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Is it true that if I listen to Podcasts my brain will explode?

I often remark

‘I was listening to this podcast the other day and…

then receive blank looks as friends artfully move the topic along elsewhere.

Problem is I love podcasts! I think everyone should. They’re mostly free, they’re multi-taskedly consumable on your own time and are of such niche value to ones unique personal fetishes, that finding that nourishment elsewhere (other than the ABC or TED) is near on impossible.

So why haven’t they taken in the many years they’ve been around?

Well firstly there’s the name, Podcast. Obviously this reminds of iPods but for many the idea of using an iPod for anything other than their own blend of Top of the Pops music is foreign.

Then there’s the nature of the content purported by the medium; spoken, news, insight etc… again (for most) news needs to be live, not queued in a device for when you’re ready to listen to it.  However, I’d argue that just because something isn’t live doesn’t mean it isn’t current, especially when the gains of quality and value over live are considered.

Also major technology companies like Apple (who haven’t done us any favours with their cumbersome Podcast syncing processes) or Microsoft (enough said) etc… have not got behind the movement by standardising a Podcast application in their environments. This peculiar trend of handicapping your own innovations is one fellow infovores will be familiar with with RSS (which could be a post of its own with the words Google Reader, my6sense and Feedly replacing Podcast).

Finally, there’s a justified growing societal concern that the vacuous consumption of, anarchistic indulgence in and educational obfuscation from today’s communications media is leaving us ‘calm as Hindu cows’. Which might explain our mass restraint from ploughing the plentiful fields of value on offer that passionate podcasters put such hard work in to providing; but alas, cows don’t graze on knowledge.

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Advertisers. We have to stop faking it.

I found this article interesting because of discussions I’ve been having recently and books I’ve been reading

http://www.dmnews.com/agencies-position-for-the-rebound/article/169240

It discusses the challenges agencies face in adopting new tactics and models to combat shrinking marketing spends, where marketers don’t entirely believe that their spends were ever even justified.

These were some of my thoughts on it, heavy on the embellishment.

Agencies need to be as good at helping clients achieve consistent and accurate, cross-channel ROI measurement & optimisation, as they are at delivering campaign creative.

By channel I don’t just mean TV, Radio, DM, Online but transactionally too, over the phone, online or in store and by campaign creative I mean all of it, concept and execution; outdoor, ambient, integrated, alternate reality gaming, social media, traditional media, rich internet applications, SEM, display, affiliates etc…

Naturally, the buzz words that come to mind are ‘integrated‘ and ‘through the line‘. But there seems to be a lot of buzz about with very little delivery. Perhaps this lack focus is due to the implied inferiority of the phrases  ‘through/below the line’ themselves, and we’re all scrambling to rewrite it.

As for Mobile, everyone’s spruiking 2010 as its year (as they have every year) and don’t get me wrong it will have its day and it will be game changing. But it won’t just be mobile:

  • It’s Google bringing to iPTV the same disruption it did with AdWords.
  • It’s location based search.
  • It’s everyday engrained advocacy marketing.
  • It’s very serious privacy implications for us all.

All of the above feed a growing societal distrust for the isolation brought on by our growing digital entrenchment and, as expected, marketers are pitching to the alleviation of this fear, with products that are real – no really. This gets harder and harder to do though as every service provider, bank and grocery chain out there is shouting ‘local’, ‘organic’, ‘friendly’,‘trusted’ and ‘personal’ louder than the next, wearing a massive smile and believing being on Facebook makes them that, real. When it’s really only the most transparent companies, willing to mould themselves on their customers that will win. And this is no easy task. It’s political, it’s technical and it’s difficult.

If you’re listening to a social media expert and they’re talking to you in any language other than whole of business and especially management reform, read between these lines and start doing the talking again yourself, to your staff, chances are you’ll have a few that will teach you a thing or two – relevant to your company.

But back to my point, which is this (I think)…

With all the cloud gazing over these ‘any-day-now’ platforms that we hope will rejuvenate tired media and agency models, they’re still still not here. Possibly because there’s too much for all the network, content, system and hardware providers out their to agree on (maybe one company needs to be all of these).

Even when they do agree though and the heavens do finally open, the same teething problems witnessed in digital and media measurement today, will, in most likelihood I believe, still exist (if not more so).

But teething problems don’t really matter do they? So long as sales are being tracked rather than made and no one neither realises nor says anything. This is the opportunity for any agency game enough to fill it, to recognise the difference and offer the better alternative, rather than just the most easily concealable and least egregious.

So, what is real and authentic?

What is tangible and of real value to advertisers today?

