Mickey D’s is the latest company to hop on the branded podcast bandwagon
In 2017, McDonald’s underestimated demand for a re-release of its teriyaki-tinged Szechuan Sauce. Then, as diners fought to get their paws on those precious packets, chaos followed: a Change.org petition calling for the condiment’s return garnered more than 45k supporters.
Then, Mickey D’s did them one better. In addition to whipping up more dip, it launched “The Sauce,” a 3-episode podcast “investigating” what went wrong.
It was hardly an exposé, but the “Serial”-inspired series was a hit… and McDonald’s isn’t the only brand to start streaming.
Brands are getting on the mic … and reaping the rewards
Consumers who seem unwilling to watch YouTube ads seem to have no problem tuning in to branded podcasts.
Even in a competitive space — estimates show there are about 750k podcasts — “The Sauce” peaked at #94 on iTunes’ top-100 chart.
Another branded success, “Inside Trader Joe’s,” hit #5 on the same chart… and you can bet your Two-Buck Chuck there were some product placements.
But storytelling is what matters
Media critics worry brand-sponsored podcasts blur the line between advertising and entertainment, with some going so far as to denounce them as propaganda.
But others point out that something sounding like a commercial is going to be a turnoff, and listeners will tune out and move on.