Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

26th January 2018

What makes a good TED Talk? This perspective from Helen Walters, TED’s Head of Curation – ‘The most important quality of a TED talk is that speakers come to the stage prepared to discuss a single idea worth sharing – not a body of work, not a few different ideas, definitely not some kind of self-serving shill. It’s one idea the audience can walk away with.’ And just in case you haven’t see it, here is my TED talk, from a couple of years back- How Street Wisdom Changed My Life.

From a review of Hit Makers, on thinkgrowth.org. ‘A book about what makes certain things “go viral”— a song, a painting, a story — may not seem, at first pass, to be a book about diversity. And yet it can’t avoid it. The science of what humans like, after all, is also a science of what we do not like. This is what the science of popularity reveals about the challenges of diversity.’

We now see smartphones as dangerous for young minds. Can Apple do something about it? This from The Monday Note – ‘There’s another, more important reason for Apple to take on tech addiction: because it would probably do an elegant job of addressing the problem.’‘I do think this is their time to step up,’ says Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google who now runs Time Well Spent, an organisation working to improve technology’s impact on society. ‘In fact,’ Mr. Harris added, ‘they may be our only hope.’

Nice piece from friend of The Filter – Brand Learning, on why brands should always tell the truth. ‘We believe that purpose should act as a guiding direction for a brand’s customer experience and also their employee experience. By using purpose as a guiding light for the entire end-to-end customer experience, a brand can achieve consistency which will stand up to scrutiny, an inevitability in our connected world.’

Interesting to see that this is having an impact. ‘With its emphasis on transparency, the jobs site Glassdoor aims to upend corporate power dynamics. Improving workplace culture, one review at a time.’

A compelling and powerful plea for pithiness. From BBH Labs – ‘Forget ‘Manifestos’, brand ads should be as short as possible.’ ‘I’ve got a few problems with brand ‘manifesto’ ads. With a couple of notable exceptions, they are just strategy set to a mood film. They over explain something that didn’t need explaining. They veer into topics unrelated to the product. They try too hard to be liked. Most off all, I hate that they are all long.’

Millennials are on their way out. By my reckoning, the first cohorts of Generation Z are 14, which means they are soon going to be the ones we will talk endlessly about. Probably a good idea to understand what makes them tick, and this report from Global Web Index, should help.

Sonic Logos have had a considerable impact across TV and Radio advertising, witness the Intel and McDonalds examples, both of which are instantly recognisable. With the rise of voice tech, this tactic will be going to another level entirely. ‘If music creates emotion, we see that brand favourability increases and brand consideration increases – metrics that really apply directly to ROI. When it comes to experiences, brands are realising that emotional connection is more important than ever.’

The BBC’s rather edgy new trailer for the upcoming Winter Olympics. ‘The Fearless Are Here’.

This is a properly wonderful new short film from directing duo ‘Us’ – ‘Cautionary Tales’. Make sure you watch the credits.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

20th January 2018

Really refreshing piece from the New York Times, via Storythings: Beyond The Bitcoin Bubble. ‘Despite there being a million articles written about Bitcoin every week, we still don’t totally get it. And then this came along and all of a sudden the fog lifted a little. If, like me, you kinda get it but don’t totally get it, then you really should bookmark this essay and give it a read when you have the time. It’s without doubt the best thing I’ve read on the subject.’

From Wired. ‘That mantra of connecting the world was thrown into sharp relief last week when the social network announced the most significant change to the algorithm that powers its News Feed to date. Zuckerberg wrote that the change was to stop posts from businesses, brands and media from “crowding out the personal moments”. The subtext to all this? News. Facebook never wanted to be a news organisation and is now attempting to make a hasty but calculated retreat. But could it all really be about China? 

Not great for the Ad Industry, this research from Kantar Millward Brown, suggests that we are really ‘down’ on advertising. ‘Three quarters of UK consumers believe they see more ads now than they did three years ago. Worsening this scenario, two thirds think ads are generally more intrusive than they used to be, an inevitable issue when brands experiment with big data and tracking.

Again from @Wired. ‘For most of modern history, the easiest way to block the spread of an idea was to keep it from being mechanically disseminated. Shutter the news­paper, pressure the broad­cast chief, install an official censor at the publishing house. Or, if push came to shove, hold a loaded gun to the announcer’s head. Things have changed – is this the (democracy-poisoning) golden age of free speech?

“I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes,” A drone has rescued two people from rough seas off the coast of Australia.

