American Girl creates podcast network to appeal to kids and their parents

The Mattel doll brand is the latest marketer to lean into audio. 

American Girl creates podcast network to appeal to kids and their parents

American Girl is the latest brand to try its hand at podcasting, which has become a growing part of marketing strategies. 

The Mattel-owned brand is evolving its storytelling efforts beyond books and video with the launch of the American Girl Podcast Network, which will focus on the historical stories and themes that American Girl is known for. At launch, it will include three new fiction and nonfiction podcasts designed to appeal to both kids and their parents. 

From the onset of the American Girl line in 1986, the brand has portrayed the histories behind the American Girl dolls in the form of books and audiobooks. As digital media transformed, the brand expanded by producing content for its YouTube channel, as well as having live-action series’ on HBO and Amazon Prime. Now, American Girl sees podcasts as another new way to bring its content to consumers.

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Nostalgia and new fans

The shift into podcasts also came when American Girl noticed much of its fanbase was adults. When American Girl rereleased its six original characters for its 35th anniversary last year, the brand saw “a resurgence of nostalgia” from older fans, according to Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl. 

“It was a perfect time to really tap into this multi-generational fan base, wherever they are and where they’re listening,” Cygielman said. 

The doll brand also noticed a trend within its stores and on TikTok: adults, as opposed to kids, were visiting the American Girl Cafe in New York to have a bite to eat with the dolls from their childhood. For fans who have remained loyal to the brand throughout the years, the podcasts will be an extension of the content and advice from antecedent books and programs.  

Podcasts have become a fast-growing medium that allows brands to reach a specific demographic. According to the Infinite Dial survey by Edison Research, 48% of podcast listeners are aged 12 to 34. Listenership within this age bracket has continued to grow with 58 million people listening monthly in 2022, compared to 28 million in 2016. 

As such, brands like Ben & Jerry's, Oatly, Southwest Airlines and Trader Joe's, among many others, have tried their hand at branded podcasts in recent years. 

Read more: How Spotify is disrupting podcast measurement as industry ad revenue soars

“American Girl 10-Minute Mysteries,” hosted by actress Maggie Lawson, is the first fictional podcast released by the new network. American Girl will be releasing two nonfiction podcasts later in the summer: “American Girl Fan Club,” which gives a behind-the-scenes look into American Girl content, and “The Smart Girls Podcast,” which provides advice to tweens.

The podcasts will be available on all streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music, as well as on American Girl’s website.

American Girl worked with distribution partner Cloud10 Media and Jess Weiner from Talk to Jess, a cultural consultancy and creative production company that specializes in branded podcasts. Weiner will also be co-hosting one of the upcoming series by the network. 

“Podcast listenership among kids and teens continues to grow exponentially,” Sam Sarna, founder and CEO of Cloud10 Media, said in a statement.

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