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Music & Brands with RA*W talent Mara Janssen

In each episode, we feature a different talent (from the RA*W community), focusing on their musical influences and connection to brands. How do young talents in the creative industry perceive music and sound in advertising and branding? Which brands do they admire? And, of course, we want to know who their favorite artist is.

In this episode: Mara Janssen, creative strategist at Selmore Creative Agency.

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Mara Janssen, a resident of 010, a creative strategist at Selmore Creative Agency, a board member of RA*W, and a junior jury member of the Effie Awards. With a background at TU Delft, I sometimes feel like a fish out of water in the creative industry, but secretly, I’ve always had a soft spot for brands. So, it wasn’t that surprising that I fell head over heels in love with this profession.

Which brand do you admire and why?

Spotify gets it. They understand the power of effective marketing to establish an emotional connection with their users. They are incredibly customer-focused! It’s almost like they know you inside out just by the music you listen to. They already know what you want before you realize it yourself. They handle all their data amazingly well, both in the app and in campaigns (see image). Every year, social media gets flooded with Spotify Wrapped posts.

From Spotify, I really get the feeling that they understand me. My favorite campaign that showcases this is ‘Let the Song Play’.

When you think of your favorite brand – if it had a theme song, what would it be?

Currently, GUCCI is absolutely my favorite. A progressive luxury brand with a strong connection to pop culture. For me, it represents an irresistible balance between elegance and innovation. The campaign featuring the disco classic by Giorgio Moroder and A$AP Rocky, Iggy Pop, and Tyler The Creator perfectly encapsulates that:

And if Gucci were to have a theme song, it would be “Leave The Door Open” by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic. This song truly matches the vibe if you were to dance around a house entirely in Gucci style.

Which brand (national or international) distinguishes itself by embracing the use of music? Do you have an example of a campaign that demonstrates this?

I believe Nike consistently excels in this. And of course, I’m not just dropping a name. Storytelling is at the core of Nike, and they demonstrate it through their use of music.

One of their more recent campaigns, for me, is pure emotion conveyed through a club anthem. That makes my football heart beat faster.

What is your favorite artist/band? Can you explain why?

Easy, Jorja Smith. Her voice has depth, emotion, and soul. Her lyrics are almost poetic. While her music clearly contains contemporary elements, it also has a timeless quality.

Ultimate tip: watch her tiny desk session:

Jorja is definitely at the top, but Loyle Carner is a daring competitor. He uses his music to tell stories, often with poetic lyrics and profound messages.

Fortunately, I can bend the rules a bit because these two artists have collaborated on a song called “Loose Ends”.

If you compared that artist or band to a brand, what brand would that be?

Loewe: sophisticated with a touch of streetwear, just like Jorja Smith’s music.

Which song takes you back to a certain moment in your life? What moment is that, and why is that song so connected?

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – ‘Ode to Joy’ takes me back to the last edition of Lowlands, to the performance by the North Netherlands Orchestra. The disappointment was immense when their performance didn’t happen for the second time in 2022. But three years later, it finally happened! So many people getting into classical music, it was incredible. I stood there, enjoying it with goosebumps all over my body and tears in my eyes. A true ode to happiness.

@mojo_concerts Klassieke muziek 🤝 moshpits #lowlands2023 #ll23 #lowlands #festival #fyp #voorjou ♬ origineel geluid – MOJO Concerts


Maurice Paans

Client Director

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