Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

25th January 2020

  1. Netflix has bumped Aldi off the top spot on the BrandIndex, a YouGov barometer that ranks brands on their “buzz” – a position that Aldi has occupied for the past five years.…and Wired thinks that Netflix’s Studio Ghibli streaming deal is a stroke of genius. Hayao Miyazaki’s films are a perfect antidote for our troubled era.
  2. Tim Harford, believes that 10 years of social media have left us less well off. But he caveats..’I should not exaggerate. This isn’t 1984. Partisan news sources were popular long before we self-selected into online echo chambers. Propaganda is not new. And there are benefits from social media: it gives a platform to all sorts of people who deserve to be heard. But it is hard to make the case that social media has led to a more thoughtful, rigorous or compassionate discourse about politics.’
  3. From Contagious –The World’s Best Strategy. Inc. Nike, Black & Abroad, Microsoft, Burger King, Coke and the FT. 
  4. JWT’s take on CES 2020. Including, auditory health,sex tech, pet tech, travel tech and entertainment futures. In this last space, Quibi sounds interesting. Introducing their “quick bite” entertainment platform, when it launches in April 2020, the service will offer a slate of movies, reality TV, unscripted documentaries and news programs released in 5- to 10-minute snackable segments. Co-founder is Jeffrey Katzenberg.
  5. The event is going to be smaller this year, for obvious reasons, but this graph shows just how big Chinese New Year is. The World’s Largest Migration.
  6. Google has designed an envelope you can use to hide your phone from yourself. The envelope only lets you use the phone’s dialer.
  7. This brilliant idea, from 2013, popped up again recently. As fresh now as it was then. 350.org calls for hurricanes to be named after climate change deniers.
  8. Interesting piece from @Faris. Consider the Creme egg: Mondelez looks to streaming. ‘ The 2020 communication approach will drop the mainstay medium of broadcast television in favour of running ads on Youtube, Facebook and outdoor media, which will be used to replace lost reach, while the budget stays the same.’
  9. Fortnite gamers swap taking lives for saving lives in International Red Cross game mode. 
  10. Following a recent Twitter thread, thousands of people shared stories of finding deceased friends and family members. This is Grieving With Google Street View.
  11. From Spotify. The Sound of Everything. A map showing one song from every genre they currently track.
  12. ‘The worst lie since Santa’: why Carpool Karaoke is TV’s biggest con.
  13. Expedia releases a tactical Canada Ad following Harry and Meghan’s news.
  14. XKCD on choosing the right emotional tone for your unsubscribe message.
  15. Marketoonist on brainstorming customer satisfaction metrics. Let’s keep ideas to things we can actually control…
  16. The Sound of Berlin. A video using original sounds of the city. 6 days of shooting, 850 sounds, in one minute.

Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

18th January 2020

  1. Out of Mediacom : A marketers lens on CES 2020. Featuring – retail, digital health, content, vehicle technology and connected living. 
  2. Attended Campaign’s preview of 2020 this week. One of the standout presentations was from Enders Analysis – The Decade Ahead. You can access the deck here.…and here, Julian Cole (@planningdirty) has aggregated all the key 2020 trend reports in one place
  3. ‘The tech giants have as much money and influence as nations. So what if we reported on them like countries? What would Apple be? A liberal China…’ Welcome to Apple. A one party state.
  4. Martin Weigel on how corporations are filling a vacuum left by late-stage capitalist societies and the need more than ever for what he calls ‘radical imagination’.
  5. According to this study, more than 100 brands have had adverts running on YouTube that were actively promoting climate misinformation. Thebrands, including Samsung, L’Oreal and Decathlon, were unaware that their adverts were being played before and during the videos...and here is Tortoisemedia’s  – ‘Corporate 100 Responsibility Index’. Good companies need to be good citizens too…(Unilever is top…)
  6. Courtesy of Contagious. Q3 and Q4 2019 – the world’s best creative.
  7. ‘Most climate scientists agree we will have to find ways to take carbon out of the atmosphere even after cutting emissions to net zero. If not, excess CO2 left in the air will go on warming it for about 100 years. Can theworld’s wide open spaces deliver a solution to climate armageddon?’ – Plant A Trillion Trees.
  8. Apparently, Google Chrome is dropping third-party cookies in 2 years. Google is betting that its Privacy Sandbox – the privacy-preserving API first unveiled in August – will build functionality that replaces third-party cookies.
  9. Nat Geo on why the skyscrapers of the future may be made out of wood.
  10. From Nick Cave. A short piece on creative bravery. ‘With your new sound, you don’t fear losing old fans?’  
  11. Daniel Craig pays homage to James Bond role in this new Heineken advert.
  12. This is rather fun. According to this visual post there are only 10 types of movies, including black and orange, red dress, eye and leaning couple…. 
  13. Funny and nicely observed from BBC Wales. If high st shopping was like online shopping. Hi there! Can I have a couple of bread rolls please…..?

