Pandora is celebrating Christmas in 2020 with a new ad that will focus on distant holiday get-togethers, as well as integrating television programming and a range of virtual concerts.
The 30-second TV commercial with a short zoom cameo of singer Sia sets a new normal for holiday traditions as the pandemic prevents people from traveling to see loved ones this year. Pandora is also making integrations with Jimmy Kimmel Live and AMC’s broadcast of Elf, as well as a sequel to its vacation-themed virtual concert series, which recently featured Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood.
The “Holiday Hits Different” campaign aims to promote Pandora’s Modes listener discovery tool and its most popular holiday music stations. This is the latest effort by the SiriusXM-owned company to take advantage of a surge in audience on desktops and connected devices as users spend more time at home while under quarantine.
“This year, of course, everything in the culture looks and feels a little different,” Brad Minor, Pandora’s SVP for Marketing, Creativity and Communication, told Adweek. “So we really took that as a starting point: ‘How is the world feeling this year? How does this affect our listeners differently? ‘”
Minor said the creative team wanted to balance recognition of pandemic conditions with an optimistic mindset.
“We wanted to make sure it felt positive, that it wasn’t necessarily a deserted, sentimental holiday – something else,” Minor said. “You can still have these connections with friends. You can still have the connection for the family. It’ll just be a different perspective. “
Regarding the decision to cast Sia as one of the callers at a Zoom Christmas party in a background, Minor said the team was looking for someone who would be instantly recognizable to create a dazzling moment. “As in 2020, Sia would of course only be attending your video conference party. Why shouldn’t it be? “
Previously, Pandora ran a branding campaign in May that was specifically tailored to a large number of users turning on for the first time from smart home devices. Since then, it has developed a widespread virtual concert series that Minor said is likely to go beyond the ultimate end of the pandemic.
“[The pandemic] forced us to swing and do things we didn’t have to do before. And the beauty of it is that we’re not going back. We’ll just keep going, ”said Minor. “I don’t see a day when we return in person just without the digital expansion. We will build on this in our playbook. “