Stories From This Week

4th July 2020

HT @neilperkin. Benedict Evans has published an updated version of his macro-trends deck, with a section on the big shifts but also some thoughts on where we are now, months into the pandemic. Charts on the impact of COVID, forced experimentation, and accelerated digital everything. 

From AMV BBDO, Bodyform’s Womb Stories is being hailed for tackling menstruation taboos, endometriosis, infertility and miscarriage.

We live in a communication age, and yet somehow our collective communication skills seem to be in decline. ‘In a world where our global communication platforms are arguably eroding public trust, are we letting our anxieties about how we perform get in the way of communicating empathetically?’ From NoTosh.

@tom roach on Brand Purpose. The biggest lie the ad industry ever told?

A small indie artist (Steve Benjamins) breaks down his Spotify earnings. ‘No other promotional tactic in music comes close to Discover Weekly in delivering new listeners in such a low-effort, high volume way.’ 

From Information is Beautiful – the world’s biggest data breaches & hacks.

Loop believes in a zero waste future. The company delivers products in reusable packaging that is returned, sanitised and refilled for use by the next consumer. The pandemic could have ruined this sustainable business. But instead, it’s expanding nationwide. 

NASA filmed the Sun for 10 years and condensed it into 90 seconds.

Love these prints ‘celebrating’ the re-opening of pubs today in England. Boris enjoying a pint – at The World’s End.

The perfect five second Tok Tok video. 

Does this ring a bell for anyone? It really resonates for me. From The Guardian – I’ve got a serious parcels habit – do I have to kick it?

Carlsberg welcomes us back to the pub.

Wonderful.  A public health expert’s daughter could not resist chiming in on her live BBC interview. Mummy what’s his name? 

A weird yet deeply relaxing ASMR video of a man chatting as he drives around North London. The School of Zen Motoring.

Airplane at 40. The best spoof comedy ever made? 

A short video essay from Film Scalpel,  ‘The Apartment gets the starring role’. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and all other visitors have been scrubbed from Billy Wilder’s movie: their appearances erased, their voices replaced by a soundscape. Quirky and strangely compelling.

Has E.T. Gone Home? Global UFO sightings from 1990 to 2020.

This really isn’t how I expected the Batman vs Spiderman showdown to go. 

Stories From This Week

26th June 2020

From FastCompany. Race isn’t a social construct. It’s an ad campaign. ‘People much smarter than me can expound on how we got here. But it’s wild. An evil strategy and inventive executions, have brainwashed us for over 300 years.’

Mark Pollard’s take on how insights can shed new light on problems.From problem to insight.

Is your teen texting about this? How TikTok explains Gen Z culture and communication.

From Cannes Lions and WARC. ‘How can we, as an industry, become more consistently successful at highly effective creative marketing? These bodies, sought to understand how our global community could better share what they have learned about effectiveness, for the sake of continuous creative improvement. This is their answer.

I attended the excellent Group Think Festival – ‘Mental Road Trip’, last week A nice summary deck here with key areas covered.

Harvard Business Review on The Business Case For Curiosity. ‘New research points to three important insights about curiosity as it relates to business.’ First, curiosity is much more important to an enterprise’s performance than was previously thought ; Second, by making small changes to the design of their organisations and the ways they manage their employees, leaders can encourage curiosity—and improve their companies; and Third – although leaders might say they treasure inquisitive minds, in fact most stifle curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency.

The pandemic will change how we watch sports. Real sports have scrambled to keep fans happy with electronic versions—and they might stick around for good.

Seasteading. Beloved by Silicon Valley tycoons and tyranny-fearing libertarians, are cities atop the waves Earth’s next frontier?

This year, a virtual, CogX 2020 ‘set its sights on solving the challenges that the next 10 years will bring.’ Key trends discussed included – Gen Z Prosumers, Re-skilling the workforce, Rethinking education and Healthonomics.

The legendary Dolly Parton, narrates “Nashville’s Next Hit,” a video that pays tribute to the passion, resilience and tenacity of the city amid its efforts to recover from devastating tornadoes that struck in March and themore recent coronavirus lockdown, which has hit musicians particularly hard.

The most popular yoga and meditation apps. I thought Headspace would be top, but no.

Very cool. Optical SoundsystemsWhat if you could see the way music travels around your home?

