Ad Infinitum

Hosts are People Too

March 21, 2024 Stew Redwine Season 2 Episode 2
Hosts are People Too
Ad Infinitum
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Ad Infinitum
Hosts are People Too
Mar 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 2
Stew Redwine

Season 2 of Ad Infinitum continues with Episode 2, “Hosts are People Too”, discussing the importance of advertisers considering the hosts' humanity on the other end of the talking points. And that's why the guest is a real host and a real person - Jordy Meiselas - one of the three Founders of MeidasTouchNetwork and co-host of The MeidasTouch Podcast.

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Ad Infinitum is Presented by Oxford Road, Produced by Caitlyn Spring & Ezra Fox, mixed & sound designed by Zach Hahn, and written & hosted by Stew Redwine.

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Show Notes Transcript

Season 2 of Ad Infinitum continues with Episode 2, “Hosts are People Too”, discussing the importance of advertisers considering the hosts' humanity on the other end of the talking points. And that's why the guest is a real host and a real person - Jordy Meiselas - one of the three Founders of MeidasTouchNetwork and co-host of The MeidasTouch Podcast.

Support the Show.

Ad Infinitum is Presented by Oxford Road, Produced by Caitlyn Spring & Ezra Fox, mixed & sound designed by Zach Hahn, and written & hosted by Stew Redwine.

Stew Redwine (00:00):
Hit it. Ad Infinitum is the only podcast solely focused on audio ads.

Speaker 2 (00:04):

Stew Redwine (00:05):
The creators who make them and are the latest thinking that informs them, how the space is evolving and my favorite part, a roundup of recent audio ads and analysis by yours truly, and ad campaigns, Stew Redwine, VP creative at Oxford Road and each episode's guest. This is episode two and its title is Hosts are People Too, discussing the importance of keeping in mind that these hosts are humans and the copy points that you're sending over to them and the way that you're onboarding them and the way you want them to represent your brand, it's important to keep that aspect of it in mind, that it isn't just a transactional interface.

And we're also gonna rank four of the top spenders in podcasts this episode and that's why our guest is a real host and a real person. Welcome, Jordy Meiselas, one of the three founders of the MeidasTouch Network and co-host of the MeidasTouch Podcast amongst other things. Jordy, how you doing today?

Jordy Meiselas (01:00):
I'm doing great, Stew. It's so great to be here. I'm really excited for this. I love the title, The Host are People Too. I'm ready to dive in. I got some thoughts on some ad copy. I'm excited to review some reads with you. Stew, I'm excited for this one.

Stew Redwine (01:11):
I'm excited to have you on and I was looking at Podscribe's performance benchmarks that they just put out at the end of last year. And from their lens of looking at it and there's other sources out there as well, but looking at Podscribe's work, "Host-reads continue to outperform produced ads," right? So that connection of you as a host, reading the copy directly, continues to outperform producer read ads or produced ads. Something else that's interesting in the same report by Podscribe is that, the longer the read, performance increases as well. So up to two minute reads outperform 60-second reads by 20%.

And this goes back to the old adage in like sales. Like if you've ever done door-to-door sales or in any way that really has to like convince somebody to do something, you know, the more you tell, the more you sell. And that ties into some behavioral science knows, there's some biases that we all have and one of them is just the mere exposure effect that the truth is, the longer any human is exposed to any stimulus over time, not only do you become accustomed to it, you will develop affinity. If a host-reads an ad, it's better and the longer that host talks to me, it's better. And those are the things that we continue to see at play in the podcast space as a lean-in medium. Does that all check out with you in your experience?

Jordy Meiselas (02:26):
I hear you on that, Stew, and I like that phrase that you use, "The more you tell, the more you sell." But I'm gonna add on to that, I'd say, the more you tell, the more you sell as long as you are selling. If you begin to start rambling and get off message of what you're trying to pitch or what you're trying to sell and what you're trying to ultimately convert for the brand, I could see it having actually a negative downturn and consequence to the brand if you start to veer way too off-topic from what the brand messaging truly is, as long as you can encapsulate it, if you can tie a bow around whatever you're trying to say, just as long as you're not continuing to ramble. Because all of a sudden, you might lose some of the audience that you're trying to convert for whichever brand or whichever sale you're trying to make.

And I hear you on that and I tend to agree that the more you tell, the more you sell. But me, as a podcast host and, and the co-founder of a network, what I love is when these brands come to me and they get very specific with like the bullet points of what they want me to sell, right? The worst thing a brand can do in my book, and we can get into this, is send me a PDF and be like, "Here, learn for yourself." I like to approach this as a very, you know, mutual agreement, like a good true partnership, if you will, where it's like, "Hey, I'm here to help you. You guys are helping the network by coming on. Let's all help each other. Let's all win. Let's all work together. And how best can we do that? Well, how do you want me to market whatever product we're selling here today?"

And as long as we could get clear on that and work together towards a common goal, I think that benefits the product.

