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    American Girl unveils podcast network rooted in the brand’s characters

    • American Girl, owned by Mattel, launched the American Girl Podcast Network to produce a variety of family-friendly podcasts rooted in the brand’s character product line, according to a press release.
    • The network, known only as “AG,” will consist of ad-free shows touching on a range of themes and formats and launch with three original shows. “American Girl 10-Minute Mysteries” will be scripted and adapted from the brand’s slate of published content. “American Girl Fan Club ” and “The Smart Girls Podcast ” will be nonfiction-style and feature a slate of guests and behind-the-scenes content. The content is produced with Jess Weiner and Cloud10 Media.
    • The podcast network launch comes as brands increasingly vie for consumers’ ears and attention. Audio content and advertising have become an integral part of marketing strategies as more Americans tune into podcasts.

    American Girl’s podcast network aligns with the brand’s efforts to extend its product line into other forms of media such as books, movies and stage productions. A podcast network is a natural progression of that effort as podcast listenership grows. Currently, 62% of Americans have listened to a podcast and 79% are aware of them.

    Children have also gotten into podcasts, with 48% of kids between 13 and 17 years old said they listened to a podcast in 2020. Among American Girl’s target demographic of children 8 through 12, podcast listening was also higher than previous years at 32% in 2020. Currently, podcast advertising is 8% of all digital audio spend and increased 68% year-over-year in 2021.

    “With storytelling an intrinsic part of our DNA, the American Girl Podcast Network is a natural evolution for the brand, allowing us to tap into our vast collection of diverse content, as well as our numerous authors and subject-matter experts, to enrich and entertain our fans. We’re thrilled to connect with all those in our celebrated American Girl community in this authentic and culturally relevant way,” Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl, said in a press release.

    The push toward media integration is part of a larger revitalization by the brand that includes a greater focus on diversity. After years of falling revenue, American Girl saw a 9% increase in gross billings in the fourth quarter of 2021, the first in four years.

    American Girl is not the only Mattel brand to jump on the climbing popularity of podcasts. Thomas and Friends also has a podcast that tells audio stories about the sentient train and his community. In other examples of digital media, Barbie has a YouTube channel where an animated version of the doll embarks on adventures. American Girl also has a YouTube channel, which uses stop-motion video.

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