Effective NPR Radio and Podcast Creative: Insights for CPG Brands

June 2024

In 2024, customer behavior around consumer packaged goods (CPG) is undergoing transformation. People are shopping just as frequently, but buying fewer items. Shoppers are increasingly opting to make purchases directly from brands’ websites. And consumers’ interest in the health, wellness and sustainability aspects of the products they buy is on the rise.

NPR’s audience is especially interested in the health benefits and environmental impact of the brands they buy. 80% of NPR listeners say they are always looking for ways to live a healthier life. And research has shown that NPR sponsorship drives impact for CPG brands.

To evaluate how NPR listeners are responding to CPG brands today, National Public Media recently worked with Veritonic to test a variety of copy approaches for CPG sponsorship messages to find out what resonates with NPR listeners.

The test incorporated nine different CPG food brands, ranging from well-known to new or less familiar, and included a 15-second radio message and 30-second podcast message for each brand. Three brands had messages focused on values, three emphasizing health, and three emphasizing health and taste.

Respondents answered questions before listening to the audio creative, responded with emotional attributes while listening to the creative, and then answered questions after hearing it. Respondents were re-contacted to assess recall 48 hours after the survey.

Here’s what we learned about what approaches resonated.


The NPR halo effect is strong for food brands.

97% of NPR podcast listeners agree they are likely to buy groceries or snacks from brands that support NPR. 94% of NPR radio listeners say the same.

Purchase intent for CPG brands surpasses industry benchmarks.

The test found that NPR radio and NPR podcast messages are equally effective in driving purchase intent. Messages for newer or niche brands saw higher intent lift than the well-known national brands, but all messages drove a lift at or above Veritonic’s CPG benchmark of 2%.

NPR messages are especially effective in conveying authenticity and trustworthiness.

Respondents in Veritonic creative messaging tests react with emotional attributes while listening to the creative. All of the NPR messages for CPG brands received above-average scores for “authentic” and “trustworthy” attributes.

Messages focused on brand values have the strongest recall in podcast creative.

Veritonic’s Audio Score showed that all message themes were very effective. When grouped by creative that focused on health, health and taste, or values, all three performed well above Veritonic’s CPG benchmark.

For most brands, radio and podcast messages achieved similar recall. However, value-focused messages were more memorable in the longer podcast creative – meaning that brands that focus on values in their messaging may want to consider prioritizing podcasts in their media buy.

Messages about healthy, high-quality ingredients resonate with NPR listeners.

Across copy versions, audiences tended to respond most to messages about healthy, high-quality ingredients. This is consistent with what NPR fans say they are looking for in their food brands. More than two thirds of both podcast (68%) and radio listeners (70%) agree they want the best quality they can find. A majority of both podcast and radio listeners also agree they prioritize food that is healthy and nutritious – 63% of podcast listeners and 57% of radio listeners.

Other key themes that were most resonant based on listeners’ responses to the creative include:

More from National Public Media

February 2024

Mic, Headphones, Action: Why Your Campaign Needs Podcasts

Podcast listeners are responding to ads by taking action - at every step of the purchasing funnel. Here's why it's time to add podcasts to your next media buy.

April 2024

From Attention to Action: Measuring the Power of NPR Podcasts

New analysis of NPR podcasts demonstrated an average attention score 10% above the already superior attention typical of podcasts.

May 2023

NPR Sponsorship Success: Smartwool Campaign Reaches Young Outdoor Enthusiasts

See how Smartwool's NPR podcast campaign drove interest, opinion and action for merino wool products.