Five things on Saturday (FToF #214)

Things of note for the week ending [whatever date this goes out this week].

Things of note for the week ending Satuday Feb 18th, 2017.


As someone who may or may not be questioning his own ability to remember things as well as having to help a loved one say farewell to those he has lost of late, these reflections on loss make for compelling reading.

When we lose something, our first reaction, naturally enough, is to want to know where it is. But behind that question about location lurks a question about causality: What happened to it? What agent or force made it disappear? Such questions matter because they can help direct our search. You will act differently if you think you left your coat in a taxi or believe you boxed it up and put it in the basement. Just as important, the answers can provide us with that much coveted condition known as closure. It is good to get your keys back, better still to understand how they wound up in your neighbor’s recycling bin.

But then, it evolves.

The verb “to lose” has its taproot sunk in sorrow; it is related to the “lorn” in forlorn. It comes from an Old English word meaning to perish, which comes from a still more ancient word meaning to separate or cut apart. The modern sense of misplacing an object appeared later, in the thirteenth century; a hundred years after that, “to lose” acquired the meaning of failing to win. In the sixteenth century, we began to lose our minds; in the seventeenth century, our hearts. The circle of what we can lose, in other words, began with our own lives and one another and has been steadily expanding ever since. In consequence, loss today is a supremely awkward category, bulging with everything from mittens to life savings to loved ones, forcing into relationship all kinds of wildly dissimilar experiences.

Your recommended long read of the week.

(and it features Patti Smith too)






I’m noodling on this one a fair bit at the moment. What with the ever-changing landscape of video being hurriedly forced upon us (see slide 52, here), how is any one way to market supposed to be correct?

Well, fortunately for us, Twitter and Omnicom Media Group have published some research that can at least act as a guide for content marketers.

The full report is available from Twitter and Campaign has a decent write up. The key takeouts from the latter are as follows (my comments in bold):

Tips for better in-feed videos

  • The first three seconds do not need audio to capture attention (this has been true for a while – read this as ‘subtitles/interstitials/title cards matter).
  • In-feed videos viewed in the morning are more likely to elicit a feeling of personal relevance and generate detail-orientated encoding (this is especially useful if your brand/client publishes tips  or ‘how to’ videos).
  • Videos with an early story arc are 58% more likely to be viewed (this is really interesting, especially when you put it against Facebook’s own data that 65% of 3 second views go on to watch 10secs and  45% of 10sec views go onto watch 30 – in short: grab attention and do it quickly)
  • Topical content is 32% more likely to be viewed and leads to an 11% higher completion rate (obvious).
  • The presence of people in the first three seconds is 133% more emotionally intense (traditional marketers have known about people power for decades – the channels might change, the strategy rarely ever).
  • Text (or subtitles) stimulates left-brain memory response. Videos with text are 11% more likely to be viewed and have a 28% higher completion rate (Twitter and Facebook both [currently] play video silently – not using subtitles in 2017 is like not putting paid behind your content: why bother publishing it in the first place?)
  • Dialogue is more effective than music at driving relevance, emotion and memory (this is the people thing again – see also: Cialdini).

If you’ve been following literally any of the stuff Facebook has been wanging on about in regards to editing for the newsfeed, you’ll see a lot of similarities here.

How does that all fit against Facebook’s recent news about audio being on its way to auto-play videos?

Well, maybe I’ll have something on that for you next week.





Venturebeat has three very good tips for bot-builders. Not rocket science and if you’ve spent five minutes talking to me about the topic then you may already know them.

However, this is definitely a good piece to have to hand if/when you’re trying to land a point about the basics.

One for the bookmarks.






This is excellent.

Michael K. Williams asks the question (of himself) ‘Am I being typecast?’





I won (!) a Google Home a little while ago and, combined with having a Google Pixel, I’ve been slowly getting accustomed to being able to tell Google’s Assistant to do/help with the things I need.. er.. assistance with.

Thing is, it can become a little painful trying to work out what it can, and more specifically what it can’t, do. Google hasn’t been that brilliant with providing a full list of these commands.

Fortunately, a savvy chap (and NOT a Google Employee, btw) by the name of Kristijan Ristovski has taken upon himself to fix that.


If you use Google Assistant, in any way, shape, or form – then do look at OK GOOGLE IO.

It’s dead useful.




Bonuses this week are all a bit self-serving.

The best kind – ha!

  • First up, the frankly amazing conference ‘ONE QUESTION‘ returns later this year (if you missed last year’s keep an eye out for my write up of that one, very soon) and tickets have just gone on sale. The one question this time around is: ‘Can we really trust technology?’ – and features speakers from Pixar (!), a former member of Obama’s White House staff (!!) and even someone from Ogilvy (!!!). Definitely worth adding to your calendar and seeing if you get along. I promise you it will be excellent.
  • Next, the rather awesome people at Business Insider have put together a list of ‘The 30 best people in advertising to follow on Twitter‘ – and muggins made the cut. I’ve no idea how or why, however, I’ve gained about 200 or so new followers since it was published and I’m stupidly chuffed to be included with such legends and luminaries. Please check out the whole list and follow the lot of them (yes, even that guy).
  • The full day of music playlists that my friend Sarah and I put together are still going and, for no real reason whatsoever, I thought I’d share the link to our latest before it’s finished. It’s currently around 3hrs or so long and we’ll cap it off when we hit 8hrs (a full day you see). So if you want a playlist that’ll slowly grow and update over time, give this a follow.


And that’s it.

Until next time, fam x

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x