Behind The Work

THE POWER OF AMBIENCE

Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
During a time where people are spending more time in their homes than ever, cultivating a relaxing, enjoyable ambience where people live is key to maintaining happiness and mental health. Havas Amsterdam capitalised on this insight for their campaign for Philips’s “Hue” products, highlighting their use in people’s homes and the importance of lighting in creating a pleasant environment through a partnership with Dutch hip-hop artist Typhoon.
To learn more about the campaign, we spoke with Elias Reinheimer, Chief Creative & Content Officer for the Content & Media Partnerships Department at Havas Media Amsterdam.

Can you describe the process of concepting the campaign?

We decided on doing a proactive creative partnership & branded content campaign with Philips Hue after going over their annual numbers. We found a decline in ‘brand consideration’ and a loss of market share to much cheaper alternatives to the premium priced Hue product. The Philips brand and innovations, like Hue, are a source of pride in my country that goes far beyond just marketing. So, right then and there we decided we were going to do something about it!  

The Philips brand is synonymous with innovation and invented the smart-lighting category in the first place. That’s why we decided to embrace innovation ourselves and take a different path than your standard media deployment. We went for branded content, partnerships, and more creative forms of media usage. This risk ultimately landed us with artist Typhoon. And it paid off.

How did you develop the insights you used to guide the campaign? Did you work with any third parties?

We asked ourselves ‘who has a natural relationship with light’? The answer is of course: performing artists. They use light on stage all the time. It’s an integral part of any performance, as vital to the mood of a concert as the music itself. Vivendi Group has access to these artists. With that insight in hand, we met with our close contact at Universal Music, asking ourselves which artists would match with the Philips Hue brand and how we should approach the campaign.

We started our research and identified four key insights. The first was that music is the number one passion point of consumers, before anything else, even sports or travel. The second was that music and technology have huge overlap, since 78% of tech enthusiasts are passionate about both. The third was that both music and lighting have a similar ability of ‘emotional recall’ and can therefore set the mood in conjunction with each other. The last insight was that ‘home’ is always in the top three places people listen to music, fitting in quite nicely with the Hue brand.

There was of course, one other circumstance that helped our case: people were in lockdown, at home, entertaining themselves with music. The timing to go all out on the promotion of Philips Hue was now.

“We went for branded content, partnerships, and more creative forms of media usage. This risk ultimately landed us with artist Typhoon. And it paid off.”

How did the team decide on working with Typhoon? How did that partnership align with your campaign vision and goals?

We asked Universal Music if they wanted to join the project and they did. Together we held a strategy and archetype workshop, combining data from Spotify, Universal Music, Vivendi and Havas Media Meaningful Brands findings, to find the best artist that matched the ‘creator’ archetype we needed for Philips Hue. We concluded artist Typhoon would be an awesome fit. So, we started looking into him. To our surprise and delight, it just so happened this incredibly popular Dutch artist was set to release a new album called Lichthuis, which means ‘lighthouse’. We put two and two together, and we knew we had found our match.

In his new album Typhoon explores the themes of dark and light, and how he had come back to the light after a dark period. He had a deep and authentic story to tell about light. We called the project The Power of Ambience – Light Through the Eyes of the Artist as we built a special Philips Hue ‘lighthouse’ for Typhoon to celebrate his new album. We asked him to spend 24 hours in this great setting, telling us about his creative process, his darker days, what his own house means to him, what relationship he has with light when on stage and so much more. Basically, all our key insights came into play, spontaneously.

All of this happened during a pandemic, when people could easily relate to someone talking about light at the end of a dark tunnel, about how light and colour sets our moods, and about the relationship we have with our homes. As branded content cases go, it could not have been any better. We had a deep, truthful documentary, set in the mood and space of the Hue brand itself, in a time when we all needed to hear that story. Typhoon told us in all earnestness, how incredibly important light is to his creative process and his life. It all came from the heart. And the heart of the consumer was very open to it.  

Can you outline some of the key results from the campaign?

To best explain the results, you must understand that besides being highly creative, Typhoon is also a very warm and loveable guy. When he speaks, people listen. And the subject matter itself, his relationship with light, was spot on in the moment. We knew this, so we decided on a strategy that would get us the best results, the quickest.

The overall strategy was simple: story first, platform second, format third. We combined the core of the story in a 10-minute mini documentary on YouTube and together with the popular music label Top Notch (part of Universal Music) we launched, first to the inner circle and fans of Typhoon, then to the Philips Hue broader target group and to the press and ultimately to the owned channels of Philips Hue. It was paid, owned, and earned all in one. But crucially, it started with the story.

The documentary quickly reached 2.4 million views, which is a lot, considering The Netherlands has only 17 million residents. The ‘finished-view’ ratio was double that of other ‘commercial content’ within Havas. The view-rate was above 50%, twice as high as other ‘commercial content,’ with the Top Notch target group being above 65% as an outlier. We capitalised on this trending success and pushed the content to the broader Philips Hue audience funnel with more Philips Hue x Typhoon consumer & product uses case, in the end giving us pretty much groundbreaking results.

The subject matter of ‘light’ and all its associated emotions was the link between the brand and the artist, and it worked. The target group reported back to us that they really felt the content was authentic, far from a ‘forced message’ with commercial undertones. It was the first crucial step to get high up again into that brand-consideration zone.

The brand, the story, it just sticks in your mind. It was such a natural fit between all the elements… the Lighthouse album, the link between light and music, the ‘home’ feeling of the pandemic and the setting of the Hue Lighthouse, the tech-savvy target group, the story of Typhoon coming back to the light in his life… the stars were just aligned for the campaign to happen and be successful.

“All of this happened during a pandemic, when people could easily relate to someone talking about light at the end of a dark tunnel, about how light and colour sets our moods, and about the relationship we have with our homes.”

Were there any results that surprised you? Is there anything we didn’t ask that you’d like to mention or highlight?

That’s got to be the link with Spotify. Don’t get me wrong. We’re extremely proud of everything else, of course, and the combination between the functional product and the personal story worked wonders, so I don’t want to put any one thing ahead of anything else… but there is one thing I personally thought was the coolest of the whole campaign: the innovation between Spotify x Philips Hue ‘light-programme’ together with Typhoon on his Lighthouse album. You basically have the concert lights doing their thing in your living room if you play the album through the Spotify app. It was the cherry on the cake when I put it on.

In Typhoon’s own words: “Lighting goes hand in hand with our own energy.” And the state of mind and energy of everyone involved, including the target group, just aligned perfectly with the campaign.   

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