Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

17th May 2019

From the smart people at Econsultancy here is a free, recent report that you can download. Skills of the Modern Marketer – ‘identifies the key issues, challenges and opportunities around the evolving skills of modern marketers in response to the rapidly changing digital marketing and media environment.’

Lacoste continues fight to save endangered animals in new campaign. ‘Following the success of Save Our Species with the International Union for Conservation of Nature last year, the second edition of the retailer’s campaign turns its attention to 10 new threatened species.’

‘A small budget should not stop you from creating great work.’ From Julian Cole at Planning Dirty –  here are 100 examples of great ideas executed on tiny budgets.

An airline in France hacked empty billboards to create a free advertising campaign. Transavia, a low-cost airline owned by Air France/KLM, made use of the poster sites when unbooked during holiday periods.

From The Monday Note. ‘Confusing Facebook with the internet is the perfect storm for fake news..More than one hundred million people in the world do not consider that using Facebook or WhatsApp is surfing the internet.’ This is likely to favour the spread of fake news, for the following reasons – the blurring of lines between FB and the web and the transition to WhatsApp (the dream tool to spread false information).

From Ad Age. Remembering Doris Day and her influence on music and advertising. Ads from Heineken to Samsung have featured the legendary performer’s music in their ads. For me she will always be Calamity Jane. ‘Oh, the deadwood stage is rolling all over the plains….’

This Is Wikitongues. ‘3,000 languages are at risk of extinction, but the world is fighting back. Wikitongues is a global network of more than 1,000 volunteers working to ensure every person has the tools to preserve, promote, and pass their languages on to the next generation.’ Add yours here.

Spotify is testing its own version of Stories called ‘Storyline’. The focus is on allowing artists to share their own insights, inspiration, details about their creative process or other meanings behind the music.

Hong Kong Ballet marks 40 years with a colourful short and some help from Maurice Ravel. This is Never Standing Still. 

Thomas James’ new short film for ‘Twisted Ritual’ absinthe is a dark, gothic experience. A sense of macabre permeates the story of a woman keeping a man captive in her house.

This is really nice, Amazon prime programmes amusingly affect viewers, in a series of new ads by Droga5 London – Great Shows Stay with You.

Love it or hate it, this is how BrewDog ‘punked’ Game of Thrones.

Finally, Robert DeNiro is the bagel boss of Bolton’s Good Bagels in this new Warburtons campaign.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

11th May 2019

I attended the inspiring Digital Wellness Festival (Europe’s first) last Friday at The Crystal in London. Including speakers from Google, Headspace, The Light Phone, Ofcom and Buddhify. Some really insightful content, you can see the full line-up here. 

‘Epistemology is the term that describes how we know what we know. Most people who think about knowledge think about the processes of obtaining it. Ignorance is often assumed to be not-yet-knowledgeable. But what if ignorance is strategically manufactured? What if the tools of knowledge production are perverted to enable ignorance? In 1995, Robert Proctor and Iain Boal coined the term “agnotology” to describe the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance.’ Slowly, a virus has spread, using technology to systematically tear at the social fabric of public life.

How the news took over reality. The Guardian on whether engagement with current affairs is key to being a good citizen. Or could an endless torrent of notifications be harming democracy as well as our wellbeing?

This is how Apple controls its competitors and why regulators should take a close look at the iPhone App Store.

‘Since being released in 1987, PowerPoint has grown exponentially to the point where it is now estimated than thirty million PowerPoint presentations are made every day. Yet, PowerPoint is blamed by academics for killing critical thought. We’ve all sat in those presentations. A speaker with a stream of slides full of text, monotonously reading them off as we read along. We’re so used to it we expect it. We accept it. We even consider it ‘learning’.  The fact is we know that PowerPoint kills. Most often the only victims are our audience’s inspiration and interest. This however, is the story of a PowerPoint slide that actually helped kill seven people.’

