- Trek Bicycle is rolling out its first podcast, "Better with Bikes," that features interviews with star athletes and other people who share a passion for biking. Mark Joslyn, Trek's vice president of HR and IT, will host the series, which is available from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and other podcast sources, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Brett Favre, the Hall of Fame quarterback who spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, and Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, the former Nike brand ambassador who played professional football and baseball, are among the guests who discuss bicycling on the podcast.
- In addition to star athletes, the series also features interviews with Luca Guercilena, general manager of the Trek-Segafredo bicycle racing team, and rider Toms Skujiņš; Black Girls Do Bike founder Monica Garrison; Return to Earth cinematographers Colin Jones and Matt Butterworth; and former road racer, NBC sports commentator and author Jens Voigt, per the announcement.
By producing its own podcast, Trek has a chance to tell a more complete brand story with interviews from star athletes and other personalities who discuss biking as part of their lifestyle. The podcast is a form of native advertising in a brand-safe environment, providing original content intended to capture the attention of listeners. It also positions Trek as a brand that provides a meaningful activity to a broader range of people who aren't necessarily professional athletes or even followers of racing events.
Embedding brands in culture has become a popular strategy as an aversion to traditional advertising grows, especially among younger audiences who have been raised on ad-free services like Netflix.
Younger consumers also are less likely to be bicycling enthusiasts than older generations, highlighting how employing a creative marketing strategy that reaches this group is more imperative. The number of kids in the U.S. who ride bikes has fallen 19% since 2007, while 2018 bike sales slumped 10%, per industry data cited by Outside magazine. Lack of interest in biking, not knowing how to ride a bike and having no safe place nearby to ride are among the leading reasons that kids are less likely to take up bicycling, the magazine reported.
While Trek is producing its own podcasts, most of the growth in the podcast space comes from sponsorships of original programming. The global podcast market is forecast to make up 4.5% of all audio ad spend by 2022, when it will hit $1.6 billion, according to researcher WARC. That growth points to why audio streaming platform Spotify is boosting its podcast content. The company last month said podcast listenership surged 39% in Q3 from the prior quarter as adoption reached almost 14% of total monthly average users. Acquisitions of Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast have provided greater expertise to support its ad business and margins.