Podcast Brand Strategy Build A Brand

5 of the best branded podcasts of all time and why they work


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

April 16, 2024 | 6 min read

With thousands of podcasts to choose from, why would anyone ever opt to listen to something produced and distributed by a brand? Well, here are five excellent examples of what happens when a retailer strikes podcasting gold...

Hosts of Waitrose podcast Dish

Dish podcast by Waitrose / Waitrose

A few years ago, every brand had a go at making a podcast, from Bobbi Brown to Chanel, Dior and eBay. Very few of these examples are still being published today, however.

While it’s true that podcasting is easy and cheap to produce, it’s not as easy to find and build a dedicated audience. However, some brand podcasts are thriving, with huge listener numbers, big guests and a direct impact on sales.

Inside Trader Joe’s

Into its 10th series, Inside Trader Joe’s is held up as a gold standard for branded podcasts. The US grocer already has a cult following, so the show leans toward that. The show is hosted by Trader Joe’s marketing director, Tara Miller, and Matt Sloan, its vice-president of product marketing.

Some episodes are food and cooking-related, like an episode of Air Fryer recipes and another highlighting seasonal foods. Some episodes talk about why Trader Joe’s has no e-commerce platform and then there are just pure nonsense episodes, like one discussing why Trader Joe’s tote bags are so small.

Why it works: The podcast cleverly jumps on trends or conversations about the brand; for example, one episode responded to memes about flirty Trader Joe’s cashiers. On the retailer’s podcast page, each episode has a note of products mentioned, allowing listeners to add items to their shopping list.


Hosted by broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett, Waitrose’s weekly podcast Dish invites celebrity guests to a dinner party where they eat and chat. The podcast is a way for Waitrose to share recipes, cooking tips and wine pairings.

On average, people listen to 97% of each episode, it has over 60m organic video views across social and was top of the Apple Food harts for over 20 weeks. According to Waitrose, 36% of Dish listeners now claim to regularly shop at retailer.

Why it works: The retailer has a contact email for listeners to ask food questions and suggest future episodes, boosting engagement, while the podcast hub on the Waitrose website links directly to its e-commerce site, making items shoppable directly from the episode.

Behind Closed Doors

The Pretty Little Things podcast ran for 105 episodes before wrapping the show in 2023. During its publication, Behind Closed Doors had guests from reality shows like Made in Chelsea, Too Hot To Handle and Love Island. The fashion brand’s creative director, Molly Mae, is a regular guest on the podcast, where she shares news about upcoming collections and lifts the lid on her unique role.

Why it works: The guest list is highly catered to Pretty Little Things’ audience and those guests have big social followings to market the show. It has a high video production value with YouTube episodes getting a large number of views. Guests can also be seen wearing and talking about the clothes.

Gucci Podcast

The luxury fashion brand’s podcast doesn’t have one set format or publishing schedule but instead has mini-series within a series. It’s a mixture of regularly hosted episodes and guest hosts and topics range from female gamers to fashion creativity, art and even politics. It has had guests including skate brand Palace’s founder, Florence and the Machine and NFL player Jalen Ramsey, as well as the expected fashion designers.

The podcast is more audio than visual, with not all episodes making it to YouTube and those that do having a very simple recording backdrop. There are some mini-series in collaboration with other brands and publishers, such as Dazed magazine.

Why it works: Gucci has no links back to its products, with the show a purely brand marketing play, which works better for a luxury retailer. The series within a series format allows the podcast to cover lots of different topics and test out styles.

The Sauce

In 2019, McDonald’s published a limited podcast series that imitated the popular true-crime podcast Serial. The Sauce was a true-crime take on the controversy surrounding McDonald’s Szechuan sauce’s initial release the year before.

Why it works: The show is a great example of a brand tapping into a pop culture moment where there was an obvious link back to it. McDonald’s didn’t milk the joke, only creating four episodes.

Podcast Brand Strategy Build A Brand

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