A series focusing on agencies, this time we speak to Independent agency Ampel.
Agency Name: Ampel
Our mission is to reinvigorate the art of compelling audio storytelling to a new generation and enable every great storyteller to find their voice and be heard.
We want everyone to benefit from the exceptional storytelling platform podcasts have become. People with ideas and stories to tell finally have an accessible way to share them. Listeners with niche interests can discover experts and join communities that can teach and inspire listeners on topics that interest them. And brands can build audiences and share a deeper brand story through long-term storytelling. It truly is an exciting space, not seen since the emergence of social media, or dare we say it, the evolution of radio in the late 1920’s.
Our ambition is to be the go-to company for Audio Strategy, Creativity, Production and Distribution. And we want to be a company with a reputation for fairness. A team that respects the art of audio creativity, podcast storytelling and protects the creators who give their time, effort, and bare their souls to share their stories - often for very little, if any, monetary reward.
Who is responsible for running the agency?
· Josh Butt - EP & Founder
· Michelle Lomas - General Manager
· Lauren Deighton - Director, Media & Partnerships
· Stuart Buckland - Director, Production
Eight or Nine people depending on the day. We follow the Hollywood system and have a great black book of freelancers that we bring in when required.
Who are the founders?
Josh Butt, and Michelle Lomas joined as a partner in October 2021.
Description of what the agency does:
Simply, we produce audio content. Mainly podcasts, but also podcast ads, sonic IDs/audio logos, Alexa skills and more. We are basically a one-stop shop for brands and people to think, play and profit in audio. We also have a division of our business that represents original podcast shows. We help creators by supporting the production of podcasts and help them monetise. We have a specialised sales division where brands can sponsor our shows and ultimately help support the creators.
We are making some interesting stuff in the internal comms workspace too, and helping organisations leverage audio for smarter communications in hybrid workplaces. There are so many applications that marketers, people & culture, and C-suite execs CFOs may never have previously considered, and we are helping them discover how audio can improve culture, teamwork, employee happiness, training, onboarding, compliance and more. It’s a relatively new space and it’s exciting to watch it evolve. And with all that said, audio is visual too - so we make plenty of videos.
Audio - strategy, production, partnerships, and distribution.
Podcast sponsorships and integrated content partnerships
Some recent brands we’ve worked with:
· Professional Wrestling Australia
· Hays Recruitment
· Commission Factory
· Digital Skills Organisation
Some podcasts we represent:
· The Next Billion Seconds with Mark Pesce
· The Swab with Georgie Carroll
· Saturday Afternoon Fever with Laurence Mooney and Matt Hardy
· Bevs with Sez with Sez
· Mates in Space with Justin McArthur and Jack Eaton
We don’t really think in campaigns, but in series.
We’ve just done some work with Commission Factory creating the Flex Your Hustle podcast which Michelle hosts. And we’ve been doing some great work with the Digital Skills Organisation to create an educational audio channel to help them share the great work they are doing digitally upskilling Australia. We’ve also recently picked up Saturday Afternoon Fever podcast and are working on some great evolutions to the series.
Excitingly, we’ve also have been developing some new original shows that we will announce in the coming months, including a brand new podcast from winner of the 2021 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards winner, Diana Nguyen; and a brand new Australian True Crime podcast that highlights the lack of protection for women who are victims of catfishing and coercive control, and we’ve been developing a podcast sitcom.
Favourite campaign so far:
With HSBC and Edelman, we produced Beyond the Frame, about the French Impressionist art exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. We made a comedic and educational art series, interviewing the paintings of the exhibition - absolutely loved making it.
What do you like about being independent?
We’re at the start of our journey - there are no legacy systems or people saying “that’s the way it’s always been done” - and we’re still figuring some things out which is exciting! Podcasting and audio are just hitting the big time and there’s continuous change, shifting tech, new ways to work, and we move with the times rather than take forever to change. And we can pivot quickly to meet those changing demands.
The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity the industry and your Agency faces this year?
The biggest challenge for our agency is the podcast industry’s outdated legacy ways of working, which is also our biggest opportunity.
Our mission is centred around creating a fair industry for all. That’s why we hate CPMs. It’s a model that was created many years ago by radio stations and exists to make media agency & radio station’s lives easier to sell ads.
We get it. There needs to be a consistent metric to evaluate efficiency, but a CPM only counts listeners of the audio -- not everyone exposed to the podcast on YouTube, social, in EDMs etc. A podcast sits at the centre of a content ecosystem; the niche and highly engaged communities’ brands can tap into are very valuable for a client.
Does podcast advertising work? Yes. Better than what? EVERYTHING. Every single advertising research study in the past few years says so - for brand awareness, brand consideration - but also to get the listener to do something.
The industry really needs to ditch CPM in podcasting and come with us on the sponsorship route - but changing people’s perspectives about CPM? Massive challenge.
1. Audio Logos & Audio Branding - approximately 80% of companies don’t have an audio logo, nor do they have a distinctive sound so they aren’t heard very well.
2. Internal audio comms to update stakeholders on initiatives, share POV’s and humanise their organisation and leadership.
3. Amazing audio ads -- there’s a lack of distinctive audio ads (programmatic / produced) and we’re seeing a massive opportunity for clients who want audio ads that stand out creatively, but also utilise the dynamic ad tech that podcasts can tap into.
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