Very true for me, walking Elliot (the dog) over The Downs in recent weeks. ‘Many of us have long dismissed this gentle, approachable activity for more adrenaline-pumping forms of exercise. We’ve been missing out big-time’  – walking is making a major comeback. 

The year the earth stopped.

Unsubscribe: The $0-budget movie that topped the US box office.

An ‘auditory illusion’ has gone viral after blowing the internet’s minds. The audio in the clip isn’t actually getting higher in pitch, despite what it sounds like.

Stories We’ve Enjoyed This Week

24th June 2020

Our masked future. Wearing a mask all the time affects how we interact with each other. But how? ‘When the lower half of someone’s face is obscured…we tend to see..emotions as more muted. Happy babies seem less happy if their mouths are obscured by pacifiers. Smiling women are perceived as less smiling when their mouths are covered by veils. This is true, even accounting for cultural biases against niqabs or pacifiers: Without the lower face, we tend to read even strong emotions as muted ones.’

The tone was serious and formal when suddenly everything changed. The door behind the man chairing the meeting burst open and his toddler ran in, jumped on his lap and smeared Vegemite all over his computer screen. Children interrupting Zoom meetings could be the reboot corporate culture needs.

‘Since May 2014, when Chinese Communist Party Secretary Zhang Chunxian announced the People’s War on Terror in the Uighur region, Chinese technology firms have received billions of dollars in Chinese state capital to build a comprehensive Muslim “re-education”
system in Northwest China. Here are the global implications of “re-education” technologies in northwest China.

Snapchat unveils a platform plan to take on Google and Apple. Snap says augmented reality will be foundation for next major shift in technology.

Throwback Thursday. This piece from 25 years ago records the moment that a company called Google received $25 million in equity funding.'”We are delighted to have venture capitalists of this caliber help us build the company,” said Larry Page, CEO and co-founder of Google. “We plan to aggressively grow the company and the technology so we can continue to provide the best search experience on the web.”

From the traditionally fairly neutral, Tortoise Media. ‘Coronavirus is a vicious illness which has brutally exposed the weakness of the British government. The UK stands alone, suffering damage which is almost without parallel’

HT @here_forth. How Amazon plans to save, not ruin, the $520B fashion industry post coronavirus.

Countries with the highest share of plug-in electric vehicles in new passenger car sales in 2019. Any idea who comes out on top (by quite some margin)?

Bravo Headspace. An important part of my mindfulness journey and great to see, in these troubled times, they are offering their premium service free to those who may be unemployed, in the UK and the US.

On a related subject, my blog post from last week. Going On A Retreat.

‘A doting grandfather, Patrick Hutchinson started off his Saturday looking after his grandchildren – a nice gesture ahead of his daughter’s birthday. By the end of that same weekend, he was headline news, his picture splayed across the nation’s papers. Photographed carrying a white protestor, slung over his shoulder, through the crowd at an anti-racism protest in London, the iconic image went viral.

A simply lovely piece about the lockdown. ‘I promise myself I will remember to thank my children and husband for the heart-lifting gift of their real and frequent hugs. We are lucky. All keeping safe and well, surrounded by love, the odd argument and then more love. We walk and ring on familiar doorbells, then run back and wave at our best friends. We mime hugging them with our arms aloft in the empty air. I tell myself our reward will be drinking wine with these friends and spending time with much-missed parents and grandparents. I will hug them all and never, ever let them go.

We’re living in a fever dream. One day we will wake up.

Stories From This Week

14th June 2020

How The Big Issue has adapted its offering and messaging during the global pandemic (short and very worthwhile video)

From Think With Google. Navigating the coronavirus: How 6 agency leaders are rethinking brand strategy now and for the future.

More great stuff from Planning Dirty. Inc; BLM Brand Responses, Framework for Questioning Clients and Creative Campaigns in a Recession.

How to un-pause Ad-spend.

From NoTosh. ‘In a review of over one hundred well-designed studies in educational and workplace settings, it was found that, on average, in 40% of cases giving feedback results in reduced performance.’ Feedback – it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.

Revisiting this From Genius Steals. The case for a balanced media habit. ‘You are the media you eat’ – The Media Pyramid (after Abraham Maslow)

Some nice observations on how to fix programmatic advertising.

In praise of aphorisms. “What if we see the history of philosophy not as a grand system of sustained critique but as a series of brilliant fragments?’ In this piece, love this line from Nietzsche’s Gay Science – ‘We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books, when stimulated by books. It is our habit to think outdoors – walking, leaping, climbing, dancing, preferably on lonely mountains or near the sea where even the trails become thoughtful.’

