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Branded podcasts, sure. How about branded podcast episodes? An SXM Media example.

The rationale of branded podcasts is to build an audience around a show which is affiliated with a brand, but avoids outright marketing. In many, the brand is rarely mentioned. Pacific Content, a leading branded podcast producer, displays 34 show logos on its website; 15 of the graphics do not display the brand for which the show is produced. (Of those which do, three of them are Audible Originals — in those cases the brand is a podcast distributor.)

SXM Media is shining light on something different which it recently put together: a branded podcast episode. The show is the popular Office Ladies, and the client is Buick. The car company bought a full bonus episode takeover and plays a big part in the content.

The episode is simply promoted as a “Bonus Episode” with no mention of Buick in the title or description, but the hosts do disclose Buick’s sponsorship in their opening remarks. The show content leads off with “Fast Facts,” a regular feature, with the first Fact contributed by Buick. “When you sponsor an episode, you get to ask the first question. I like it!” the hosts say.

More substantially, Buick also supplied each host with a new Envision Avenir car, and both hosts reviewed the car, raving (perhaps predictably) about it. In a midroll break lasting two minutes and 20 seconds, they describe feature details, maintaining the chummy best-friends attitude of the show and describing how they tested car features together:

A brief post-roll mentions the car again, as the hosts voiced their reluctance to return the vehicles.

According to an article in MediaVillage, the bonus episode, which dropped May 3, was downloaded more than 500,000 times in  the first week. Juliette Ferrara, SXM Media’s Automotive Head of Industry, is credited with assembling the deal.

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Brad Hill

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