
  • –   2019: EUR 6.75 billion
  • –   2020: EUR 7.85 billion
  • Spotify also gained more users in 2016 to 2020. Through word of mouth and yearly digital and out-of-home guerrilla marketing campaigns, the company recorded higher user and subscriber counts each year. 
  • –   2016: 104 million (including 36 million subscribers)
  • –   2017: 138 million (including 59 million subscribers)
  • –   2018: 180 million (including 83 million subscribers)
  • –   2019: 232 million (including 108 million subscribers)
  • –   2020: 299 million (including 138 million subscribers)
  • According to sensortower.com, a mobile app marketing intelligence website, Spotify became one of the Top Non-Game Apps by Downloads in 2020. 

A round of applause for Spotify! 

As business owners and marketers, what can you learn from this digital guerrilla marketing tactic? 

Make good use of the data you gather from your target market. 

Personalization is a key factor on why Spotify’s Wrapped campaigns became something users look forward to at the end of each year. 

… and even outside the context of the streaming platform’s campaign, personalization is an important part of marketing and product development. 

Using collected data (not illegally collected data, of course) will help you make your customers’ experiences better. This will also enable you to think of creative campaigns that will resonate with your target market on a deeper level. 

We hope this digital guerrilla marketing campaign inspired you to think of your brand’s unique offerings and turn them into captivating, creative campaigns! 

Your campaigns don’t necessarily have to be that big to grab consumers’ attention. As long as you know how to pique customers’ interest and curiosity, even a simple campaign will do wonders for your brand.

Advance happy new year! Let’s wrap this year up with gratitude and look forward to another year of breakthroughs! 🎆🎉

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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