‘Millennials are turning to astrology with increasing fervour and sincerity, looking to the stars for guidance and inspiration for everything from dating to style. Now, in an effort to capitalise on the $2.2 billion mystical and psychic services market, mainstream brands and platforms are tailoring their products to appeal to the astrologically-minded consumer.’ From JWT Intelligence.

A dictionary of words invented to name emotions we all feel, but don’t yet have a name for, amongst them: vemödalen, sonder, and chrysalism. 

Nesta, on why we should care about Drones in our cities. ‘How can we ensure appropriate and safe use of drones in public spaces?’

This reimagining of the Obi Wan Kenobi/Darth Vader fight is (dare we say it?) an improvement on the original... and here, in this famous scene, Peter Mayhew speaks English, to Harrison Ford, dressed as Chewbacca.

Full colour videos of Paris In 1896, really make you feel like you are stepping back in time.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

4th May 2019

Leonardo Da Vinci died 500 years ago at the age of 67. What was he doing at your age? 

Edelman UK & Ireland CEO Ed Williams shares the four dimensions on which companies build trust. Ability, Dependability, Integrity and Purpose.

The team at Greenwood Campbell (friend of The Filter) have produced this SxSW inspired piece : The Human Guide To Tech. ‘Every brand and organisation has a goal, an aspiration, a story to tell, and obstacles to overcome. All of these rely on creating engagement with human beings.’

Exercise is good for you. This campaign bills exercise as a catalyst for better sex and the NYT observes how exercise affects our memory.

How this one font took over the world. Gotham.

After a year conducting a home-sharing pilot, Marriott is officially expanding its portfolio into the US market with the launch of Homes & Villas.  Here, Gartner takes a look at Marriott vs. Airbnb. 

Nice. Everyman Cinemas are hosting a festival with a 1980s-themed rave and premieres.

Send-ups of pop culture and capitalism hidden in retail stores. Jeff Wysaski, the man behind Obvious Plant, has been creating and depositing strange flyers, placards, and packaged products in conventional retail outlets for several years.

You should dress like a lunatic if you work from home.

Following the finale of Sunday’s episode, I couldn’t resist this. The top 10 most kickass Arya Stark moments. 

Jeff Bridges, sounding very much like The Dude, appears in this charming ad for Amstel. continuing on from his The Big Lebowski turn, in this Stella Artois Super Bowl commercial. 

A pigeon meets a dove and faces the decision on whether or not to leave the life he has built for himself in favour of following his heart. A short film.

Fabulously clever piece from Uncommon. The scent ‘L’Eau De Bébé’was created with one of the world’s largest fragrance houses Givaudan, to evoke the smell of newborns…

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

26th April 2019

From MIT. ‘Scientists have turned brain signals into speech – it’s a step towards a system that would let people send texts straight from their brains. A team in San Francisco tapped the signals your brain sends to your lips, tongue, jaw, and larynx when you speak to create a device that’s capable of spitting out complete phrases.’ 

From NYT. ‘On the east side of Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, three cameras on the roof of a restaurant film the lunch crowds, tourists and commuters — everything that goes on each day. The feeds are streamed publicly online… (This) shows that a person equipped with just a few cameras and facial recognition technology can learn people’s daily habits: when they arrive at the office each day, who they get coffee with, whether they left work early. If you are an adult in America, there’s more than 50 percent chance you’re already in a law enforcement facial recognition database.’ 

Interesting piece from Ogilvy on ‘planning in a post digitalworld’. Strategic Making, is ‘a time-bound planning process that consists of iterative cycles of observations, hypothesis, and experimentations. It’s a customer-centric way of developing strategy, where the emphasis is on getting the customer as involved as possible.’

Most of UK online adspend now comes via smartphones. Twelve years after the iPhone launch, adspend on smartphones has overtaken desktop for the first time.

In the tenth episode of Nesta’s Future Curious podcast series, you can find out about the rise in loneliness in the age of technology. Why do people feel less connected to one another and how can we ensure technology brings us closer together? You can subscribe and listen to previous episodes, here.

