SXM Media and Buick Partner on "Office Ladies" Podcast to Steer the New Envision Toward Young Women

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Cover image for  article: SXM Media and Buick Partner on "Office Ladies" Podcast to Steer the New Envision Toward Young Women

As Buick looks to burnish its image with young consumers and spotlight the new Envision SUV, there's no better way than to create a custom integration on a red-hot medium. To that end, Buick partnered with SXM Media to create an original bonus episode of hit podcast Office Ladies, providing an entrée to the show's popular hosts and loyal listeners, and elevating Buick’s brand appeal.

Office Ladies is hosted by Jenna Fisher and Angela Kinsey, cast members on The Office,now a fan-favorite on streaming video. On the podcast, Fisher and Kinsey, who are also best friends, re-watch episodes, then dish on backstories, insider details and personal memories. For the special Buick-sponsored "Monday Motivation" bonus episode, the automaker asked Fisher and Kinsey to turn the tables, revealing what goes into making the podcast and how they manage their busy lives.

As more brands, including automakers, experiment with podcast advertising, Buick is endeavoring to go beyond traditional spots. The carmaker is trying to reach younger consumers, particularly women, and show off its fresh designs and high-tech features. That called for an innovative play that cut through the clutter. With its fast-growing audience and data-rich targeting capabilities, SXM Media's digital audio portfolio offered Buick the ideal tools.

"We have a lot of really valuable data that our automotive partners come to us to activate, and we also have that perfect marriage of content and talent, from music to podcasting to sports or talk," said Juliette Ferrara, SXM Media’s Automotive Head of Industry. "Whatever audience and whatever passion point you're looking to activate as a brand, we have that in spades."

SXM Media, the newly formed sales and marketing division for Sirius XM, Pandora, Stitcher and SoundCloud, specializes in custom brand activations, and identified Office Ladies as an ideal match for Buick’s target audience. In a first, the team set out to activate Office Ladies' audience on both Stitcher and Pandora.

Office Ladies offered Buick those attributes and more. “Younger females love the Office Ladies podcast, and that's a really important demographic for Buick,” she noted. “Jenna and Angela are also incredibly relatable. If you're a woman in that middle-of-your-life stage, where you've got a career that you're trying to grow and you've got a family or home to manage, their stories are something that resonates.”

Ferrara said podcasts, including Office Ladies, are powerful advertising vehicles because they deliver engaged audiences who listen in intimate environments, including their cars and homes, and through earbuds, creating powerful lean-in experiences. Also, listeners regard their favorite hosts as trusted sources of information. When they recommend a product or service, their listeners take note. In fact, brands that advertise in podcasts regularly report higher brand affinity and product engagement among listeners.

As hosts, Fisher and Kinsey were invested in the partnership. On the episode, they shared that, on a Zoom planning call, Buick representatives said they were fans of the show and identified them as "multi-hyphenates" who juggle several roles in their work and personal lives. For Buick, that alignedOffice Ladies with the Envision's positioning as a vehicle for busy professionals who appreciate convenience and luxury.

Buick lent a new Envision to both hosts, so they could experience the vehicles and report back. Both Kinsey and Fisher raved about it, commenting that the ride was luxurious and the high-tech integrations helped them manage their hectic lives, including working in the car on the in-vehicle WiFi. Kinsey said the heating, cooling and massaging seat were among her favorite features. When it was time to return the cars, both women wished they could keep them.

Such first-hand reviews, Ferrara noted, create authentic experiences that listeners can relate to. "You never felt like it was scripted," she said. "They were talking from the heart and you knew they're pulling from their real, personal experiences with the Envision."

While the car was the star, the episode hewed to Office Ladies' usual format. For most of the 45-minute podcast, Fisher and Kinsey dished about their friendship, working from home, what goes into producing the podcast, and their strategies for managing stress. (Of course, they mentioned how the new Envision could help with all that juggling.) The result was an intimate, insider's experience brought to you by Buick, rather than a long informercial.

"I turned off the episode and felt like I'd just sat down with a girlfriend for an hour," Ferrara said. "To be able to put Buick and the Envision and all of its features right in the middle of that of experience, there is a halo effect that happens for the brand."

Early data indicates the partnership has been a success. The episode was downloaded more than 500,000 times during the first week, and a special Nielsen study reported that listeners had significantly higher brand affinity for Buick -- and were more likely to seek out information about Buick and the Envision.

Going forward, Ferrara expects that Buick as well as other GM brands and car companies will seek out custom integrations. "Podcasting is a new space, and we have something for everyone," she said. SXM Media can use genre and audience targeting to align a carmaker with podcasts that will deliver their desired consumers. For more custom work, Ferrara added, SXM Media can craft sponsored episodes, a series of host-read vignettes, or even an original, branded podcast. With podcasting, the options are limitless.

"To have a very unique voice and showcase their product, brand story or their message in a really relevant or entertaining way, that is gold for marketers," she concluded.

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