Founded by the French in 1718, ruled by the Spanish for four decades, and bought by the United States in 1803, New Orleans has a colourful history. The biggest city in Louisiana, today it is best known for its distinct Creole culture and rich musical heritage. It is thought to be one of the most musically diverse cities in the world, famous for everything from jazz and brass, to hip hop and gospel, to indie and funk.
New Orleans Tourism decided to try to entice visitors to the city by bringing its musical history to life in its recent campaign, which saw it team up with streaming platform Spotify and agency 360i to turn a playlist filled with well-known local musicians into a real-life musical experience. The Offline Playlist line-up included Jon Batiste, Irma Thomas, Curren$y, Mannie Fresh, Alynda Segarra, Boyfriend, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington, Amanda Shaw, Craig Adams, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who together boast six Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums, 23 Hot 100 singles, and more than 100 million Spotify streams.
Using data from the playlist’s listeners, a select group with a shared love of New Orleans music was invited to experience The Offline Playlist live, at an event taking place at the city’s historic jazz venue, Preservation Hall. Photography and footage from the live concert was documented by music photographer Danny Clinch and a group of local filmmakers, and used to create a trailer, a Spotify album, and a feature-length documentary. The campaign also included broadcast commercials, out-of-home installations, and a range of social and influencer content online.
Marking the first time a brand has recreated a Spotify playlist as a live event and developed it into a film, pulling off the campaign was a complex feat. “It’s an exercise in process, a million moving parts – from artist negotiations to fan outreach, to run-and-gun content capture to editing and sound mixing – each requiring a higher level of craft than the next,” say Andrew Hunter and Doug Murray, creative directors at 360i’s New York office.
“To complicate all of it, the show had to be postponed 48 hours before it was supposed to be held, due to a hurricane. We had to reschedule and rework everything in less than a week, without lowering our standards,” they add.
Since the campaign’s launch, one of the tracks from the playlist, Keep Your Head Up by Jon Batiste and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was released in the March issue of the New York Times Magazine as the first music video designed exclusively for Google Lens, while the accompanying film has been accepted into a number of film festivals, bringing New Orleans’ musical prowess to a wider audience.
At a time when many music venues are struggling to make ends meet, and streaming giants such as Spotify continue to dominate, the campaign demonstrated how the music industry can work together in new ways. “For us, the experience proved that digital and physical worlds aren’t as separate as you might think,” say Hunter and Murray. “Music brings people together under any circumstance.”
Client: New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation
President/CEO: Mark Romig
VP Marketing & Special Events: Jeremy Cooker
CCO: Menno Kluin
ECDs: Frank Cartagena,
Creative Directors: Andrew Hunter, Doug Murray
Associate Copywriter: Christian Napolitano
Associate Art Director: Taylor Roberts
Design Director: Brian Gartside
Designer: Sophia DelPlato
Account Director: PJ Sibille
EVP Media: Scott Daly
Media Supervisor: Melissa Flaherty
Media Manager: Liana Comito
Senior Director Influencer Marketing & PR: Scott Slattery
Manager Influencer Marketing & PR: Emily Rizzo
Head of Integrated Production: Carissa Ranelycke
Executive Producer: Carly Salaman
Business Affairs: Linda Ferrara
Production Company: 11 Days
Executive Producer: Shelby Hunter
Director: Brian C. Miller Richard
Producer: Cindy Fertitta
DP: Natalie Kingston
Editor: Pete Slife
Animator: Michelle Morris
Mix: Carl Mandelbaum,
Colour: Kath Raisch, Company 3
Photography: Danny Clinch, Justen Williams
Performers: Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Charlie Gabriel, Ben Jaffe, Clint Maedgen, Ronell Johnson, Walter Harris, Kyle Roussel, Branden Lewis), Jon Batiste, Mannie Fresh, Boyfriend, Amanda Shaw, Alynda Segarra/Hurray for the Riff Raff, Irma Thomas, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Curren$y, Walter Wolfman Washington,
Creative Director: Ben Jaffe
Artistic Director: Ron Rona
Manager: Mike Martinovich
Director of Operations: Howard Lambert
Executive Director, Preservation Hall Foundation: Greg Lucas
Studio Engineer/Production Manager: Matt Aguiluz
Audio: Bruce Barielle
Events Manager: Kailee Brooks
Director of Special Events: Gia Monteleone
Legal Counsel: Dino Gankendorff