From Genius Steals. ‘TikTok is to social media what humans are to logic. New and not easily understood. As TikTok goes mainstream, it looks to be the most significant shift in social media since Snapchat Stories launched 6 years ago. Among its most passionate users in the USA are theuniformed services. Military humans are especially active on TikTok.’

A rather lovely, gentle side to live-streaming site Twitch. People are tuning in to watch long train rides or knitting marathons.

From WARC. ‘Podcast advertising is set to double over the next three years but the market is being constrained by a range of factors that will need to be addressed – much of this money is coming from brands’ experimental budgets and advancements in audience measurement and programmatic buying are required for this nascent format to unlock future growth.’

If you think child labour is a thing of the past, check out “kidfluencers”. They’re earning their parents millions, but have virtually no legal protections.

I tend not to make TV series recommendations. I know we all have our favourite TV series; and friends, colleagues and acquaintances are always suggesting one’s that ‘you absolutely must watch’.  People have have different and personal perspectives on what is bad and what is good. However in (a rare but) direct contravention of this policy I cannot resist talking about Fleabag. It starred and was written by the amazing Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also penned Killing Eve; and here is Campaign Mags perspective – All hail the Fleabag effect on Creativity. 

An illustrator imagines a world where gentle giant animals live among humans.

Why do 90 second flights exist? Conde Nast Traveler takes a look at the world of short-haul rides.

From Marketoonist – ‘creative briefs and talking like a human’. And finally, these guard cats refuse to let the neighbour’s dog anywhere near their property.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

18th April 2019

Such a terribly sad event on the Ile de Paris this week; but could Assassin’s Creed save Notre Dame?

‘Think about the companies like Uber and Airbnb that have burst through into public consciousness in the past ten years. While many of them depend on the internet, their success is not down to any particular technological innovation of their own design. Instead, their secret lies in their business model.’ Conscious Decoupling – a new book explains how managers are challenged by changing customer behaviour.

From Conde Nast Traveller. Are psychedelics the future of travel?

Here is the Planning Dirty 2018 Brand Actions Library. The collection includes 200+ innovative advertising examples from across last year. HT @juliancole.

From Rolling Stone. The Red Bull Music Academy, and Radio is to shut down after 21-year run. A release said – ‘Red Bull will be moving away from a strongly centralised approach, will gradually phase out the existing structure and will implement a new setup which empowers existing Red Bull country teams and utilises local expertise.

From The New Yorker. What’s New About Conspiracy Theories? Outsiders have always had a weakness for paranoid fantasies. Now our leaders do as well…..

An artist reimagines David Bowie songs as old pulp fiction book covers.

Pornhub Cares, the philanthropic division of the adult video streaming site, has launched its “Beesexual” campaign (by the way, this link is #SFW). ‘Highlighting the fertilisation prowess of an airborne army of pollinators, the campaign connects the importance of bees to the reproduction strategy of plant life and which has co-evolved with the insects.’ The campaign includes the creation of a new channel full of “bee porn” — videos of foraging bees that include voiceovers by adult entertainment stars.

Perhaps, one of the funniest, cleverest soccer goals seen in a long time? No Touching!

Strictly Living Room:  a ‘breathtakingly horrific’ Sydney real estate ad goes viral. ‘It was supposed to be funny,’ says the agent behind the property listing, which was trending in Australia on Wednesday.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

13th April 2019

Love this piece from from Travel Oregon. The beautifully animated ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ campaign returns and shows why the state is putting creativity before convention.

Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today. But…it probably won’t look like this for long.

It’s been a couple of years since my talk at Tedx Tunbridge WellsHow Street Wisdom Changed My Life. In the succeeding two years I have played a small part in two associates appearing on the same stage. Steve Chapman (This talk isn’t very good. Dancing with my inner critic) in 2017 and Adam Greenwood in 2018 (Challenge The Echo Chamber). Both talks are very much worth a watch.

From Global Web Index – 5 Things to Know About Brand Discovery in 2019. ‘By using social media and online display advertising, direct-to-consumer brands are reproducing many of the top strengths TV has enjoyed. But rather than TV being completely disrupted by the new media, the playing field appears to be becoming more level. As the prime channel for consumers before they formulate a need, TV is still King.