Stew Redwine (03:55):
It sounds like what you're looking for in the onboarding is more of a conversation than a transaction.

Jordy Meiselas (04:02):
Yeah, I think that's true. Ultimately, what I love is when we do get to sit down with brands, even if just for five minutes, just to cover some topline like, "Hey, can I go here? Can I ... No, okay." I wanna know my boundaries, right? So then I can work within them and then I know my audience better than anybody, so I know what they're gonna be responsive to. And as long as I can understand where the brand wants me to go with that message, I could find a perfect world to sort of marry that two. So yeah, I love that notion of, let's say with a brand, even if it's a quick five minutes, just so I could see where their heads at with the campaign.

Stew Redwine (04:32):
You make a great point. Like what have you seen as a host and then for your network that does unlock those personal connections and those longer ad reads?

Jordy Meiselas (04:41):
Yeah. So I'd say this, we're pretty unique network here at the MeidasTouch Network in the sense that we're very simulcast first, right? We rely heavily on our YouTube channel and our YouTube presence. We're doing over 250 million views a month. You know, that's 17-18 million views every 48 hours on the YouTube channel alone. We have 12 shows on the network, all of which are simulcast, so meaning that they have the audio component inherently tied in. And what brands like to see, Stew, to your point, what I've noticed in this space is that for each one of these shows, we don't do pre-roll producer read ads.

Every ad that you see on the MeidasTouch Network, book it, guarantee it, lock it in, it's a host-read midroll, because ultimately, those are converting the best, the audience loves to see. The host, because they develop such a strong relationship with them given the type of content that we produce on the channel, and we make it our mission here at the network not to just accept every in any brand that comes our way, we wanna actually, you know, be able to back up that product, whether it's that goods and services or whatever the product value adds to somebody's life that it actually follows through on that mission and that they're a top notch-company, which is very, very important to us.

Every product I've ever marketed on the network I've used and so in my host, which is just a wonderful thing. So anytime you can have that close relationship with the brand, where you're getting the product, you're getting the talking points, in a way, it doesn't even have to be a stringent script, "Follow this exactly." It's, "Hey, give me your bullet points with a clear CTA that I know you want me to hit, right? Give me just like a little bit of guidance of how you want me to talk about your brand and your product and then I'll take it from here." And as long as we can have that sort of mutual understanding, I think I've seen the best success with it.

Stew Redwine (06:15):
Where does it become challenging? Where does friction introduce into it for you as a host and for your network?

Jordy Meiselas (06:20):
It's an interesting perspective I think I'm coming with you today. As the co-founder of the network and then also a host of a podcast on the network, I just need all of my brands to work with me on a just a relationship basis, right? I want open access to understanding, "Hey, how did the campaign, how's it performed for you? Where have you seen the successes? And as long as we can continue an open and honest dialogue about performance and what's worked for you as the brand in the past, let's work together here." Because, you know, I love taking the test campaigns and turning those into renewals and turning those into annuals.

One, it's great for the brand. That means they're getting the sales. It's great for all the buying agencies involved because that's the job of the buying agencies, is to locate the great podcasts that help convert. And it's great for the network. As a network owner to help bring in the extra funds or whatnot to help us continue to operate to employ our editors, our staff, etcetera, it's just, uh, everybody-wins mentality is the best approach for me.

Stew Redwine (07:13):
Yeah, and I hear you've been saying that like the way that we get there, and I believe this too, is relationship, right? You're saying relationship and it's like, when you think about the medium of audio, it's so inherently intimate. It creates connection. It's processed in the same part of the brain as emotion. It is the fastest of our senses. It colors everything else in a sense that, when we enter that our subconscious reaction to a sound, whether we wanna engage or not, engages in the upper 80s subconsciously, right? So when we hear these voices and hear these cues, these people that we know, the whole audio industry is built on relationships.

And let's talk about our agency and then working with the MeidasTouch Network. You know, you and I've talked on a handful of dog walks I've been on where I'm talking to you and we go off-topic. We talk about what's going on in each other's lives. You know what I mean? And it's like, to me, there's this inherent inefficiency that's key to relationships and that translates in a tactical sense into onboarding and stuff of like, "Hey, we could just make this all dynamically inserted and you guys just pre-record all the ads and we're about to listen to some and we might get a sense of what that sounds like," or we can try to invest in being efficient in order to build actual relationships because that's what you're trying to do with your audience.

Jordy Meiselas (08:23):
Totally. And the audience sees right through that if you're not. If you are just running ads to run ads, they're not gonna convert, right? They know when there's that personal touch that's involved if you really back the product, if you could pick up and hold the product as you're doing the show. It's such an important relationship. And you'll never be able to get around this as far as I've noticed in this space. Being kind of a "maybe a newbie in the space" as far as an ad sales component, I never realized a few things about the industry. One, like how essential it is like, how everybody really knows everybody. And in certain cases, I think that's a wonderful thing, right?

