- Smirnoff, the Diageo vodka brand, is partnering with music streaming service Spotify to launch Smirnoff Equalizer, an API to promote female musicians and let users discover how women are part of their own listening habits, a news release announced. The Equalizer API will run through the summer in the U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Mexico and Argentina.
- The Spotify API is an extension of the brand’s “Equalizing Music” campaign, which was announced last year with the goal of doubling the number of female music festival headliners by 2020.
- Smirnoff Equalizer analyzes the number of male versus female artists Spotify users have listened to over the past six months. The platform then offers a tailored playlist where both genders are represented equally. Users are also offered a personalized slider, where they can increase the number of female artists in their playlists and can hear from female musicians about gender bias in the music industry.
Diageo is going all-in to update the image of some of its most popular brands so they appeal more to women, a quickly growing segment of alcohol drinkers. The company’s Johnnie Walker brand recently unveiled Jane Walker, a female version of its Striding Man logo, which will appear on limited edition Black Label products. The whisky brand is also donating $1 for every special edition bottle sold to women’s causes. Diageo also launched a “Free the Bid” pledge across its brands, calling on ad agencies and content producers to include at least one female director in its creative bidding process.
For the Smirnoff initiative, linking it to Spotify could help the brand raise its awareness among younger consumers. None of the top 10 most-streamed tracks on Spotify in 2017 were performed by female artists or bands, according to data cited in Smirnoff’s news release. Smirnoff’s goal of getting more people to listen to more women artists is a cause that many younger consumers will rally behind as well as musicians, who get paid based on how often their songs are listened to and who, as they build their fan bases, will get more opportunities to perform.
DJ Honey Dijon, who is a transgender woman and advocate for LGBTQ and women’s rights, will share her story of gender bias in the music industry on the Smirnoff Equalizer platform. These stories could resonate with consumers, especially millennials and Gen Zers, who tend to be socially conscious and have been known to shrug off traditional notions of gender — and, they expect brands to nurture their beliefs. Millennials and over-21 Gen Zers also comprise a large portion of Spotify listeners. These age groups appreciate opportunities to engage with brands that offer relevant experiences and reward brands that promote social issues like gender equality.
Smirnoff also introduced limited-edition "Phenomenal You" Smirnoff N. 21 vodka bottles, which aren't available for purchase but will be gifted to 100 “phenomenal women around the world,” and a donation will be made in their names to She Runs It, a nonprofit focused on fostering more female leadership in the workplace. Smirnoff kicked off the Equalizer campaign with an event in New York City, where attendees were encouraged to create a video of themselves looking in the mirror and saying what makes them phenomenal.