Five things on Friday on Sunday #304

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, September 22nd, 2019.

Newsletter #304: Introduction


Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening.

I write to you from bed. Commencing this week’s edition at 1045am on a Sunday isn’t my usual fare (I tend to start it in the week and finish it on Friday/Saturday/Sunday (delete where necessary)) but I am having the mother of all lay-ins and it is LUSH. The other half is off on a shoot later today and decided to give me the morning off …children, housework, etc.

So I write.

Reader, it has been blissful.

What else can I tell you?

Friday this past week was the global climate strike. As part of adland’s #CREATEANDSTRIKE movement, I’m proud to report my lot, Digitas, were both involved in creating something for the march (this great get-your-own-out-of-office website) AND out in force at the London leg of the march. I haven’t seen any total number of those that downed tools for the day to stand up to their respective governments and demand action. Millions, easily, globally. An incredible thing. But to what end? What now? Well, Karin Robinson’s podcast gave 30mins to what you can do after the day is over. That’s the first place to start.

As for us, as I explained to someone yesterday (who may have been employing a touch of cynicism re: the ad industry perhaps jumping on the bandwagon (vom)): the butterfly effect has been fascinating. In light of the CEO giving the agency permission to march, etc, there’s been an emboldening of the principles behind the idea and an ambition to turn those principles into action. Be that holding the building we work in to account re its recycling commitments, getting rid of single-use plastics, metal cutlery for all… it’s the small things and all of it has stemmed from ‘Yeah, but we don’t just want to do the textbook agency thing, do the campaign, then all firetruck off down the pub after – this stuff matters’

— ALSO. INVITE CREATIVE ADLAND FOLK, GET COVERAGE. Great work —

#Proud.

Right, shall we crack on with the things? Let’s.

1. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR 11 YEAR OLD SAYS NO TO A SMARTPHONE?

This a reasonably well-trodden area but I still never tire of the varying perspectives.

This image is from the article in question and to be frank bears no resemblance to the thoughts therein but still, onto the article…

Virginia Heffernan writes.

“My son had decided three things about smartphones. 1. They’re infantilizing, a set of digital apron strings meant to attach you to your mother. (He was onto something there.) 2. They compromise a boy’s resourcefulness because kids come to rely on the GPS instead of learning Scout skills. 3. They make people trivial. This final observation bugs me the most, because he still expresses it whenever he sees me jabbing at my own device: “Texty texty! Emoji emoji!” And when I play my word games, he shouts, “GAMER!” That hurts. In short, my son says, he doesn’t want a phone because he wants to be free…”

Post-Millennial, hell, post-Gen Z, what will the children think of us all with our screens? Read the rest on Vogue and make a call for yourself.

2. IS WEWORK A FRAUD?

Lol. Like you had to ask.

This article is FIRE.

3. THIS WEEK IN SECTION THREE: THREE THINGS ABOUT TWITTER

TWITTER THING ONE:

I am officially back ON. App installed, notifications on – the lot. After the huge stuff last week, I have seen the nicer side of it again. Liberal muting, unfollowing, general engagement with the GOOD things… all make it a better place and I am loving it again.

Which leads me to…

TWITTER THING TWO:

What would happen if Albert Camus went to Pret? There’s a Twitter account for that.

Bloody wonderful.

That being said, here’s…

TWITTER THING THREE

The New York Times has this great long read/interview/book promo with Disney CEO, Bob Iger.

The key point relevant for this section talks to the time Disney had got itself pretty close to actually buying Twitter.

Mr. Iger writes in the book about how he pulled the plug at the last minute on a deal to buy Twitter, thinking it could help Disney modernize its distribution. But he had a feel in his gut it wasn’t right, and called a stunned Jack Dorsey to tell him.