‘We assign meanings to the aural quality of words as well as their semantic associations’ – The secret to a perfect brand name.

So @Facebook wants to read your mind?

A twitter user created an account to tweet exactly what Trump, does to see if he’d get suspended. It only took 3 days.

In the UK, ‘Teagate’ showed the weird collision of brands and #BlackLivesMatter.

From WARC. The Power of Audio in the Attention Economy – Ubiquity, enhancement and emotion.

An Urban Dictionary, word of the day from last week. Doomscrolling. And here, is how to stop doing it.

Quarantined travel photographer creates miniature “outdoor” scenes with everyday objects.

Nice. Twitter is trying out a new feature that gently suggests you actually read an article before sharing it.

From Wired. Lockdown sex workers are flocking to Animal Crossing and Second Life. ‘Kiara is a financial dominatrix from Michigan….Before the pandemic, she made most of her earnings through ‘cash meets’. “I’d usually take money out of a sub’s wallet, maybe say something humiliating, and walk away,” she says of a typical day’s work.’

Got to be time for a bit more Beautiful News, from Information is Beautiful. Subjects include sea turtles, food waste, child labour and tropical diseases.

May(not) be true. You decide. A series of interactions between a random inventor and Donald Trump.

100,000 Faces.

Stories From This Week

7th June 2020

From The Atlantic. The new executive order targeting social-media companies isn’t really about Twitter. In reality, Trump’s salvo on social-media companies has primarily an audience of one: Mark Zuckerberg. And it is already working. After the executive order was issued, Facebook’s CEO quickly gave an interview to Fox News, in which he said, “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”

Prof Galloway’s message to marketeers. ‘A 30-second spot…doesn’t prove you are serious about systemic racism. I believe this is a seminal moment in advertising. Simply put, brand-based social messaging has jumped the shark. After consulting to the CEO/CMO of every major athletic apparel shoe company in the world, my advice is to…Just Stop It.

Thank you @Faris for pointing me in the direction of French anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss. Love this -‘The purpose of a myth is to provide a logical model capable of overcoming a contradiction.’ The human mind tends to organise thought and culture around binary opposites, and seeks to resolve the resulting tension through the creative act of myth-making.

Advertising in a Crisis – Then and Now. …Brands have long played supporting roles during testing times, turning government directives into actions and behaviours.

Snapchat will stop promoting Trump’s account in Discover: ‘We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice’. 

A massive wave crashes in a Seoul aquarium as part of the world’s largest anamorphic illusion

Courtesy of Empire Magazine. 14 Films By Black Filmmakers That Everyone Should Watch In 2020.

This 1957 drawing reveals the brilliant strategy behind Disney’s lasting success.

From Minneapolis to Syria, artists are honouring George Floyd through murals and public artworks.

From (friend of the Filter) Street Wisdom. ‘What can we learn from trees? In this simple exercise, Street Wisdom founder David Pearl shows you how to feel more natural and connected. Lose some of the constraints of laptops and lockdown by connecting with nature.’

In case you didn’t know about this (I didn’t) – The ‘Step Chickens’ is one of the trends that has been going around for a while now. Here is what are the Step Chickens on TikTok and how it started.

Short Film – Other Side Of The Box. Winner of the 2019 SXSW midnight shorts category. Late one night a couple receives a mysterious package from an old friend. 

From Wired. How US police used military tactics to turn peaceful protests violent.

‘Superlative things were done in the past century by marshalling thousands of people in the service of a vision of the future. Where did the grandeur go?

Reddit’s stream, Last Images Ever Taken is a tremendously sad and moving collection of images and memories. HT @neilperkin

The Guardian’s take on the greatest UK No.1’s ever ; and here the list on Spotify. For me, no real surprise about the top pick. ‘ Call the police, there’s a mad man around.’

How space flight controls haver changed – Apollo (1967), Space Shuttle (2002), Crew Dragon (2020).

8’46”. 

Stories From This Week

31st May 2020

Exit Strategies Are For Governments, Not Brands. ‘…after punting the notion of ‘exit strategies’ over to a group of strategists, it seems that this might not be the wisest mindset with which to approach the coming months…. Brands may want to think about this less in terms of an exit strategy, and more in terms of a moving-forward strategy…and to move forward, most businesses are at a crossroads: to either return to business as usual and start recovering from the hit or invest in adaptation to ensure they survive as the situation continues to change.’

