Five things on Friday #321

Things of note for the week ending Friday 4th February, 2022

INTRO

Hello hello. It has been a week.

When I told you about the OREO/BATMAN launch film a couple of weeks ago, I hinted there was something else to come and this (the above) is it:

a bloody massive Batarang pinning a giant 3D OREO to a 96-sheet out-of-home (OOH) billboard.

And I’m amazed it’s a real thing.

It’s worth calling out that the one line brief we gave to our creative teams was simple: be the idea that appears on page one of the internal global case study for The Batman partnership. That’s it. Yes there was the usual stuff around ‘elevate the partnership to deliver X and ensure we include Y’ but sometimes you just need something that sparks ambition.

That kind of encouragement helped the team think BIG. And here we are. Dead proud of them.

What else can I tell you?

Ah yes.

I know we’re not quite into THE THINGS yet but this thing risked being buried away in the bonus items and I think it’s better than that.

YouTube VR in Quest with passthrough enabled, gets you to these kinds of uses.

Genuinely fascinating.

Look at that, we’re not even started yet and you’ve had a bonus thing.

Shall we crack on with the rest?

LET’S!


1. WE’RE JUST STARTING WITH SOME POLAR BEARS

House of Bears

What’s beautiful about this is these polar bears were discovered living in an abandoned weather station in Kolyuchin, in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation.

Read more about these (and see more) polar bears in this photo essay delivered via The Guardian.


2. DID YOU KNOW…

…Paul Giamatti broke the California wine industry?

I can’t remember when I last saw SIDEWAYS (and if you haven’t you really should) but it is great. If you’re completely in the dark, SIDEWAYS is a rather wonderful little comedy about a neurotic novelist on a soul-searching trip through California’s wine country.

There’s a famous scene where Paul Giamatti’s character gets v sweary about Merlot (I love it).

Which resulted in this:

Outrageous. One rant = the death of CA Merlot (and the growth of Pinot – another SIDEWAYS push). Go and read the full article for the full background and the rest of the story.

The background is amazing.


3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING

For the newcomers, ‘THIS WEEK IN…’ used to change week in, week out. But these days it seems to be completely gaming-focused. And that’s OK. Because, well, there’s a lot going on right now. This week, it falls to me to fire you a series of bullet points with pithy commentary and expand upon the important stuff at a later date.

Because, as I said, there’s a lot going on. Let’s go.

This section was larger but I shifted all the M*t*v*r*e stuff into its own THING. And that THING is coming up right about… 👇🏻 now 👇🏻


4. FINE, WE’LL TALK ABOUT THE M WORD AGAIN

“I don’t even know what that means”
”No one knows what it means! But it’s provocative.”

This section (again, could be recurring) is a[nother] mixture of links and opinion.

The opinion first, mainly. Writing is thinking, right? And using this newsletter as a way to think out loud like this helps me challenge and crystallise theories as well as invite debate (via that reply button, please. Got a lightly held strong opinion? I want to hear it).

So yes. I’m noodling on this a fair bit. I’m doing a thing on it tomorrow and I’m deep in reading/working on the fundamentals.

The tl;dr of where I’m at currently is (and tell me if I’m wrong/you disagree):

  1. Web3 is the umbrella term for all foundational technology and systems that enable everything else that follows. So far so good.

  2. Dencentralisation is a technology (and really an ideology) that does exist but for something that is meant to be accessible and democratised, it… isn’t. The UX sucks. And the points of entry all currently feel pretty centralised to me.

  3. NFTs are an ecologically irresponsible scam.

  4. And the metaverse doesn’t exist.

“What do you mean the metaverse doesn’t exist?!”

Per the Chazz Michael Michaels quote above, nobody knows what it means.

If you google ‘Define the metaverse’, here’s what you get:

First answer (Oxford Definition):

“A virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.”

Next, Wikipedia:

“A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection”

TIME Magazine:

“Whether in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or simply on a screen, the promise of the metaverse is to allow a greater overlap of our digital and physical lives in wealth, socialization, productivity, shopping and entertainment. These two worlds are already interwoven, no headset required: Think about the Uber app telling you via location data how far away the car is. Think about how Netflix gauges what you’ve watched before to make suggestions. Think about how the LiDAR scanner on newer iPhones can take a 3D scan of your surroundings. At its core, the metaverse (also known to many as “web3”) is an evolution of our current Internet.”