The hottest app in China teaches citizens about their leader — and, yes, there’s a test. 

Top AI researchers — including deep-learning co-inventor Yoshua Bengio and AAAI President-elect Bart Selman — explain what you need to know about lethal autonomous weapons and  why we should ban them. From The New York Times. 

@adcontrarian on Accenture’s takeover of Droga 5. ‘The slow, painful death of the ad industry progressed nicely this week as Accenture, the consulting company, bought Droga5, one of the agency world’s most famous brands. The agency business is facing a triple threat from forces it can no longer control: Consultancies , In-housing, and Distrust among clients.’ Is this another nail in the Ad Industry coffin? 

‘The hyperlink is the most elemental of the bundle of ideas that we call the Web. If the bit is the quark of information, the hyperlink is the hydrogen molecule. It shapes the microstructure of information today.  Surprisingly though, it is nearly as mysterious now as it was back in July 1945,when Vannevar Bush first proposed the idea in his Atlantic Monthly article, As We May Think. This Is the Rhetoric of the Hyperlink. 

Some nice Game of Thrones link-ups this week – The British Army came face to face with Night Watch at the Tower of London ; the title sequence created with Oreo cookies ; and here is a summary selection of GOTR pieces from the likes of Budweiser, American Red Cross, and the rebranded Minnesota Direwolves (previously Timberwolves) basketball team.

Gatorade turns sweat into an art form in campaign starring Lionel Messi and Gabriel Jesus ; and Heinz Celebrates 150 Years of Clean Plates.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

5th April 2019

‘At the end of the day, strategy is the art of getting other people to dosomething. In the pursuit of that, narrative (call it ‘storytelling’ if you really must) is the strategist’s tool. Strategy is narrative.’ Martin Weigel on Why Strategy Needs Good Words.

From Brand Learning and Accenture. New research reveals what a pioneering 17% of the nearly 1000 CMOs surveyed, are doing to drive growth through highly relevant customer experiences, and why their commercial results are markedly better than their peers. This is the rise of the hyper relevant CMO.

With a landscape featuring sparkling views of the Northern Lights, frozen waterfalls, and even enchanting “fairy forests,” it’s no secret that Finland is one of the most beautiful places on earth. What you may not know, however, is that it’s also the happiest country in the world—an honour that is at the heart of Rent a Finn, a new contest and campaign by Visit Finland. And separately,..the Faroe Islands returns with another innovative destination marketing campaign. “We asked visitors to define the Faroe Islands in one word,” said Hanssen. “They would say unspoiled, unexplored, unbelievable. This is how the Faroe Islands Became an ‘Un-Destination’.

Time for Scott Brinker’s annual survey of the Marketing Technology landscape. The martech market has grown from 150 vendors in 2011 to over 7000 today. But this growth has finally slowed over the past year, leading to the question of whether, we’ve actually reached peak martech.

:o) The perils of a smart home (HT @neilperkin)

An experience at the Peabody Hotel provides a valuable lesson for brands in how to get noticed in a world of continuous partial attention. What ducks in a hotel lobby can teach brands.  HT @eatbigfish

This ‘consent condom’ requires four hands to open the package. 

They’re the most diverse generation in American history, and they’re celebrating their untraditional views on gender and identity. Generation Z: who they are, in their own words.

An actor cut together a compilation of his work as a background extra. Great fun.

Rooms from famous paintings brought to life with realistic CG renditions.

This campaign launched on Mother’s Day to break down taboos around breastfeeding in public, has boobs appearing around the London Skyline for #FreeTheFeed Campaign. (The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe).

This is ‘The Underdogs’. Apple’s ad about a scrappy group of co-workers.
‘What super-fans (or at least employees) of Apple will find particularly amusing is that the prototype the team is working so hard to invent—the circular pizza box—is actually already patented and in use. By Apple. It’s the box used in the company’s cafeterias.’