So, Twitter has ‘appended a fact-check’ to Donald Trump’s tweets. Lots of different  perspectives on how this may play out; but overall it shines a spotlight on the 1996 Communications Decency Act which, according to Jeff Kosseff’s book, included the Twenty-six words that created the internet; “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Nike, feat LeBron James et al. We are never too far down to come back.

The Contagious webinar this week was on the subject of Ask Heretical Questions. Some interesting case studies included : 1) Gazeta.pl ends 27 years of objectification of women as it published a final, more progressive, issue on International Women’s Day – buying Poland’s oldest porn magazine, to shut it down 2) Domino’s branded potholesappeared after the pizza company took to road repair 3) When Burger King cut artificial preservatives and created a gross new ad to show it off 4) ‘No Luxury’: a book containing tampons was a runaway hit  5) Transavia Airlines launched a snack that doubled as a plane ticket and 6) This celebrity sponsorship idea involving Neymar, cut-through by not featuring him at all. This was Neymarless.

From TechCrunch. ‘JD.com, the online retailer that is Alibaba’s long-time nemesis, announced Wednesday a strategic partnership with Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s sibling in China, Douyin. The collaboration is part of a rising trend in the Chinese internet where short video apps and e-commerce platforms increasingly turn to each other for monetisation synergies.’

The rise of TikTok and understanding its parent company, ByteDance . ‘ByteDance is arguably the most serious competitor to Google, ever.It reaches consumers in the two largest middle classes in the world, China and the US, at a scale larger than any other digital advertising company. Like its Chinese counterparts, its seen success with monetisation models beyond just advertising, which US-based competitors have struggled with to-date.’

An interesting, but intense, interface to play with as we come out of lockdown –  Human Online. ‘Experience presence and heartfelt connection. Connect with people from all places and backgrounds. Slow down and share a moment in silence.’

Nice piece from NoTosh. There is good to be found.In a client meeting this week, a principal referred to the current situation as “Beautiful COVID.” The reference was intended to be tongue-in-cheek but it got us thinking… might COVID have presented us with new opportunities to celebrate what is good?’ Particularly like the rise of caremongering vs. scaremongering.

In this short film, WWF India shows how animals won the lockdown but also urges co-existence with nature, once it lifts.

An older piece from autodidactic Eliezer Yudkowsky, but really relevant today. Expecting Short Inferential Distances – the expectation and  impediments that can often exist when experts seek to explain themselves. ‘Oh, and you’d better not drop any hints that you think you’re working a dozen inferential steps away from what the audience knows, or that you think you have special background knowledge not available to them. The audience doesn’t know anything about an evolutionary-psychological argument for a cognitive bias to underestimate inferential distances leading to traffic jams in communication. They’ll just think you’re condescending.’

The Ha Ha Scroll. The rise of the anti-anxiety Instagram cartoon.

Durex looks for lasting change in new campaign. ‘While the world searches for normality amid the pandemic, the contraception brand is beckoning people to leave some outdated norms in the past.’

Some nice pieces on Vimeo this week – 1) A Red Bull Film : ‘With little change to the landscape of Alaska since her first trip 10 years ago, big mountain skier Michelle Parker returns to test her skillset in the mountains’  2) ‘Nenad Bach is a world-class musician that decided to stop performing publicly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010. In the wake of his diagnosis he discovered that playing ping pong helped to alleviate his symptoms. Now he’s attempting to help millions of others do the same‘ 3) Some very cool and clever camera work here – Always (Director’s Cut; Waze & Odyssey, George Michael, Mary J. Blige & Tommy Theo)

From Nerdwriter. ‘After more than 40 films playing supporting roles, this is how Humphrey Bogart became a legend.

Yesterday, was World MS Day. For personal reasons, I consider multiple sclerosis to be a particularly valuable and worthy charity. If you would like, you can donate here.

Stories From This Week

24th May 2020

An alternative perspective on (the ending of) confinement, from The Economist –  ‘Yet, in myriad ways, confinement will continue as it always does. Alarms ring at the start of the day, and watches are strapped on, to submit to the limits of time. Bodies are roped with belts and ties, forced into unkind shoes and crammed into the narrow bounds of buses and tubes. Children, brushed and tidied, are packed off to school. And this, of course, is the daily round that many have been pining for.‘ (reg may be necessary).

