• 01.16.12

Grammys Campaign Uncovers The DNA Of Top Artists

An interactive experience promoting the 54th Grammys gets genetic on Adele, Skrillex, Bon Iver and other artists.

Grammys Campaign Uncovers The DNA Of Top Artists

After five straight years of helping make the GRAMMYs the Most Interesting Music Awards Show in the World (Seriously. Gaga sprouting from an egg! Arcade Fire being awesome! A 50% increase in ratings!), agency TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. dug deep with this year’s tune-in campaign for the 54th GRAMMY Award telecast. Like DNA deep.


Building on the success of previous efforts “Musicislifeismusic” and “We Are All Fans,” this year’s campaign is supported by the idea that “We Are Music” and is based on the musical DNA of the six featured artists. For instance, the DNA for Adele, whose aching breakup ballads have launched her to global superstardom, is Fire and Rain. Meanwhile, the genes for the ethereally dreamy Bon Iver are dubbed Solemn Wonder.

TBWA\Chiat\Day executive creative director Patrick O’Neill says, “This idea was designed to bring to life something abstract–an emotion or a feeling–and connect the music to the DNA of the artist in a very individual and personal way.”

To visualize how the raw emotion of music moves us, the television spots, the first of which breaks today, begin with a tiny particle that ebbs, flows, multiplies, and swirls into one of six artists featured in the campaign, featuring Adele and Bon Iver, as well as Foo Fighters, Skrillex, Bruno Mars, and Paul McCartney.

As in previous years, “We Are Music” features a mobile app and interactive microsite, not to mention print and outdoor executions. While the site is currently live, with particles and bits that undulate to create artists out of the rhythm and emotion of their songs, the real functionality of the site will come to the fore in the lead-up to the GRAMMY Awards. When fully operational, the site and the app will allow users to share their own musical experiences based on favorite songs and videos, which will then explode into burst of particles that reassemble to the rhythm of the music (look for more on the making of the campaign on Co.Create).

O’Neill says that an emotional layer and a technology layer come together with “We Are Music.” “It’s like your expression or your own personal DNA, like it’s creating something based on the song you’re listening to or the song that best represents you.”

Now, if we can ensure that the GRAMMY telecast, which airs February 12 on CBS, has Cee-Lo Green dressed as the love child of Big Bird and a rainbow, then we’ll be happy.

About the author

Rae Ann Fera is a writer with Co.Create whose specialty is covering the media, marketing, creative advertising, digital technology and design fields. She was formerly the editor of ad industry publication Boards and has written for Huffington Post and Marketing Magazine.