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

12th Jan 2020

  1. The final chart topper of the decade perfectly summarises the current state of media,  because it encapsulates a number of key trends that have played out over the last 10 years.
  2. Interesting projection pieces for 2020 and beyond. Econsultancy’s Ashley Friedlein’s marketing & digital trends for 2020 to 2030, and ‘Preparing for 2030’, from Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View. 
  3. Volkswagen said goodbye to the Beetle at the eleventh hour of 2019 with a little help from a Beatles song, Kevin Bacon, Andy Warhol and Andy Cohen.
  4. How the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel.
  5. The National Trust Celebrates 125 Years of Natural Beauty. ‘We all need space and unless we have it, we cannot reach that sense of quiet, in which whispers of better things come to us gently‘ : Octavia Hill, co-founder of The National Trust.
  6. Really like this ‘welcome to the new decade piece’ from Helen Brocklebank, CEO of luxury group Walpole. ‘If we are looking to the past to inform the future, we might remember the famous words of T.S Eliot’s mentor and arch Modernist, Ezra Pound who, nearly 100 years ago, exhorted artists of all disciplines to ‘Make It New’, words which fast became the mantra of modernism. The ‘it’ in ‘Make It New’ is the old: what is valuable in the culture of the past.’
  7. BBC Creative uses shadow art to celebrate the ‘Bloody Legend’ of Dracula.
  8. From Flowing Data, The best data visualisation projects of 2019.
  9. Love this. Audible positions as a haven from distracting ‘mindless’ apps.
  10. Including The Eiffel Tower, Apollo 8, Disneyland and The Pentagon. Some examples of people quickly accomplishing ambitious things together.
  11. Australian Creatives rally to help combat bushfires – Tomorrow’s On Fire…and this chart from Statista shows the shocking size of the Australian wildfires.
  12. And finally, Marketoonist on Peak Brand Purpose.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

19th Dec 2019

From The New Yorker. ‘When the decade began, tech meant promise — cars that could drive themselves, social networks that could take down dictators. It connected us in ways we could barely imagine. But somewhere along the way, the flaws of technology became abundantly clear. What happened?’ (This is) The Decade That Lost Its Way.


NESTA’s 10 predictions for 2020. Always a great read. Including – ‘meet your digital twin’, ‘the rise of 21st century unions’ and ‘eco-anxiety will save the planet’…and here are Carat’s Ten Trends for 2020 – ‘the year of all conquering eco-systems.’


‘In this powerful new RSA Minimate, TIME’s Editor-at-Large Anand Giridharadas argues that while the winners of our age might be well meaning in their desire to give back, too many stop short at the kinds of real change that would see power more radically distributed.’ Part of theissue is the privatisation of the solution of public problems. (short animated video)


From Wired. Don’t give the gift of corporate surveillance this Christmas. 
An amazing story and matching infographics. HT @neilperkin. ‘Months ago, someone contacted us with an astounding dataset. It tracked theprecise movements of more than 12 million Americans in several major cities including Washington, New York and San Francisco. Today we published our findings’ – One Nation Tracked. An investigation into smartphone tracking.


Mapped: The World’s Top 10 Cities in 2035 using three key metrics: GDP, GDP Growth and population. Very few of the contenders are in Europe… (HT @here_forth)


SMMRY summarises text to save you time. Paste an article, text or essay in the box and hit summarise….


From The Cut. ‘There’s a lot of content: sweaty gym selfies as an excuse to show off her abs, golden lattes, dinner with “the girls” at Pastis, lines like “I just took a DNA test, it turns out I’m 100% that bitch..” Meet TheUnfluencer, the person who makes me want to do the opposite of whatever she’s doing and throw out whatever I already own, that she has posted about…..’


Been loving all the outputs from Julian Cole (Planning Dirty) in his first year of consulting. Here is a compendium of everything he has put out this year. 

Bit of a plug for one of my favourite brands and reads, this is Brighton based My Green Pod and their Consumer Revolution Issue.