Because as long as you are a genuine person, which I really strive to be and wanna make these connections and make these relationships work, that gets passed on, and people ultimately move from place to place or whatnot and they're gonna be there, they're gonna remember, "Oh, hey, I like working with Jordy from the MeidasTouch Network." And so anytime I've had that personal relationship with someone, I've seen my best, best campaigns performed, right? The other thing that's a very funny thing about this space that will just never be able to get around, and that's fine, I get it, is like the Excel sheet forward format of like, "Hey, we have to fill out this Excel sheet in order to understand your CPM or your X, Y and Z." And so when you take the human element out and you're only reviewing an Excel sheet, I think that's a dangerous place to play.

Because if you're reviewing the Excel sheets that I fill out, you might be like, "Hey Jordy, your rates are pretty high, man," or, "Hey, these CPMs a- are way too high. I can't do that. We're not gonna do a deal with you." Whereas, Stew, you know, you could call me anytime, "Hey, can we lower this to an XYZ CPM?" "Absolutely, Stew. Whatever you need, man. Let's just make the deal happen. Let's make sure everyone's happy. Let's have everybody eat." And so those are the things that I've noticed, you know, sort of industry and macro-wide that had been fun as again that "newbie" into the world. And what I love about it, Stew, is what you've said, that personal touch, you cannot overstate that. That will ultimately always shine through for the brands and then ultimately to the conversions that I think the brands and the buying groups and the networks are hopefully all looking for.

Stew Redwine (10:14):
No question. You know, that's what I believe in. It's got to be real and it takes time to develop that I think as well, but being able to bring that into any interaction in business, it's like, Michael Scott said it best, "Business is always personal." But the conversation sometimes I feel like, if it's in that Excel sheet forward culture of just efficiency and only communicating in writing, stuff can get shut down a lot quicker, as opposed to, "Hey, let's talk through this a little bit. Like what if we were to do it this way or what if we were to do it that way?" I feel like problem solving to me seems to get unlocked in conversation as well.

Jordy Meiselas (10:46):
Could not agree more, Stew, and, you know, it's this whole texting culture that we live in or email.

Speaker 4 (10:51):
You got mail.

Jordy Meiselas (10:52):
You lose all sense of emotion and tone with an email or with a text. I don't know how much wiggle room I have to like, "How stern are you being in this instance?" or, "Is there room to sort of, you know, negotiate and try and figure something out?" So I just have to take everything at face value, unless we're on the phone, and then I could actually connect with you and really speak and hear you out and, and pick your brain and thoughts. I think problem solving is all about talking things out. And texting and Excel sheets and emails, they serve their purposes, don't get me wrong, but for emotional conversations where you're trying to really just work together, I think there's only so far those can go before you could just pick up the phone and talk to somebody.

And then all of a sudden you understand and you're not interpreting like, "I'm sending a negative tone in this email," or, "Jordy, he's being a jerk in this way. Like, what the heck? The MeidasTouch Networks suck." "No, no, no, no, we're here. I wanna work with you. Let's figure it out. And, you know, w- whatever can happen will happen.

Stew Redwine (11:41):
Yeah. And I mean, think about it, it's like people watch or listen to the MeidasTouch Network to hear you and your brothers and your other hosts, you don't put up spreadsheets and write things on the screen. You guys are talking. Like that's the way we like to interact with each other. So like let's do that because the hosts are people, the audience are people, we're all people. I was looking at some Pew Research from last year that it's really cool. So about a half of Americans have listened to a podcast in the past year. This is from a year ago. We're on that trend, right? Every day, new folks are coming into the space. And about a third of podcast listeners have tried a lifestyle change because of a podcast they listened to.

And, you know, we've talked a little bit about different political ideologies. And there's been a lot of people in a number of years that have gotten lost, so to speak, because to your point, the national news media is so divided that you don't know, "Where can I find a place?" and I think people listen to podcasts. It's a safe space, "I can lean in. I can try maybe some new thinking," and then they really do try a lifestyle change based on something that they heard. I mean, how do you guys look at that and that responsibility and even that you have that ability to influence people in that way?

Jordy Meiselas (12:50):
We take it incredibly, incredibly serious. To your point, that human connection of, again, I like the title, Host are People, your audience are people, right? They're not just metrics or numbers or subscribers. That's an individual that you're communicating a very specific message with, who you develop a very specific relationship with over the course of a day, over the course of a week, to a month, to a year. It's so fricking important to really nourish those relationships in a meaningful way and understand the gravity of your audience, right? So we're doing 250 million views a month right now in play boards, charts that checks out all of YouTube channels and simulcast, for example.

We ranked number one ahead of Fox News, ahead of Mr. Beast as the most popular channel in the United States. There's an immense amount of gravity and responsibility that I take on, making sure that our audience that has consumed us is walking away with not like negative feelings about other people or other shared experiences, but literally just data and information of what's going on to help them inform their lives. We take the relationship and the messaging and just the human element very, very seriously at the MeidasTouch Network.

