Stories From This Week

4th April 2020

As Mark Ritson recently predicted, Corona Beer is among the winners in the coronavirus sales surge. With this in mind, worth revisiting Ritson’s piece, that underlined the difference between brand saliency and its image.

From the always enlightening Prof Galloway. ‘After COVID-19, nothing will be the same. The previous sentence is bullsh*t. On the contrary, things will never be more the same, just accelerated. Over the last two weeks, organisations ranging from the East Coast’s largest hedge and VC funds to MSNBC and the Today Show have asked me the same question: What does the world look like “post corona”?’

Just like Rory Sutherland to ruffle a few feathers. ‘If you ever doubt how clever evolution can be, remember that it may take a year or more for the brightest minds on the planet to find and approve a vaccine for the coronavirus. Yet 99 per cent of otherwise healthy people seem to have an immune system that can crack the problem in under a week.’

Martin Sorrell is always a good source to go to in a crisis. Speaking to UK industry title PR Week, the 75-year-old S4 boss predicted a recession over the coming months but “we’ll see a sharp recovery in Q4; brands will let rip. This will be a V-shaped recession”.

From Campaign. ‘Brands are bypassing production shops and asking influencers to create assets’. (reg may be necessary.)

This video piece from the recession of the early 90’s is not exactly transferable to our current predicament, but is enlightening nonetheless. A bouncing ball analogy from a UK advertising trade group – Healthy brands can bounce back.

Could esports fill the void while mainstream sports are on the bench? And is there an opportunity for brands?

Makes sense when you think about it. Coronavirus has created a sex toy boom. A baby boom may not follow… 

Nice new weekly email from The Economist : ‘Cover Story’ – How we chose this week’s image. 

From The Tate. ‘Although our galleries are temporarily closed we wanted to share the Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern with you. Join Tate Curator’s Gregor Muir and Fiontán Moran as they discuss Warhol through the lens of the immigrant story, his LGBTQI identity and concerns with death and religion.’

For obvious reasons, downplayed his year. However, this piece from Culture Trip, examines the origins of April Fools’ Day.

Missing the sounds of your office? You can re-create them here. 

Now, this is rather like two great gifts rolled into one. Friend of The Filter @Stevexoh guest curates Genius Steals‘ newsletter – Strands Of Genius.

Looks like this April is going to be the toughest for quite some time. Perhaps time then to revisit T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’?. April is the cruellest month… 

Nicely done. Stay home – a ski movie by Phillip Klein.

Perhaps not to everyone’s taste but @ThatBloke_Jesus (Carpenter/ magician only want 12 followers…) is a great follow, especially at the current time.

Moving short video piece, Cristóvam – Andrà Tutto Bene (everything will be alright). Perhaps with a nod to Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. (HT Jo Henwood at The Mind Filter.)


Stories From This Week

28th March 2020

The Speed Premium in an exponentially growing pandemic world. ‘If you are writing commentary, the value is being there is the morning, not the evening.  The “commentary cycle” used to stretch at least a day or two, occasionally a full week. Have you perused recent newspapers and mentally noted how many of the articles — such as reviews of art exhibitions — obviously were written and planned in The Time Before (can I call it that?).  Those articles are now largely worthless, though a few of them may have nostalgia value.’

“Vaccinate Your Brand”: BBH issues a briefing on Covid-19 for Marketing Leaders. Download full deck here.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. ‘How Covid-19 Changed Our World’ : Futurist Gerd Leonhard looks ‘back’ from the end of 2020 and the changes that have occurred as a result of Covid-19. 12 observations include – the beginning of ‘The United States of Europe’ ; ‘Hell = no other people’; ‘extreme capitalist societies have slipped into chaos’ ; ‘populism faded quickly’ ;’ agriculture is re-booting to support self-sufficiency’; ‘remote everything is here’; and ‘changing views on how, when and where we need to travel.

From The Washington Examiner. ‘A scientist who warned that the coronavirus would kill 500,000 people in the United Kingdom has presented evidence that if current measures work as expected, the death toll would drop to roughly 20,000 people or fewer.’

Looking forward to seeing what comes out of this. The UN issues global call to creatives for first time everAn open brief has been launched by the United Nations in a bid to generate localised messaging around Covid-19.

From AdAge. 5 tips from a consumer psychologist on how brands should respond to coronavirus – – Stop with the cute logos, play up your expertise and take action. And here (also from Ad Age) a regularly updated list tracking marketer’s response to coronavirus. (reg may be necessary)

Lovely to see that (friend of The Filter) the creative ‘walkshop’ project Street Wisdom, is ‘coming in from the cold’. ‘If you are stuck inside, don’t worry. As you’ll see from this video, you can bring Street Wisdom home with you….

