Monday, August 26th 2019

Aug 26, 2019

Podcasts and Branded Content

Jessica Darke, Producer

Podcasts are the newest, albeit truly old, medium to gain attention and traction from big brands looking to create branded content that speaks to their target audience in a fun and memorable way.

I say old because podcasts are truly radio that lives online and can be listened to through AirPods and Beats headphones. Kraft launched a popular radio program in 1933 called Kraft Music Hall. The term soap opera even gets its name thanks to radio content produced by Procter & Gamble and Palmolive, promoting their detergents. Procter & Gamble went so far as to open their own radio production department in the 1930's cranking out these serial dramas.

The five branded podcasts featured in this list have been selected because they are indirectly pitching their products. They talk about Brand through common values and interests that both the listener and the brand share.

1. General Electric produced The Message in partnership with Panoply
Author: Mac Rogers with BBDO New York
Format: Sci-fi series following a protagonist

This Science-Fiction podcast invites listeners to follow a cryptologist and her team as they attempt to decode an alien message from 70 years ago.

Andy Goldberg, chief creative officer at GE, told Nieman Lab, “I don't consider it advertising. It's a podcast show that just happens to be produced by a brand instead of a network. I'm not saying, ‘Hey, go out and buy a jet engine.’ It's a science fiction story to connect listeners with what the GE Brand is about, without selling the GE Brand.” (Blue Wing).

The Message was so well received it reached #1 on the iTunes podcast charts.

2. Blue Apron and Why We Eat What We Eat in partnership with Gimlet
Host: Cathy Erway
Format: Investigative journalism

This podcast explores the social, psychological, and behavioral reasons why we eat what we eat. It cuts into why people avoid certain foods to an extreme, how one of the most popular foods today started as a garnish, and popular food conspiracies.

Through storytelling, it glorifies what happens when we take time to cook, share food, time, and culinary traditions with friends and family.

User provided comments on iTunes show a deep craving for more content from Blue Apron.

3. Ebay's Open for Business in partnership with Gimlet
Host: John Henry
Format: Interview-style journalism

High achieving entrepreneurs and professionals have been turning to podcasts for lessons on how to optimize and more efficiently effect change and grow business for years. Ebay jumped into this tide with a series that profiles small business owners about the lessons they have learned along the way. It offers advice, sparks inspiration, and indirectly reminds listeners that they can start selling immediately on Ebay.

Open for Business has a 4.4 star rating on iTunes. Its listeners are wishing for more.

4. Nike's Intersport Running Podcast
Host: Coach Lee Grantham
Format: Inspirational on-demand fitness coaching

This podcast is performance-based and offers content around improving your running, training, mindfulness, and offers encouragement during workouts. It is one of the few podcasts that utilizes the music-streaming site Sound Cloud. Coach Lee is an ultra-runner and influencer with a large following of dedicated and aspiring runners.

This podcast unlike the others is a direct response to runner demand for in-ear training and coaching. Nike jumped on the opportunity to sponsor the series as a promotion of their Epic React footwear line. The target audience is the aspirational athlete.

5. BMW's The Special produced with T Brand Studio and The Infatuation
Host: Minya Oh
Format: Investigative journalism with key interviews

This podcast features discussions with individuals in select U.S. cities including architects, entrepreneurs, artists, and key residents. Each city-specific podcast culminates with a local, chef cooked meal. The series is more of a travel-log, recommendation-based podcast than an automotive one.

BMW's goal is to reach millennials who are voraciously consuming podcast content and not purchasing automobiles. It is one of the biggest stretches in terms of a brand tie into the content offering. It hinges on BMW's belief that their drivers are interesting people and that they are an interesting company.

Anyway you slice it, these podcasts all talk to an actively-engaged audience in an interesting way.

Arcana Academy is an advertising agency based in Los Angeles, CA.
Original illustration by Jay Josue, Sr. Designer.

Caveat: We may not always agree or endorse the opinions expressed on our blog. If something on our blog is polarizing, even if the management of Arcana Academy disagrees with it, we might leave it up. Then again we might not. We'll see how we feel.