By CNET and from C.E.S  – ‘Wall-sized TVs. Connected everything. Smart mirrors. Autonomous electric vehicles. The world’s thinnest laptop. This is everything that mattered at CES 2018.’

Nice observation on the state of the digital advertising market. ‘Ironically, it is the programmatic media buyers – those doyens of algorithms and efficiency – who have a math problem. They have been calculating the costs of cheap media without all of the figures. The real calculus of programmatic media buying not only must include presumed fraud, irrelevant targets and brand reputation. It must also add to the equation the growing tech tax when literally hundreds of billions of micropenny transactions ring up in the massive, virtual cash register that is the entire ad tech ecosystem. This is the high cost of low CPM’s.’

From Newsweek. Nice touch from @TourismZambia referencing Trump’s comments about “****hole” nations. Their Facebook page declares  ‘Visit ****hole Zambia . Where the only stars and stripes you’ll have to see are in the sky and on a zebra’.

This has been out a few weeks, but I love this HSBC Ad. It really speaks for (some of) the United Kingdom and the current socio-political zeitgeist. ‘At HSBC UK, we believe that no man, or woman, is an island. The people, communities and businesses of the UK all thrive more when they’re connected to something bigger. Very Well Said. #globalcitizen

And finally, Amazon has kindly released an Echo for the older generation. This infomercial brought to us by Saturday Night Live…

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

13th January 2018

‘There is a famous story about the great 19th-century statesman Gladstone on the campaign trail. During one of his trademark three-hour speeches, a little girl posed a question to her mother. “Mummy,” she supposedly asked, “what is that man for?” Since Twitter appeared in July 2006, people have asked the same question about it. Now we know the answer. This is how Trump helped Twitter find its true purpose.

Great chart from @BenedictEvans who tweeted this graphic showing how technology is connecting all of humanity. With reference to this graphic, a nice observation from @neilperkin – ‘whilst mobile will still grow, we seem to be approaching the top of the S-curve, indicating that the next period will be about shifting to the next technology S-curve (take your pick from AI/ML, voice assistants, AR).’

A summary of the recent CMO Insight Summit in Frankfurt from (friend of the Filter) @BrilliantNoise. The key themes are Content, Collaboration and Commerce.

How Amazon is aiming to use Alexa, to energise its digital advertising business. ‘Some of the early discussions have centred on whether companies would pay for higher placement if a user searches for a product, such as shampoo, on the device, similar to how paid searches work in Google.’

From @Adweek. What 3 Marijuana heavyweights are doing to become the P&G of Pot.

From The Daily Beast – ‘Facebook and Google’s Dirty Secret’ : They’re Really Junk Mail Empires. ‘While industry insiders and major media companies have started to see through the shiny “we’re-a-free-service” veneer of these tech giants, consumer awareness and regulatory threats are just beginning to catch up. This means that Google and Facebook may no longer be able to default to requiring consumers to allow web-wide monitoring and selling of their personal activities, as a condition of using…their social networks.’

Marketing Week, sees brands shifting from efficiency to effectiveness. ‘As brands dedicate more resource to marketing effectiveness they are looking to shift strategy, to instil a learning culture rather than wield a stick’.

Too much TV to watch? Struggling to find something you will like amongst all the options and recommendations? The solution to the problem,  unsurprisingly, is Artificial Intelligence.’AI can help consumers find more content to fit their taste. AI can assist in content curation by organising content by themes. It can also use consumer insights to classify and target consumer segments to test recommendations.

Interesting video piece from Nike China. It shows how Nike are attempting to appeal to this massive, developing market and, as this region is still a nascent opportunity for Nike, they are using a very direct exposition of their brand positioning; an approach last used in the Occident, many years ago.

Love this piece from The Economist on how technology ruins storytelling. Have you ever noticed how connected devices are curiously missing from otherwise contemporary stories? This could be why – ‘Film remakes that should stay on the storyboard; when modernity mucks things up.’


Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

22nd Dec 2017

From @wired. ‘The Internet Is Broken’. ‘So: what if we could start again? Would we really recreate the internet of today – or could we build something… better? Perhaps what we need is a coalition of technologists, scientists and politicians to redefine the internet’s ideals. Every founding document needs amendments. This will be a fractious partnership. What is the internet, really? A network blind to itself and exponentially growing in complexity. It may be too quick to grasp; a giant squid slipping through our fingers.’

Not the most ‘sexy’ of channels, but this research from Smart Insightsidentifies email as the most effective digital media channel; followed by Social, SEO and Social PPC.

