RPM: Russ Per Minute

Columbia Records

Issue 44 | September 2017


BBDO New York

Creative Team

Chief Creative Officer David Lubars (BBDO Worldwide) Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn (BBDO New York) Executive Creative Director Danilo Boer/ Marcos Kotlhar Art Director Pedro Sampaio Senior Copywriter Kathryn Kvas

Production Team

Senior Interactive Producer Sho Matsuzaki Front End Developer Nick Russo Editor Alex Lubars Animator Bo-Yoon Kim


April 2017


Russ was a writer, singer, rapper, producer, hip hop artist and more. He had just signed with Columbia Records, though he had already released over 100 songs in his career to that point. Every time he released a new track, he had an entirely different sound and pace.

The objective was to launch this rising artist and bring him as much awareness as possible.


By writing an algorithm that detected micro-fluctuations in the phone's accelerometer database, the phone was turned into a heart-rate tracker. This was done by passing the accelerometer through a 'smoothing' function, then recording the time between peak values to accurately find the user's BPM. And once their heart-rate was identified, the site scanned Russ's music database to find a song with an identical BPM. This was done without creating a whole new app, with only a mobile browser that used the phone's accelerometer data to detect the listener's heartbeat. All they had to do was hold it against their chest, and their beat was matched to one of Russ'.


Once the site launched, there was no stopping it. 92% of users completed the experience all the way through. Russ was named the fastest growing artist in 2017, with over 300 million hits on his SoundCloud page.

Our Thoughts

I call them creeks. Creative geeks. They're the creative technologists who are transforming advertising from a business about brands telling stories to one about people telling stories about brands. You'll hear the phrase, "Tech is no substitute for an idea" a hundred times a day in most ad agencies. But, actually, creeks know that sometimes tech is the idea. This is a case in point. It's not a message about how great Russ is as an artist (some debate here, by the way!) it's an invitation. It's an idea that gets people talking to each other, sharing the link, playing at www. on their phones and chatting about which Russ track synch'd with their mood. FMCG brands please note. If you want people to like you, you have to do stuff that is likeable.


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