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

30th March 2019

Top marketing trends according to LinkedIn. Exclusive data from the professional network shines a light on the content connecting with marketing directors. (reg may be necessary)

On this day 30 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal with the dreary title “Information Management”, to his superior at the European physics laboratory CERN. From The Verge – The World Wide Web turns 30: our favourite memories from A to Z.

Pinterest and Airbnb teamed up on a spring and summer travel guide. Pinners’ searches for adventure travel in January were up 693 percent year-over-year. (reg may be necessary)

From friend of the Filter @here_forth . Who are the winners and losers from Apple’s announcement (inc. Apple TV+)? (answer – Apple, Consumers and Families).

Grindr turns 10: How a decade with GPS dating apps changed us all. What Uber did for cars, so Grindr did for hooking up. ‘A decade after its release, NBC Out reflects on the impact Grindr has had on the gay and bi community.

My piece on SxSW coming soon, but this is a nice analysis from Campaign, in the meantime. ‘Be more Musk, less Zuckerberg’: eight SXSW essentials.

‘In 1960, two men made a bet. There was only $50 on the line, but millions of people would feel the impact of this little wager.The first man, Bennett Cerf, was the founder of the publishing firm, Random House. The second man was named Theo Geisel, but you probably know him as Dr. Seuss. Cerf proposed the bet and challenged that Dr. Seuss would not be able to write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words.’This is the creative strategy Dr. Seuss used to devise his greatest work.’

Warner Music Group signs an algorithm to a record deal. ‘A bundle of code, engineered by audio startup Endel, is under contract with Warner Music Group to release 20 albums this year.’

Wind in the Willows takes a dark turn in this Attenborough-backed environmental campaign, and imagines a darker future for our beloved characters.

This Unreal Engine 4-created clip uses photoscans to generate graphics in real time and the accuracy is astounding.

Some nice ads from the last week – Casper’s (beds) new subway ads pose puzzles to get you thinking about going back to bed ; KFC’s latest ad reminds you it’s not AFC, BFC, or even CFC (there’s only one Colonel in Chicken Town); and Carling punks up an East End pub in this Slaves music video. 

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

23rd March 2019

This from Benedict Evans – ‘The access story is now coming to an end…but the use story is just beginning: Most of the people are now online, but most of the money is still not. If we think we’re in a period of disruption right now, how will the next big platform shifts — like machine learning — impact huge swathes of retail, manufacturing, marketing, fintech, healthcare, entertainment, and more? Especially as technology begins to tackle bigger problems, in harder markets, at deeper (and more structural) levels?’  In short, what we did in the first 20 years of the Internet was eCommerce and advertising, what we’ll do in the next 20 years is everything else.’

@faris on Attention. ‘Reframing attention as a commons that we all own reminds us to treat it with respect for the good of all instead of attempting to monetise as much as possible ourselves. A commons unites individual profit motives with social protection of resources. Perhaps that simple adjustment in thinking can help address some of the systemic problems in the current media environment.’ and, from the same author – The Six Templates of Successful Advertising (alongside some insightful video examples).

From WARC Data: Global Ad Trends, The Adspend Outlook for 2019. Top-line projections are here, including combined Google and Facebook share rising to 61.4% of global internet spend.

Winter is coming. But before the final season of Game of Thrones airs on April 14, fans gathered at SXSW to “bleed for the throne.” With the help of marketing agency Giant Spoon, HBO decided to bring the bloodshed to life in a novel partnership with the American Red Cross for this aptly-named branded activation.

Pocket offers a glimpse into a 15-Year-Old’s iPhone. The new film documents what it’s like to come of age in the mobile era.

From the world of travel and tourism. The Economist on the decline of first-class air travel – Executives are flying business class; plutocrats are taking private jets…and has Albania unveiled a contender for the world’s worst tourism slogan? 

A very interesting talk from Lord Rees, Astronomer Royal, at Nesta this week, promoting his new book – On the Future : Prospects for Humanity. Unsurprisingly downbeat in messaging, he observed that – ‘Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes—good and bad—are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterised by short-term thinking, polarising debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism.