From Wikipedia. An introduction to viruses. 

Could be some good news here, from The Guardian. Covid-19 self-test could allow return to work, say health officials

A couple of interesting pieces from BBC Travel. Why We Are What We Are ( a series that examines the characteristics of a country and investigates whether they are true); and The Travel ‘Ache’ You Can’t Translate – ‘For all of us trapped inside our homes during coronavirus who long to travel, the Germans have a word for that: fernweh, or a pain to see far-flung places beyond our doorstep’.

From WARC. The continued ascension of Houseparty and the ‘re-socialisaton of media’.’ The question will be whether Houseparty can build the kind of sustainable popularity that makes it a destination for brands to explore integrations rather than outright advertising. Like Fortnite, where brands like the NFL gained a foothold through skins that users could buy; the real asset, is the extended engagement from an audience that is abandoning Facebook.

From Strands of Genius. A (google drive) folder of marketing POVs, business and consumer research reports, from across agency land ( including China) to help everyone make better decisions. In total, an upload of 130 POV reports as well as a spreadsheet directory of 111 links including a tab on “Brands Doing Good”.

From WARC – ‘Why stockpiling is not the crazy, selfish behaviour that it seems.’ (Research shows that) ‘huge volumes of shoppers were adding a few extra purchases of products they normally buy and adding a few purchases of categories that they don’t often buy into their trolley or basket and were doing this more frequently, i.e. also shopping more regularly than normal, across these first few weeks. This adds up to a whole lot of buying….This is not the kind of behaviour that those shoppers would see as selfish and abnormal, in the same way that walking out of a store with the last 30 packs of loo roll would obviously do.’

Bompas & Parr is looking for creatives to rethink hand sanitiser. Launching a competition with the Design Museum in support of The British Red Cross,

Google Earth launches virtual tours of 31 of the world’s most incredible National Parks. 

In the US, seven brands that increased social media spend, during the pandemic. Dial (cleaning brands), Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, Quibi (mobile video), Instacart (deliveries), Uber Eats, and interestingly...South West Airlines. (reg may be necessary)

A Snapchat-owned location app just added a leaderboard comparing who stays home the most.

From Chartbeat. How coronavirus is impacting the news. An analysis of global traffic and coverage data. 

Mailchimp will be showing more than 70 short films that were meant to show at the cancelled SXSW Film Festival. In fact, I was in Austin at the time that Sx should have been on and still managed to catch some great film and music. Highlight was seeing a premiere on a inflatable screen in a parking lot in south Austin. The Mystery of The Pink Flamingo; trailer here.

Miley Cyrus has been doing her part to keep her fans’ and followers’ spirits up as they practice social distancing with her new Instagram Live show, Bright Minded. Now, she’s taken things one step further byreleasing a surreal (and somewhat jarring) theme song for the series.

Social distancing hits classic album covers. (HT @neilperkin)

Footage of ‘coronal rain’ on the surface of the Sun, was recorded by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, in a time frame of 9 and a half hours. After around 30s of this video you will see an image of earth, for scale.

New York From Behind (an Instagram account)

Europe’s last football league is now a global phenomenon – and they’re not slowing down. This is how to stream games this weekendfrom The Belarus Premier League.

If your dog needs a walk but you can’t go out. Here is a video of a drone ‘walking’ a dog

Stories From This Week

21st March 2020

From The Alternative. ‘Twitter is a mixed-bag of a medium – but if you’ve curated your followers consciously enough, it can be an amazing mixture of town crier, morale booster and academic reading list. In this Coronavirus moment, we’re enjoying all three modes – but the last has turfed up a fascinating piece of futures thinking, which at least suggests a positive road (out of the current) situation, for the next thirty years…’ ‘Localism 2020-2050 –  “Empathetic Communities” + “Local Loops”. 

7 ways to travel when you can’t…

From Wunderman Thompson, a piece on Pandemic Brands. ‘In a burst of philanthropy that consumers are likely to remember long after the virus is vanquished, phone manufacturers and carmakers are reconfiguring production lines to make face masks; e-commerce platforms are waiving service fees for merchants; and food delivery giants are plying health workers with free meals and free use of shared bicycles.’

From The Guardian. The Act of Love: using photography to spread unity during a pandemic.

