Newspaper Articles Become Spotify Tracks for Ford SUV Debut

Ford is backing a new Spotify initiative from one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers that will offer audio versions of the outlet’s news stories starting as soon as the paper hits the stands each day.

The automaker’s sponsorship of the project is part of its promotional push around the Brazilian debut of its new Ford Edge ST, an SUV that the automaker is marketing to business executives who need reliable news on the go. Brazilian newspaper Estadão, which is forming a new editorial department dedicated to the undertaking, claims it marks the first on-demand news offering of its kind on the Spotify platform.

“We built a new editorial structure fully dedicated to this project with producers, proofreaders and editors all exclusive to this operation to create content for the new audio platform,” said José Alves, business director of Estadão’s mobility unit, in a video introducing the campaign.

The project was inspired in part by the ever-growing popularity of podcasts, according to André Savastano, a creative copywriter at GTB Brazil, the agency behind the campaign. In a lucky coincidence, another of Brazil’s major news sources happened to roll out a podcasting network along with a popular explainer on how the format works around the same time as the campaign’s launch. Savastano credits that primer with helping to boost acceptance among Brazilians.

The agency had also hoped the newspaper’s trusted brand name could stand out in a media space increasingly perceived by consumers as rife with misinformation.

“We’ve basically created a new media,” Savastano told Adweek in an email. “We realized that [members of the executive-level target demographic] need fast and credible information, and that in a world filled with fake news, it’s getting more and more difficult to get those two things together, which is why we reached out for Estadão.”

While Ford’s backing of the program is tied to the Edge SUV, Savastano said the automaker is considering expanding the terms of the contract to a broader, permanent brand sponsorship.

The rollout also comes as Spotify has been attempting to move beyond streaming music into formats like news, podcasts and audiobooks, with partnerships and acquisitions like its blockbuster purchase of podcasting networks Gimlet Media and Anchor earlier this year.

While podcasting and other forms of spoken audio continues to produce endless content and attract more listeners—including a recent podcasting boom in Brazil—monetization has somewhat lagged that popularity. This campaign demonstrates another funding model, with Ford benefitting from content being produced to entertain or inform its customers.

By Patrick Kulp