Five things on Friday #254

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TO THE THINGS.

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1. READING ANNIHILATION

AKA ‘The section about one movie, some personal stuff, and then some other related movie bits’.

“Because the truth about mental health and self-destruction is that for most of us it is not some deep perceptible trauma, but the fate of hard-wiring and conditioning that comes from little everyday realities. Whether feeling unloved or unsafe or even misunderstood, these situations tend to add up to the kinds of pathologies, behaviors, secrets, and choices that make up the conflict and pain within humanity.”

– Film Crit Hulk

I wrote about ANNIHILATION a few editions back. The point of that addition was to discuss Paramount’s choice to sell Alex Garland’s latest to Netflix outside of the US (vs putting it out on general theatrical release).

Since that time, ANNIHILATION has arrived on Netflix UK, I’ve watched it, and it is excellent.

There is much I could say.

If you’ve not seen it yet, perhaps seek it out later tonight. If you have, then I urge you to please please please read this phenomenal review/essay, by Film Crit Hulk, ‘The Horrors of Change‘.

I say again, do not read it until you’ve seen the movie – it goes over key parts of the film in detail. In short: there be spoilers here.

That said, as someone who has gone through a huge amount of internal change, this essay spoke to me on so many levels. So. Many. Levels.

Watch the movie.

Read the essay.

Reflect on them both.

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Other movie-related stuff:

On my recent flight(s) + general adventures I caught a few movies that I’d been meaning to catch up on. 

  • THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. Excellent. Did not see those story beats coming – and Sam Rockwell is excellent. 
  • CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Better than Three Billboards – by a country mile. That last 15mins. The credits. Jesus. What. A. Film. 
  • DEATH OF STALIN. Brilliant. See it.
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE. What. Yes, I finally watched it. This is what I thought.
  • READY PLAYER ONE. 7/10. Worth seeing if you’re a film nerd or a gamer – (and a couple of excellent set pieces – the Kubrick one particularly was a stand out) but over and above all, a rare creature known as ‘a forgettable Spielberg’.

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2. ERIC BARONE

OK, so I get it. The past few editions have featured something from GQ. What can I say? They’re killing it at the moment (no, I’m not on commission). This next one I’m featuring is a profile of Eric Barone, sole creator of Stardew Valley.

Sole. One. Solo. Only him.

“…throughout the four and a half years, he never once reached out online by asking questions or speaking to another developer for advice. He hates asking for help. He prefers not having the subconscious feeling of owing a debt for a favor, so instead he does things all himself. Everything—literally everything—he learned about making games came from poring over pre-existing comment threads on forums and blogs until he found the solutions he needed to move forward.”

I guess ‘struggles to work as a team’ featured highly on his last 360? I jest.

This great profile does not only provide an insight into what obsession looks and feels like but also demonstrates what, when you have the means, it can deliver.

A good read.

PS. I’ve never played Stardew Valley. Shh.
PPS. This was written by an amusing chap I know on Twitter called Sam. You should follow him

3. INSTAGRAM FEED CHANGES, WOO!

Not news but certainly noteworthy.

If you missed the announcement, Instagram is apparently – FINALLY – making a much-asked-for algorithmic change to allow new posts appear closer to the top of your feed.

This absolutely is NOT a return to the chronological feed order of old BUT it is Instagram acknowledging that perhaps the millions upon millions of users that actually want to see new things first in their feed might actually have a point.

More here.

4. PROJECT EIGHTY-FOURWalking to work one morning, you look up and see a lone figure on a rooftop. You look again, the figure is flanked by another, and then another. In total, 84 men stand there in total.

Ready to step off.

Ready to take their own lives.

84 men in the UK take their own lives every week.

To illustrate that abominable statistic, men’s health and suicide prevention charity, CALM, made Project Eighty-Four. 84 sculptures that represent 84 real people that took their own life.

Why is this important to me?

1. I know someone who is related to one of the 84.

2. My old boss, friend, mentor, and CALM board member, James Scroggs, helped make this happen.

3. It’s right near where I work – it’s kind of unmissable.

4. I have experienced suicidal thoughts. They are not fun.

That last point, that’s the first time I’ve written that down. Let’s keep it between us. For now, please.

Consider, does your opinion of me change because of it? If it does, why? I’m nowhere near ready to articulate the where, why, or how.