Stew Redwine (13:59):
And that really comes through how much you guys honor your audience and the responsibility as you continue to grow. And so congrats for that and congrats for having that mindset.

Jordy Meiselas (14:07):
Appreciate it, Stew.

Stew Redwine (14:08):
Because the audience are people, right?

Jordy Meiselas (14:09):

Stew Redwine (14:10):
But the name of this episode is The Host are People Too and so we look at top spenders in audio, but I wanted to base it on your own likes and dislikes. And, Jordy, we had talked, you're into sports, so we're gonna be listening to reads from sports, podcasters. One of the recent top advertisers in podcasts using Magellan to identify who that is BetterHelp with a spin level of approximately $9 million in January. And I've pulled four different spots of what seemed to be live-read ads from four different podcasts. So we've got The Bill Simmons Podcast, we got New Heights with, uh, Jason and Travis Kelce. We've got the Dan Le Batard Show and then one of your favorites Colin Cowherd. These are all in the top podcasts for sports in Chartable. Alright, we're gonna start with The Dan Le Batard Show. This is a BetterHelp read. Here we go.

Speaker 5 (15:02):
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stu Gotts is sponsored by BetterHelp. A lot of us spend our lives wishing we have more time. The question is, time for what? Go for a run, take a nap, read a book, show up for a friend. If time was unlimited, how would you use it? The best way to squeeze that special thing into your schedule is to know what's important to you and make it a priority. With more time available, individuals may find it easier to schedule therapy sessions without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. This can lead to more consistent attendance and greater engagement in the therapeutic process.

Therapy can help you find what matters to you, so you can do more of it. If you're thinking of starting therapy, give BetterHelp a try. It's entirely online. Designed to be convenient, flexible and suited to your schedule. Just fill out a brief questionnaire to get matched with a licensed therapist and switch therapists anytime for no additional charge. Learn to make time for what makes you happy with BetterHelp. Visit today to get 10% off your first month. That's betterhelp, H-E-L-P, .com/dlb.

Stew Redwine (16:03):
All right, what did you hear there?

Jordy Meiselas (16:05):
It was a very clear read. The talking points were obviously very well-articulated and it came across super clear, the messaging. Nice takeaway there in the CTA. So from just a pure did-I-hit-everything perspective, knocked it out of the park. He hit everything. But here's my issue with it. And I don't know how they lead up to the ad in the episode, it feels too much like an ad. Usually when you're doing a host-read, one, that wasn't even Dan Le Batard. I don't listen to the show very consistent, but I'm like 99.9% sure that's not even Dan Le Batard who's like the main namesake on the show doing the read.

What you want from the host doing the show is you're contracting them, so the host does the read. (laughs) That's why it's a host-read, not a co-host-read. No offense to whoever had been doing it, because again, I think they did a nice job articulating the clear talking points that, you know, "We're giving them B- BetterHelp. BetterHelp is one of our brands. We love BetterHelp." And I know those talking points inside and out, so I know very well that he hit everything that they wanted him to hit. My big knocks are it wasn't Dan Le Batard doing the read, right? There's no personal endorsement. I know therapy is a hard one to sort of personally endorse, especially if you haven't used BetterHelp or have gone through therapy in the past, but from a host, you usually try and rely on shared experiences to relate to your audience.

And just hitting the talking points one by one, although very well-communicated, I think you're losing a bit of that human element that I think a lot of hosts and a lot of listeners look for in a nice ad read. So that's what I liked about it and that was my beef with it, if you would.

Stew Redwine (17:35):
Yeah, it was technically all there. It felt like it's missing that human touch, which is what you're talking about and you can feel that. And it kind of sounds to me like one that probably is a prerecord where it's one of those that gets recorded kind of in the radio style of, "Record a whole bunch of these and then we're gonna insert them dynamically into the show." I think from an Audiolytic standpoint, which is the framework that we use here at Oxford Road, it achieved, uh, 68% from an Audiolytic standpoint. There's a couple of things that it could do differently, but they're pretty much encapsulated in what you're talking about, which is like, "Can we get a personal endorsement? That would be massive, especially for something as intimate as this. Can we increase the urgency of like, 'Why do I need to take action now?'"

So it's like okay, this was like, uh, thinking of sports, one of my daughters plays volleyball. You know, there's like the aggressive mode and then there's safe mode with a team. Like just safe mode, right? "We're gonna return shots. We're gonna play consistently." Like to me, this ad read was safe mode.

Speaker 6 (18:37):
It's safe.

Jordy Meiselas (18:37):
Safe Mode, you're not gonna be asked for a make good or an added value, very technically sound. You hit all the talking points exactly. Safe mode for sure.

Stew Redwine (18:45):
The next one we have to listen to is from one of your favorite shows Colin Cowherd and this is from the most recent episode that had a BetterHelp spot in it. Here we go.

