- Anheuser-Busch brand Michelob Ultra partnered with audio streaming service Spotify on a campaign aimed at runners in the U.K. and Mexico before a global rollout later this year. The Michelob Marathon effort is the first to use Spotify's technology to reach listeners with tailored messages based on their location, time of day and weather, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The campaign urges runners to visit a microsite where they can create a playlist customized for their desired distance, intensity and location. The site also links to Spotify's best running songs and offers a chance to receive a free pint of the beer.
- In addition, Michelob Ultra is giving people a chance to run in the Oxford Half Marathon on Oct. 13 as a member of Team Ultra. Runners have until Oct. 7 to upload a screenshot of a running app from their most recent run for a chance to win a spot on the team.
Michelob Ultra's campaign on Spotify's free, ad-supported tier is groundbreaking for using the streaming platform's dynamic audio technology that customizes marketing messages based on real-time data. The analysis combines the individual user's activities — in this case, plans for a jog — with location, time and weather data to personalize the audio ad insert. It's not clear exactly what those branded messages will be, but they're designed to reach runners before, during and after their workouts, per the announcement.
For Spotify, the dynamic audio targeting may help the streaming platform to differentiate its ad products from competitors. While most of the company's revenue comes from its 108 million paid subscribers, it also reaches 124 million people with its free, ad-supported tier. Its ad revenue jumped 34% in Q2 from a year earlier amid a stronger push to monetize that listenership.
"As an audio-first platform with personalization and streaming intelligence at our core, we were poised to deliver upon Michelob Ultra's pursuit to drive personalization at scale through this campaign," said Jeff Rossi, Spotify's global head of industry, CPG, in a statement.
Those efforts include the development of technologies that identify audiences based on a variety of data, such as listening habits. The company this month updated its self-serve Spotify Ad Studio with interest-based targeting to reach listeners based on their individual podcast, playlist and audio preferences among categories like comedy, cooking and technology. In April, Spotify added streaming conversion metrics to the self-serve platform to help marketers better track the performance of ad campaigns.
The Michelob Marathon campaign aims to reach runners whose healthy habits make them key targets for a low-calorie beer. AB InBev reintroduced Michelob Ultra to the U.K. market last year as younger adults showed signs of drinking less alcohol because of health concerns. A study released last year found that U.K. millennials consumed less alcohol than the prior generation did. The percentage of consumers ages 16 to 24 who abstained from alcohol rose to 29% in 2015 from 18% a decade earlier, per a University College London study cited by CNN. The portion of young consumers who said they hadn't had an alcoholic beverage in the prior week rose to 50% from 35% a decade earlier, the study found.