Klarna saw a 29% increase in brand association with ‘positive money conversations’ through Money Talks card game and their podcast partnership
Ulta Beauty saw a 95% uplift in brand awareness after creating a branded podcast with us
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The brief that landed in Acast’s inboxes was a straightforward one - Klarna wanted people to have more positive conversations about money. Podcasts are naturally a conversational medium, and Klarna had a simple message that could run in mass-reach audio ad slots: it’s good to talk about money. But we didn’t want to simply advertise. We wanted to change behaviour.
The more our Acast Creative team interrogated the cultural problem around shame and silence, the more it became clear that, if a third of Brits find it hard to talk about money with their friends and family, our podcasters would too.
They didn’t need another script to read to their listeners. They needed a tool.
The Money Talks game was inspired by the various conversation card games that exploded during, and after, lockdown.
Cards for all sorts of scenarios were cropping up, from getting closer to your romantic partner on a date, to having dinner with family or drinking with friends. And they covered many taboo subjects, from sex and mental health to politics and religion, making them a great tool for intimate conversations and human connection.
However, cards for a money conversation didn’t exist. So we invented them.
Each Money Talks deck contains 50 questions to help facilitate an uplifting but honest chat about finances. Themes include relationships, personal habits, mindsets and financial basics — with helpful money management tips throughout.
Acast and Klarna took their responsibility to create a safe space for players seriously, using psychologist Arthur Arons’ Social Vulnerability Scale, which is proven to foster closeness in conversation, as a framework for the cards. Per Aron’s advice, different card levels offer a different emotional intensity.
Podcast and audio were the perfect medium for conversation, but it was thinking ‘beyond the podcast’ that resulted in the media-first creative solution. Not only was this the first money-focused conversation card game ever created, the game completely rewrote the rules on how to work within audio and with podcasters.
Podcasts are, in many ways, a child of the Creator Economy — and the Creator Economy demands collaboration and partnerships over spots-and-space media buys. Money Talks shows what can happen when we think creator-first, not channel-first.
Acast Creative’s idea was to leverage podcasts’ parasocial interactions for good — hearing the honesty and anxieties of your favourite hosts makes it easier to kickstart a tricky conversation with friends. From Kevin Twomey and PJ Kirby of I’m Grand Mam — “Two Irish mammy's boys making their way through big gay London” – to Kate Thornton, ex-TV presenter and now host of White Wine Question Time, our creators reflected Klarna’s all-adults audience as accurately as possible.
And with unique creators came unique stories, as we got to hear sides of stars we never would normally.
Ex-Love Island contestant Amber Gill spoke to Vicky Pattinson about the trappings of fame and how financial success hasn’t made her happier. Jamie Laing and his fiance Sophie Habboo opened up about the impact of money on romantic relationships. Will Mellor and Ralf Little, typically reserved about their private lives with fans, shared intimate stories about their childhoods.
The power of these conversations can’t be overlooked. These were close friends — Will and Ralf have been on TV together for more than a decade — learning new things about each other on air, thanks to the Money Talks card game.
The campaign outperformed targets, reaching more than 3.1million podcast listeners (unique reach) compared to the 1.8million planned.
But the attention this campaign demanded is the real result — demonstrating how we were able to kickstart and sustain powerful conversations about money. The average dwell time across the full-length branded episodes was 36 minutes, and up to 50 minutes for Kate Thornton’s show.
In other words, these are ads that people want to spend time with. The Klarna branded episode of Will and Ralf’s Two Pints still sits in their top five episodes of all time (based on listens and retention rate), meaning that branded content can match — and even shape — culture.
We also were blown away by the amount of interest we received in the game itself. Admittedly, we didn’t expect much uptake for a game about finance, let alone one that was fully Klarna branded, as it was primarily a creative tool for a better audio experience.
But we were wrong. With more than 17,000 on the waiting list for the game, we had to close registrations early and Klarna moved quickly to create a digital version for their app — Money Talks 2.0 — to ensure anyone can have better money conversations, wherever they are and whoever they’re with.
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