A couple of interesting pieces regarding Instagram this week. From TheGuardian. The Instagram decade: #hashtag holidays and other travel trends…and The New Yorker, on The Age of the Instagram Face.

Great fun. Cartoon from xkcd – the Star Wars Spoiler Generator.


YouTube’s top earners: Eight-year-old Ryan (of Ryan’s World) tops thelist with $26m.


Love this. A new codex collects (Belgian artist) ROA’s, black-and-white creatures in photographs from around the world. 


And finally…. From the often inspiring Aeon. ‘When we strip away themyths, such as his princely youth in a palace, a surprising picture of this enigmatic sage emerges.’ Who was the Buddha? 

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

15th December 2019

  1. TikTok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times; outperforming Instagram as the fastest growing social platform. This deck contains 13 of the best branded content examples on TikTok, from the last 4 months. These were chosen based on the brands’ success in bringing the brand idea to life on the platform. TikTok Top 100: Celebrating the videos and creative community that made TikTok so lovable in 2019
  2. Most Contagious Report 2019. ‘Advice (sort of) for the next decade; insights and strategy behind the most successful campaigns at Cannes this year; 4 things to put on your to do list for 2020; the 25 most Contagious Campaigns 2019 ;and the smartest quotes from Contagious Magazine.’ 
  3. From The Guardian. Twenty tech trends for 2020. ‘From new gaming consoles to activism at Apple, we predict the things you will – or won’t see in tech this year’
  4. Deliveroo has claimed that it is the second-best delivery service in theUK – behind midwives – in its first-ever Christmas campaign, which promotes its drive to donate funds to University College London Hospital, this festive season.
  5. From Marketoonist. Long Live Marketing….. 
  6. A heartwarming animated tale about a bumblebee named Hanna, who seems to live in a world where bees have forgotten how to fly…and her friends must take flying lessons in the classroom, but all to no avail as they fall flat on their faces every time.’
  7. Google’s Year in Search (2′.05″ video)
  8. Stephen Sondheim, at nearly 90, is having a new heyday. Songs by theBroadway composer and lyricist are popping up in films and TV shows from Joker to Marriage Story.
  9. Those familiar with the book The Terror, will be familiar with this and interesting to hear performed in practice. ‘Inuit throat singing is half performance, half game, and wholly mesmerising.‘ (3 minute video)
  10. Wonderful. A low budget Christmas Ad for a local Welsh store is giving John Lewis a run for its money. 
  11. At MS Society carol concert in the week, Kit Harrington read ‘Christmas’- a poem by former Poet Laureate, SirJohn Betjeman. Here the author reads it himself, and invites us share his wit and his deeply Christian sentiment. Whatever one’s beliefs this is beautiful stuff. ‘can with this single truth compare – that God was man in Palestine and lives today in bread and wine’.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

8th December 2019

  1. From WARC. ‘Digital platforms are growing ever-more influential and 2020 will see marketers increasingly tasked with building their brands within ecosystems over which they have little or no control… the major story for next year being the growing reliance of advertisers on ‘walled gardens’, the digital platforms that combine paid advertising and payment tech or e-commerce fulfilment.’
  2. ‘Beauty drama’ dominated Youtube’s trending page in 2019.YouTube released its top trending list (which is different from most viewed videos) for this year. A strong theme was beauty creators and the drama between them.
  3. This looks both fun and interesting. ‘If you’re a fan of books by people like Gary V and Simon Sinek, you should probably stop reading now. Delusions of Brandeur is an antidote to the insanity that now pervades the marketing industry. A collection of articles, satirical posts and assorted miscellany, it is a no-holds-barred commentary on modern marketing, advertising and business.’
  4. 52 things I learned in 2019, courtesy of Tom Whitwell, one of the smart people at (friend of The Filter) Fluxx.
  5. Big news from the Influencer world this week as ‘Mother of Daughters’ blogger Clemmie Hooper deletes her Instagram after a backlash over trolling friends…. and her husband. 
  6. ‘As music streaming apps struggle to differentiate, Apple is making concert video a more central part of its strategy, with a Billie Eilish show at its HQ’s Steve Jobs Theater. The Apple Music Awards concert streamed live and then on-demand to Apple Music’s 60 million subscribers.
  7. Pantone Color Institute unveils ‘Classic Blue’ as the colour of 2020. Thechosen colour, explains the company, highlights “our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross thethreshold into a new era….”
  8. Cassetteboy on Boris Johnson. Nice re-jig of MC Hammer’s, You Can’t Touch This.
  9. A holiday advert from exercise bike company Peloton has been widely mocked on social media as being “sexist”, “out of touch”, and even “dystopian”….and this is a smart piece of connected opportunism from Aviation Gin – the Peloton wife is back…in a gin ad. 
  10. A Circle Thief is a lovely little animation by Natsumi Comoto, of a robber of circular objects and the chalk-wielding commuter who attempts to stop him (short video).