(we’re getting closer)

WIRED.

“Broadly speaking, the technologies that make up the metaverse can include virtual reality—characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you’re not playing—as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. However, it doesn’t require that those spaces be exclusively accessed via VR or AR. A virtual world, like aspects of Fortnite that can be accessed through PCs, game consoles, and even phones, could be metaversal.”

People are in relatively similar ballparks, yes, however because it’s all so vague and so nebulous… it’s aiming to capture almost the entirety of the internet’s future without defining anything about it. Like, why do we need it? Where will it live? Surely these are all walled gardens? Who gets access and how…? It’s all just a bit premature.

The broad point to take from all of this is:

THE METAVERSE DOESNT EXIST (YET).

^ Please shout this at people at meetings ^

Building and designing online experiences? That exists.

Video games? They definitely exist.

Metaversal activities? (Like, I don’t know, building a replica of your office in a singular siloed gaming platform to drive PR value in trade publications in the hope of securing future client dollars, sure that’s metaversal but it’s also just a fancier way of saying ‘look what we can do in gaming’ without your client visibly recoiling because you said the G word). They also exist.

Image

It’s like what Dan Ariely said about Big Data.

“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”

Swap Big Data out for The Metaverse and we’re in similar spots (my current fun games is simply this: if you can swap out ‘the metaverse’ for ‘online’ in any sentence, then you should probably just do that?)

Snark aside, what I am trying to get a hold on is: what are the underlying principles that define what is (and is not) a metaversal activity. Because right now, 99.9% of everything I read about ThE mEtAvErSe is so cack-handed and awful, I am amazed some of these people still have jobs.

I have been in meetings, real ones, where [unnamed experts] – not from my holding company, I hasten to add – have put forward ‘THE METAVERSE’ as a potential solution for actual – and by ‘actual’, I mean commercially-led, this-financial-effing-year – problems.

Honestly I despair.

People pay money for these opinions.

Building your office in Roblox is not the metaverse.
Microsoft buying Activision is not the metaverse.
Wistfully staring into the future and talking about how everyone is going to do things differently thanks to crypto is not the metaverse.

I get it. People want to explore. Great. Do that. But do it in the spirit of helping people. Not hyping up a non-existent technology in the hope of extracting money from the ignorant. You’re better than that.

Further reading:

Image

5. TUMBLR OH TUMBLR

This, on the nostalgia of all things Tumblr – and it’s continual impact on all internet culture as we know it – is a great slice of recent history.

It’s still there, of course it is, but it’s nothing like it used to be.


BONUSES


THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER IS UPON US. NOT THE CONCEPT GENERALLY, JUST THIS ONE. THIS EDITION. IT IS ENDING. NOW. WELL, IMMINENTLY.

Last week, Krissie and Luke went out on a Guardian date.

The Guyliner reviewed it and, from that review, I’m leaving you with this impeccable piece of life advice:

“Unless asked specifically for your opinion, don’t comment on anybody’s appearance in any way that isn’t hugely positive. It sounds like such an obvious thing to say, and I think I’ve even said it here before, but so many people blunder about the place causing untold destruction with throwaway comments that they forget instantly, but the recipient might think of for ever. It is a free country, and you are entitled to have any thoughts you desire. You can make these judgements about how someone looks if you like, but there is no need to vocalise them ever. Because, spoiler: most people are only too aware of what they look like, and have their own hangups or dislikes or just little… things they hope nobody will notice or say anything about. They know they are larger since the last time you saw them, or look a bit gaunt at the moment. They are aware that their hair is grey, or that they could do with buying a new jacket, or that they’re having a breakout, or that they have dark circles, or new wrinkles since you saw them. Mirrors are freely fucking available and believe me, they stare into them. It is very unlikely you can say something to someone that they haven’t already thought about themselves, but the real sting comes from someone confirming those thoughts, they make them real. Honestly, ‘you look great’ is the only thing you need to say unless you’re asked to give actual feedback.”

Be kind to people. Show up. Don’t be a dick. Pay compliments.

That’s all I got.

Until next time,

Whatley out, 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

One thought on “Five things on Friday #321”

  1. re: mtvre … Saw somewhere (probably Twitter?) someone recalling Second Life and, well, that’s been a thing for a while now. Certainly more -verse than what Facebook, er, Meta, has.

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