Pandora’s Box(ed)

When I saw this billboard for Pandora, I cringed. It’s hard to watch a respected brand stumble so badly, so publicly.

Since its debut as a music streaming pioneer, Pandora’s growth has stalled. Their number of ‘listening sessions’ has dropped sharply as fans abandon them for Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.

But more importantly, Pandora is losing relevance.

To turn things around, Pandora chose to re-introduce their service – implying we’ve forgotten about it. Sadly, this campaign reeks of desperation. But never fear, Pandora has a new slogan that’s sure to turn things around: All New, All You.

Sounds like an ad for maxi-pads or a retirement community.

Here’s my take. Classic marketing strategy says to improve the product before promoting it. Undeterred, Pandora’s asking for another chance without offering a new reason to listen. And in their haste to stop the bleeding, this campaign only raises more doubt about their future.

Pandora is boxed-in by competitors with superior products and bottomless resources. Amazon dominates the smart speaker market. Apple’s CarPlay is built into your dashboard while Spotify’s playlists have a loyal following.

Where does this leave Pandora?

Last year, SiriusXM paid $3.5 billion to acquire the streaming service. Let’s hope they have a relaunch plan to:

·         Jump start subscriptions with an incentive – like a $20 trial rate during 2020.

·         Announce new music samplers featuring shortened versions of the best new rock, pop, country and hip-hop songs.

·         The word ‘Pandora’ conjures magical images and discovery. But their website looks uninspired. Why not collaborate with gaming companies who’ve mastered the immersive user experience?

·         Humanize Pandora and give it a personality like Alexa and Siri. But cooler, more clever.

In other words, prove that Pandora is more than a digital jukebox.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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