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

24th November 2019

From The Guardian. Climate Visuals is a project that aims to create a new visual language for climate change. Images of polar bears, melting ice and factories do not convey the urgent human stories at the heart of theissue.

Times are changing? ‘Several of the biggest social media platforms are beginning to test changes that cut down on scorekeeping, discourage harassment and aim to improve users’ well-being.’ Tech companies targeting your sanity?

From Planning Dirty – ‘Comms Planning Checklist.’ A list of questions to show thebreadth of an idea through media and culture.

‘When the scientists behind the Doomsday Clock
published their yearly assessment of how close we are to planetary doom, they added a new dimension to the dual threats of nuclear proliferation and climate change, namely “theintentional corruption of the information ecosystem on which modern civilisation depends”.The Guardian : ‘the viral spread of misinformation, widening news deserts and the proliferation of fake news will threaten life as we know it.’

‘Companies making the most profound impact on both industry and culture’ These are Fast Company’s most innovative companies of 2019. Top 5 include – Meituan Dianping, Grab, NBA, Disney and Stitch Fix.

Long but good piece from profgalloway.com on the developing TV market – Stream On. Love the observation that Jeff Bezos, with Amazon Prime, paid $508m for each Emmy Award won; and whilst it took Netflix one year to attract about 7 million subscribers, Disney+ attracted 10 million in one day…..
…and still on the subject of streaming, from WARC and @Faris – How do brands reach those consumers who only watch commercial-free, television-like content, whilst still leveraging the uniquely powerful combination of semi-focused attention on sight, sound and motion that can stir theheart? Is this The Golden Age of Product Placement?

Airbnb become an Olympic Partner. From their website – ‘better for locals, better for athletes, better for everyone’. However, this piece suggests they are looking to replace Hotels; and hoteliers are not best pleased…..

‘Traditionally, political parties would have fought each other for the top spots on the evening news – timing announcements to maximise their chances of becoming the lead news item on coveted broadcast slots. But change is underway…’. the push notification is one of theonly ways to cut through the noisy filter bubbles that many of us now occupy. This is how thepush notification came to rival the Six O’Clock News.

From Treehugger. ‘The task was to design a home that can be dismantled after a period of time and used again as if it were just simple prefab modular pieces. This is the Sky City Challenge: The future of housing.

Oh dear…Armour glass’ windows on new Tesla Cybertruck shatter during demonstration (and Elon Musk’s net worth plunges $768m in a day)

‘Why do we always remember men for their battles, fights, and duels. Where are thehomages for those men who forged the path for sensitivity?’ Great piece from Nivea – Here is to men that are strong enough to be sensitive. (reg may be necessary)

Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg star in a spoof of this years John Lewis Christmas Ad… and still with the President – ‘Tiny Hand’ will be your new comic sans. Here’s how and why…

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

27th October 2019

Nice piece from Aeon. ‘When you stare at your phone or use Uber to navigate your neighbourhood, you flatten the rich texture of urban life’ This is the City on Mute.

Great deck from Julian Cole at Planning Dirty. ‘Here’s the scientific proof for Comms Planning. Comms Planning recommends one idea customized to different times and channels.’

From Wired. ‘Why sport is the next frontier for Twitch. Twitch is facing increased competition from Microsoft’s Mixer but the company has big plans for its move into sport live-streaming.’

Although they would perhaps say this, here is The Economist’s review of a biography of Walter Bagehot – ‘the newspapers greatest editor and The Greatest Victorian….’

According to the FT, newspapers are on a roll again – ‘As newspapers’ traditional revenue sources have been sliced away by online competition,several of the world’s super-wealthy have stepped in to fill the financing gap.’ Meanwhile, LinkedIn now has a newsroom of 65 journalists, and it’s hiring more.

