Kraft Heinz offers peek behind packaged foods curtain in 1st podcast series

Brief:

  • Kraft Heinz this week launched its first podcast series, which is available across platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google, according to details shared with Mobile Marketer.
  • “Table Stakes,” whose first three episodes are streaming now, delves into various aspects of the packaged foods giant’s brands around the globe, including labels that may be more obscure to U.S. audiences. Each installment of the seven-episode series is hosted by author and New York Times travel writer Peter Kujawinski.
  • One episode of the initial batch, “Miles of Smiles with the Weinermobile,” profiles the two-person team of “hotdoggers” that drives Oscar Mayer’s signature brand vehicle. Another, “Heinz Beanz – The Comfort of a Nation,” looks to raise awareness of a U.K. favorite in the U.S.

Insight:

Kraft Heinz is cracking into the branded podcast market at an interesting time. The packaged foods company has experienced a sales boost due to the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers pantry load and fall back on easy-prep comfort foods. However, podcast listenership took a hit earlier this year with typical listening occasions like commutes on hold, though signs of recovery have emerged.

Investing more in audio content marketing could still help Kraft Heinz build brands that have for years struggled to catch on with pickier consumer groups like millennials, but are now having a moment in the spotlight. Podcast listeners tend to skew young — a recent survey found roughly half of people ages 12 to 34 reported listening to a podcast in the past month — making them a likely target audience for Kraft Heinz.

“Table Stakes” additionally seeks to raise the profile of brands that are popular elsewhere in the world, but not in the U.S. Heinz Beanz, for example, is well-known in the U.K., as are the marketer’s Plasmon baby biscuits in Italy. With the pandemic boon, Kraft Heinz potentially has a stronger wedge to grow market share for such labels in the states, assuming current consumer shopping habits hold amid a bumpy reopening period.

Kraft Heinz producing its own podcast versus simply advertising on an existing program reflects a strategy that’s been adopted by marketers in other categories. In late February, right before the novel coronavirus shut down travel in the U.S., Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts launched a podcast series that encouraged people to be more adventurous with the extra time afforded by Leap Year. Like “Table Stakes” for Kraft Heinz, “Take the Leap” marked Four Seasons’ first time producing a podcast on its own, and the influencer-led show had a similarly global focus.

As traditional media channels like TV take a hit with the cancellation and postponement of live sports, other brands could be upping their podcast investments to grow share of voice. Omnicom Media Group earlier this week struck a $20 million podcast advertising deal with Spotify that will give the agency group and its clients, which include Procter & Gamble, AT&T and McDonald’s, special access to the streaming platform’s new ad products, audience insights and exclusive programming.

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