There’s no shortage of podcasts out there, but many agencies and marketers have tried their hand at making one regardless. As always, the big question is whether or not anyone will actually bother listening to it.
This is why Matthew George, evp and communications planning director at Deutsch New York’s office, is proud, if not surprised, that the agency podcast he started last year has garnered more than 10,000 listens so far.
“I can’t believe we’ve gotten anybody to listen to these things,” he said. “To me, that’s the greatest compliment of all.”
George is the host and producer of Digging into Deutsch, a monthly podcast where he sits down with one of the agency’s staffers to talk about whatever they want. The only caveat? They can’t talk about work.
“We wanted to keep it extremely personal,” George said. “There’s a lot of excellent industry content out there. We wanted to do something that had a different twist.”
On Digging into Deutsch, it’s hard to come by the usual fodder of advertising podcasts—CMO interviews, career tips and nuggets of advice from so-called experts. Instead, each episode features compelling narratives on a range of topics that humanizes the agency and, by extension, the industry.
George has hosted and produced 12 podcasts so far, each of which features one of Deutsch New York’s more than 245 staffers. Many of them touch on serious and deeply personal subject matter. For instance, in one, executive producer Crissy Cicco talks about her experience raising a son with special needs. In another, senior group planning director Shreya Mukherjee shares how she’s recovering from being abused as a child.
As for why George started Digging into Deutsch, he said he often likens the people who work at agencies to the “Island of Misfit Toys.” A lover of podcasts himself, he thought starting his own would be a fun way to learn more about Deutsch’s employees and their diverse backgrounds.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the eclecticism of people who work within agencies,” George explained. “I think everybody has a story. Some people’s stories are a lot more interesting or dramatic than others, but they’re certainly around us.”
George said each episode gives employees the chance to share a different side of themselves. Internally, George said that it’s helped colleagues not only learn more about one another but also allows them to connect over similar experiences or interests.
“It really opens people up to each other and makes people more accessible,” he said, adding that the podcast has also proven to serve as an HR tool of sorts, as prospective employees have been mentioning it during interviews as of late.
While the podcast is geared toward the industry–and more specifically, those who work at or are interested in working at Deutsch—George said he’s been surprised by others who’ve given it a listen. For example, he said one of his cousins counts herself as a “rabid fan” of it.
“I’ve got a lot of friends and family that listen to it,” he said. “Granted, those people know me and arguably love me, but I’m surprised they stayed with it.”
George said he recently got a call from a friend who had listened to an episode featuring Ace Wang, an associate strategy director at Deutsch. Considering Wang identifies as a queer, George’s friend said the show helped him and his wife better empathize with their transgender nephew.
“They said it helped them wrap their minds around what [their nephew] might be feeling and might be going through,” he said. “It put them at ease.”
Learn more about Adweek’s inaugural Podcast of the Year Awards, celebrating audio excellence in 20 categories.