At the end of Mental Health Awareness week, which also included World Meditation Day, a few related pieces 1) Described as “next generation meditation that unfolds like a beautiful dream”, GABA is a unique mashup of soundscapes, storytelling, and meditation; 2) How visual communication can help with mental health; and 3) love this proposition from Mary Portas : Welcome to The Kindness Economy.

‘Whiteboarding the New Rules.’ Writing a new workplace culture when there’s no workplace. ‘Hard to leave with any doubt that things aren’t going to be the same again. This is obviously consequential. When Glassdoor ask the elements of a job that most appeal to candidates workplace culture comes top, higher than leadership, pay, career development and work-life balance….and related – ‘The Office Is Dead. Get ready for the commercial real estate apocalypse.’

Is there a new ranking or value system for holding companies and public figures accountable? Did They Help?, an independent watchdog website that keeps a running record of brands’ good and bad deeds, seeks to provide this.

Really like this perspective. Are video calls good for equality?

From NoTosh. ‘The learning that students around the world are doing now is not optimal and, ordinarily, we wouldn’t choose it – notwithstanding its unintended benefits – so why are we calling the learning “remote” or “online” rather than “crisis”?’

‘As advertisers continue to eschew outdoor campaigns during quarantine time, a new global outdoor initiative from the U.K.’s Grand Visual and Talon Outdoor, is utilising unused billboard space across the world for a user-generated campaign. #sendinglove.

‘The time to beat is now less than 26 hours. A sub 28-hour Cannonball Run was once unthinkable.’ America’s most illegal record has been obliterated.

If we are going to be eating out, then we are going to be eating  differently. Here are some new dining formats for the (near) future.

‘Rain on rooftops, crunching gravel: the strange appeal of ‘Slow Audio’. First there was slow TV – now radio and podcasts are getting in on the act with ambient recordings of forest walks and bird calls.’

When we need to be at home or perhaps, now, travelling less extensively; this fabulous Outside Stimulator, is a godsend. Crowded or remote, the choice is yours.

The New Influencers, are heroes of the front line.

Love this piece from the BBC (HT @neilperkin) Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them. So true.

Vimeo Pick of The Week – Quarantine – A tale of confinement (3’33”) ‘Puberty is a peculiar time, characterised by enormous changes, insecurities and questionable choices. Now imagine if you add a global virus to the mix.’

From Marketoonist. Communicating in a crisis (Hey, where’s your face mask?)

We Are Social finds new meaning for Home in IKEA’s anti-homophobia drive. ‘For those who do not always feel welcome.

Stories From This Week

16th May 2020

From WARC. ‘Increased local consumption of goods and services, an expansion of e-commerce to include a new wave of digital shoppers, as well as a new era of value-consciousness, are three major consumer trends that are likely to continue as the world emerges from lockdown, a new global study has revealed. ‘Localism’ is forecast to be a major post-pandemic trend.’

From The Royal SocietyDELVE group publishes evidence paper on the use of face masks in tackling Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

@neilperkin’s Post Of The Month competition is a fine, long-standing initiative that has highlighted some interesting writing across the last 12 years. In the most recent contest, my piece Mindfuness in the time of the virus, narrowly lost out to the lovely, A letter to my daughterby Patricia McDonald. I did manage to top the poll back in Jan 2015, with my post  – ‘How We Read Today’. To date, the most well received article I have written.

Detailed and accessible data, from Information is Beautiful. The coronavirus data-pack updated and interactive.

How vaccines eradicated common diseases. From Statista.

Tim Harford on Why we fail to prepare for disasters. ‘This, then, is why you and I did not see this coming: we couldn’t grasp the scale of the threat; we took complacent cues from each other, rather than digesting the logic of the reports from China and Italy; we retained a sunny optimism that no matter how bad things got, we personally would escape harm; we could not grasp what an exponentially growing epidemic really means; and our wishful thinking pushed us to look for reasons to ignore the danger.’

Sharp and sobering piece from the smart people at NESTA. Four coronavirus futures – Where might we be headed and to what kind of new normality? Including –  ‘the return to normal’; ‘permanent emergency’; ‘the post coronavirus settlement’ and ‘the big brothers’…

Another nice Lockdown Learning session from Contagious this week. The subject was Digital Reboot, and you can see the session here. I especially loved the Black & Abroad case study, that rehashed the derogatory ‘Go Back to Africa’ phrase to instead encourage black clients to travel more, especially to the African continent, in an award-winning campaign.

