Cannes Lions

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

VOX MEDIA, New York / BEN & JERRY'S / 2021

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Case Film
MP3 Original Language
Demo Film
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

During the summer of 2020, as we began to see a groundswell of support for issues of racial justice in America, we also saw a massive education gap in helping white Americans understand the roots of racism in America that have led to systemic racism.

Ben & Jerry’s wanted to help close that education gap, with a podcast – by giving listeners the resources and information they needed to dismantle white supremacy.

In keeping with its ethos, the brand recognized that the most brand value would be achieved not by self-promotion, but by enabling experts to connect with an audience over an issue they both hold dear.

The stars aligned after Jeffrey Robinson gave his seminal presentation on systemic racism to Ben & Jerry’s own organization, and its marketing team knew it was a story that had to be shared with the world.

Strategy

The goal of the podcast was to get cause-driven Americans to understand and support social justice initiatives by uncovering the history behind racial inequality in the United States. The brand wanted to drive real impact and action, not just passive listenership.

We targeted two core audiences: pod listeners who had recently begun paying attention to race and justice issues; and passionate activists, looking for them to turn to Who We Are as a regular resource for learning about racial injustice

We leveraged in-app promotion, podcast ads, paid search, social promotion and PR to drive discovery of the content.

Execution

The 6-episode podcast series was created in under two months, accelerated to capture the audience attention generated by the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020.

The podcast was distributed across every major podcast platform (Apple, Spotify). Each 30-minute episode focuses on a different period of American history.

We also leveraged other podcasts across our network, including Today, Explained, Pivot and The Cut to drive cross-promotion.

While the series was originally scoped to wrap by the end of 2020, we quickly rebooted production in 2021 to produce a bonus episode. That episode was spurred by the conversation surrounding the review of HR40 - a congressional bill designed to provide long-awaited reparations to America’s black communities. The episode would ultimately become the most downloaded of the series.

Outcome

Top 100 podcast on Apple podcast charts

Top 10 history podcasts – #3 overall

‘New and Noteworthy’ pod by Apple

+14 point lift in brand favorability

18 million + of podcast impressions across our Podcast Network

88k page views to the campaign hub

Most importantly, listener feedback showed it had a real impact on listeners’ perceptions of racial justice issues:

- “I listen [to] a lot of podcasts mostly political, but this podcast is the very best podcast I’ve heard to date. It’s clear to the point and it makes you think a bit differently... I love it and can hardly wait for a new one.”

- “This is required listening. Thank you for your labor on this. The hard work is evident. I’ll be sharing this with folks in my network.”

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