Yeezy does it
Has the Donda Stem Player perfected personalisation?
Zack Gardner
Senior Copywriter

Donda, Donda, Donda… go the opening bars.

Donda, Donda, Donda… go the next.

And there you have the entire first track of Kanye West’s latest album called, you guessed it… Donda.

But this isn’t an article about the power of repetition in advertising.

But this isn’t an article about the power of repetition in advertising.

It’s about the innovative stem player being released alongside Donda.

This handheld device gives customers the chance to remix the record entirely to their own tastes – tapping deeply into the power of personalisation.

Personalisation is one of the most potent weapons in the marketing and advertising arsenal. But as with all weapons, it’s about knowing how and when to use them for maximum effect.

Verse 1

Personalisation isn’t just about addressing prospects by name.

The fine folk over at Mailchimp put it perfectly:

Sounds comprehensive, but there are 2 main watch-outs if you are going to rely on this model.

1 If a job’s worth doing…

Say you address a customer directly and then demonstrate no other knowledge about them, or worse, knowledge they can’t remember sharing, your brand will come across as try-hard and creepy.

So you have to put the work in. Tone, timing, placement, all with explicit consent.

And you must genuinely solve a customer’s problem.

If you don’t but you’re using their name, they’ll remember you negatively – and take it personally.

2 – Safety in numbers

Keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s a principle that’s always served advertising well.

People like to make sure they’re not missing out, or show they belong to a certain social group.

It’s called signalling and personalised marketing can risk losing this hook.

Humans are tribal, and whilst no one wants to feel like a grain of sand on an entire beach – most people don’t seek to take buying ‘risks’ that haven’t first been validated by friends, family or people they admire.

So if an ad has a customer’s name on it, or is served directly to them based on their online shopping habits– they can’t confirm others are buying based on the same criteria they are.

As Rory Sutherland said:

When you exchange vows… you do it in front of all your friends and family… It would seem hollow and unconvincing if someone made their wedding vows over the phone… but there’s nowhere to hide after professing your undying love in front of a packed-out church.

That’s not to say there’s no place for personalised marketing, but it works best on pre-existing customers.

E.g., a reminder email if you’ve left an item in your basket.

And there is a way that personalisation can be used to create larger awareness.

It’s just a case of swapping who does the ‘work’


Self-personalisation is a sure-fire way to marketing success.

Empower your customers to truly customise their purchases and you could have them for life.

Nike and IKEA get this, as we touched on in our ‘How Gaming Technology is Changing the Face of Digital Commerce’ article;

“The more you allow customers to change your productYour prospective purchase moves from an abstract idea to something you’re visualising owning.”

It doesn’t even need to be as active as building shoes or placing furniture.

Take Spotify Wrapped.

Customers subconsciously ‘self-personalise’ their profile all year by selecting the audio they want to hear. Spotify then simply and beautifully repackage the data to create sharable assets.

These assets, coupled with hero ads, combine to convince non-customers to sign up.

The FOMO is real.


Self-personalisation and music bring us neatly to the new Donda Stem Player.

A stem is a group of similar sound sources – e.g., background vocals, or a drum kit, or a guitar riff – that all come together to build a song.

The Donda Stem Player comes preloaded with Kanye’s latest album and lets users experiment with its stems in a tactile and intuitive way.

You can also add any other music, allowing customers to reimagine their favourite tracks from other artists too.

Isolate, change the speed, volume, loop it, add effects, save, playback and share your mixes – the power to self-personalise the music of a global icon, and others is literally in the palm of your hand.


There’s personalisation and there’s self-personalisation.

The former works well for established customers and below the line activity.

The second is truly transformative.

Let your customers customise and not only will they buy repeatedly, but they’ll become ambassadors along the way.

The Donda Stem Player is nascent tech, still too untested to be declared a triumph.

But the marketing stems are all there for success.

Mass appeal remixed with ownership.

Music to our ears.