Never a better time to explore Google Arts and Culture. The current lead feature is – ‘Explore more than 150 cultural institutions to discover Italy’s unique masterpieces, landscapes, and cultural heritage.’

Two pieces from Information is Beautiful. The perfect time to enjoy some more Beautiful News, …and here a Covid-19 Data Pack. Well worth a look.

Keep it clean: The surprising 130-year history of hand-washing. “If there had to be a father of hand-washing it would be Ignaz Semmelweis… while working at Vienna General hospital, the Hungarian doctor was at the forefront of a more scientific approach to medicine. Faced with a doctor-led maternity ward in which maternal deaths from the dreaded childbed fever were significantly higher than in the midwife-run clinic there, he racked his brain for clues as to why….

This billboard tells you not to look at it (and stay home instead)

What’s cosmo-localism?  – when hospitals run out of ventilator parts, and local 3D printers provide them. 

From Statista, on 19th March. Coronavirus Crash Not (Yet) as Bad as Previous Downturns

Great stuff. Goodby Silverstein & Partners, has a message for toilet paper hoarders. 

Apparently this is how may kids, and others, are now connecting. (HT @itsjimmyb)

A beautifully done map of mathematics,  – using simple starting points (numbers, shapes, change), the map branches out exploring the relationship between numbers, questions/contradictions within the field. The creators say, “If mathematics is the poetry of logic, as Albert Einstein once wrote, then through this we hope to provide an appreciation for all the beauty that it describes.” (from Quanta Magazine)

Another nice piece from XKCD. A traveller from 2010 comes to 2020….

A whistling walrus…

Need a further break from the news? Try swimming with turtles.  

A pine tree near a flooded Czech village has been voted European Tree of The Year, beating off stiff competition from a Croatian gingko tree, a Portuguese chestnut and an English oak.

I guess, we knew this already but nice to see it confirmed here – ‘Dogs have a magic effect’: how pets can improve our mental health’.


Stories From This Week

13th March 2020

Hello Dear Subscribers. Most stories at the moment, in almost any sphere, obviously relate to Covid-19 to some extent. With this in mind it may seem somewhat extraneous to be offering a selection of stories that seem inconsequential in the circumstances. Having said this, I still think it is worth persevering in order to offer some alternative, perhaps more upbeat and diverting content; and because I have been providing this missive almost continuously for 7+ years and seems a shame to break the cycle. I hope this sounds ok. Nick 

.…And in this vein, here a very warm, insightful and fabulously delivered video essay from the always engaging NerdwriterCan philosophy and morals be transmitted through a painting? (The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David)

From Aeon – Hypocognition is a censorship tool that mutes what we can feel. ‘Every now and then, a new term will bubble up; a new concept will burst forth – to give meaning to walks of life previously starved of recognition, to instil life into our inchoate impulses, to tell the stories that need to be told.’

Nice piece from Apple relating to International Women’s Day. ‘Meet the women changing the world Behind the Mac.’

Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Video Companies of 2020. Interesting to see the small but highly innovative team at USeek in at number 9 – ‘for producing hard-to-ignore interactive video ads.’

Nice piece from The Current, a new publication fromJigsaw –  ‘Disinformation campaigns are more than fake news. They’re coordinated, targeted efforts to shape perceptions. Yet for many, their inner workings remain a mystery. HT @here_forth

For Nietzsche, life’s ultimate question was: ‘Does it dance?’

‘From the Pringles and Rick and Morty collaboration, to Habito’s gleeful cartoon nightmares, daring brands are turning into animaniacs.’ How, advertising embraces adult animation’s existential turn (try saying that fast….)

At 13 years old, Najiah Knight is a bull rider. She is the only girl competing on the Professional Bull Riders mini circuit for kids. ‘Don’t let the term “mini” fool you into thinking it isn’t a dangerous sport. Knight is riding bulls that can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. They buck hard, they kick, and they stomp…’

There’s a secret formula at the heart of almost every successful sitcom…the four central characters of most hit series can be classified in terms of a nuclear family of: matriarch, patriarch, craftsman and clown.’ (In Sex And The City, Carrie is the patriarch, Charlotte the matriarch, Samantha the clown and Miranda the craftsman).

Apple is back with another superbly choreographed spot in which its AirPods Pro transport the wearer into another world. 

Finally, it would be remiss not to mention that MDSG (close friend of The Filter) won the Advertising Agency of the Year award (for the second year running) at the Travel Marketing Awards on Monday. Here is the team receiving the award from Russell Kane.

