23andMe, the genetic and ancestry testing firm, has enjoyed considerable success with a podcast series it created in partnership with iHeartMedia, the media company.

David Shiffman, iHeartMedia’s svp/national research, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2019 AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

And he reported that the podcast it created with 23andMe, which is entitled “Spit” and is now in its second season, was one of the “highest-performing original podcasts” made by iHeartMedia.

“This was about creating culture in a lot of ways,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: 23andMe and iHeartMedia enjoy branded podcast success.)

“What the conversation was all about was getting people to think about the value – and importance, and new perspectives – gained through understanding our own genetics.”

Hosted by writer/comedian Baratunde Thurston, this audio series examines “the very meaning of identity” through conversations with celebrities, business leaders, and experts from various scientific disciplines.

Its high-profile guests have included musicians Pete Wentz and John Legend, as well as actor Rita Wilson, talking about topics from breast cancer to genetics and determinism, with specialist commentators helping put their stories into context.

“So, it's not just, ‘Oh, wow, isn't that interesting?’” Shiffman said. “It's [exploring] how we're connected to other people, what our backgrounds are, what our lives are, and being able to bring talent to the podcast, to create the podcast for them to talk about it.”

Ads for 23andMe was “seamlessly embedded into the story” in each episode. And iHeartMedia also employed a “podcast-to-broadcast model”, where it uses select radio assets to spread the word about shows like “Spit”.

Research firm Nielsen assessed the impact of this content on the preferred target audience – people in the 18–54-year-old cohort interested in the type of material covered by “Spit” – and found positive results.

Two-thirds of the research panel, for instance, described the content experience in favourable ways, ahead of the Nielsen benchmark in this area.

Nine in ten consumers in the sample agreed the brand was a good “fit” for the podcast, and almost seven in ten expressed an intention to investigate their own DNA history, too.For more on podcasting, check out this month's Admap: Audio: Prospering in the ever-present medium

Sourced from WARC