There are places where I’d like to see photos of chicken sandwiches, and there are places I would not like to see photos of chicken sandwiches. My Spotify Premium account falls into the latter category. Unfortunately for me, KFC Arabia manipulated a “loophole” in the streaming service to advertise its new Kentucky Burger, available at Middle Eastern locations.
The Dubai-based ad agency Memac Ogilvy took over the Spotify pages of three Middle Eastern artists: Moh Flow, Shéban, and Flipperachi (a great name for a burger-slinger, frankly). Their banner photos were replaced with KFC chicken burger imagery, while the sandwich was Photoshopped into the artists’ avatar pictures. When users clicked the “Concerts” tab, their pages would list not only their upcoming shows, but the KFC locations near each venue. Chicken-burger-centric copy was snuck into artist bios. And the campaign added artist playlists titled Anything But Ordinary, where the song titles spelled out ad copy: Discover / New / Kentucky / Burger / Come And Visit / KFC / Get It / Before It’s Too Late. The campaign is down now, but a Memac Ogilvy account director tweeted out a video of how it looked when live.
The campaign boasts its status as the first one ever on Spotify Premium in its press video, which seems like a really slimy thing to be proud of. “By hacking a platform where ads are not allowed,” it goes on to say, “we gave the Kentucky Burger the campaign that it truly deserved.” By “hacking,” I’m guessing they mean “paying artists a whole bunch of cash that Spotify never will,” but sure, call it a hack. Artists handing over their digital spaces to a fried chicken chain might have Lester Bangs rolling in his grave, but it’s probably, like, number 5,346 on his list of contemporary music gripes.