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Hennessy takes center court with podcast sponsorship

"Knuckleheads" features iconic sports stars, entertainers and other notable figures in in-depth conversations. Image credit: The Players’ Tribune


LVMH-owned Cognac brand Hennessy is taking its relationship with basketball one step further as the presenting sponsor of “Knuckleheads,” a podcast hosted by NBA veterans Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles.

Since signing a multiyear deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and its affiliate franchises in 2020 to become the organization’s official spirit (see story), Hennessy continues to place itself at the center of sports culture. Operated through sports media company The Players’ Tribune, “Knuckleheads” features unfiltered conversations about sports and culture with special guests, high-profile athletes, artists and entertainers.

The allure of sports
“Knuckleheads” premiered on Feb. 19, 2019, with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler as its first guest. Since then, the podcast has become a leading sports entertainment program.

From the late Kobe Bryant to MLB Hall-of-Fame inductee and The Players’ Tribune founder Derek Jeter, hosts Mr. Richardson and Mr. Miles have engaged an ongoing list of iconic sports stars in insightful and often humorous conversation regarding sports’ greatest moments, upsets, milestones and more.

In celebrating its 100th episode, “Knuckleheads” invited 22-year NBA legend Vince Carter to record a two-part episode, in which he discusses his collegiate career at North Carolina, his rivalry with cousin Tracy McGrady, his impact on Canadian basketball and, of course, the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

Mr. Carter discusses the time he challenged Tracy McGrady to a dunk contest

Mr. Jeter launched The Players’ Tribune in 2014 as an online media platform dedicated to producing daily sports conversations and first-person anecdotes from professional athletes. Content on The Players’ Tribune includes videos, written articles and podcasts.

The sports sector attracts a highly engaged and passionate audience, so this style of in-depth storytelling is particularly enticing for viewers who want to know more about their favorite athletes, teams and sports moments.

Hennessy has been strategically tapping into this world, recognizing the power that basketball, specifically, has on American culture and consumer behavior.

At the end of 2020, the brand celebrated the start of the 2020-21 NBA season and its first season as the official spirit with the debut of its “Never stop, never settle” campaign (see story). In commemorating the vision of the league, to this day, Hennessy’s NBA campaigns pay tribute to players’ commitment to driving culture forward, on and off the court.

The “Knuckleheads” podcast, presented by Hennessy, can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. In each episode, the show’s hosts and their guests can be found sitting around a table, sipping on Cognac with a bottle of Hennessy at the center.

Sponsored content
As brands look for new and innovative ways to engage consumers through digital platforms, podcasts have become a popular channel for meeting attentive listeners.

U.S. beauty brand Estée Lauder reimagined the concept of fragrance marketing through its “Dare to Love” digital campaign powered by audio-based creative storytelling. Featuring global brand ambassador Ana de Armas to promote its newest fragrance Beautiful Magnolia eau de parfum, Estée Lauder partnered with The New York Times branded content studio T Brand and YouTube BrandConnect in a first-to-market collaboration.

With the partnership, the brand aimed to expand the representation of love through fictional stories within audio spots in the Modern Love podcast (see story).

Similarly, LVMH-owned jeweler Tiffany & Co. expanded on its celebration of love with a digital campaign featuring the stories of four couples in New York. In a continued effort to promote all forms of love in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, the jeweler collaborated with New York Times Advertising to share four personal love stories that reflect multidimensional ways of experiencing and expressing love.

The “Love, Always” campaign lived in a custom landing page and branded audio segments will on the New York Times’ Modern Love podcast (see story).