Spotify reprimanded over 'F you' Lily Allen recommendation

Spotify has been censured by the ad watchdog for emailing a track recommendation to users that promoted a Lily Allen song with the words "give it a try. Fuck you".

Spotify: reprimanded over Lily Allen promotional email
Spotify: reprimanded over Lily Allen promotional email

A recipient of the email objected to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after taking offence to the use of the swear word in the ad, which was included because "Fuck You" is a title of a Lily Allen song.

Spotify defended itself by claiming the song recommendation was not chosen to shock consumers or to drive traffic to its website by being controversial.

The music site argued that, because the songs are chosen by an algorithm based on users' listening history and therefore would not be targeted at children, it was unlikely to be sent to anyone sensitive to profanities.

Spotify said it had not received any other complaints even though it sends around 36 million recommendations to users by email every month and it was likely a "significant proportion" of users would have had the same song recommended to them.

However, the ASA banned the ad because it said although users would understand the use of "fuck you" to be the title of a song, they would not expect to receive promotional emails from a "general online music service" containing swearing.

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