“The troubles were greater than I wanted to take on, greater than I thought it was responsible for us to take on,” he tells me. “There were Disney brand issues, the whole impact of technology on society. The nastiness is extraordinary. I like looking at my Twitter newsfeed because I want to follow 15, 20 different subjects. Then you turn and look at your notifications and you’re immediately saying, why am I doing this? Why do I endure this pain? Like a lot of these platforms, they have the ability to do a lot of good in our world. They also have an ability to do a lot of bad. I didn’t want to take that on.”


Which, when you really break it down, is pretty much the best explanation of why so many drift on and off the platform that I’ve read in some time.

PS. Via Olly.
PPS. Read the whole thing.

4. FINE, A SECTION ABOUT DESTINY 2 THEN

My ongoing gaming strategy for at least a couple of years now is to only really have 2-3 games on at any one time. This chunking helps me actually complete games and as a result, I play more, enjoy more, and ultimately get overwhelmed LESS.

The 2-3 game strategy is: one multi-player game, one solo-player game*, and one joker card. For the past five years, the multi-player game in this equation has been a little game called Destiny.

Well, ‘Destiny’ was its first name.

Right now, it’s called: Destiny 2: Forsaken.

As of October, it’ll be called Destiny 2: New Light AND Destiny 2: Shadowkeep.

This game has been on a monumental journey over since its first launch. A journey that I could easily write a few thousand words about but it would a) only be interesting to a small handful of you and b) no doubt cover ground that so many others have done before.

THE POINT IS: what lies ahead is where things get interesting. From October 1st, a new variant of Destiny 2 known as ‘Destiny 2: New Light’ is going to be launched FOR FREE across console and PC.

And this is a big deal.

You wanna come play sometime? You can.
You wanna stretch some old FPS skills but not commit to the outlay of a game price? You can.
You wanna see what all my nerdery is actually about? YOU CAN.

If you like what you see/play/enjoy, then you might be tempted to pick up Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. Shadowkeep is the next real chapter in this game’s ongoing saga. You won’t need to know the history to jump in (not really) and the game should hand hold you through a lot of it. But if you’re up for it, Bungie, the game’s developers (and now publishers) have laid the breadcrumbs out for you to come play.

And there is a LOT of game to play.

We’re about eight days out from launch. The H Y P E machine is full swing. And, while I understand the venn diagram overlap of folk-that-subscribe-to-this-newsletter and lapsed-gamers might not be a huge one, I thought I’d raise it all the same.

THE POINT IS: I am excited about New Destiny Content as well as New Destiny Players. So come join the party in October time. I’ll be waiting 🙂



PS. If you’ve pre-ordered the Google Stadia Founder’s Edition, then you’ll probably already know that it’s shipping with the complete Destiny 2 experience. So if you’re waiting for that, jumping into New Light might not be a bad way to get familiar with the game…

5. #BITELIVE19

Earlier this week I managed to get the morning out of the office and attend Creative Brief’s #BITELIVE19 event. And it was a well-curated, well-presented, well-managed, and really well-considered thought provoking few hours.

I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the agenda for the morning, and write up whatever notes I have accordingly. READY?

SESSION 1: POLICY AND THE GENDER DATA CAP
Caroline Criado Perez. Author of Invisible Women. A topic of which came to the fore recently when CCP uncovered that women are more at risk in car accidents because crash test dummies are based on man. ‘Reference Man’ to be more precise.

One of those talks that shocks you with facts and history – both ancient and recent – that spells out exactly how one-sided everything is in the world. Examples, over and above the literal and metaphorical car crash above, included:

The pink Bic pen ‘for ladies’
Babylon Health diagnosing a heart attack as ‘anxiety’ (but only when report the symptoms).

And more.

Key takeout: diversify your thinking/workplace/data collection.

Also: buy that damn book.

SESSION TWO: BE THE CHANGE: PUTTING PURPOSE AND PROFIT ON EQUAL FOOTING
Havas CEO, Xav Rees, and CEO of Ella’s Kitchen, Mark Cuddigan, talk about their respective efforts to guide their companies towards BCORP certification. This is only the second time this year I’ve hard of companies trying to get BCORP certified. The first time was at ONE QUESTION earlier this year. Twice is a coincidence, three times is a trend.