Speaker 7 (18:55):
This show is sponsored by BetterHelp. Therapy can bring out a whole new you and BetterHelp makes it easy to match with a licensed therapist. Get 10% off your first month of online therapy at B-E-T-T-E-R-H-E-L-P .com/herd.

Jordy Meiselas (19:08):
Okay, I didn't even know BetterHelp did 15s to be honest. That was short, sweet, to the point. Knock on Cowherd though. In these instances, right, when I'm listening, especially to someone again, who I really like their perspective on things like a Cowherd, like a Bill Simmons, I feel that human element of the product when I hear them reading for it. Now I know we're sort of sitting in this funny place in the middle of March for a lot of the sports podcasters. This is kind of the time of year where they do have a lot of fillings because just the nature of the Super Bowl's over, NBA regular season is still going, it's not the playoffs yet, MLB still hasn't started up. So this is almost like a little bit of their downtime where they try and, you know, take their vacations like the main hosts, which I find interesting.

What I also find interesting about that perspective though is that then they have their co-host or whoever their fill-in is do the reads. And again, I think there's such a human element that you connect with with your audience, given the day, week, month or years that you're with them that they like hearing it from you, they like hearing it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And so all of a sudden, now when you're giving this to a fill-in to read, one, as the brand, "Did I get my money's worth? I'm getting the audience," but that's just kind of half the battle in certain situations, right? Like you're also contracting the talent as much as you're contracting the audience and sort of that mutual relationship that's been established.

So the read was fine. It was quick. No personal endorsement. I mean, I'm sure he hit the 15-second talking points that needed to be hit. Did a nice job. I've listened to him before and I know his work and he's a fabulous, so no knock on him. But if I'm going to the herd for Colin Cowherd, that's what I wanna hear listening to the ads.

Stew Redwine (20:41):
Yeah. I mean, when do we make that decision of, "Is it voiced by the host? Is voiced by a producer? What is effective frequency? You know, 15s, I've seen 15s work very well or am I introducing something? Am I reinforcing it?" Based on the nature of this conversation, hosts are people too, and looking at this, The Dan Le Batard Show, "Nope, not Dan," The Colin Cowherd Show, "Nope, not Colin," you know, it kind of makes me think it's like, "Well, then would that ad unit be better served as doing something more breakthrough?" And if it's just gonna be a voice talking, that's like lean in, that ought to be the host. Like that's the host. If it's not gonna be the host, is there a different approach you could take to that exact same amount of time? But okay, just those two now, if we're gonna stack one up against the other, which would you put above the other?

Jordy Meiselas (21:25):
The first one. To your point earlier, what do we say? The more you tell, the more you sell. And at least with that first one, I heard more of what the product had. I heard more of what it was trying to communicate with the great brand talking points. The 15, it was, it was a little tight for me. Got the message across on The Cowherd Show, but it didn't tell me enough about the product or what I could be expecting if I use the service, so the first one.

Stew Redwine (21:45):
And right in line with that the Audiolytic score on The Colin Cowherd was 60%. And for the reasons you articulated, you can see why there are specific key components that we look for. It's just there's not enough time to talk about positioning. There's not enough time to talk about demonstration. There's not enough time to talk about substantiation. Can you hit all of those things in a 15? You can. You absolutely can. That's about making every word count, but so far, we're aligned. So let's listen to the next one from a powerhouse. This is New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce and here is their spot for BetterHelp.

Speaker 8 (22:14):
Sometimes in life, we're faced with tough decisions.

Speaker 9 (22:17):

Speaker 8 (22:18):
And the path forward isn't always clear. Whether you're dealing with decisions around career, relationships or you're experiencing that thing where you're trying to fall asleep and your brain suddenly won't stop talking.

Speaker 9 (22:29):

Speaker 8 (22:30):
Well, it turns out, one great way to make those racing thoughts go away is to talk through them.

Speaker 9 (22:35):
Yeah. And therapy gives you a place to do that. So you get out of your, uh, negative thought cycles and find, uh, maybe some new mental and emotional piece. If you're thinking of starting therapy, please give BetterHelp a try. It's entirely online, designed to be convenient, flexible and suited to your schedule. Just fill out a brief questionnaire to get matched with a licensed therapist and, uh, switch therapists at any time for no additional cost.

Speaker 8 (23:02):
Get a break from your thoughts with BetterHelp. Visit today to get 10% off your first month. That's BetterHelp, H-E-L-P, .com/newheights.

Jordy Meiselas (23:16):
Right on, right on. New Heights guys, man. I love their short clips on TikTok and Instagram. I think they're great. I love Jason and Travis. They're funny guys, man. I really liked it. And I could be wrong with this. I've watched the podcast, I kind of more so look at the clips, uh, that they post on social more than I watch or listen to the full longform. But I think they take a similar approach that we do at the MeidasTouch Network, which is, "Let's record these in a nice way where everybody's looking their best. We can make the brand look their best by making sure that we clearly articulate the talking points and we, as the host, look the best, so we're not stumbling and mumbling over our words or we're trying to communicate whatever we're trying to communicate."

