I am a London-based Digital PR/Social Media/SEO Consultant, music producer/anorak, deep sea diver, avid cyclist, worldwide traveller and football-loving technology bod! This page functions as a kind of online scrapbook/resource featuring my favourite blog posts and news items as well as my own personal reviews and recommendations in the worlds of music, sport, travel and technology!

Friday, 26 March 2010

On butter, Nike, mascara and new-media hyperbole

On butter, Nike, mascara and new-media hyperbole: "

Earlier today I watched this video on John’s blog and I have to say it made me want to poke my eye with a new-media fork (You know I’m your #1 fan John, right? and the content of the post is great as usual…).

The last advertising agency on earth my ass.

Sorry ya’ all but that’s just another shallow, smug, so-2006, new-media-evangelists-hyperbollocks. Aren’t we over the advertising is dead mantra already? Advertising agencies are not going anywhere. Bad business is screwed whether they are selling juice or advertising. Or not. There are quite a lot of shitty brands or less than mediocre ad agencies that still make good business.

Come on, most advertising has always been and will always be shit. Like most of all stuff is shit. As I write this post I’m watching a re-run of Friends on E4 and the ads on the break are simply generic beauty brands crap that look the same for 20 years now (new formula, laser effects, close-up on the irresistible, larger-than-life mascara that will make your wrinkles disappear etc.) And I can’t think of any mass ‘beauty’ brand that does anything worth talking about (Dove might be an exception but this can only strengthen my point as they still rely heavily on TV) and yet they still make buckets of money and even more when they run a less than OK advertising campaign.

That’s because two facts remain:

1. Most consumer brands are and will always be low involvement goods that no one gives a toss about their marketing. There are very, very few brands that their consumption cycle is led by fascination, enthusiasm and cultural meaning. I wholeheartedly believe that most people don’t want any engagement or relationship with most of the brands beyond the simple need for their products and services to work (whatever their ‘work’ is) and to give me good value for my money. These brands will always need advertising and promotions and a good comms and media plan to sell their stuff cause nothing else will make you even think about them. As Rishad Tobaccowala has said ages ago, “When I have a headache I want my headache to go away. I don’t want a relationship with Tylenol.”

2. There still isn’t a single media or creative solution that can get you any near TV advertising reach and hence awareness if you have the money to spend. Here my fellow digiratis - take whatever budget you want and make something ‘engaging’ or ‘interactive’ or ’socially-digitaly-conversational’ for Country Life butter. You will still have to pay loads of money for media buying because guess what? No one cares. So let’s see if you can get any near the results of this piece of crap that increased Country Life sales by 90% during the duration of the campaign.

And what about that meerkat or the Gorilla as well as T-Mobile dance/sing-a-long? Were they purely youtube phenomenon? of course not. They didn’t have a chance without huge spend on traditional media. Even the most culturally digital brands still and will always need great TV and outdoor ads in their mix. Nike, Honda, Burger King to name but a few are doing fantastic marketing, some of it is just really great TV advertising so don’t give me this last ad agency on earth crap.

I said it once and I’ll say it again: old things are not being replaced with new stuff, they add to them. Of course it’s not about advertising any more (it has never been) but let’s admit it - advertising is still pretty damn effective - whether you do great advertising or shit advertising. Yes, in some cases it will prove less and less effective and relevant and brands will surely have to adopt to a new reality with more engaging marketing but as long as we will have great innovative stuff from the likes of CP+B and W+K don’t kill advertising agencies categorically just yet. It’s infantile.

Everything changes, nothing is changing*.

*The cleverest thing I’ve ever heard from a planner.

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Improperganda 2: This Sporting Life

Improperganda 2: This Sporting Life: "

In the second Improperganda podcast, Mark Borkowski talks to Todd Ant, one of America’s premier sports broadcasters.

The discussion delves beneath the surface of sporting reputation and looks at the similarities and differences in reaction to the misbehaviour of sports stars on either side of the Atlantic. The conversation takes in everyone from John Terry to Babe Ruth and begins by looking at efforts to educate trouble-making out of young American sports stars.

“Give a 22 year old man $1 million, alcohol, celebrity and a bit too much free time and trouble will find him. It’s just a fact of life. I don’t care who he is. It’s just a potentially highly volatile mix!” Dr. Johnny Benjamin

“I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” Charles Barkley

The Improperganda podcast is a weekly forensic inspection of the truths, untruths, half-truths, myths, histories and gossip that surround modern culture, celebrity, fame, brands and PR.