Creative Review’s Ads Of The Year. Some of the brands featured include – IKEA, Heinz, Burger King, Nike, Santander and Gucci.

It’s Christmas and therefore time for the deluge of trend reports. This summary from Forbes, removes some of the legwork by ranking some of the contenders. According to this ranking, the best report is from the Foresight Factory and the worst is from JWT.

NESTA does not appear on the above list, but their predictions are always worth a look. Areas included are – the green internet, drones, smart machines, emotional surveillance and robot art. And, as they are always up for open discussion and scrutiny, here are their predictions for 2017 and how they are coming along.

Interesting piece on how similar language is used within organisations and how use of specific words, can be part of the process to create a desired company culture. 

This short video is spellbinding, with a chilling twist at the end. ‘An animator who fled Iran has made this two-and-a-half minute film for a refugee charity that helped him start forging a life in the UK.

This piece is from a while back, but love the proposition, and the delightful accompanying video of two men, who set out to walk every street in the five boroughs of New York City.

Perhaps one to consider over the holidays… ‘We are on the verge of total work’s realisation. Each day I speak with people for whom work has come to control their lives, making their world into a task, their thoughts an unspoken burden… If work dominated your every moment would life be worth living?’

This may be a tad sentimental for some, but other are calling this the best ad of this Christmas. From the BBC, a story that ‘illustrates the joy of a shared moment’ – The Supporting Act.

With the last newsletter of 2017, I’d like to thank all our subscribers for reading across the year. Wishing you all a wonderful festive break and the best for the New Year. See you again in 2018!

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

16th December 2017

What are you doing wasting your time on segmentation, targeting and positioning when 2018 is about AI, millennials and Blockchain? Here are seven marketing bandwagons you need to jump on before it’s too late.’ From Mark Ritson: Buckle up for marketing’s ‘Big Seven’ in 2018. (registration for Marketing Week necessary)

Share your secrets with strangers in ‘Where Thoughts Go’, a new, highly unusual social VR storyworld. ‘Maybe the best way to describe what it is, is to describe what it does: it allows us to engage with each other in an entirely new way via immersive technologies. Users enter into alien worlds full of floating orbs. These aren’t just props or non-player characters (NPCs)—each orb houses the missive of a real-life user who went through the experience before you.

‘Are we wholly responsible for our actions? We don’t choose our brains, our genetic inheritance, our circumstances, our milieu – so how much control do we really have over our lives?’ This from the RSA – Philosopher Raoul Martinez argues that no one is truly blameworthy.

At this point, you may be wondering if you liked any Russian propaganda on Facebook. By the end of the year, you’ll be able to find out. 

Friend of the Filter, streetwisdom.org is a global enterprise that runs mindful walking workshops.Over one weekend in September they asked their community to join them on a #worldwide wander. This was the result….

Designed by Airbnb and News Deeply, Another Lens is a research tool for conscientious creatives, posing a set of questions to help you balance your bias, consider the opposite, and embrace a growth mindset.

From @warped. ‘For the good of society..delete your map app. It’s turning every street into a congested highway. ‘Pull up a simple Google search for “neighbourhood” and “Waze,” and you’re bombarded with local news stories about once-calm side streets, now the host of rush-hour jams and late-night speed demons. It’s not only annoying as hell, it’s a scenario ripe for accidents’.

The McLaren F1 team needed a simulator driver to test vehicles before building them in real life. So it hired the world’s fastest gamer.

‘Hyrrs not Hymns’: Feminist Christmas songs that stick it to the patriarchy. ‘Grey London has released an album of classic Christmas hymns that have been wittily reworked to contain a feminist message, with all monies raised going to Refuge. They’ll have you laughing all the way to a feminist future.’

Anomaly has released a Christmas animation ‘Dear Satan’. This thoroughly entertaining short film, which is voiced by Patrick Stewart, sees a little girl called Hope unintentionally unleash Satan when she puts a typo in her Christmas letter.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

10th December 2017

Really interesting piece from @faris, on how the simplistic approach of storytelling can be dangerous. ‘We love stories. Stories compete for attention and dominance in culture.They give meaning to action and to our lives. They are highly simplified models of cause and effect, of culture, that create naive binaries, lines in the world, between in-group and out-group. They require conflict and sides. Good and evil.They are half of humanity, and glorious, when balanced with the sober rationality that let’s science flourish. But when stories subsume observation, when science is ignored, and the narrative feed the needs of the greedy, stories alone will lead us to war, which, famously, is hell.