So with theirs, what I really liked was how they played off of each other a little bit, how they kind of tossed the ball, how Jason would toss it to Travis and each one of them would get in on the reads. I think you're getting some great bang for your buck when you're getting both hosts sort of play off of each other in that way. I would have loved, would have loved, and I think they did a fabulous job, hit all the talking points, clear CTA, very articulate, very just like to the point and I understood exactly what they were talking about. But these are football guys that with probably like some intense experiences in their own life.

Again, BetterHelp, fabulous brand, therapy at large, right? Super important. And I think the conversation around therapy has been stigmatized in the past where people are afraid to sort of talk about whether or not they use therapy or their therapeutical experiences, if you will, but what I would love to see, knowing that it's 2020 for now and I think that stigma has all been left which is just great for society at large, you know, h- having people be open to talk about therapy and their experiences with it, they're football guys, they've probably lived through some intense experiences of their own. Just trying to relate it back to that if you would, right?

Like were they ever going through a hard time personally or professionally where they needed to talk to a- a team therapist and how much that helped them? Doesn't have to be super specific. It could kind of be vague. I think that sort of human connection though to the service, and it doesn't even have to be BetterHelp-specific, it could just be therapy-specific and then relating it back to how BetterHelp could do what therapy did for me, for you in this way, uh, "It's entirely online," I think I would have loved to have seen that. But they did a great job. They hit all the points. They played off of each other well. Everything was clearly articulated, so they did really nice. I would have just loved to see some of that personal experience come through.

Stew Redwine (25:25):
And I think that that's a delicate part of like hosts or people too in asking to reveal personal information, but there's a way where again, if you can get on the phone and you can have a conversation to encourage a little touch like that, like, "Hey, listen, BetterHelp does all of these things. It says here in these talking points. I know, for me before a game, I've got thoughts running through my head. Turns out that a way to deal with a lot of those kinds of thoughts is this." That's not the host saying that they do it.

Jordy Meiselas (25:50):
Yeah, exactly, and cos to your point and to what we talked about earlier, therapy for a lot of people can be a touchy subject. And, you know, I know it's a very vulnerable position for a lot of folks to be in, but for something that I think warrants that level of severity or responsibility when you're marketing a product like that, if there is any way at all to relate it back to your shared experiences as the host, I think the audience would be more receptive to that.

Stew Redwine (26:10):
Yeah. And I think that also it's like Travis Kelce would need to believe that what BetterHelp does is good for people, truly.

Jordy Meiselas (26:17):
Exactly, yeah, he can't force it, because one, the audience would know that he was forcing it and it wasn't true to him, but also more so, like you never wanna misrepresent what you're trying to put forward for your audience and what you're saying. So yeah, he would actually need to believe, and if he doesn't, that's fine. And maybe that's why they went that route, but most likely, it wasn't even told or recommended to them to potentially add some of that personal touch.

Stew Redwine (26:37):
And that's where I think it's like amazing. It's almost like performance is on the other end of inefficiency in the sense of it's inefficient to have that one more additional conversation to look at the copy together to go, "Hey, what if we ..." not just to look at it black and white like, "Did they read exactly what we said?" but to go like, "We just had this moment where we creatively are listening to this read and going, 'Hey, maybe he could say like this one thing.'" It's like that's an inefficient process. So thank you for partaking in this inefficient process with me, Jordy. And now we're going to do one more from your favorite show from Bill Simmons.

Jordy Meiselas (27:15):
It is actually my favorite show. I'm not gonna lie. It's my favorite sports show. Can I just say this about Bill Simmons? Like, you know, when you get asked like, "Hey, if you were to do dinner with somebody, who would you wanna do dinner with?" For me, it'd be Bill Simmons. I think the guy has totally transformed what this space is and what it means to be sort of a digital network i- in 2024, the way he works the ringer, the way he works his entire network from a sports perspective. The proof is in the pudding. Like he just signed a crazy deal with, I think it was Spotify or HBO not too long ago. And just the way he runs that network, runs the websites, runs the various podcasts on it, I think he does a fabulous job. And then he's a host on his own network with The Bill Simmons Podcast.

So a lot of that sort of human experiences coming through and connectivity points for your audience to sort of be able to touch, whether it's you're the founder of the network, who's also a host of a podcast or you just like the content that's being produced on the websites. A nice 360 degree of sports, so kudos to Bill Simmons, man. I wanna meet him someday.

Stew Redwine (28:06):
I think that's probably quite possible for you. You could probably meet him tomorrow.

Jordy Meiselas (28:11):

Stew Redwine (28:11):
Let's see how he does here with BetterHelp.