I think it’s this…

There’s so much advertisers can do right now, within existing channels. But so few know it.

It comes in knowing the mood of people today, building good companies, brands, products and people and using both good creative AND functional use of mediums and media, to tell everyone about it.

It now also needs REAL measurement, actionable insight and constant improvement.

It’s called authenticity; we’ve just got to stop ‘faking it’.

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The Nude Girls are Back

“This band kicks ass!” – Michael Hutchence, INXS

God dank vir Klank! Roughly translated for non South Africans this means ‘Thank God for Noise.’ This is an apt metaphor for this band and one which I enjoy elaborating on. To the uninitiated the Springbok Nude Girls may at first sound like nothing but noise but give this band pause to mature in your appreciation and you will begin to see the beauty at work in their music.

The energy that is expelled from their succesful collaboration of ska, jazz, acoustic, punk, rock, classical and reggae; not to mention the golden tones of Arno Carstens voice whether he’s roaring indiscernable words or seducing with sweet baladic tones is undeniable. Here’s a video of one of the latest songs on their upcoming album ‘Peacebreaker.’ The songs called ‘Illuminate’ and while it’s a little too catchy for me I still enjoy it and the music video’s pretty awesome. I’m sure it’s a sign of some good things to come on the new album.

UPDATE: Just got the new album and damn!!! Gang Gang, Wolfmen, Peace Breaker, Does it look like a Tango, Kill em for the Country etc are awesome. And I’ve just read that the nudie’s are doing a DVD. Cannot wait to finally be able to show all and sundry video evidence of just how much this band rock. Wish I was still in London so I could be there for the filming of it. F&!@

Their music is unique and creative, so much so that I believe they are a victim of their own brilliance. As a result of their fusion of many genre’s they don’t belong to one specific sub-culture or genre other than simply ‘South African’ which unfortunately isn’t enough to launch them onto the global stage they deserve to perform on. That said they have shared the stage with such acts as Lenny Kravitz, INXS, Goo Goo Dolls, Offspring, Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys.

People I’ve convinced enough to listen to them are always quick to try and dismiss them by saying stuff like ‘they soundslike this and sound like that.’ No! They don’t sound like Audioslave, Soundgarden or anything else this world has been able to muster. They are the Springbok Nude Girls, and yes I hope you flinch at the name! So you should. They’re back and expecting to release a new album early 2007! I can’t wait.

Save the Internet

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They’re about to do to Internet users what Sky did to football fans in the UK! So unless you would like to begin paying for Emails as you do SMS I suggest you watch this and act! That’s right you, you are required to save the Internet.

It’s a dangerous job beset on all sides by porn and stupid comments by the worlds most powerful man. No not Hulk Hogan, not Chuck Norris either. I’m talking about the comedian in chief himself George Dubya.

I’m not going to say any more but please watch this then go & savetheinternet.com

Will Earths tombstone read…

Naom Chomsky is this worlds foremost critical thinker and social protagonist and we should listen to him more. In this video he lays down a very bleak prediction for what is going to happen to our way of life as we know it if we continue on the path we are on now.

Will we heed his warning? My fear is that as Albert Einstein once said “those of us who know the most are most worried of the future” So take a look at this poignant video and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts. If you’re interested to hear more on Naom Chomsky you should see the Library section on the blog Vaults of Imouthes.

In closing it was William Butler Yeats who wrote in his poem ‘The Second Coming,’ “that the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Will our utter complacency be our final downfall?

Last.FM Personal Radio Stations

I’ve mentioned Last.fm here before and today I want to discuss one of the sites best features. It’s the ability to listen to my choice of categorised music within your browser

As I use their service I am given the option of choosing which songs I like best. These then become available for you or anyone else on the web to listen to. If you visit my profile and click on the ‘Play Loved Tracks Radio’ button you’ll be treated to a selection of songs from my personal favourites list.

Other options are to listen to “Neighbour Radio,” neighbours are listeners Last.fm has found with similar tastes to me and by clicking on this button you can listen to their favourites. Finally clicking on “Play Personal Radio” will let you peruse a more random assortment of music. See what you think.

Naom Chomsky Quote

If we had the honesty and the moral courage, we would not let a day go by without hearing the cries of the victims. We would turn on the radio in the morning and listen to the voices of the people who escaped the massacres in Quiche province, and the Guazapa mountains, and the daily press would carry front-page pictures of children dying of malnutrition and disease in the countries where order reigns and crops and beef are exported to the American market, with an explanation of why this is so. We would listen to the extensive and detailed record of terror and torture in our dependencies, compiled by Amnesty International, Americas watch