Unity & Motion: Expanding creativity in advertising

How podcast advertisers can improve their sonic storytelling

Adland prides itself on its creativity and storytelling, but although podcasting is the medium of choice for many storytellers, advertisers often seem to take a less creative and daring approach to their audio ad copy and campaigns than in other formats. 

In this week’s episode, Adam Shepherd and Rhianna Dhillon sat down with Charles Parkinson and Ashley Samuels-McKenzie, cofounders of content strategy and production firm Unity and Motion and hosts of the hit marketing podcast How I Became to talk about how advertisers can bring more creativity to their audio ad campaigns, how podcasting can give greater insights into unseen areas of business, and the importance of authenticity in podcast advertising.

Key takeaways

Diversify your creative strategy

“Personally, I feel like [podcasting is] massively underused by brands,” says Samuels-McKenzie, “because what we've experienced through our podcast is that there's a lot of people that have a lot of insight into how brands work, how the whole processes work behind things, that don't often get to share that outside of their organisations and people that may already know.” 

“And when you look at some of these ads - the Christmas ads, for instance - that are usually, you know, a quarter of a million, some of them, the budget is to create these things. Just a small percentage of that put into sound, put into thinking of how can we show some more insight into how this is put together, or how we care, or our joy around creating a Christmas ad, could go a really long way in connecting people with that brand at a deeper level, of understanding the mechanics behind how these things come into being.”

Focus on the story

“You have to really focus on storytelling,” Parkinson says, “because you can put a conversation together, and that might be what they want to do, but if they want to bring some creativity involved, that storytelling is a great way to do it. It's so simple, but it's something that we as humans have loved since the start of time.”

“But you have to really think about that story arc and create your beginning, middle and end, which is why in our episodes that is probably the thing we focus on the most, is what is the story arc of this person's life? What are the crescendo moments? What are the exciting moments that we want to build up to and create a reaction in our audience?” 

Think about sonic cues

“In one way, you don't have access to a certain amount of conventions you can use when you're not using visual,” adds Samuels-McKenzie, “but then it also allows you to really spend time to how you're going to capture that person's ear for the 30 seconds you may want it. What are the sounds that are so familiar that someone's going to wait a moment or be taken to that place?”

“Like, even that sound of when you send a message on iPhone as well. That kind of thing, it clicks with us. And by using a soundscape of those kinds of jingles and chimes, it can transport us to somewhere…It's there in the psyche. And if you can pull on those elements, you can start to tell stories in a really interesting way that feels very familiar to the listener.”

Related links

How BrewDog and Peter Crouch brewed up the perfect partnership

How Glenfiddich capitalised on the power of host-read sponsorships

Why HSBC chose The News Agents for its first podcast partnership

Is programmatic advertising easier than partnership?

Are audio logos the next stage of podcast branding?

What makes a good host-read ad?

Measuring ROI for podcast advertising campaigns

“Don’t reinvent the wheel”: How to start advertising on podcasts

Barometer: The science of brand suitability

Lloyds and Spotify: Podcasts in the multi-channel media mix

Matt Rouse: Selling the story of podcast advertising

Diary Of A CEO: The art of the perfect trailer

Marvyn Harrison: Crafting partnerships with purpose

Tom Denford: Why B2B podcasts are a key marketing tool


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