Finally someone has made podcast advertisements that I actually want to listen to.
And for the first time, I went to the sponsor’s website after listening to their advertisement in a podcast.
Why? Because the advertisement was so good it made me genuinely interested in the sponsor.
Who? What? Where?
The podcast is StartUp by the Alex Blumberg (a former This American Life producer and co-founder of Planet Money).
Why does it work?
It works because its radio storytelling meets advertising
Alex has applied his radio storytelling skills to the advertisements. They’re “documentary style” advertisements not the standard advertisement where the host just reads something out about the sponsor. Listen to the difference:
It works because they're funny
In episode two, Alex does an impromptu tour of the sponsors headquarters talking to staff members whilst explaining what the business does. He asks someone, "Did you know you're sponsoring me?" They reply, "Ah no..." And in an amazing flip, Alex uses this person's uncertainty about whether they should be sponsoring his show, to say something about the sponsor, that they're honest. Clever!
It works because it’s transparent
They've made specific podcast music that plays underneath the advertisement to signal to us, the listeners, that the section is paid for. Thanks for the transparency.
It won’t be long before all podcasts are taking this approach with their advertisements, just like a lot of radio stories now sound like they're made by the This American Life team. Speaking of which, I just listened to TAL's new podcast, Serial, and it sounds like they’re getting a little more creative with their advertising too.