Stories From This Week

8th March 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! A couple of related pieces to share. From @traceyfutures – In celebration of #IWD2020  you can download her FREE ebook of interviews with some of the leading futurists worldwide. What do they have in common? They’re all women. And…here is Cyborg Shamanism, a New Manifesto for Womxn as part of the Sony Music UK and Broccoli Content Anthems Project. Anthems is a series of 31 original manifestos and rallying cries from 31 womxn across Britain.

From Mark Ritson in Marketing Week. Coronavirus: good or bad for Corona’s sales? ‘It’s a venal question given the current state of the pandemic and the tragic loss of life that has occurred, and will occur in the months to come. But it is, none the less, a fascinating one for marketers. Where do you stand? Your answer very much depends on how you balance the importance of a brand’s salience versus its image.’

From Julian Cole at Planning Dirty. ‘This Brand Architecture Models deck is Advil to your brand portfolio headaches’ . Brought to life simply and engagingly via a few visual examples. The Brand Architecture Continuum includes – Master Brand, Hybrid and House of Brands.

What Comes After TV? Snapchat is making hyper-condensed shows specifically to watch on a smartphone.

Fast Company with the 5 most dystopian technologies of 2020 and beyond. Including – cybercriminals and ransomware; editable genes, CRISPR and gene drives; misinformation and deep-fakes; artificially intelligent computers; and social media-enabled polarisation machines.

Some really nice elements in this. From The Drum – How to use experiential to embed rich memories. 

Fascinating. The Curiosity Rover captures a 1.8 gigapixel panorama of Mars.

Following my trip to Japan last year, I heartily endorse this perspective – ‘I just got back from my first trip to Japan, and I’m now in love with the country. The ramen, yakitori and sushi. The gorgeous volcanoes. The fascinating people and culture. But of all the things I fell in love with, there’s one that I can’t stop thinking about: the toilets.’ And…this is why America Is losing the toilet race.

Likely to become an increasingly important subject in the coming months. How to work from home without losing your mind.

These activists use makeup to defy mass surveillance. ‘London is the second most surveilled city in the world. Dazzle Club is the activism group using anti-facial recognition paint to raise awareness around this.’

Whitney Houston’s new hologram tour Is proof that virtual beings & volumetric performances are going mainstream.

When the postmaster of Sumami, Japan noticed the city needed a boost of tourism, he developed an interesting solution. He put a post box near the coast of the fishing town hoping that the novelty would attract divers from around the world and pique the curiosity of people everywhere.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

28th Feb 2020

Powerful. Cynthia Nixon has been praised for fronting a powerful video about the immense pressures women face in society today. The short film was produced for Girls. Girls. Girls. magazine and sees the Sex and the City actor recite a blog written by Camille Rainville in 2017, titled “Be a lady, they said”.

Another smart piece from (friend of The Filter) Future Strategy Club‘All that is solid melts into air – Karl Marx nailed the 2020s with this statement. Certainly everything we thought of as solid is melting away. Geopolitical, economic and environmental change is firmly on the agenda and there seems to be a way to go before anything settles down. Here is link to download FSC White Paper – Weathering The Storm Of Disruption. 

HT @here_forth. LinkedIn is to launch a stories product (and yes, it’ll be terrible……).

Chipotle’s new slogan is isn’t sensitive or subtle, but it is memorable.

Courtesy, of the Street Wisdom Newsletter – Why do writers enjoy walking so much? and  – great things happen to your brain, when you look up and out’. 

8 petits films “hommage” ou “à la manière” de Tim Burton, présentés à la Cinémathèque. These may not cheer you up, but they are charming and beautiful.

An A-Z of words that defined the internet in the 2010s.

A subject very close to my heart. ‘My Sclerosis’ is a short film that was written, directed and produced by Stash Capar. Stash was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011 and after an understandably rough time with the condition, his mindset changed in 2019. He felt that he was in a place where he could open up about his experiences and potentially connect to others living with MS. So, Stash made a film.

HT @neilperkin. ‘Sure, modern life is awful. But just occasionally a reporter accidentally activates a filter on his phone and doesn’t realise it.’

Simply wonderful (ht@davidpearlhere). Jon Bon Jovi  park singing by a guy.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

23rd Feb 2020

From WARC. The slow death of the third-party cookie means that contextual targeting will become increasingly important – and marketers should use the insights they generate from current cookie data to inform their future contextual strategies. Why AI means the return of contextual targeting.

