- Luxury car brand Lexus this week released a six-part podcast series hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer whose bestselling books include "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers." The series, titled "Go and See," follows Gladwell as he visits Lexus' headquarters in Japan, explores a top-secret racetrack and shadows the company's engineers and executives, per an announcement.
- The series' title is a rough translation of the Japanese phrase "genchi genbutsu," or "go and see for yourself." The idea centers on how people learn better through personal experience. The podcast conveys that theme as Gladwell provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Lexus designs and develops its vehicles.
- The first episode aired on March 5, and subsequent editions will run each Thursday. The podcast is available to stream or download from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher and other platforms, per the announcement.
Lexus' podcast starring Malcolm Gladwell seamlessly combines the carmaker's branding with editorial content. Such native advertising aims to cut through the clutter among ad-supported streaming platforms and reach audiences who subscribe to ad-free services. Gladwell, who hosts the podcast "Revisionist History," has established a reputation as a journalist who explores a wide range of ideas, including how trends catch on among consumers and how people become successful. His stature as a storyteller likely will help to raise awareness of the podcast while extending Lexus' brand messaging to a wider audience on the go.
Lexus is among the brands that are working to integrate their brand messaging with digital media content. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts this month launched a podcast series called "Take the Leap" to urge travelers to be more adventurous with the extra time afforded by Leap Year. Last year, Campari's Wild Turkey bourbon collaborated with digital media company Complex Networks on two social video series starring Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey. The "Talk Turkey" interview show and "The Spirit of Conviction" documentary series conveyed themes that were consistent with Wild Turkey's branding, deepening the authenticity of the branded content.
Podcasts have become more popular among consumers seeking spoken-word content they can stream or download on mobile devices. Advertisers are taking notice, with the global podcast market forecast to make up 4.5% of all audio ad spend by 2022, hitting $1.6 billion, per researcher WARC. About 75% of media buyers are making podcasts ad buys, a jump from 63% who did the same in 2018, a survey by the IAB found.