YouTube Music dropped five new ads promoting their streaming service on Monday, July 18, and each one tells a modern-day story of a marginalized person in the world.
The ads support the YouTube Music app, which launched in November and boasts both music and video. The spots, directed by Lance Accord, feature music from Fuse's own Big Freedia, Blackalicious and James Blake. One promo showcases a kid named Alex, who leaves his job working at a fast food joint to come home to listen to music and try on makeup and different outfits. At the end of each ad is the tagline: "It's not just what we listen to. It's who we are."
YouTube's chief marketing officer Danielle Tiedt made a statement and gave insight into the ads:
"We did a bunch of segmentation around our users and found this set of users who is really our key target market who finds and defines themselves by music. We kind of leaned into characters where you really saw that juxtaposition of the way music is with you at really critical moments in your life and how it helps define you and bring these characters to life in the same way we're also highlighting this incredible diversity of users and the music we have on the platform."
Various minorities are featured in the campaign (which take place over eight weeks in movie theaters, online and on billboards), and YouTube is purposely running the ads around the same time as the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
YouTube is ready to deal with any controversy for implementing diversity in the ads. In the past, they've been criticized for not promoting their black stars. Tiedt says:
"There's no doubt that they will cause controversy. These are exactly the kind of lightening rod identity politics that are going crazy in the world right now. One of the reasons why we're kind of leaning into that a little bit is because at YouTube we have such commitment to this idea that everyone should have the freedom to belong. It's really, really a core part of our mission and how we run our business and that's part of why we're sticking strong to characters like this because if not us, who?"