PWC on the Streaming Shake-Up. Consumers have found their video consumption groove, evidenced by three key trends: ‘Consumers who have pay-TV recognise that it fulfils a need in their video service portfolio; once a revolutionary shift, streaming has become commonplace (90% of consumers are watching video content over the internet); and consumers have seemingly settled into their video service portfolios, having curated a selection of services that meets their content needs.’

YouTube at 15: what happened to some of the platform’s biggest early stars? One that I remember, but had lost track of, wasCharlieIsSoCoolLike.

Two smart pieces from, friend of The Filter, Future Strategy Club – The Makers of Neonicotinoids, drawn in pollen; and How to build your own Hierarchy of Needs, with examples relating to Donald Trump, Piers Morgan and (of course) Abraham Maslow.

Durex challenges the norms of sexual conventions with sex positive rebranding.

A comparison between historical and modern computing. ‘Let’s see how the CPUs contained in recent USB-C wall chargers compare to the power of the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer (AGC). The Apollo 11 spacecraft carried 3 humans to the moon and back in 1969.’ 

From The Atlantic’s Idea File – ‘We have an archaic idea of what family is, the nuclear family unit is a privilege of the wealthy. Across the world, 38 percent of people still live with extended family. And over the past half-century, the share of people living alone in America has doubled. The nuclear family is no longer the norm—and it should no longer be the ideal.’ This is why, the nuclear family was a mistake. (short video)

Last week, Love Island replaced sponsor idents with Samaritans contact details.

I always thought it was down to Bernoulli’s Principle, but according to Scientific American – no one can explain why planes stay in the air.

‘Where people have faith in their elections’. Spoiler alert – the US, and to some degree the UK, do not rank very high…

‘As a hermit crab grows, its shell becomes a tighter fit so eventually the crabs need to move into a bigger one, leading to an amazing exchange.’ David Attenborough narrates (short video)

Although Mercury orbits the Sun once every 88 Earth days, the three bodies align only about 13 times a century due to the planets’ relative orbital planes. One such ‘Mercury transit’ occurred on 11 November 2019.This short video highlights the rare event as recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in a variety of ultraviolet light wavelengths.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

16th Feb 2020

Why are we polarised? Don’t blame social media, says Ezra Klein. The Vox editor explains why there’s no chapter devoted to Facebook or Twitter in his new book about how the US is more divided than ever.

One chart from Adam&EveDDB. How Advertising Works.

This longish read from Prof Galloway is a compelling piece on the rise and rise of Amazon. ‘Amazon isn’t an ecommerce company or a cloud company, but a disruption platform that through great execution and unparalleled access to cheap capital, uses the flywheel effect to spin into completely different industries. Welcome to Bezosland. LAnd of the Undead.

Radio’s unparalleled reach. Weekly media reach in the US ; Q1 2019 (% of 18+ population).

From NESTA. Six stories of workplace automation. NESTA employees share their insights on how technology is changing jobs.

‘The curious tale of a man called Christian, the Catholic church, David Schwimmer’s wife, a secret hotel and an Airbnb scam running riot on the streets of London.’ The Airbnb scam that’s taking over London (and many other cities…)

Love this piece from The Economist. ‘Scarry’s Law, formulated over a decade ago by this newspaper and named after Richard Scarry, a children’s illustrator, states that politicians mess at their peril with groups that feature in children’s books—farmers, fishermen, train drivers and suchlike…’ (reg may be necessary)

PlayStation Gets to the Heart of Gaming in this gripping film from Romain Gavras. 

Bosses tell social media celebrities: ‘TikTok on your own time’. Some employers are not amused by viral videos shot in supermarkets, hospitals or police cars.

The “singular conducting style” of Dutch baroque specialist Pieter Jan Leusink. Here is a short video compilation. Pure joy.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

9th Feb 2020

NESTA on The Future Of Creativity and Innovation. Topics covered in this piece include – ‘We’ll see more unlikely collaborations between humans and non-humans’ ; ‘We’ll find ourselves doing more scrappy, experimental work; and ‘Creation will exist alongside loss in an era of ecological disaster’.

How Andy Warhol invented American art – pop art’s leading figure harnessed the energy of consumerism..and if you are in London in the next few months this is certainly worth seeing, at the Tate Modern – A new look at the extraordinary life and work of the pop art superstar.