Some great stuff on this Medium strand – ‘Words That Matter 2017‘ : John McCain on ‘Driving Back Chaos’ and Hillary Clinton on ‘Radical Empathy’.

Campaign’s Top 10 Live Experiences of 2017. Nike’s ‘Strike Night’, Marie Curie’s ‘Garden of Light’ and Ikea’s ‘House Party’, made the list of top live experiences this year.

Looking for a review of the year that actually makes sense? This, from Spotify and Wrapped, lets you relive all the music you experienced in 2017. ‘Because, in a year that many wanted to tune out, music gave us a reason to keep listening’.

Page Not Found. A brief history of the 404 Error. 

It’s the announcement we’ve all been waiting for, Pantone has picked its colour of the year; a shade of blue-based purple which represents the ‘mysteries of the cosmos’. “We’re living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination,” and hence the “complex and contemplative” Ultra Violet has been chosen to be Pantone’s upcoming colour of the Year for 2018.

From Mental Floss, 5 Incredibly Detailed Maps That Explore the Plotlines of Great Movies. Test your knowledge here.

Often wondered why headlines on the web capitalise letters (as above) at the start of every word? This does not appear to be drawn from newspaper headlines where all words are usually in CAPS, but could be to do with making the text easier to read. To distinguish between lower case and upper case, one observer says this should be called Title Case. In any event I like this cartoon making fun of the whole situation. Star Trek Into/into Darkness.

People are doing stunts with Thomas the Tank Engine, and it’s some peoples favourite new extreme sport. Fasten your seatbelt….

Amazing stunt from Red Bull as two BASE jumpers, fly into a plane over the Alps. Mind your head. 

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

2nd Dec 2017

Lots of stuff this week regarding (the end of) net neutrality. Best summed up by the New York Times – ‘Because net neutrality shelters start-ups — which can’t easily pay for fast-line access — from internet giants that can pay, the rules are just about the last bulwark against the complete corporate takeover of much of online life. When the rules go, the internet will still work, but it will look like and feel like something else altogether.’

From Creative Review, the top 20 Ad slogans of all time. Including ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’, ‘Just Do It’, ‘Think Different’, and ‘It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin.’

‘What do you see when you imagine a country? Maybe India fills your mind with colour. France overwhelms you with the aroma of baked bread. Beaches and wide deserts populate your picture of Australia. What do you think of, when someone mentions Finland?’ Finland’s answer was to turn its diverse gene pool into heavy metal music for Its 100th Birthday. Talk About Extreme.

From AeonMetaphysics of metamorphosis. The swarming, ever-changing character of the living world challenges our deepest assumptions about the nature of reality. ‘Rather than a dysfunction that requires a specific explanation, perhaps cancer is actually the expected state – and what we need to understand is how self-regulation explains our remarkable tendency not to suffer from cancer.’

Agencies are scrambling to meet client demands for Amazon specific solutions. ‘Many marketers now view Amazon as a legitimate competitor to Facebook and Google….what it brings to the table is an extensive data set that you can’t get anywhere else,’

At this year’s Wired Live, I was very impressed by the presentation from the founder of OfO, a dockless bike sharing operation ; but this piece from The Guardian, tells a rather different story – the ‘Chinese bike share graveyard is a monument to the industry’s ‘arrogance’.

Interesting infographic from Adweek: ‘Here’s How Much Consumers Will Use Voice Technology in the Near Future‘..and an associated piece from WARC on how machines and not humans will be the target audiences of the future – ‘How to convince (and seduce) artificial intelligence.’

Russian election influence, the ever-widening sexual harassment scandal, mass shootings and the opioid epidemic helped identify the word “complicit” as the Dictionary.com word of the year for 2017.

Visit San Antonio (good friend of The Filter) has appeared in National Geographic’s, list of ‘Places You Need To Visit in 2018.’ Founded in 1718, San Antonio is celebrating its tricentennial and its five Missions comprise Texas’ first World Heritage site.

This piece from The Economist, asserts that the real issue around the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) is actually a confusion around how punctuation impacts on meaning.

And finally, this new video from Red Bull is worth a watch. Especially like the way #mtb freestyle rider Matt Jones, ‘catches up’ with himself, as he rides the course.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

26th Novenber 2017

A little known fact, is that women pioneered computer programming. Then men took their industry over. How “computer girls” gave way to tech bros.’

