2020 was a turning point for brands and agencies. A convergence of health and social crises forced brands to reevaluate their position on how to respond to issues and use their influence for good. In 2021, we set out disrupt and address the inequities in the advertising supply chain with a first-ever program exclusively created and distributed by Black-owned partners.
We had three major goals for this campaign that we set out when developing and concepting the idea:
To constructively disrupt the advertising and media supply chain by creating economic opportunity for diverse-owned media platforms, production companies and multicultural talent.
Amplify the voices and stories of underrepresented, diverse audiences by creating a fully BIPOC production team.
Help our client sponsors build brand relevance based upon shared values between these sponsors and Black listeners.
More Than That with Gia Peppers is a first-of-its-kind radio show and podcast exclusively created and distributed by minority-owned partners. The content effectively responded to the social crises, supported racial equality, and influenced social change, while providing an opportunity for dentsu clients to leverage a new consumer engagement model — one that avoids the intrusiveness of traditional advertising by co-creating entertaining and informative content that matters. Coming out of a very successful first season, we endeavored to continue this path with Season 2 of More Than That with Gia Peppers.
Season 2 of More Than That with Gia Peppers launched during Black History Month 2022 and ran for 12 episodes, including a two-episode Juneteenth special. Each episode features guests who connect to an important topic for the Black community; we discussed everything from wellness, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and family, to Black women athletes and more. Season 2 guests included Master P, Angela Simmons, Styles P, Devale + Khadeen Ellis, Jemele Hill, Tanya Sam, and many more.
The shared values of our sponsors, specifically around DEI and building on their trajectory towards demonstrated commitment became a catalyst for positive change that we mirrored in the writing and composition of More Than That. Each episode has a custom intro, interstitial, and outro that we co-write with our sponsors to align with their shared values and values of the Black community.
This season, over 95% of the creative and production teams (40+ collaborators) identified as BIPOC, as this initiative encapsulated a new model for inspiring and authentic storytelling. All the writers, directors, producers, composers and researchers identified as BIPIC, in addition to our host, Gia, and all guests. Additionally, any third-party production companies that were brought onto the show were minority-owned.
The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) and several member CEOs lent their support and provided guidance to ensure that the series was authentic and meaningful for sustained impact. All content ran consistently across stations owned or managed by different Black-owned networks including Radio One, American Urban Radio Networks, Spotset, NABOB’s owned-network. We also supported a new, small Black women-owned network, Café Mocha Radio in Season 2. The show was simulcasted across all streaming and podcast platforms as well.
To further our engagement with the More Than That audience, we launched social platforms in February. Across Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, we were able to further engage with our audience, drive listenership, provide behind-the-scenes content, and help each viewer learn something new.
In the holistic sense, our voices blended to rewrite history as we moved through the Black Experience amidst the racial reckoning and beyond. It’s a radio show, it’s a podcast, it’s a new way to co-create – but it’s so much More Than That.
Season 2 was a resounding success, even more than Season 1, with sponsorship messages (:30s) performing above radio industry norms and, at times, outperforming 95% of radio ads (:30s-:60s). The sponsorship messages saw +25 points in consideration and +18 points in differentiation pre versus post. This exceeded all expectations, particularly given that we were pioneering new ground.
Over 375MM impressions delivered in S2
$8MM invested into diverse-owned businesses across both seasons
Brand’s commitment to DEI, purpose and people, +34 points
Doing the right thing, +32
Stands up for social justice & equity, +33
Cares about people & communities, +28
Respects my community & culture, +34
Brand affinity, +9 points
Brand innovation, +10 points
Brand esteem (proud to be associated with), +13 points
Brand Premium (willing to pay more for), +3 points
52% of the audience was motivated to get involved with social causes
62% of Black audiences felt the content was extremely/very important to them
The increases in attitudinal metrics were statistically significant and confirmed that a non-traditional approach could achieve similar, if not better, results than a traditional ad approach.