The crux of the campaign for ‘Subtract’ lay in storytelling as the album itself was a piece of Ed Sheeran’s life that he decided to share with his fans. Thus, the objective for the campaign was clear.
One, evoke a personal connection for Ed’s core fans, the Sheerios.
Two, explore newer audiences for the artist by tapping into significant pop culture moments.
The major challenge was to engage his fans and the general audience into Ed Sheeran’s #2 market, India. This was done by utilising multiple platforms & channels in a way that both, the core fans and newer audiences get a chance to discover the musical journey Ed takes them through in Subtract. This was done by identifying his key markets: Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad & more such major cities. It became pivotal to connect each of the touch points mentioned in the objectives & focus the strategy around his core fans and newer audiences
An interesting way to pursue this was by –
Pop Culture Inclusion -
Gaining a newer set of audiences for Ed Sheeran by engaging users on Swiggy, a popular food delivery app in India, because food & music makes for the best impression. The idea was to introduce Ed Sheeran to a more wider set of audience and what better platform than Swiggy that has an acitve user base of more than 20 million.
Therefore, in a one of kind collaboration, Swiggy’s interface adapted the blue monster on it’s home screen for the first time EVER. Along with that, the offer icon & deliver symbol on the post order screen was changed to Blue Monster too. There were Eyes Closed banners leading to Spotify on the post order interface too. The activity in general garnered over 39 million plus impressions over all.
Artist engagement on Twitter –
The Swiggy activity became such a massive hit amidst the fans and the audiences that Ed Sheeran himself couldn’t stop from interacting with the collaboration for the first time ever on an Indian brand led collab. Seeing this, fans and multiple brands like Disney India, Amazon Mini TV, Zing, ZebPay, etc. jumped on this hype. The love this banter got in return was also covered by media houses like Business Today, NDTV, IANS life, etc.
Listening Party -
The star of the show truly came in the form of a never seen before exlcusive album listening experience for 300+ super fans of Ed Sheerans. Hosted in 3 key cities Mumbai, Banglore and Delhi, this listening session was done a day before the actual album releases, and it also witnessed a special & heart touching video message from Ed himself. What followed was a night of exciting quizzes, a heartfelt listening session, fan stories of how they became a Sheerio or what they love about his songs the most & much more.
The cherry on the top was when some very lucky fans got to win the physical prints of a special edition Rolling Stones magazine of which there are only 100 prints. The team at Warner Music India had sent out a special appeal to Rolling Stones Magazine for this so that fans and celebs across could have a one of a kind memorabilia with them.
Yellow Diary Contest -
Ed Sheeran wrote his thoughts in a yellow diary while penning down ‘Subtract’. So as a piece of forever that would connect him and his fans, a version of this yellow diary with subtract lyrics printed on them were given to the fans through an exciting ‘Who’s Your Yellow’ contest conducted on social media.
With these combined efforts ‘The Album- Subtract’ got over 13 Million streams in India and ‘Eyes Closed’ was ranked #63 on Spotify India Viral Charts. The Swiggy amplification itself generated more than 39million+ impressions while the listening party successfully connected over 300+ lucky superfans and gave them an experience of a lifetime.
Apart from that, multiple streaming platforms like Spotify India, Apple Music, Amazon Music India, Wynk Music, Jio Saavn, Resso curated their banners, notifications and select playlist covers to Ed Sheeran’s Subtract.
On Spotify - ‘Eyes Closed’ was #1 on New Music Friday India playlist & ‘Curtains’ was #1 on Hot Hits India playlist.
On Amazon - ‘Eyes Closed’ was #1 on Fresh International playlist and was the homepage banner on Amazon India.
Thus, the love from both, the general audiences and his core fans combined, enabled a massive launch for Subtract in Ed Sheeran’s #2 market in a way that the album earned media valuation through PR pushed articles on Vice, GQ, Business Today, NDTV, Indulge Express, etc.
This love is proof enough that Ed’s story had reached the masses and ensured that Ed Sheeran as well as his album had gotten one step closer to his fans in India.