Bill Simmons (28:15):
This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. One common misconception about any type of relationship is that it has to be easy to be right. The truth is the best relationships happen with both people put in the time, love and commitment to make them great. That might look like scheduling regular calls to keep up with long distance friend, improving communication with a partner, adapting to a colleague's working style or reconciling a difference in values. With parent, I think the best relationship I've had is probably with my daughter, because especially from a sports standpoint, being the overbearing sports parent and then learning how to just be a parent, just to be there when they need you and to be somebody's friend.

Uh, we're getting in the relationships. Whatever you have, they are uneasy. Sometimes you need a little support to navigate the most difficult and challenging parts and that's where therapy can help. If you're thinking of starting therapy, give BetterHelp a try. BetterHelp offers convenient, affordable online therapy. You can start the process in minutes. You can switch therapists anytime for no charge. So there are so many different kinds of relationships in your life, right? Give them all some love with BetterHelp. Visit today to get 10% off your first month. That's betterhelp, H-E-L-P, .com/billsimmons.

Stew Redwine (29:23):
How do you show up?

Jordy Meiselas (29:24):
Okay, bias aside, because now we all know how I feel about the guy, that's an A+ read right there. That's an A++ read. He talks about his experience as a parent, potentially being an overbearing sports parent. I think it's funny in the sense that he's able to relate it in the sense of what the content of his podcast is about, which is sports. He's doing the read as the host. I think, again, he takes an approach that we take which is, "Let me not do this live while I'm so caught up in the emotion of the topics that I'm talking about in the podcast, but let me take this a breather and let me get my talking points and how I wanna communicate this message. Like let me film this separately and then I'll bake it in as a midroll."

So these aren't like dynamically inserted ads in the sense that they're just kind of like random people speaking, right? You're kind of getting the best of both worlds in this instance where he's going away from the content for a hot second to hit break and now he's gonna communicate this wonderful story that he's able to sort of message which with ever product he's sort of putting forth, whether it be BetterHelp for him or I know he's a big SimpliSafe guy to that he does a lot of nice reads for as well.

I try and take a lot of actually my cues of how I do the reads on the MeidasTouch Network from Bill because he really does do a nice job of adding that personal element, relating it back to the audience in some way and making sure, again though, that you're doing the brand right, that you're hitting all the talking points, clear CTA, "Everybody in this relationship is gonna mutually benefit." And so A++ read. By far the best read we've gotten over today.

Stew Redwine (30:46):
No question. And yeah, your bias aside, I mean, there's also like the Winston Churchill quote, "I'm a man of simple tastes, so I'm easily satisfied with the best." So, you know, you like Bill Simmons because he's the best and he did it. And his Audiolytic score was by far the highest, came in at 82%. The New Heights was 70%. Dan Le Batard was 68%. Colin Cowherd is 60% and that seems to line up with your ranking as well.

Jordy Meiselas (31:09):
That would pretty much nail it exactly.

Stew Redwine (31:11):
Yeah. Bill Simmons nailed it. He's got the personal touch. In the Heights, you've got that interchange. You know, there's a report from Odyssey from last year where having two voices increases recall by 10%, right? So having two voices when you can have interactivity, that increases recall. Then Dan Le Batard, even though it was in safe mode, we got more message transmitted. And then Colin Cowherd, we have that 15-second spot. So that's how they line up. Thank you for ranking these sports podcasts together

Jordy Meiselas (31:38):
Heck yeah. I'm glad we got them in the order too of which they perform. I take some pride in that. I know who does good reads.

Stew Redwine (31:43):
Yeah, well, hey, you know, there's lots of different lenses we can use. So hopefully, if I can just be objective about the signals I'm getting from the dataset or from the phenomena that I'm watching, then someone else, even if they're using a different system, but they're just relying on what is before them, we're actually gonna land at the same spot. And that's what I see with Ad Infinitum time and time again and having advertising professionals and having hosts on is that, even though we might list the parts with different names, in general, we end up being able to recognize the same things.

And so specifically for this Host are People Too, for our chief audio officers, you know, here we are with a host as our guests listening to these and we've heard four different ads. Not a single one of them, though, had a true personal endorsement. Now, I will caveat that with this is a more challenging product, but not a single one of these had, "I use this and you should too." I think Bill Simmons got the closest. How do you navigate that, I wanna end this for the chief audio officers, as a host, when you can't wear the product and say, "I have worn this. It's really comfortable. I like it," when you can't do that, how do you get as close to a personal endorsement as you can of, "I use this and you should too"?

Jordy Meiselas (32:54):
Here's the thing, every product on the network, myself or my brothers has touched or felt or actually used. We make it our mission to make sure that we are doing that, that were subscribing to the service, that we know how the ins and outs of, "It worked." And I think that is actually the step that a lot of hosts and networks need to take when it's allotted to them, is that personal experience and endorsement is so fricking important that you as the podcast, me as a podcast host and co-founder of the MeidasTouch Network, I need to take this relationship as seriously as this brand is investing in my podcast because that's how everybody wins.