Three pieces from 1843 magazine. ‘An 18th-century moral panic sounds surprisingly familiar – The novel was once deemed as damaging as screen time is today‘ ; Grayson Perry’s My Life in Six Objects (the teddy bear that is like a god to me..); and ‘The Sweet Sound of Success’ – ‘hearing is a “special sense”, argued R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer, because it can’t be shut out at will. Sound persists after we close our eyes to sleep, and it’s there before we wake up: “There are no earlids,” he wrote.

CN Traveller and Google’s new tool, shows the impact of climate change on World Heritage Sites.

‘Docu-tainment rising’. Across industries, documentaries are being elevated as content for a class of truth-seeking consumers.

A Madrid-based production company creates a menagerie to accompany Spotify’s algorithmically-curated playlists for lonely stay-at-home pets. 

From @faris – ‘Hindsight is so 2020: Why advertisers are doubling down on nostalgia.’ Brands reaching for quotes of their past advertising successes hints at our continued failure to think about the future and start investing in assets for the long term.

From The New Yorker. Why I Wrote The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Oct 14th 1996. ‘I am not sure what “The Crucible” is telling people now, but I know that its paranoid centre is still pumping out the same darkly attractive warning that it did in the fifties…it may simply be a fascination with the outbreak of paranoia that suffuses the play— the blind panic that, in our age, often seems to sit at the dim edges of consciousness.’

Nice new campaign from Eurostar, which revives its ‘challenger mentality’. An ostrich stars in ads with the strap-line – ‘you see more when you don’t fly….’ 

How Glossier turned itself into a billion-dollar beauty brand. ‘People were becoming increasingly interested in the idea of personal style, and using clothing and makeup as a means of creative expression. They no longer wanted to be told by a brand or expert how to pull off a full look; they wanted to see other people mix things up.’

Fabulous. Footage of De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci at the very first table read of The Irishman, with Scorsese back in 2013.

All the 2020 Super Bowl Commercials in one place (reg may be necessary)…and this perspective suggests this year’s ads were a bit ‘meh’ – ‘I think there were a lot of good ads, I’m just not sure they were very good Super Bowl ads…many of the ads themselves were competent. They did what they needed to do, but they didn’t really fit with the sort of stupendousness of the moment, they kind of played it safe, low key.’ …and this from The Drum : From holograms to wearables: how we’ll be watching the Super Bowl in 10 years time.

‘The Bruce Lee vs. Cliff Booth fight scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has great acting, funny one-liners and tension that masterfully builds-up to a wonderful climax.’ But it also includes a 4 minute single take, that you don’t realise is there.

Short video from Radio 4. The Libet Experiment: Is Free Will Just an Illusion? Are our ‘conscious decisions’ just reports on what is already happening? (ps. if there is no free will, there may at least be a ‘free won’t.’)

As you may have observed, last Sunday (02/02/2020) was a palindrome day and the first such in 909 years.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

31st Jan 2020

McCann London has created ‘The Rough Guide to Xbox’ – the first travel guidebook for gaming worlds – to show off the beauty of the virtual places you can visit.

‘When I listen to podcasts, I find myself thinking more about the ads than the actual content of what I’m listening to. It’s not impossible to skip through podcast ads, but it doesn’t really behoove you. At about 30 seconds to a minute, it makes more sense to let the advertisements wash over you…’ Podcast ads are a very hot trend in media right now.

Contagious on Insight and Strategy. How and why great campaigns get made.

From Marketing Week. ‘Long-form content is making a comeback on social media, with brands writing extended Instagram captions and producing lengthier video material. But just how interested are consumers in a deeper dive?’

‘Like the generation of leaves, the lives of mortal men.
Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth,
now the living timber bursts with the new buds
and spring comes round again. And so with men:
as one generation comes to life, another dies away.’
Homer, ‘The Iliad’ –   
Trojan Business: Can an Ancient Myth Teach Contemporary Lessons?

From Benedict Evans. ‘Every year, I produce a big presentation digging into macro and strategic trends in the tech industry. This year, ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ looks at what it means that 4bn people have a smartphone; we connected everyone, and now we wonder what the Next Big Thing is…

Is your reaction too intense to be expressed in an emoji or gif? Try using driving directions… 

From Wanderlust, Top secret trails: 6 hidden walks from around the world. From simple strolls to days-long hikes, these secret trails allow you to tackle unexplored territory across the globe. Explore Taiwan, Ecuador and beyond, as recommended by their top travel experts…

The NBA All-Time Top Scorers. 

The Sun’s convulsing surface at a level of detail never seen before. The cell-like structures are roughly the size of the US State of Texas – convecting masses of hot, excited gas, or plasma.