Staying in after the lockdown? Here is the % of UK respondents likely to avoid the following locations for a while, even after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

From Eat,Sleep,Work,Repeat. Office culture is crumbling before our eyes. ‘Cities are markets for talent, we’re about to dismantle them’.

Rising retail categories from Think with Google. Top trends include – sneeze guards, party streamers, insect repellents, cocktail sets and picnic baskets.

LifeLock’s marketing stunt went terribly, laughably wrong. This is what not to do in marketing.

From WARC – A playbook for strategy in a recession. ‘There are lessons that can be learned from past recessions, but the one the world is now entering is likely to look rather different.’

Up for re-election this November, AOC is making house calls in ‘Animal Crossing...and in the same zone, Animal Crossing is home to 2020’s hottest late-night talk show.

From The New Yorker – The first great original play of quarantine. Richard Nelson’s “What Do We Need to Talk About?” takes place on Zoom, which, for once, isn’t an irritating technical compromise but an integral plot point.

Curious silence from media agencies on last week’s ISBA study on the supply chain of the UK’s online advertising market. The study reported that half a brand’s adspend never reaches the publisher; researchers were also unable to trace 15% of the money spent by advertisers, an area the report called the “unknown delta”. AdContrarian is predictably scathing on the subject – Our Invincible Ignorance.

The First US Space Force recruitment video asks you to “plan for what’s possible while it’s still impossible.” – ‘maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet.’..and in (somewhat) related news, Tom Cruise will work with NASA on the first movie filmed in space. 

Online game ‘Distance Disco’ brings people together during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Find the person dancing to your song.’

From Pitchfork. How you throw a music festival on Minecraft.

‘Did somebody say Just Eat?’ : re-done Snoop Doggy style. Nice mix of graphics and filming style plus 3D elements, involving a number of creative teams working remotely.

Stories From This Week

8th May 2020

Martin Sorrell on the shape of the Covid-19 recession. He predicts ‘a “reverse square root”. So that’s a sharp downturn, then a rapid partial rebound before a plateau at a lower level than previously. But the picture varies by sector – while entertainment and leisure is hard hit, cash-rich tech companies are taking the opportunity to invest in brand. FMCG companies are holding up better than many, and moving money online, while healthcare is (unsurprisingly) relatively unaffected.’..and in the same space, here is my piece published yesterday – The (Animal) Spirit of Recovery.

Contagious are doing some good free Lockdown Learning sessions at themoment. Here is the video from the session this week (key elements in first 30 minutes) ‘Culture Framework for Brands’. Areas addressed included Behaviours, Values and Interests.

A couple of great case studies from New York Public Library, the second of which features in the presentation above – 1) Missing sounds of New York: an auditory love letter to New Yorkers and 2)  How the NYPL brought classic novels to Instagram. 

From The Monday Note – Tech will return to work, but habits will be changed forever. “It will basically be like when you come to the office on a weekend or late at night: boring, sinister. Plus you will have to wear a mask most of the time. You will order your meal that will be delivered right to your desk. Also, why risk the hazard of being contaminated in public transportation or getting drawn into traffic with more people taking their car, to face such a dehumanized workplace?

From Think With Google. Marketing measurement during a pandemic. 

Wunderman Thompson’s Intelligence Brief for May. Including : TheBusiness of Health, Purified Design, Alcohol Revival, Virtual Gatherings and Renewed Faith. On the subject of faith, this Thursday saw thecelebration of Vesak (Buddha) Day. As with other religions, Buddhism has been benefitting from increased interest during the current crisis, as highlighted here – Buddhists turn to Internet for e-Vesak Day during pandemic.

Culture Trip advises on the oldest newspapers in the world. The title goes to……Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien (1605).

Nice, visual piece from Creative Review on Exploring the enduring influence of heraldry in design.

Lovely. Using TikTok to make ambient music. As mentioned on thepiece, resonant of Brian Eno’s – Music For Airports. 

This is quite the unusual Ad for a bicycle brand. The new YT IZZO trail bike launched on 17th April with a short (and pretty bloody) anime inspired film. 

Florian Schneider, one of the architects of Kraftwerk has sadly passed away. For a reminder, or just a refresher, of their music; here from TheGuardian are their 30 best songs ranked. Interestingly, The Model is only in at number 17.

