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Podcasting On the Go: LG Partnered with This Experiential Agency to Combat the Stigma Around Student Athlete Mental Health

LG tapped Lupine Creative to fabricate a mobile podcasting studio, which traveled to four universities to record episodes where D1 athletes, pro athletes, and administrators talked about the intersection of mental health, athletics, and academia.

How This Agency Is Addressing Mental Health
Bespoke experiential and marketing agency Lupine Creative has partnered with LG Electronics for the production of Transparent Conversations, a four-episode podcast where former student athlete Prim Siripipat explores the intersection of mental wellness, athletics, and academia with D1 athletes, pro athletes, and administrators at NCAA universities.
Photo: Courtesy of Lupine Creative

When LG Electronics sought to “create real dialogue with the next generation,” the company knew it had to tap into what’s important to millennials and above, explained Kate Wolff, the founder and CEO of bespoke experiential and marketing agency Lupine Creative. Thus, the electronics company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) team looked to Wolff to assist in brainstorming something with a “value construct,” meaning it has a “way to reach the one-to-one, meaning some kind of physical event, and the one-to-many, meaning it has legs beyond the single instance,” Wolff delineated of the initiative.

The result? Transparent Conversations, a podcast hosted by American tennis player and former ESPN anchor Prim Siripipat that explores the intersection of mental wellness, athletics, and academia. But it’s not the type of podcast you’re thinking of, so scratch the idea of a small room with lots of recording software, because Transparent Conversations was created throughout a four-stop mobile tour, where an LG red-wrapped truck visited campuses that are home to Division 1 NCAA athletes. (The truck visited Duke University on Oct. 28 and the University of North Carolina on Oct. 29—plus conducted interviews on a panel in Ohio with Notre Dame alumni on Nov. 11—and will conclude the recordings with a stop at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) on Nov. 16.)How This Agency Is Addressing Mental HealthLupine's founder and CEO Kate Wolff said finding people to speak on the podcast was "easy." The hard part was getting the universities themselves on board. “It takes people on the inside who are passionate about the topic and the conversation to really drive change internally,” she added.Photo: Courtesy of Lupine Creative

“It’s [the campaign is] not part of their [LG's] direct partnership with the NCAA,” Wolff clarified, but noted that it was important to LG to “target schools that have that upper echelon, competitive nature of D1” in order to make conversations surrounding mental health in student athletes “as authentic as possible.” And by doing so in a podcast-equipped truck fabricated by the Lupine team and partner 3rdAve with one clear-paneled side so that other students could listen in on the recording in real-time made for “a little bit of a double entendre there—and perpetually so,” Wolff said.

The experiential CEO added that LG purposefully took advantage of a tech-heavy podcast format “to be sure that they were creating a space where people could actually have the conversations where [LG's] not necessarily the focus, but the arena in which they are played.” So, “LG had a place to be there,” Wolff said, noting that Transparent Conversations has not only been successful in “generating important dialogue,” but also in remaining relevant among this young consumer base.

Between four episodes, which will air late 2022 and intro early 2023 on all podcast platforms—and be a part of a miniseries on Siripipat’s already existing podcast, Next Chapter—Siripipat will sit down with D1 athletes; former student athletes that went pro, like NBA player Gerald Henderson Jr., who retired in April 2019; and university administrators.How This Agency Is Addressing Mental HealthTopics include stressors of the modern student athlete, the role of support systems, and life after the college experience, just to name a few. Aspiring listeners will be able to find Transparent Conversations on all podcast platforms when the four episodes are released in early 2023.Photo: Courtesy of Lupine Creative

On the lineup: an LMU professor and the director of the mental health and wellness program at the National Basketball Players Association, William D. Parham, Ph. D, ABPP; the assistant director of athletics and behavioral health at Duke, Dr. Shawn Zeplin; a Duke graduate student, women's lacrosse player, and the president of the first chapter of Morgan’s Message—a student-athlete community that looks to eliminate the stigma around mental health—Anna Callahan; and many more.

The “power of the [LG] brand [was] finding people that have the authority in the space to be talking about mental health, and bringing them together,” Wolff said of the partnership with the electrics company.

Meanwhile, “Lupine found Prim,” she said, noting that it was important that the host also have a tie-in to the topic at hand (Siripipat is a Duke tennis alumna). As far as finding guests—”easy,” Wolff said, explaining that it was a mix of sign-ups and reaching out to individuals based on “some research of who was actually on the ground and authentically having these conversations [already].” The hard part? Getting the universities themselves on board. 

“It takes people on the inside who are passionate about the topic and the conversation to really drive change internally,” Wolff said of what it was like to get support for LG to park its truck and record a Transparent Conversations episode on the campus of four well-renowned NCAA institutions. “We’ve been lucky enough to find those people and have them help us navigate approval processes and things like that.”How This Agency Is Addressing Mental HealthTransparent Conversations is hosted by Prim Siripipat, a Duke University tennis alumna, former ESPN anchor, and host of podcast Next Chapter, where she talks about what happens to athletes when they embark on a new chapter that doesn't involve professional sports.Photo: Courtesy of Lupine Creative

And when asked about how this project has resonated differently from the others she’s worked on as the founder of Lupine, Wolff said: “I’m a true believer that there is a good element in everything that we do,” adding that Transparent Conversations’ impact is just merely more overt than some other events.

Upon release, listeners can expect topics like stressors of the modern student athlete to the role of support systems, and life after the college experience, just to name a few. Ultimately, as Wolff said, it all boils down to the fact that “people forget D1 athletes are 18 years old, and there’s a balance of professional athleticism and having a full-time job [with being a] full-time student and full-time family member, [all while] relationships blossoming—and for some maybe the first time.”

“It’s a pressure cooker of stressors,” she added, pointing to an anecdote that was told during a podcast recording where a student athlete suffered the loss of a family member during the season. “An average student—they go home and they come back to school when they’re through the bereavement process,” Wolff said. “But for D1 college athletes, they often are called back to the court almost immediately, and so it’s something that they just have to compartmentalize.”

As a final thought: “Silence perpetuates stigma,” Wolff emphasized, saying that she will continue to “do as much as we can to create honest dialogue where it is accessible for the many.” She added: “The goal is to continue on, so we can do a series of this and tackle as many places that need open dialogue as possible.”How This Agency Is Addressing Mental HealthLupine fabricated the truck, which Wolff said was "built to be sound proof" and with one clear-paneled side so that other students could listen in on the recording in real-time.Photo: Courtesy of Lupine Creative

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