My main thought from the session: Interesting that the input of this has come from the client. Again, another butterfly effect. How many other Ella’s Kitchen suppliers are now considering BCORP at their client’s insistence? There’s a strength here.

SESSION THREE: STEREOTYPE SMASHERS
A six-person (!!!) panel (covering two start-ups, three agencies, and a major client), chaired by BITE’s Managing Editor, Nicola Kemp. I didn’t think there would be much to gain from this session. Too many panelists, not enough time – it could end up boring and hard work. BUT. Nicola Kemp was an excellent moderator (a thankless yet v difficult role), everyone on the stage was well briefed, and there wasn’t a whiff of Blind Date syndrome (‘Same question to contestant number two and three’) in sight. I found myself just broadly applauding the effort of pulling something like that off. Bonus points for a token man on the panel.

SESSION FOUR: THE CONSCIOUS ADVERTISING NETWORK
A swift overview of what the CAN is, what it does, and how all agencies should adopt its approach for future RFPs. This is excellent. Find out more here.

SESSION FIVE: HOW GUINNESS SMASHED STEREOTYPES IN WOMEN’S RUGBY AND BEYOND.
Another great client/agency show (agency folk: wanna be on stage? Take a client with you). What I found amazing about this session was that in the previous talk, Harriet and Jake from the CAN showed the infamous Heineken ‘Lighter is Better‘ ad. In this talk, AMV BBDO showed off its latest work for Guinness, Liberty Fields. The two could not be further apart.

Good nugget: ‘Diversity and inclusion wasn’t a callout in the brief – we just let the work guide us’.

SESSION SIX: BRIDGING THE INTEGRITY GAP: A NEW ERA FOR PURPOSE DRIVEN PARTNERSHIPS.
Chaired by CALM’s CEO, Simon Gunning, this session looked at the different ways brands can try and balance commerciality and integrity. The big thing that came out of this was the head on addressing of the perceived paradox of having a brand such as Molson Coors getting involved with men’s mental health. Beer + bad mental = bad. But actually, men need to talk to each other. And that might be down the pub and that might be over a pint. So it was well overdue in fact.

Best nugget: ’10 years ago we all thought that the big changes in advertising would’ve been tech-focused. Ad-tech ad-tech ad-tech. But instead, the more profound change has been in the audiences we are advertising to.’

SESSION SEVEN: THE CREATIVE BLINDSPOT
Caroline Casey is on a mission to get 500 businesses to commit to disability inclusion by 2020. This was the final session of the day but you wouldn’t think it. Caroline Casey was a firework. I’ve not seen someone speak with such passion and energy in such a long term – it was at times charming, hilarious – and at others deeply moving. The only note I made was something Caroline said about halfway through ‘We make more clothes for dogs than we do for the disabled’. That’s not great is it.

Caroline gave a TED talk on a very similar topic in 2010. Give it a watch.



Hats off to the BITELIVE19 team. The curation, moderation, and presentations of every participant was superb. I took along one of our Digitas apprentices who came away with her mindblown. ‘They’re not all like that,’ I said ‘I can’t believe how lucky you are to have THAT as your first marketing event!’

I strongly recommend a browse of the hashtag.

Well done, all.

THE ESSENTIALS:

The Essentials are the weekly links to the #MeToo movement. Any article. Any press. Any story. Any white male firing. If it happens, it’s here.

B O N U S L I N K S F O R
Y O U R B O N U S E Y E S


THIS IS IT. THE NEARLY-THE-FINAL SECTION OF THE FTOF NEWSLETTER.
NO STOPPING UNTIL YOUR EYEBALLS SCREAM. READY? LET’S GO.

And so onwards, to the final section.

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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