I need to be able to be almost a customer representative for the product that we're putting forward to really understand that what I believe and what the heck it is that I'm putting forward, and two, that the product actually will resonate with my audience with some, you know, human element or connection, so I'm not just selling them a false bag of goods that I could actually plant my flag and say, "I've used this. I've done this and here's how." So we make it a priority to make sure that we are going that extra mile for our sponsors, that we are subscribing to the services, that we're using the products, that we're watching tutorials any way we can.

And that's why I rely so heavily on the brands to meet me back, you know, that halfway mark with that mutual relationship and give me the clear, "Eight to 15 bullets of what you definitely want communicated during the reads, so then I can interface and interact with the product and I know exactly how you want me to market it. And then I'll marry up everything and be able to relate and talk to it, so my audience understands it and feels good about it."

Stew Redwine (34:23):
And that comes through. Again, I mean, you guys are top of your game. And so hearing that approach is, for the chief audio officer, it's like, "Look for this kind of approach from your hosts and from the programs that you're doing business with. And then if you don't see these sort of exceptional behaviors, request them," and also know that not everybody is gonna be going the extra mile like you do Jordy at the MeidasTouch Network. It calls back to me that, you know, Aristotle 2,000+ years ago goes, "How do I persuade people? Hmm, let me see." And he said, "Pathos, ethos and logos, right?" And where we've landed like post-Renaissance, like where we're at is like most things get broken down to a message of emotion versus reason, right? So like my pathos versus my logos.

It's incredible to me that the third leg of persuasion that had equal footing with emotion and reason, which even in itself is kind of like, "I'm not totally on board with looking at it that way." Nevertheless, it's ethos. Ethos, "Why should I believe you?" "Because I have a relationship with you and your audience has a relationship with you as a host, right?" "And then why should you believe it?" "Because you have a relationship with a brand." And so it's like, that's the inefficiency of ethos, is that it takes time to get a person on board to trust, to believe, to send a host a video to go, "Hey, I get it. This is a cloud-based ERP system for businesses. Okay, not gonna be something you guys necessarily need, or if you did, that's a pretty long process to make a switch to a system like that. Can we get them on the phone with a customer service person? Can we give them a tour of the plant, so that you believe it and have that ethos and then you can transfer that ethos to your audience?"

Jordy Meiselas (35:59):
Exactly. And I think as long as everyone can sort of be met halfway in these relationships, you know, everybody's gonna eat. That mentality is gonna shine through in the sense that the brand will go back to the buying group to reup with the podcast or the network. And everyone's gonna be happy and everyone's gonna win, and most of all, the audience is gonna win, because one, they're not getting boring reads. Two, they're getting great products at great fabulous discounts. And three, they're just gonna have a more enjoyable user experience with whichever show that they're watching that they don't have to skip through the ads every time because it feels like they're just reading down a page.

So again, I think as long as everyone could just be held to the highest standard that they'll set for themselves that they wish that the other people would set for themselves that they hold themselves to that standard, everyone's gonna win. It's gonna be a highly productive environment for everybody.

Stew Redwine (36:42):
Yeah, to pull everybody up to that level, or if you don't qualify and don't wanna play at that level, that's okay. There's no judgment. It's a line in the sand of going, "Where do you stand?" And like you said, it's like the Howard Gossage quote on advertising, that we're not taking out a hunting license. When anybody gets an ad on your show, we're not taking out a hunting license or performing on a stage, so we might as well make it enjoyable for these people. And you guys do that masterfully in your reads, which I'm sure will probably pop up on other episodes of Ad Infinitum for other people to critique, but thank you, Jordan for joining Ad Infinitum.

Jordy Meiselas (37:11):
Thank you, Stew. I love it. And I'm open by the way. Future Ad Infinitum host o- or co-host or, you know, guest. Feel free to tear into the ads. That's how we learn. That's how everybody gets better. I love the experience today, Stew. Thank you so much for having me on, man. This podcast is phenomenal. I think it's actually wonderful for the industry to be able to have these open dialogues and conversations about reads and where people can improve, because honestly, it's a reflective moment for myself, "Where do I see myself in this podcast, this podcast, this podcast or this podcast that I'm ranking here, you know, and I wanna be towards the top? Well, who am I more closely aligned with or where's the standard that I'm setting for myself and my shows?"

So it was a wonderful experience. I love the show, man. Thank you so much for having us and super excited.

Stew Redwine (37:49):
Thank you and that's the right attitude. That's an awesome point of view to bring to ranking of us, "Which one of these am I?" and that is exactly the right attitude. If we can be a lens for CAOs to help test and scale and audio better, then we have done our job here on Ad Infinitum. So thanks again, Jordy. And if you've got aspects of audio advertising you'd like us to discuss or suggestions for a guest for the show or wanna be a guest please email And until our next show, remember to have fun making the ads work.

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