From 1843 Magazine. How the ‘Slav Squat’ became an internet sensation…’.The pose is an ironic impersonation of a gopnik, the stereotype of a young working-class Russian that many people from former Soviet-bloc countries recognise. Adidas sportswear and cheap alcohol are optional accessories. In a nod to a shared heritage, squats are being popped from Bulgaria to Belarus’…..and here Boris shows us how to do it.

A perspective on tourism from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) – ‘We need to redefine and reorient tourism. It must be built around the needs and rights of local communities who reside in popular tourist destinations. We redefine tourism as the process of such communities inviting, receiving and hosting visitors for a limited duration, with the intention of benefiting from such actions.’

…And in contrast, for some in China, the aim of travel is to create 15-second videos. ‘It’s not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re seen to have been’.

Bonkers. Here are some of Buster Keaton’s most amazing stunts. HT @davidpearlhere.

Here is (friend of the Filter) Street Wisdom’s short summary video of this year’s Worldwide Wander, including my event from Borough Market in London.

Poetic wisdom appears on a building in Las Vegas in a new sunlight-activated installation by Daku.

Not usually a fan of ‘altruisitc’ big corporate advertising, but this is a great piece of creative, promoting a worthwhile cause. A seminal piece of English prose brought powerfully to life. It was the best of times… 

Ten Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

20th October 2019

From NESTA. ‘Precarious to Prepared.‘ ‘As a result of technological progress and demographic changes, more than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030. Without immediate action, there’s a risk these people will be trapped in insecure, low-value, low-pay employment – or worse, forced out of work altogether.’

From Vox. Amazon’s Echo Look, currently available by invitation only, allows you to take hands-free selfies and evaluate your fashion choices. “Now Alexa helps you look your best,” …’These algorithmic experiences are matters of taste: the question of what we like and why we like it, and what it means that taste is increasingly dictated by black-box robots..Style is now an algorithm.

Why Epic took Fortnite offline for two days ‘It was, of course, a PR stunt. But it was one that did exactly what it was supposed to do: It put Fortnite—and its new release Fortnite Chapter 2— firmly back into the collective gaming conversation just as the game was beginning to lose a bit of its coolness factor.’

Great graphic showing the transfer in spend from music formats to gaming formats, !970’s to the present day.

From The Economist. The difference between Uber and Airbnb. ‘As the home-rental firm prepares to go public, it is keen to point out how its business differs from ride-hailing. Unlike Uber drivers, few of whom were previously riders, Airbnb hosts typically start out as renters first. Since it is a middleman for property rather than labour, Airbnb has avoided the controversy about “gig economy” exploitation, and the vexed question of whether ride-hailing firms should treat drivers as employees.’

Lovely piece from (friend of the Filter) @Stevexoh – Yugen and the art of the intangible takeaway. ‘Yugen is a Japanese word that has no English equivalent. I understand it to mean a momentary sense of experiencing the deep mystery of all things. An awareness of some meaningful connection or patterning that is beyond words but is a palpable experience nonetheless.’

Barbie® opens the doors to her iconic Malibu dreamhouse, on Airbnb.

China’s largest video platform #Tencentvideo (97M paying China subscribers) will begin inserting extra ads into movies/series that didn’t exist in the original. HT @mbrennanchina.

Neurosymphony, exclusive to Aeon, explores three distinct perspectives on the brain, using videos of the scans made freely available by the Massachusetts General Hospital. The video pairs the imagery with an excerpt from the album Chapel by the US electronic musician and music-cognition researcher Grace Leslie, in which she converts her brainwaves into music. See and hear the human brain as you’ve never experienced it before…and also from Aeon, this short video piece, Hunting for Hockney, is ‘A dreamy animated tale of grief, friendship and a road trip to David Hockney’s house.’

10 Great Infographics by XKCD’s Randall Munroeor. For those unfamiliar, XKCD is the Internet-famous webcomic created in 2005. In addition to the standard webcomic format, Munroe has also become well known for his always-entertaining infographics. Some are a quick chuckle while others are incredibly detailed and informative.

Fabulous bit of moment-in-time marketing from Guinness around the Rugby World Cup. Following Ireland’s defeat by New Zealand, encouraging everyone to have a pint of Carling.

Kehinde Wiley’s contemporary counterpoint to old confederate monuments unveiled in Times Square.

A Vimeo pick of the week – Turf Fever. ‘A young Filipino-American escapes a troubled childhood in a rough town through TURF dancing and the brotherhood of his dance crew.’ (Turfing, or turf dancing is a form of American street dance that originated in Oakland, California).