It was March 2016. True crime was having a moment. Podcasts were having a moment. And the Crime Writers On podcast – where four crime writers gather every week to discuss crime and pop culture – had climbed high enough up the iTunes podcast charts to start attracting advertisers.
When the show got its first sponsor, co-host and crime writer Kevin Flynn took on yet another role: podcast pitchman. In his debut performance, he steered listeners from a discussion about Netflix’s mega-hit documentary, Making a Murderer, to the merits of mattresses made by Casper, a major player in podcast advertising. “We started talking about if you were accused of killing someone on a bed and needed to get rid of that mattress fast, you could replace it with a Casper mattress,” recalls Flynn.
He then explained how Casper mattresses are easily ordered online, delivered to your door in a compact box, and expand like an inflatable liferaft. No cop would think you were guilty if you had a mattress like Casper, he added, as his co-host Lara Bricker giggled and expressed surprise that that he had received a free mattress for his efforts. Flynn’s wife, fellow crime writer and co-host, Rebecca Lavoie, admonished her husband for his “bad taste” in linking mattresses to murder but agreed with him that their new Casper mattress was both comfortable and reasonably priced. She advised interested listeners to use the promo code CRIME to get an additional $50 off.
Since then, Flynn has made crazy segues into podcast ads part of his schtick. Kopari coconut lotion would work wonders on a recently released prisoner’s dry skin. An FBI profiler, who has gone off the grid, will no doubt regret his decision due to the fact he can’t get Plated meals delivered to the door of his shack. And there is always “that time of the podcast” when Flynn hands the mic over to Lavoie for the My Lola organic tampon spots.
The ads on Crime Writers have become a feature not a bug and even generate regular groans and praise on social media. “Nobody does an ad segue like @kevinpflynn on @CrimeWritersOn,” tweeted one fan. “Smooth as @KopariBeauty coconut melt.”