Each episode will feature an interview or discussion with someone with a unique perspective on the world, be they publicists, journalists, authors, artists or just interesting human beings with an inside track on the underside of the headlines or the digital hemisphere.


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(title unknown): "Al Jarreau 1976 - Take Five

DJ Killian presents The ScrapBook Podcasts Vol.15

DJ Killian presents The ScrapBook Podcasts Vol.15: " It's been a while! A selection of tunes making up my days presently. Deep and melodic with the odd twist. Martyn - Everything About You 6blocc - Flying Guillotine Dub & Run - Margic Carpet Matty G - Turf Warz Dubwoofa - 7am Ghost Reso - Hemisphere RSD - Depend (Lovas) Rob Sparx - War Pig RSD - Over It Data - Leaves Synkro - On My Mind LV - Turn Away Uzul Prod - Rumble Inna Station (Skreamix) Download

The Index Page

The Index Page: "

…could not be a less enticing title, so let’s cut right to the awesome it enables:

Those are all just standard Bandcamp-powered sites. The second two use the new image map feature to add site navigation to the custom header. But all three use the new index page feature to display a selection of releases when fans go to your site, rather than just bringing them straight to your latest release.

Setting up an index page is simple — look for the “index” link in the gray bar at the top of your site:

After you click it, you’ll see a page like this one:

We pre-populate the grid with your existing catalog, but you can customize the page to highlight just a few releases, adjust their order, and so on. Click the plus/minus icons in the yellow bar to add or remove rows and columns. Click the “x” icon in the lower right of any release to remove it. And click the Set button in any cell to pick the release you want there:

To actually make the index page what people see when they go to yourband.bandcamp.com (or yourcustomdomain.com), click the “…to see this index page instead, click here” link in the yellow header, or go to your Profile page and look for the new section labeled “Home Page”:

Once again we’d love to see what you guys come up with, so please point us toward your efforts in the comments!

P.S. The “change” link next to your band name in the Set Index Cell dialog lets you put any release on Bandcamp on your index page, rather than restricting it to just your own releases. In the next post, we’ll look at how a label can use this to power their roster’s music pages.


Mixcloud: Re-thinking Radio - One Million Streams Old

Mixcloud: Re-thinking Radio - One Million Streams Old: "Mixcloud is a website dedicated to streaming music. The main difference is that they focus on radio content as opposed to individual singles. Put simply, in their words, Mixcloud 'helps connect radio content to listeners more effectively'. By hosting radio shows, podcasts and DJ mixes in the 'cloud' (without software or storage), the audio is available to listen to on-demand and instantly, whereas podcasts require downloading to a hard drive. Uploaded audio is therefore referred to as... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]"

Twin Peaks still marks the summit of TV soundtracks

Twin Peaks still marks the summit of TV soundtracks: "

Twenty years after it was first released, Angelo Badalamenti's score for David Lynch's series has lost none of its eerie majesty

In even the greatest TV shows, music is often just decoration for the story. It's there to add colour and amplify (or in the case of really bad acting, signpost) emotion. But in Twin Peaks, finally available on DVD in the UK this week, the music isn't simply reflective – it has a creepy agency all of its own.

The soundtrack is made up of a handful of themes composed by Angelo Badalamenti. His music for the opening credits initially seems saccharine and sentimental, but is actually fitting for the mood of the show. Like many of Lynch's films, it's an old-fashioned story of good and evil, stemming from a core of sentimentality that has corroded.

This initial theme, like all the music, is also sensitive to Lynch's vision of Twin Peaks as somewhere both contemporary (with modern guns and tape recorders) and oddly vintage (with 50s fashions). Badalamenti evokes Douglas Sirk melodrama with soaring strings, as Lynch does with his romantic plots, but tempers it with modern instrumentation, just as Lynch does by conjuring a sense of metaphysical terror. So a saxophone wails over power chords, while violins sound against deathless synths.

The use of singers is inspired, from overdubbing Julee Cruise so heavily that her scenes teeter on the edge of dreams, to Just You, the eerily accurate pastiche of a 50s ballad sung by the beautiful trio of teenage protagonists, and the nerve-shredding minimalism of Jimmy Scott performing Sycamore Trees. Lynch continues to explore the transformative power of song in later work, such as the Spanish version of Roy Orbison's Crying in Mulholland Drive, or the euphoric Nina Simone performance at the end of Inland Empire.

