Chocolate and podcasts have a lot in common: Both can provide a temporary escape from reality, both can be enjoyed alone or with a friend, and both can become something you look forward to at the end of the day. With that in mind, it made sense for The Irish Times to pair with Green & Black’s to drive awareness and market penetration while strengthening the core image of the premium chocolate brand.
To Green & Black’s, sponsoring select Irish Times podcasts made perfect sense. The gourmet chocolate brand chose to sponsor The Irish Times’ Books Podcast (monthly), The Irish Times’ Women’s Podcast(weekly), and the limited-run lifestyle podcast, Back to Yours.
The podcasts were appealing to Green & Black’s for multiple reasons, including the advantage of having a subscription model already in place. Even more appealing was that each podcast had a loyal audience that tended to be highly engaged.
As part of the partnership, the three podcasts began featuring Green & Black’s brand messaging in pre-roll, mid-roll, and end-roll of the podcast, and the host-read messaging was integrated naturally into the content. Rather than feeling like an advertisement, it encouraged listeners to relax with the podcast while indulging in rich premium chocolate.
Beyond the airwaves
To support the audio campaign, elements were deployed across digital, experiential, and print platforms. Co-branding in print, online, and in the podcast app included Green & Black’s imagery, and the verticals on IrishTimes.com were accompanied by a skin featuring that same imagery. This helped The Irish Times reach its primary goal of driving greater awareness about the podcasts whilst at the same time increasing brand awareness for the chocolatier.
The nature of the content created a unique opportunity for live events, all of which were recorded and later aired as podcasts. The live experiences featured leading voices and authors of Ireland, and attendees were treated to cocktails inspired by Green & Black’s as well as chocolate samples. Each event was hosted by an Irish Times journalist who was associated with that particular podcast. Not surprisingly, all the live recordings sold out.
The events were marketed in advance to drive attendance and covered in the Saturday Magazine to boost listenership of each episode. And, all the while, Green & Black’s messaging was reinforced to keep it top of mind with the audience.
Sending a message
When the sponsorship began, The Irish Times projected that it could deliver about 220,000 streams across the three podcasts over the campaign’s 11-month period. Ultimately, though, the combined number of streams exceeded 933,000 — a testament to the loyalty of the audience and the growing popularity of the podcast format. Not only is that a boost for The Irish Times, but it delivered significant value for Green & Black’s and delivered greater branding and awareness of their product.
At the end of the initial campaign, The Irish Times ran an ad-hoc research analysis of media panel that incorporated the entire campaign, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Of those responding, 80% agreed that Green & Black’s was a good fit with The Irish Times podcasts, and 56% said the content gave them positive feelings toward Green & Black’s.
Green & Black’s continues to sponsor the weekly Irish Times’ Women’s Podcast.