THE UNCENSORED PLAYLIST

Short List
ClientREPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS
Category D02. Use of Branded Content created for Digital or Social
TitleTHE UNCENSORED PLAYLIST
Product/ServiceSONGS WITH CENSORED ARTICLES
Entrant DDB BERLIN, GERMANY
Idea Creation DDB BERLIN, GERMANY
Media Placement DDB BERLIN, GERMANY
PR FINCHFACTOR Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Production DAHOUSE AUDIO São Paulo, BRAZIL
Production 2 LE TOUR DU MONDE São Paulo, BRAZIL
Production 3 MEDIAMONKS Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Credits
Name Company Position
Dennis May DDB Group Germany Chief Creative Officer
Gabriel Mattar DDB Group Germany Executive Creative Director
Ricardo Wolff DDB Group Germany Creative Director
Jack Christensen DDB Group Germany Senior Copywriter
Patrik Lenhart DDB Group Germany Senior Copywriter
Felipe Cury DDB Group Germany Senior Art Director
Marco Lemcke DDB Group Germany Senior Art Director
Lis Ferreira DDB Group Germany Junior Art Director
Evandro Scudeler DDB Group Germany Junior Art Director
Bianca Dordea DDB Group Germany Chief Executive DDB Berlin
Sarah Bensel DDB Group Germany Account Director
Lucas Mayer DaHouse Audio Music Director
Cassiano Derenji DaHouse Audio Account Manager
Iris Fuzaro Le Tour Du Monde Film Director
Sascha Gerlach Sascha Gerlach Editor
Lisa van Boekhout finchfactor PR

Why is this work relevant for Media?

The Uncensored Playlist became a hit by using music-streaming platforms in a way that had never been done before. By turning censored articles into pop songs, music was used to evade censorship. Delivering important information to the world’s most censored countries. This completely new way of using music streaming platforms, combined with crafting engaging songs, recorded by musicians from all over the world, led to The Uncensored Playlist receiving attention all over the world. Featuring in global music magazines along with contemporary music artists as well as scoring high chart positions on iTunes.

Background

Online press censorship is on the rise globally. But rather than just creating a traditional awareness campaign Reporters Without Borders Germany decided to tackle the problem head on.

Describe the creative idea/insights

While in the worlds most censored countries many news websites and blogs are blocked by oppressive governments, music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music are freely accessible. We used this online loophole to evade censorship. Turning 5 acclaimed journalists from 5 repressed countries into music artists. Their censored articles were turned into lyrics and then uploaded onto music streaming platforms as uncensored pop songs. On the 12th of March: World Day Against Cyber Censorship all the songs came together as The Uncensored Playlist.

Describe the strategy

Music has the power to connect with people of all ages, cultures and nationalities. Using music streaming services available in the worlds most censored countries was the perfect online loophole for reaching people in countries affected by censorship as well as around the world. To highlight the problem further we selected 5 of the most poorly rated countries on the World Press Freedom Index where at least one well known music streaming service was available. To appeal to people both locally and internationally each song was recorded in both English and local language versions, combining traditional instruments, local musicians and contemporary music styles. The journalists were given the whole musical package, with record covers, album names, posters and artist biographies to create authenticity. We spread the project online with a hashtag #truthfindsaway as well as using Reporters Without Borders large network of journalists to help spread the project.

Describe the execution

Our music team interviewed each of the journalists to capture the essence of their stories before transforming them into lyrics. While traveling incognito to the oppressed countries, they met local musicians, explored genres and the local instruments of each country and shot material to create music videos. We created album artwork for 5 albums (one per country) before uploading them onto Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer. On World Day Against Cyber Censorship all the songs came together as The Uncensored Playlist along with our website www.uncensoreplaylist.com featuring lyrics, articles, music documentary videos shot in the different countries and the hashtag #truthfindsaway Meanwhile our support network of both local and international journalists spread word about the project far and wide in the traditional media and online. And the online loophole worked perfectly, with the songs reaching all 5 countries as well as people around the world.

List the results

The playlist sparked a global conversation about censorship with 300+ news stories and 680+ million people reached to date. Appearing in the global music and news media such as The Guardian, The Fader, Der Spiegel, Glamour, Pitchfork and the BBC: Reaching far more people than the original articles could ever have. But most importantly, our songs became hits in the places where the articles had once been forbidden: peaking at #7 in the Vietnamese iTunes chart in its very first week. Encouraging globally recognised names such as Amazon to support our message. The Uncensored Playlist will continue to connect journalists with musicians. Defying censorship every time a new song is uploaded.