The wonderful Esther’s Follies show, from Austin, Texas brings us Quarantine Pie (after Don McLean). HT to Tommy Woods.

‘Conference’ a short video on Vimeo is a comedy short inspired by Covid -19 and boredom and here, highly amusing -‘The Office’ Meets Zoom, in this comedy about coronavirus-era video-conferencing’.

Spot the robot is reminding parkgoers in Singapore to keep their distance from one another. 

Stories From This Week

26th April 2020

Wonderful. From The Guardian. ‘In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and in partnership with Shakespeare’s Globe we invited the general public to join leading actors in performing three of Shakespeare’s iconic speeches from their place of quarantine: As You Like It, Hamlet and The Tempest.’ More than 500 people from around the world contributed. The Globe (along with many theatres) is in a dire position, as a result of the current crisis. If you would like, you can donate here to help secure its future.

Worth a look – the Covid-19 Ecommerce Impact Report. A week-over-week analysis of the crisis. Information displayed on an interactive, scrolling infographic. 

By Bill Gates – ‘The First Modern Pandemic’. Full length version hereand condensed opinion piece in the Washington Post, here. ‘ World War II was the defining moment of my parents’ generation. Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic—the first in a century—will define this era. But there is one big difference between a world war and a pandemic: All of humanity can work together to learn about the disease and develop the capacity to fight it.’

Wunderman Thompson’s Intelligence briefing for April is chock full on interesting stuff. Reports include – ‘the new language of advertising’, ‘social media metamorphosis’, ‘Gen Z: Coming of age in a pandemic’ and ‘Digital Lives’. This very ‘on-brand’ initiative from Airbnb is from the latter – ‘Virtual tourists can ‘travel’ via Zoom to meditate with Buddhist monks in Japan, visit with the dogs of Chernobyl and cook with a Moroccan family in Marrakech.’ (“Human connection is at the core of what we do” – Head of Airbnb Experiences).

Like this initiative from (friend of The Filter) Hills Balfour and the World Travel and Tourism Council.’#TogetherInTravel. Let’s show our love for the industry and keep wanderlust alive.’

Futurist Gerd Leonhard is coming into his own at the moment. Here he has ’12 bullets, essential Post-Corona foresights’. ‘It brings out the best and worst in us.’

From the Future of Storytelling (FOST). ‘Are we living in a Margaret Atwood novel? Atwood is famous for her gripping works of dystopian fiction, and on the new episode of the Future of StoryTelling podcast, she discusses her inspiration for creating such fictional worlds and how we can all benefit from engaging with them.’

From Techcrunch. Forget the calendar invite. Just jump into a conversation. That’s the idea powering a fresh batch of social startups, led by Clubhouse, poised to take advantage of our cleared schedules amidst quarantine. But they could also change the way we work and socialise long after COVID-19 by bringing the free-flowing, ad-hoc communication of parties and open office plans online.’

Supernatural is an immersive, virtual reality fitness experience that combines music, coaches, destinations and movements into a home workout. ‘Exercise in the most beautiful places on earth, without leaving your home.

Time for this year’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2020). Now over 8,000 solutions. Worth looking back at the first one in 2011, when there were 650.

Lovely piece on the great David Gentleman,  from Creative Review, as he publishes a new book on London, to coincide with his 90th birthday. He speaks about his lengthy career and the stories behind his work, including his Penguin book covers and platform-length Underground mural.

Good news for cyclists (and pollution). Milan announces ambitious scheme to reduce car use after lockdown

The Secret of Scooby-Doo’s Enduring Appeal. ‘So we watch—and our kids watch, and eventually their kids will watch—four so-called teenagers and their Great Dane roam the countryside, pulling the mask off some fraudulent phantom or counterfeit creeper. They’ll be headed for your local multiplex soon enough. And fear not: They won’t ever really leave…’

Sharing my recent, personal post that I hope may prove interesting and helpful. Mindfulness in the time of the virus.

Finally, I’ve not shared much from Maria Popova’s wonderful  Brainpickings for a while. This poem from Marie Howe is a wonderful discovery. ‘The poem (Singularity, after Stephen Hawking) is… a stunning meditation on the interconnectedness of belonging across space and time, across selves and species, across the myriad artificial unbelongings we have manufactured as we have drifted further and further from our elemental nature. Its closing line is an invocation, an incantation, ending with a timeless word of staggering resonance today: Home.