What can Shazam’s charity collab teach us about marketing partnerships?

The Zoella’s, Sprinkle of Glitter’s and Thatcher Joe’s may be top the influencer scale this year. But, with technology moving at a rapid pace, how long is it until we place our interests, opinions and trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) instead? 

Siri, Alexa and Google Home are all brilliant at telling us the time, weather forecast and nearest curry house. Yet, it’s just a matter of time until brands strategically leverage these gadgets’ profiles to influence us.    

Arguably, this has already begun to occur – and it’s great to see UK charity Alzheimer’s Research get in their early through music app Shazam.

Working with Innocean Worldwide UK, it launched ‘The Day That Shazam Forgot‘ to educate young people that Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease reserved for older generations. With 65,000 people under 40 living with the condition in the UK, it prompted people to find out more and donate to show their support. Alzheimer's Research teamed up with ShazamTaking over the app’s interface, users were made to believe Shazam had forgotten the song in question, serving up lines such as ‘I’m sure I know this one…’ and ‘I just can’t quite…’. This was then followed up with subtle advertising to drive people to a landing page on the website.

It’s a great idea that delivered a high number of impressions and click-throughs in a short space of time. But, the fact that the reports on AdWeek and Campaign fail to outline the number of donations raised as a direct result of this marketing stunt leaves me feeling deflated.

As an industry, marketers (myself included before you think I’m preaching on a sunny Sunday) need to take more responsibility for delivering tangible, impactful and business-changing results. KPIs focused on impressions, visits and cost per click distances marketing from ‘real’ objectives – and charities cannot afford to work in silos any longer

Saying ‘I only have to bring people to the donation page, whether they choose to give or not isn’t my remit’ won’t work for much longer. 

Why? Because without tangible results, PR, digital and marketing departments aren’t truly understanding their supporters’ needs and budgets simply won’t increase. It’s in everyone’s interest to take this seriously.

This might mean agencies working with third-parties like Shazam to take their brand partnership one level further and – for a short time – completely changing the dynamic of the app; giving Shazam a heart to promote the cause itself (offering authenticity and credibility) rather than offering a standard advertising package. 

Now that would really be something to talk about.

There’ll be plenty more opportunities in the future for apps to surprise us. The question, is will you be able to tell when they’re pushing a brand-led agenda?

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