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Archive for November, 2006

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Dancing With the Stars, of Rugby – New York Times

The New York Times now takes on the Haka and like those before it gets a little confused. This time round mixing one haka – “Ka Mate! Ka Mate! Ka Ora!” with another – “Kapa O Pango” (Team in Black)

The new haka (Kapa O Pango) was developed partly in response to an challenge related to the ownership of “Ka Mate!”. The new war cry was written for the team by Ngati Porou’s Derek Lardelli. The response was immediate. One one side you had the Sth Africans:

“It was fantastic. It’s always awesome to stand in front of the haka,” says South African captain John Smit. “It’s probably one of the most special things about playing the All Blacks.”

On the other you had those offended by the throat slitting motion at the end of the Haka. If they’d taken the time to understand the symbology they might have been less offended. It isn’t about slitting the oponents throats (although one could certainly read that into the motion), it is about releasing the warrior (performing) the Haka’s spirit in battle. Frankly their is a ton of confusion over the gesture, not helped my multiple explanations by the Haka’s composer who once said the motion was intended to describe:

“Playing rugby at this level, with this intensity, is the cutting edge of sport. “The players are on the knife edge. They are gladiators in the arena. If they win they are heroes, if they lose they are taken apart.”

The New York Times cconfuses the issue suggesting that this is what caused the stupid decision by the Welsh Rugby Football Union. It wasn’t that Kapa O Pango was going to be performed. In fact, The All Blacks performed “Ka Mate” which features no such motion.

It was about grandstanding, cultural insensitivity and disrespect that ultimately deprived fans of something they wanted to see.

The Haka is a point of pride and identity on the world stage for all New Zealanders no nation gets to dabble with it at their leisure.

Link to Dancing With the Stars, of Rugby – New York Times (subscription required)

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The Power Of Community

New Line seems to have seriously underestimated the power of community and the ability of blogs and the web to provide a platform for that community to air its voice. The New York Times touches on the spat that has resulted in New Line splitting from Weta for future versions of Lord of The Rings.

“On the heels of the protest, reporters and entertainment bloggers called the studio to ask about the film’s fate. In what was once an insular club of power brokers and back-stabbers, the voices of outsiders–dancing across the globe at the speed of a modem–have begun to penetrate.”

Some advise to New Line:

  1. Don’t hide behind the “legal defense”. It’s lame.
  2. “We are in litigation with Wingnut Films, and have been unsuccessful despite a formal mediation, as well as discussions with Wingnut directly to settle the matter; therefore, we cannot comment at this point,” the studio said this week.

  3. Communicate directly with the community you helped create. Do not rely on intermediaries like The New York Times.
  4. Argue with evidence not hyperbole. That is what Jackson is doing to you and when the communications are direct you won’t win without it.

Link to To Web fans, Peter Jackson is the one true director | CNET News.com

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Links & Blinks…

PR Stunt in space

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We Forget How Lucky We Are

Just got off an email exchange with my Mum who has moved from Tauranga in NZ to Rotorua – both reasonably large New Zealand towns. Her Internet provider (Clear) has told her that she will need to go onto an indefinite waiting list as they don’t have any more broadband connections left.

At first I laughed – they have to be joking right? You actually have to wait for broadband? A list? Any Mayor of any city in New Zealand that can’t readily offer it’s citizens and business high-speed connections on the spot should be desperately concerned for its future. I know there are other pressing matters. But this is one of them. Broadband is a source of economic, cultural and developmental advantage.

Which leads me to a question I have posed before. Why is NZ such an appalling broadband backwater? Why is high-speed Internet so incredibly over priced and affordable only to the elite and privileged?

Now, there is the obvious frustration and disappointment of my Mum not being able to see her Grandaughter each week via the web. We will sort that out. But I do really wonder though if community and business leaders realize that this is their problem. Unless they demand and orchestrate the access to the Web and all the benefits afforded by modern technology they are not likely to get it. Citizens will leave. As will businesses. Children will not get educated as they should. And high net worth tourists will not come.

Not a pretty picture.

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Measuring Brand Mentions In Conversations…

New firm to track brand mentions in conversations…

On average, Keller Fay finds that people discuss about a dozen brands
each day. The most discussed brands are media and entertainment
products like movies, TV shows and publications. But many people also
discuss food products, travel brands and stores. Target, K-Mart, Sears, J. C. Penney, Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Wal-Mart rank among the retailers most frequently mentioned.

…Mr. Keller said that companies could use word-of-mouth research to
guide their advertising process. For example, he said, Keller Fay
recently ran a search through a database of diary entries for a luxury
goods company to see what consumers were saying about it. It turned out
that people with high incomes were not talking about the brand, but
people who made less money were talking about it a lot. The luxury
goods company, which Mr. Keller would not identify, now plans to
refocus its advertisements to reach wealthier customers.

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