In the week preceding Brexit(?), it is important to remember that some of the most English of ‘things’, are quite often not what they seem. This from the wonderful Aeon, about Geoffrey Chaucer – Chaucer was more than English: he was a great European poet. (He) bore very little resemblance to the dull patriarch depicted on the covers of so many books about him. He was a child in the seething streets of London, a young man crossing the mountain passes of the Pyrenees, a maturing diplomat avid for Italian poetry in Pavia and Giotto’s frescoes in Florence, (and) a courtier to a Bohemian queen.’

This exhibit gives visitors the experience of stepping inside Van Gogh’s paintings. ‘Proposing a new, emotional, and dynamic approach to art,” the Atelier des Lumières invites visitors to step inside some of the Post-Impressionist’s most celebrated canvases. This selection of luminous, larger-than-life images includes his signature self-portraits, his series of Irises, and, his pièce de résistance, the sparkling Starry Night. (this of course cemented in more recent culture by Don McLean’s song Vincent this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you)

Darren Aronofsky brings the horror of smoking to the world of video games ; whilst this spoof spot from the People’s Vote, compares Brexit to the infamous Fyre Festival. On a rather more upbeat note, this is rather delightful, as Sipsmith Gin introduces ‘Mr. Swan’ in a Wes Anderson-Esque animation. 

Fabulous and fun. To mark a collaboration between Formula 1 and the Chemical Brothers, W+K London worked with Pulse Films and Universal Music on the music video for recently released single We’ve Got To Try. Especially great if you are a fan of over achieving canines.

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

15th March 2019

Writing this piece over in Austin at SxSW. Seen some great stuff this week from the likes of Jodie Foster, David Byrne and Brian Solis. Attended sessions on subjects inclusing the blockchain, insights, influencer marketing, video, mindfulness and ‘cannabusiness’. More info on all of this in coming weeks, but wanted to share this video shown byBrian Solis at the launch of his new book. This is the wonderful, Alike.  

‘As we reflect on 30 years of the World Wide Web in 2019, we must also take the opportunity to think about what we want the future of the web, and the internet more broadly, to look like.’ NESTA on 30 years of the Web.

What was the happiest day on the internet this decade? This rigorous (albeit subjective) analysis highlights the top 10 candidates. Number one comes in on June 26, 2015. When Obama sings “Amazing Grace” and the day gay marriage was legalised

‘The rise in dating apps has introduced a host of new behaviours to navigate, with names like ghosting, cookie-jarring and orbiting that belie their psychological and emotional impact. Technology has made people less empathetic and sensitive in their dating habits. People are much more likely to ghost someone — just disappear without explanation — along with some other poor behaviours.’ And so…. this is how anti-dating apps are helping modern daters heal after heartbreak.

Facebook can make VR avatars look, and move, exactly like you,..and in China you will soon be able to pay your subway fare with your face.

This is how an app for gamers went mainstream. ‘Discord has become an indispensable tool for internet creators to connect with their fans. A real-time chat platform, it was founded four years ago as a way to make it easier for gamers to communicate. But over the past year, it has outgrown its origin story and become the default place where influencers, YouTubers, Instagram meme accounts, and anyone with an audience can connect with their community.

So, the hottest chat app for teens is Google Docs. ‘As more and more laptops find their way into middle and high schools, educators are using Google Docs to do collaborative exercises and help students follow along with the lesson plan. The students, however, are using it to organise running conversations behind teachers’ backs.’

This instagram account is dedicated to beautiful libraries around the world.

Virgin Galactic releases some amazing footage of its second spaceflight. The VSS Unity reached an altitude of 55.87 miles.

Mercedes tells the story of Bertha Benz and ‘The Journey That Changed Everything’.
A completely desiccated desert plant is rehydrated and the effect is incredible, and here – photographer captures a shot of two sharks caught inside a glassy wave. And finally, a woman sets up a tiny photo booth to capture birds eating in her backyard.