Just understand suicidal thoughts, mental health deterioration – so to speak, can happen to anyone. On that note, if stuff is pretty awful for you right now, you can hit reply to this email anytime and say hi.

I always reply. Always.

Project 84 is important work.

You should read about it.

5. THE OVERWHELMING EMOTION OF HEARING TOTO’S ‘AFRICA’ REMIXED TO SOUND LIKE IT’S PLAYING IN AN EMPTY MALL

This article led me to this video.

Both are excellent, start with the former and then relax into the latter.


 

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THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

BONUS SECTION OF BONUS LINKS THAT WILL BONUS YOUR LIFE. 

B to the O to the N to the U to the S. 

Five things on Friday on Saturday #253

Things of note for the week ending Saturday, March 17th, 2018.

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS.

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1. DOES HAPPINESS REQUIRE STRUGGLE

This is an interesting one. Came across it via David Sawyer’s ZudePR newsletter

Note: he specifically called it out on it look!

Which was nice.

So yes, first thing first, read the article: ‘Does happiness require struggle?

Quote:

“As the British philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) remarked in his book Utilitarianism: “It’s better to be Socrates unsatisfied than to be pig satisfied.”

People who are content for mundane reasons merely are ‘happy’ because their ignorance allows them to be. Happiness that is not achieved by completing severe challenges is qualitatively inferior to happiness that was reached thusly (if it is ‘happiness’ at all).

Personal growth requires overcoming.”

While I don’t disagree that personal growth requires overcoming, does personal growth / overcoming something meaningful push you to a higher plain of happiness? If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably detected a sense of this in me over the past few months or so. The struggle, the pain, has helped me reach a new level of acceptance – of who I am, of I am going to be, of how life is going to be. And, once that acceptance was realised, it unlocked a kind of peace inside that pushed me towards a new level of happiness. But happiness and being ‘at peace’ are separate things (aren’t they?).

I like the provocation of preferring to be ‘Socrates unsatisfied’ vs ‘pig satisfied’ but, to me at least, that breaks a general rule of never measuring yourself with someone else’s yardstick. In short: your measure (and therefore your definition) of happiness may be completely different to someone else’s. And that’s OK.

Happiness is not so binary. Nor is it an ever-lasting feeling that should be attained for every waking moment – this too shall pass, after all. It is a part of life, just as sadness and pain is too. A friend of mine told me once you can’t believe in God if you don’t believe in the devil. And it stayed with me. You need to understand the other side of things. Pain, sadness, struggle – they co-exist alongside happiness and joy. And there is value to be found in each of them. That’s something I’ve come to understand in recent times.

I watched the stunning CALL ME BY YOUR NAME on the plane over to San Francisco. There’s a film that captures happiness, joy, pain, and heartbreak. It gets it SO right. In so many ways. And that last 15mins? Just wow.

Does it get easier? I don’t know.

The question is ‘Does happiness require struggle?’ – I don’t believe it does. I believe as we get older, and life throws its many struggles at us, we act, we respond, and ultimately we make choices. Those choices are based on how we define ourselves and will shape how you define yourself in the future. Happiness, fluid as it may be, flows around those choices. Life can be a struggle. The release of the struggle can be the cause of happiness. But so can many, many other things.

As we age, we benefit from self-awareness and understanding. We know what it means to be sad. A life without struggle is worth no more or less than a life that is struggle-free, and neither is no more or less deserving of happiness.

Your choices define you. They will bring happiness to your life and if you’re not careful, they will bring struggles too.

But to my mind at least, one does not beget the other.

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2. HOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT THIS? 

Specifically, this ad for ‘Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – 2 Sunny Cities, One Break‘.

Touch/click the image to watch.

I was in the kitchen when this ad was alerted to me. Said alert was: ‘

OH MY GOD. LOOK AT THIS. THEY’VE MADE AN INSTAGRAM STORY INTO AN AD! IT’S SO CHEESY!’ 

I ran to look, and it was true. Here is a holiday ad that uses the format of Stories (specifically Instagram – it has a view count and a couple of Boomerangs too) to tell the story of a multi-destination-led experience.

The jury is well and truly out on this. Actually, no. I still think it’s cheesy af. It feels like someone went ‘Hey, anyone else follow Sian Welby on Instagram? Why don’t we just do that but with our ad?’ 

Is that a good thing?

