DUBAI: Podcast network Finyal Media, known for its focus on storytelling throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has partnered with GMC Middle East, Next Broadcast Media, and Dentsu Aegis to create a new mystery drama series.
Eight-parter, “Al-Silah,” is centered on two Saudi brothers embarking on a 13-hour car journey from Jeddah to Dammam in a 2021 GMC Yukon after receiving a cryptic and hurried call from their father asking them to get to Dammam as quickly as possible.
Throughout the drive, the brothers try to piece together the full story from relatives, business associates, and other unexpected sources of information.
Filmed in Saudi Arabia, the first season of Al-Silah launched on April 13 in time for Ramadan, with two episodes going live per week.
Kelly MacDonald, chief marketing officer for General Motors in Africa and the Middle East, said: “The holy month of Ramadan is a period we really cherish at GMC considering our strong connection with the Arab culture.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets for GMC, and we are thrilled to be getting closer to the community through this exciting project featuring our very own 2021 GMC Yukon.”
The new partnership also signified the growth of brand investments in the podcasting industry. Earlier this year, Unilever’s platform Miraa partnered with Finyal Media to release the six-episode podcast series “A Breath, a Step, a Mirror” for International Women’s Day, with more seasons expected throughout the year.
A report last year by UAE-based podcast network, Amaeya Media, found that 50 percent of listeners preferred entertainment-related content, feedback that has been reflected in more brands adopting a storytelling approach to their podcasts.
Leila Hamadeh, co-founder and CEO of Finyal Media, said: “It was really important for us to collaborate with a partner whose brand could authentically and seamlessly integrate into the show in a natural way.
“With the series being the story of a dramatic adventure across the Kingdom, the iconic car brand GMC felt like a very natural fit for the characters in the show.”
Podcasts are becoming a more lucrative advertising opportunity for brands as they offer a complete branding opportunity in a natural and authentic way that is more cost-effective than other platforms.
Lemya Soltani, director of client partnerships at Next Broadcast Media, said: “Podcasts offer our clients the opportunity to reach their audience in a contextually relevant environment where they can get 100 percent of a user’s attention without being intrusive.”
Al-Silah is available for free on Apple Podcast.