Luxury department store Harrods has launched its first-ever podcast as part of a new emphasis on editorial formats and channels. True Tales of Luxury, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Audio Boom and Harrods’ website, is hosted by renowned journalist and broadcaster, Mariella Frostrup where she dissects the true meaning of modern luxury with some very special guests.
Guests include artist and author David Batchelor, Brunswick House’s raconteur chef-patron Jackson Boxer, beauty trailblazer Terri De Gunzberg, as well as notable designers, Roksanda Illincic, Stephen Webster and Amanda Wakeley. Each guest was asked to bring a personal object with which they consider to epitomise true luxury and to discuss its value to them.
“I have always been fascinated by the stories that objects can tell, and the role which the things we value play in our lives,” commented Frostrup on the concept. “Luxury is such a personal, subjective thing. The vast range of objects which were selected – from designer products to tools used in my guests’ individual craft - and the way they inspire and evoke joy, provided a completely unique and intimate discussion.”
Each of the six episodes, produced by entertainment company Sunshine, were recorded within the Harrods store and encouraged guests to delve deep, sharing anecdotes from their remarkable lives and their true thoughts about the meaning of luxury.
“Luxury has never simply been about collecting objects; it is completely personal, experiential and unique. Harrods story, as one of the great luxury emporiums of the world, is already well known and we believe we are uniquely placed to explore what luxury truly means in 2019,” Amanda Hill, Harrods' Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, said in an official statement. “We are excited and invite some of the most creative people working today, people that inspire us, as well as the listener, to do the same.”
Over the past couple of years, fashion and beauty brands have been experimenting with podcasts, either through launching their own series or partnering with podcast producers for sponsored episodes.
In 2018, high end department store Barneys New York launched The Barneys Podcast, a series of conversations between top Barneys employees. Last year, Gucci also launched its own podcast series, where creative director Alessandro Michele talks with high profile collaborators and muses, from singer Florence Welch and the Harlem designer Dapper Dan. And in October 2018, Rebecca Minkoff started her Superwomen with Rebecca Minkoff, a podcast that supports the brand’s I Am Many campaign, where she interviews guests about the secrets behind some of the most successful women in the world.
With True Tales of Luxury, Harrods is joining the podcast frenzy. And there are clear benefit for brands. A 2018 survey by Edison Research found that 44% of US consumers aged 12 and older have listened to a podcast (a 4% increase from 2017) and 26% listened to one in the past month (a 2% increase from 2017). The firm also reported that a typical podcast fan spends five hours of their week listening to shows. That’s way longer than a 30-second TV spot or a few seconds people spend scrolling past online ads (in the unlikely case they’re not already using an adblocker, of course).
In the US and UK, podcast listeners also earn above the national average salary. A survey by the National Public Radio found that 31% of US podcast listeners described themselves as executives or managers. For luxury brands, which have resisted change driven by new technology, this is a much more cost-effective way to experiment with a different content format without the risks that come with, let’s say, spending time and money creating an AR app that will be active for a month.
If Harrods manages to bring something fresh with Tales of Luxury, the podcast could create a continuous connection between the high end retailer and its audiences, even when they’re not in the market for buying a £5,600 D&G gown.
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