Best of 2017 / Trends for 2018: Adobe UX design predictions for 2018, The 25 best inventions of 2017, Gartner top 10 strategic technology trends for 2018 and last but not least The Pudding Awards for best data visualisations of 2017.

‘Learning is the process of using our innate abilities to construct—or create—new understandings of the world. Learning isn’t about the consumption of new information. Learning is the process of using our innate abilities to construct—or create—new understandings of the world. Learning, by its very nature, is a creative act.’ The uncomfortable secret to creative success is ‘disequilibrium’.

New films like “Kubo and the Two Strings” are pushing the boundaries of stop motion using new 3D printing techniques to create millions of unique designs. This is how 3D Printing Is Revolutionising Stop Motion Animation.

‘How big can the largest tech companies get? How completely can they come to dominate the economy? The “big five” — Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon — now have a combined valuation of over $3.3 trillion, and make up more than 40 percent of the value of the Nasdaq 100 index. But...If Amazon puts retailers out of business, who will advertise on Google and Facebook?

This week, artist Ryan McGinley released 15 never-before-published photographs from throughout his career in an online exhibition curated by New York Times photo editor Kathy Ryan. The project, which also features a Q&A between artist and curator, appears on an unlikely web platform: WeTransfer.

This browser extension turns your angry Facebook emoji into real social action.

Some interesting perspectives on viewing habits, now that we are all watching ‘TV’ outside the home. New survey data from Netflix reveals 67% of people will risk embarrassment, awkwardness and spoilers to watch their favourite shows and movies in public. ‘When bingeing goes public, private behaviours are exposed and social norms are shelved.

Really nice interactive visualisation examining the DMZ (demilitarised zone) – the thin ribbon of land separating North and South Korea and the geography and history that lies behind it. 

We’ve all been that kid sitting in the back seat of our family car, wishing we were somewhere else. Through the boredom, the driveway snow piles, sidewalk handrails and stair sets, start to tease our inner skier. Watch day dreams come to life.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

10th November 2017

‘Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one, industrialisation. We will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed.’ Stephen Hawking on how AI can make the world a better place, if we are prepared. 

‘Someone or something, or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level.’ This is really worth a read, especially if you are a parent with younger children. Something is wrong on the internet.

Great ‘old meets new’ article from Aeon.  ‘This piece is on “prodigies” and the preternatural — long-held ideas that something existed between nature and God, which many people used to try to make sense of natural disasters and other seemingly-random tragedies. A perspective on contextualizing modern ideas within their historical antecedents.

Love this from canscorpianssmoke.com , pertaining to the tragic decline in ‘practices’ and the inexorable rise of ‘tools.’ ‘Tools are very appealing to human beings as they allow us to do things that our bodies alone cannot do. Over thousands of years our species has achieved great things (and some abhorrent things) through the use of a variety of human-made implements.  However, in modern times it seems that our perception has become rather distorted and we have become somewhat addicted to tools.  A symptom of this..is the discounting of experiences that are potentially rich in learning because we feel we haven’t discovered a shiny new implement….in my experience we only begin to change when we develop and commit to ongoing personal practices.’

From Arstechnica. ‘A researcher has documented almost 2,500 sites that are actively running cryptocurrency mining code in the browsers of unsuspecting visitors, a finding that suggests the unethical and possibly illegal practice has only picked up steam since it came to light a few weeks ago. This Cryptojacking craze that drains your CPU, is now done by 2,500 sites.

The decline of Snap continues. Its problems include, expenses, user growth, average revenue per user, and of course Instagram.

How the KKK shaped modern comic book superheroes. ‘Masked crime fighters differ from the Ku Klux Klan only in that they are usually afforded socially acceptable status on a large scale. As masked men who take the law into their own hands the superhero comes dangerously close to some of the great evils in American history.’

Uh oh, looks like Rosé Wine is over…. ‘This is how capitalism works: Consumers enjoy something, brands notice demand and turn the product into a lifestyle, and consumers dutifully recoil. But instead of being angry at the free market, the ire toward #rosé is directed at the population widely believed to be responsible for its downfall: women. It’s “lady petrol,” according to Jeremy Clarkson. It’s “exhausting,” according to Eater. It’s unsophisticated. It’s over. From Taste – ‘Women are not ruining food’.

From @wired_uk. Why uploading all your nudes to Facebook, isn’t such  a bad idea.

A guy makes a commercial for his girlfriend’s $499 used ’96 Honda – 141,095 miles on the clock.