NPR Campaign 2021 220

NPR has launched a new national marketing campaign designed to help people discover more of its podcasts. The campaign’s theme is “More Voices, All Ears” which NPR says reflects the diversity of its content, its variety of voices, and its commitment to listening to consumers. 

The campaign was designed by a team of up-and-coming visual artists including illustrators, animators, photographers, and coders. The New York-based creative agency GrandArmy, which specializes in branding, strategy and advertising, culled through NPR podcasts, episode by episode, and pulled out shows to focus on in the campaign. 

“This campaign is a culmination of a strategy we've been executing for the last year and a half which has been our North Star—to diversify our audience, and to better reflect and serve America. We know that our podcasts are a great way to achieve that, since our podcast audiences are actually younger and much more diverse than our radio audiences,” said NPR Chief Marketing Officer Michael Smith. In a blog post, he revealed that NPR research shows 75% of people of color are unaware of the NPR brand. 

“The challenge is, how do we raise awareness? Traditionally, it's been marketing through cross promotions inside of our own podcasts–listening to one show and driving to another. But that kind of keeps you inside of the NPR bubble,” said Smith. “We haven't aggressively gone to places outside of our bubble where people live and are. Traditionally, we've grown through word-of-mouth among people who love NPR. If you listen to our radio shows, you might hear about other radio shows, or you might hear about some other host talking about a podcast. Then you start listening and you hear about other podcasts. I think that's why our awareness has been lower with younger, more diverse audiences.”

To address that NPR will be advertising on podcasts outside of the NPR network and also on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and connected TV apps. Smith said they will also buy some outdoor advertising in key cities with large numbers of younger, more diverse populations including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston.

Smith thinks NPR has a lot of the kind of content that younger listeners want even though not a lot of them are aware of that. “We have done a lot of work over the past few years at diversifying the people who tell stories, the hosts and sources that you hear in our content, the stories that we choose, and the areas we cover,” he said. “It's a combination of diversifying within our traditional shows like Up FirstConsider Thisand How I Built Thisbut also introducing new shows that specifically center around diverse audiences, as we do so often in shows like Code Switch or Louder Than a Riot.”

Bringing new listeners into the NPR fold is critical since they will be the source of donations in the years to come. Smith said he is optimistic that, as previous generations have done, they will find and fund public radio as long as the content is relevant to them. “Through this campaign, and other exciting initiatives coming up in the year ahead, we aim to spread that ‘can't go wrong’ feeling to more folks than ever before,” he said.

Watch the NPR’s video promotion HERE.