Michelle Lomas (pictured), general manager of Ampel, is here to discuss the Medhan Markle haters coming out of the woodwork, and why in her professional opinion – they’re wrong.
Looks like the Meghan abuse is back. And this time around the launch of her much-awaited podcast, Archetypes, from the royal couple’s Archwell Spotify deal. It’s been a long time in the works, and not without its controversy (long delays, high budgets, huge production teams etc.) so naturally there were high expectations. But the ever-vocal Meghan critics are of course jumping up and down to criticise the podcast. It’s ‘self-serving’, ‘narcissistic’, ‘California wokeism’ and more. Just another platform for Meghan to ‘talk about herself’ right? Haters are always going to hate.
As GM of a podcast content creation company, I lead all strategies for new podcasts. I obsess over form, the importance of good hosts, finding niches and building audiences. So naturally, when I saw all the hate on Archetypes I knew I had to listen, and what I found was unexpected. Whether you love Meghan or not (and to set the record straight, I’m a little on the fence) the criticism doesn’t seem fair. Here’s why…
Archetypes is an investigative podcast, not an interview format:
Much of the criticism of the first episode appears to be around Meghan dominating the podcast and conversation. As one critic said, Meghan ‘was responsible for about 61 per cent of the conversation and Serena Williams, a woman whose achievements include 23 Grand Slam Singles titles and who is, in Meghan’s words, a “trendsetter, trailblazer, businesswoman, mum” only hits the 39 per cent mark.’ Not entirely wrong – if this format was interview style – but it’s not.
As Meghan states up-front, she is looking to” investigate the labels that try to hold women back and uncover the origin of these stereotypes by having uncensored conversations with women who know all too well how these typecasts shape narratives.”
Put simply – this episode is not about Serena Williams. It’s about Meghan herself investigating what the term ‘ambition’ means to women, and how ambitious women are perceived. So yes, it features Serena Williams, a woman constantly in focus for her ambition, but it also features experts and Meghan’s own experience where her ambitions have been labelled as self-serving or worse.
Whether her podcast hits the mark when it comes to truly providing an answer? I’m not convinced and think it could have gone deeper. But to criticise her level of involvement in a podcast whose format is focused on Meghan’s investigation and learnings herself is unfair – and inaccurate.
This podcast provides an engaging investigative format filled with different voices from those that have lived it, to social experts, and even interweaves historical audio to paint a picture of a world not so friendly to women who are painted as ‘ambitious’.
Good Hosts Do More Than Ask Questions
Another deep criticism of Archetypes is that it’s ‘just another platform for Meghan to talk about herself’. Well yes, that’s what a good podcast host does – they bring themselves to the conversation and add their own POV or experience to strengthen the discussion, raise debate or add context.
Ever heard a bad interview? You know the ones. The interviewer asks questions clearly written off a script. They respond with a simple ‘hmmm, that’s interesting’ and move onto the next question. There’s no real conversation, no easy flow.
Now let’s look at a good one – the universally loved Brene Brown. She is a phenomenal host. And what makes her warm and relatable? She brings herself to every conversation and makes herself vulnerable, often sharing stories of her estrangement from her family, conflicts with her husband and children and more.
What a good host does is listen and respond. They add their own personal opinion or stories to keep the conversation going, and continue to prompt the guest to share more through that context.
Whether you agreed with Meghan or even liked her while listening is one thing. But criticising her involvement in the conversation as host is not right. She did a great job building rapport and making the listener feel like this was a chat with a friend rather than an interview. And remember this is episode one, which means she needs more experience to get better. So, let’s cut her some slack, yeah?
The Purpose Of The Podcast Is To Raise Debate
Archetypes’ aims to create conversations on important topics. The way we perceive women has always been different to men. As a woman who has been typecast negatively as ‘ambitious’ by more than one male (and female) colleague in my time, I know all too well the importance of making people aware of their bias. Especially as those exact same qualities in Men are seen as leadership qualities to admire.
Does Archetypes Episode 1 get off track a little bit? Sure. There could have been some better editing, and hosting from Meghan to keep it on topic. But as any good podcast producer would know, we always give leeway in the first few episodes as the host finds their feet and the podcast finds their audience.
So, did it raise some important discussion points and leave the listener with some things to explore? For the uninitiated, yes, I think it did. For those more well versed in gender stereotypes and archetypes, maybe not. But maybe they aren’t the target audience either? Did we think about that?
Being a host is a hard gig, being a great host is even harder and takes experience. There is a delicate balance between contributing too much, and not contributing enough. To sharing more of yourself, to not connecting with your audience at all. In Meghan’s defence, she is facing a great group of people who have a preconception of her that has been orchestrated largely by the media. In this first episode, her role was to show a new side, share a bit more of herself and establish a rapport with the listener – otherwise who would tune in to Episode 2 right?
The great thing is, if you don’t like Meghan or the topics she is trying to unearth – then don’t listen. Isn’t that the beauty of a world where we can decide what content we want to hear? But to criticise her role and contribution as host is unfair. The strategy is on point, Meghan’s role as first-time host is commendable, and the production quality is first class – and bravo to the sound design team specifically, what a treat it was to listen to! So, ignore the critics and the hate, don’t get lost in the controversy or the fact she dropped her Duchess title or is wearing a singlet (why are we still talking about this stuff??) and maybe have a listen and decide for yourself.
The Avid Collective MD reveals his life pre-adland. As exciting as it is, it's not international playboy spy & Lothario.
SenateSHJ has launched a new digital, data and insights capability designed to help clients tackle the growing complexity of communication challenges. SenateSHJ Digital, Data and Insights (DDI) will combine the firm’s existing Digital and Insights functions to create a Trans-Tasman capability focused on digital communication, and the generation and use of data to improve communication. […]
Creative technology platform Bonzai has announced the launch of BrandStory – a new premium mobile ad format. BrandStory offers triple the ad space and 2.8 times greater time in view than single scroll ad formats, addressing the surging demand from brands worldwide for more real estate to drive real results by seamlessly intertwining awareness, exploration […]
B&T went through the looking glass this morning, with editor-in-chief David Hovenden (above) appearing on Channel 7’s The Morning Show to get the general public involved in our search for Australia’s Greatest Ad. Hovenden chatted with Kylie Gillies and stand-in host Matt Doran about what makes a great ad and showcasing some of our favourites […]
Two Australian-born technology providers have joined forces to bring more power and choice to marketers in Australia and New Zealand with mobile messaging that is more local, cost-effective, and integrated. It’s a partnership that sees two Australian software companies come together to deliver a world-class mobile-first solution for marketers building data-driven, personalised, omnichannel campaigns. While […]
Zitcha and Broadsign have teamed up to integrate the Broadsign out-of-home (OOH) advertising platform with Zitcha’s retail media platform. The collaboration empowers retailers to maximise and monetise in-store digital display networks and enables advertising partners to easily view and book available in-store inventory and review campaign performance alongside the retailer’s other media channels. With the […]
Today, 7-Eleven has announced a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the popular Sydney-based anti-resort wear label Double Rainbouu. Dropping tomorrow, December 1, just in time for summer, this limited-edition capsule will infuse the fashion brand’s rebellious spirit with a distinctly iconic 7-Eleven flavour. The unisex collection features five must-have styles comprising two signature Hawaiian shirts, a peaked cap, a bucket hat […]