As that great philosopher Robbie Williams once wrote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they hate you and fight you, then you win.” After years of being ignored, we’re ready to make people laugh! Welcome to Clear as Mud, where we look at the funny side of bad communication, and the serious implications it has for the media, marketing, industry, government and politics. The Clear as Mud podcast and Clear as Mud blog call out breakdowns in communication and try to understand why it’s so hard for people to get their message across.

A bit about the project

Clear as Mud is an idea that marketing and communication academics Ray Welling and Lawrence Ang have been working on for several years. We’re both passionate about good communication and mad as hell about bad communications and marketing.

There are lots of podcasts on the latest digital marketing trends and what’s working well in today’s marketplace, but we think there are plenty of useful lessons to be learned from failure. While there’s so much unhelpful criticism flowing online today, we think there’s a place for not just being negative but exploring failure and trying to understand what went wrong and how we can all avoid it in the future. And let’s face it; there are so many examples to talk about that we’ll never run out of good material!

A bit about Ray

im a doctor not a digital marketing nerd meme

As well as teaching media/marketing convergence, digital marketing, public relations and social media to undergraduate, postgraduate and MBA students at several Australian universities,  Ray Welling has worked as a digital marketing manager, journalist, publisher, content marketer and creator, strategy consultant and writer. Ray has worked in digital since 1995, when he became content director for one of Australia’s first web companies. Ray has earned a BSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago, an MA from Macquarie University and a PhD in marketing and management from the University of Sydney. He consults on digital content strategy, and along with Lawrence and our friend and colleague Susie Khamis, wrote an academic article about Kim Kardashian for the journal Celebrity Studies, which has become the most-read and most-cited article in the journal’s history!  Ray is also the author of Digital Disruption and Transformation: Lessons from History, published in 2018.

Ray was recently a contestant on The Chase (Australia), where he took the opportunity to plug the podcast!

You can find out more about Ray and connect with him at:

A bit about Lawrence

Lawrence is a happily retired academic who talks too much, and frequently makes politically incorrect jokes to the embarrassment of his long-suffering wife (and students!). 

A widely published scholar in marketing, advertising, and media, he is an award-winning academic, who pretends to know what he is saying (and gets away with it!).  He has a Bachelor of Science degree (in Psychology, First Class Honours) from the University of New South Wales and a PhD from the Australian Graduate School of Management (Sydney, Australia).

Lawrence has taught at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level and prior to academia was an advertising and marketing research consultant. He worked on a wide range of consulting projects, including advertising pretesting, campaign tracking, pricing, brand health assessment, market sizing, new product evaluation, and customer satisfaction.  A popular lecturer, he has provided executive MBA teaching, customised in-house training, and annual strategic planning for corporations in Australia and overseas.   

A keen oenophile, when sober, he managed to publish in Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, International Journal of Advertising, Celebrity Studies, European Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Economic Psychology.  He also co-developed and taught a Coursera course in communications called Storytelling and influencing: Communicate with Impact which has become one of the most popular courses on the platform.

Lawrence’s passion lies in discovering new ideas and then finding clever ways to succinctly get his message across. Much of this is discussed in his recent book, Principles of Integrated Marketing Communications: An evidence-based approach (Cambridge University Press, 2021). 

Lately, he discovered the art of social distancing.

You can connect with and find out more about Lawrence at: