McDonald’s Adds Podcasts To Spice Up Its Menu

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By Sabrina Lynch

  • McDonald’s podcast reached #94 on the iTunes top-100 podcast chart
  • Nearly one in four (22%) podcast listeners are African American

Brands are looking to connect with audiences through their earbuds, and McDonald’s (MCD -0.23%) is jumping on the mic to reap the financial rewards of its latest branded podcast content “The Sauce”. As more Black people, a 70% increase between 2014 to 2017 turn to podcasts to ‘hear’ better representation, the pressure is on to produce seasoned stories and narratives that culturally resonate with consumers to sustain long-term loyalty.

Why This Matters: Last year, McDonald’s investigative series, which studied the errors of a marketing initiative for its new Szechuan sauce, entered the iTunes top-100 podcast chart, reaching #94. In the same year, Trader Joe’s launched a five-part series which shared the secrets on running the company and how their parking lots have become territory for ‘car park wars’. Fast forward to 2019, Lululemon (LULU +0.49%) unveiled its ‘Sweatlife’ podcast that features conversations with athletes and activists about physical and mental wellness. It’s hard not to observe the absence of “color-centric” storytelling, excellently demonstrated by Black podcasts such as The Read or Black Girl Nerds.

Spotify and Google, specifically launched diversity initiatives to recruit new creators & hosts,

There are approximately 750,000 podcasts available, and worryingly a sample study by an independent sociologist found that more than half, about 66% of American podcasts are hosted by at least one Caucasian male. The biggest platforms for podcasting, including Spotify (SPOT -1.24%) and Google (GOOG -0.35%), specifically launched diversity initiatives to recruit new creators & hosts, acknowledging the need for a broader range of voices to reach a wider range of listeners. Corporations need to be held to task on delivering narratives that address the interests of People of Color in order to prevent marginalization.

Situational Awareness: Podcasting audiences have continued to grow exponentially, from 26 million in 2018 to 32 million today and Black listeners will be crucial to this growth. Consumers who happily press the ‘Skip Ad’ button on Youtube will happily listen to branded podcasts, which is being predicted to overshadow terrestrial & online radio. This approach to audio content is the new way forward to share commercial messaging without having to worry about consumers literally switching off. So brands need to be more switched on to the storytelling needs of ALL their audiences.

CBx Vibe:Talk Is Cheap” JMSN


Sabrina Lynch

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