Talking Brands: Off Menu has apparel, Casefile has a board game… What other podcasts have licensing potential?

We asked The Brand Director’s Tim Collins and Sutikki’s Jo Redfern for their thoughts on other podcasts with strong brand potential…

Last year saw menswear brand Percival launch an apparel collection around Off Menu, a podcast from comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster that sees guests reveal their dream three-course meal.

The range was bolstered by a second capsule collection earlier this year, spanning t-shirts and hoodies.

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo Redfern

Off Menu isn’t the only podcast to embrace brand extensions in recent times. At London Toy Fair earlier this year, Vivid Goliath debuted its Casefile board game, based on the popular true crime podcast.

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo Redfern
With a different case every time you play, Casefile challenges players to put their detective skills to the test to solve crimes around a small town in the USA – and can be played solo or with a group of friends.

We asked The Brand Director’s Tim Collins and Sutikki’s Jo Redfern for their thoughts on other podcasts with strong brand potential…

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo RedfernTim Collins, Founder, The Brand Director
“Stating the obvious, podcasts are now a massive and very mainstream media channel with about 25% of us regularly listening in. There’s a wide selection of content to listen to, from professionally produced corporate messages to the homemade musings of fanboys and girls.

Perhaps we start with: ‘Can you applying the licensing model to podcasts?’ Well yes you can!

If we’re talking about a range of merchandise, I’d be looking at two key factors. Firstly, the visual identity for what is, in essence, an audio product. The music business has been doing very well with this for a while – remember album covers anyone? So a key factor is using or developing assets appropriate for the intended application, then the usual rules apply for development of merchandise.

Almost as important is how you promote any merchandise. You need to connect the listener with the manufacturer or retail proposition while maintaining whatever integrity exists in the podcast to begin with. Having the presenters mentioning it a lot is a start – and if it’s on Audible then an Amazon store link should be a bit easier.

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo Redfern

So, what out there is interesting? Athletico Mince sounds cool in a dad sort of way, and you can see the logo on replica footie kit. My Dad Wrote a Porno – which is also on YouTube – might be worth a look, and more left field is Food 4 Thot, which isn’t about cooking but ‘combines the best of literary intellect with absolute trash’.”

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo Redfern

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo RedfernJo Redfern, Global Brand Director, Sutikki
“My tip for a kids’ podcast that is primed for brand extension is unusual, so first I’ll outline why I think we’ll see more podcasts getting into licensing in 2022.

Being a podcast creator has historically been a labour of love and difficult to turn into a proper business. Relatively few have enough listeners to make meaningful income, yet producing a pod takes upfront investment in kit and sustained investment in time. Headline-grabbers like Joe Rogan may have eight-figure platform deals and a long list of sponsors, but they’re in the minority.

For kids’ podcasts, when you add-in the complexity of advertising to minors and their low tolerance for marketing messages, it becomes clear that for audio aimed at children, revenue is best achieved through other means.

That’s why extension into product makes sense. Whether it’s books, listening party kits or a merch store – they are ways to connect with your fans and serve your audience when they aren’t in listening mode. Product also promotes loyalty and keeps your podcast top of mind when they’re choosing something to listen to.

A great example – but not my tip! – is What If World by Eric O’Keeffe, in which he turns kids’ random scenarios into wacky stories.

The result are tales spun out of vital questions such as: What if a doughnut had abs and liked to work out? or What if it started raining elephants? It’s the kind of nonsense kids love – and their merch shop has equally wacky designs for tees, cushions, backpacks and more.

And so, to my tip… A few weeks ago I had a chat with the co-creator of Norway’s most listened-to kids’ podcast, Snipp Snapp Snute! All hobbyist podcasters with day jobs, the friends’ success had come through hard work and organic growth but had reached a point where Egmont offered a three-book deal based on their quirky reworkings of classic stories.

Our chat was centred around if, and when, video content might be prudent – alongside plans for English language – and of course further extension into products. They’re small yet determined, so there’s my tip – look out for Snipp Snapp Snute!”

Taking Brands, podcasts, Tim Collins, Jo Redfern

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