A perfect storm
Cuban-American singer songwriter, Camila Cabello, achieved enormous success as a member of pop group Fifth Harmony before relaunching her career as a solo artist in 2016. She worked with her label, Epic Records, to take on the challenge of establishing herself as an artist in her own right.
In collaboration with Camila, a comprehensive, global marketing campaign was devised, tying together multiple strands of live TV performances, radio, the creation of unique online content and brand partnerships. Together, these elements would create opportunities for fans to engage with Camila across multiple platforms and discover her new music in a variety of exciting and different ways.
The first stage of the campaign centred on a ‘two-track single’ approach, beginning with the simultaneous release of both Crying in the Club and I Have Questions in May 2017. Jenifer Mallory, EVP, International, Sony Music Entertainment, notes that it was the follow-up two tracks that really cut through to a global audience: “We put out Havana and OMG at the same time and we let the fans speak.” Havana, and the subsequent remix version with Spanish lyrics from Daddy Yankee, rocketed Camila to global solo success, reaching No.1 in 95 countries.
Whilst a carefully planned campaign was critical, Mallory describes the need to maintain flexibility and know when to take a reactive approach, such as the decision to bring forward the release of Camila’s self-titled album, to provide the fans with new, fresh music as Havana still soared in the charts. It was a beneficial move and Camila became the first woman in three years to debut at No. 1 with a full-length album on the Billboard 200 chart.
From the moment her music was launched, the team around Camila continued to create ‘moments’ to encourage fans’ constant engagement with her music, like original and tailored content for radio, TV and social media channels. “When you have a new solo artist, I think it's all about the continuous flow of content,” explains Mallory. “It's been a really important part of solidifying her solo career and giving her a voice that sets her apart and that allows fans to relate to her.”
Partnerships with major brands were also an important layer in Camila’s campaign, helping to amplify her profile globally throughout her solo breakthrough. Camila starred in an advert for L’Oréal Paris Elvive, to promote a new haircare product, with the strapline: “Everyone loves a comeback.”
Mallory is keen to note that, despite the global nature of the campaign, a one-size-fits-all approach to every market does not work: “We put tremendous effort into making these campaigns feel local and it’s important to do that. Fans in every country want to feel like they discovered her themselves.” This was achieved by engaging with local ‘influencers’, prominent bloggers or personalities in specific countries, as well as tailored campaigns for radio and streaming services.
Ultimately, Mallory believes that it was a number of moving parts coming together harmoniously that helped Camila to become the successful solo artist she is now: “I think it's never just one thing, right? It's always a perfect storm of many things,” she says. However, at its core, Camila's talent and ability to connect with her fans was the epicentre of her solo debut: “The music is great and if the music is great we can do our job and roll it out around the world, but it absolutely starts with the music.”