But the soundtrack's real triumph is Laura Palmer's Theme. Beginning with four brooding synth notes (later sampled by Moby on Go), a piano swells into teary-eyed romance, before slowly tumbling down into the original motif. This theme recurs throughout the soundtrack, providing an overall structure for the show, of light emerging from darkness only to be engulfed again. For the condemned characters of Twin Peaks, the music is not merely a decorative hood, it's the scaffold from which they're hanged.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Former Sony Music boss launches IMHO social content player

Former Sony Music boss launches IMHO social content player: "

imhoSocial what? IMHO is an application offering a mix of music, games and social networking features, launched by former Sony Music chairman Don Ienner. It offers 150 online radio stations, music content from The Orchard, and 900 games from RealNetworks.

The idea is that users watch and share music, video and other content, while buying the virtual IMHO Dollars currency – although they can also earn it by watching ads or interacting with friends. These dollars can then be spent on virtual items to customise their avatar.

Music services Nutsie and OurStage are promoting the launch, and the press release includes the terms “bleeding-edge”, “monetization”, “marquis catalog” and “next generation of cloud platforms”. Which is nice.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Big Pharma still looking for the “social” cure

Big Pharma still looking for the “social” cure: "

Should drug makers be required to disclose up-front all the potential harmful side effects of new medications within a single, 140-character Tweet? And what about guidance on how to set up a Facebook fan page of some new HIV drug?

It’s amazing to think that regulators in the U.S. and Europe still haven’t figured out how Big Pharma can use social media to engage with potential patients, not to mention the friends and families of those afflicted with serious medical conditions. All too often, niche online medical forums are the first place people turn to learn more about new treatments when confronted with a confounding new malady. And still, regulators are forcing drug makers to remain on the periphery, forbidding most kinds of interaction with the public. To be sure, many of the world’s largest drug makers monitor healthcare social media forums to better understand how their customers or potential customers feel about certain types of treatment, but it’s just that: listening. Most forms of engagement are still verboten.

Under this backdrop, the Food and Drug Administration in America has convened hearings and is seeking input from the industry to determine rules of engagement. It’s been a slow process, indeed.

As Ad Age , the citing trade association Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America wants the FDA to speed up the decision-making process. It quotes the PhRMA as saying:

“At a time when more than half of adults first turn to the internet to find health information, the extraordinary volume of dangerous and inaccurate information about medicines on the web makes the FDA’s leadership on this topic all the more essential.”

It’s not just drug makers that want some guidance. Doctors too want clearance to use social media channels to start talking about novel new treatments. In a strongly worded post last November, Joel Selzer, the co-founder of the physicians online network Ozmosis issues a call to action demanding the regulators resolve this matter.

With thousands of physicians actively using social media every day to access and share medical information (see Rohit Bhargava’s post on “How Doctors Are Using Social Media“, one would expect pharmaceutical and medical device firms to salivate at the engagement possibilities…While holding the public hearings was a great step forward, the FDA needs to augment its social media expertise and it needs to do so quickly.



ENIGMATICA: " 'Enigmatica acts as an experimental platform in the combination of light, sound and space.' for more information visit kitwebster via todayandtomorrow click vimeo.

BBC News linking policy

BBC News linking policy: "

This is just a quick post to invite you to head over to The Editors blog at BBC News.

Why? Because Steve Herrmann is asking for your views on how BBC News links to other websites:

The BBC Strategy Review recently unveiled by director general Mark Thompson set as one of its goals a major increase in outbound links from the BBC website - a doubling of the number of 'click-throughs' to external sites from 10 million to 20 million a month by 2013... Elsewhere, there has been a detailed debate, specifically about how we link to articles in scientific journals. If you want to catch up with that, it's been taking place at Ben Goldacre's tumblelog and in Paul Bradshaw's post at the Online Journalism Blog... So for various reasons it feels like high time to take stock.

So, please do join in.

Nick Reynolds is Social Media Executive, BBC Online, BBC FM&T


I'm mad at everyone

I'm mad at everyone: "

No, not you. Not anyone in particular, actually.

I'm angry at the idea of 'everyone' and what they want and what they say.

Everyone says you should do your site and your online presence a certain way.

Everyone is upset at what you did.

Everyone is frustrated at the slow pace government is getting this done.

Everyone knows you should listen to your customers and do what they say.

Everyone knows that our school is wasting money.

Everyone says you need to go to a 'good' college.

You get the idea. That everyone.

The one that's almost always wrong.