Ad Hoc is a show about advertising.

Each episode offers new perspectives, exploring a range of creative, strategic, and scientific insights behind the ads you see every day.

This podcast is an original production of AEM Marketing. To learn more about our work, please visit our marketing and communications page.



1. Democracy in Peril: Ads and the Internet

Over the years, political campaigns have chased voters as their media preferences have evolved and individuals have become easier to target with ads. There was once a time when Americans would gather around a radio or TV and share the experience of a presidential ad. Nicco Mele, Harvard professor of politics, media, and public policy, says the way political advertising targets niche groups is putting civic dialog at risk.

Listen to the full episode with Nicco here.


2. A Recipe for a Novel Product: Marketing the Impossible

The vast majority of new products fail. They sound like great ideas but they can’t break into the habits of their customer. The COO of Impossible Foods, a fast-growing startup with a plant-based burger, shares strategies they’re using to make their product the next household name.

Listen to the full episode with David here.


3. The Design of Big Box Stores: How Stores Engage and Retain Customers

From the moment you walk into a retail store, it works to live up to the promises of its ads—and it continues to sell you. Om Marwah, Global Head of Behavioral Science at Walmart, takes us around a Sam’s Club, sharing insights into store design and the ways retail gamification can boost sales.

Click here to listen to the full episode with Om.


4. Starbucks and Latte-Drinking Liberals: The Connection Between Brand and Purpose

Whether you’re looking for a car or a bag of potato chips, the brands behind the thing you buy have a specific set of values associated with them. For instance, when you think of Starbucks, do you think liberal or conservative? Polarizing or inclusive? The co-founder of ad agency Enso talks about the metrics his company developed to understand perceived purpose and value.

Listen to the full episode with Sebastian.


5. In Times of Crisis: How Habitat for Humanity Manages Its Message

Chris Clarke, head of marketing for the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, talks through the ways the international nonprofit has honed its message and how it navigates ethical issues, humanitarian needs, and fundraising following natural disasters or times of great need.

Click here to listen to the full episode with Chris.


6. I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid: Why We Remember Ads

From jingles, to the ads you saw as a kid on your family’s TV, to the mattress ads you hear on your favorite podcast—ads can be deeply memorable. There is no clear formula to ensure that ads stick with you, but a combination of several elements can make 30-second spots memorable for years. Our guest is Manuel Garcia-Garcia, a leader at global firm Ipsos who studies the brain and advertising.