—-

Sidenote: this section last week was dedicated to the GODAWFUL UK variant of the ‘Because I Can’ Diet Coke ad. For what it’s worth: more people have seen it since and IT IS STILL AWFUL. That is all. 

3. INCLUSIVITY TIPS

Terence Eden has a [great] blog. I’ve featured it before, I’ll feature it again.

This week he gives us some good and important things to ask if you’re asked to speak at a conference at any point soon.

I must confess, I don’t think I have ever responded with any of these. I have asked about gender/diversity split before (normally after having looked at this/last year’s agenda and looking for an imbalance). I guess we can all try harder.

Thanks, Terence.

4. CROSSRAIL CURVATURE

At the end of next year, the new 70-mile train line known as Crossrail will open. Connecting Berkshire to Shenfield, via Heathrow, Paddington, Central London, and Canary Wharf, it has been a long road to completion (killing off one of my favourite pubs along the way, RIP The Couch). As the project enters its final leg, IanVisits has been looking at some of the date behind the build (dig?) that will create another addition to the modern marvel that is London’s travel infrastructure.

In short: so large is the scope of the project, the tunnels are affected by the curvature of the Earth.

Read how, via IanVisits.

5. OBVIOUS THING IS OBVIOUS

This last section is just another rallying cry for you all to use Facebook Creative Hub. I still (STILL!) have conversations with people who ask how to best mock up their work in Facebook.

‘What will this ad look like?’
‘What ad units are available?’
‘How will this look in-feed?’

USE FACEBOOK CREATIVE HUB.

IT IS FREE.

Sorry if you already do/have no idea what I’m talking about – it’s a great resource and if you do ANYTHING anywhere near Facebook then you need to know it exists.

Same time again next year, yeah? OK.
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THE ESSENTIALS: 

What a week it has been!

Last time around I highlighted Nathalie Gordon’s tweet on calling out ‘this BS’ but as it turns out, it was just the tip of the iceberg! The condemnation, denial, backtracking, and subsequent apology from the agency in question (you can read the ugly story in detail via this link to Campaign – if it’s paywalled for you, I’ve C&P’d the whole thing into a Google Doc for you) is a stark reminder of how f*cking gross some people in the industry are.

I find it utterly fascinating how the default response of ‘Oh! As soon as we saw it, our CEO condemned it and made the person in question apologise to everyone immediately!’ turned out to be utterly false and it was reportedly a Managing Partner who called it all off.

Sorry, this has made me so angry.

It turns out that this whole top five thing is a common occurrence! Allegedly happening at The & Partnership, AMV, MCann, Iris, Adam&Eve/DDB, Sapient, VCCP and W+K London. Last week I half-joked ‘this doesn’t happen at Ogilvy London, gang, come work for us!’ – turns out I was completely right. With one person who will remain nameless telling me earlier this week ‘When I joined Ogilvy I was STUNNED that I’d found somewhere where this top five thing DOESN’T happen’.

Jesus Christ guys.

DO BETTER. 

UGH.

REMINDER: If you see sexist BS call it dafuq out.

If you think that it’s normal and why is everyone getting so up in arms about it – TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT IT.

If your CEO is caught lying about how they handle internal problems like this – call them out, or just leave.

Here endeth the rant.

Hats off to Sarah Keegan and Robyn Frost for this well put together response piece (right click/long press – open in incognito tab).

OK, here are your three ESSENTIALS for the week. 

THE BONUS SECTION CONTAINING BONUS LINKS FOR YOUR BONUS PERUSAL, IS ABOUT TO START. ARE YOU SITTING BONUSLY? 

I’m about to shake the bonus tree and I legit have no idea how many are going to fall out. Ready… Steady… Shake! 

  • Did you catch the #AvoCard thing from Virgin Trains earlier this week? The UK Government launched a ‘Millennial railcard’ but in limited numbers (only 10,000 went out) and so, in response, Virgin Rail launched an ‘Avocard’. Bring an Avocado on your trip and you’ll get 1/3 off your ticket. No kidding…

Yeah, sorry, this is hilarious. Anyway. I thought this was a GENIUS idea and the fact that people will turn up to a trip HOLDING AN AVOCADO is nothing short of brilliant. That, combined with the actual email Virgin Rail had to send around after the campaign went out, has pretty much made my millennial week.

Right, back to the bonuses… 

Five things on Friday #252

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS.

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1. COVER LETTER

W+K: “Reader, we hired him”

You can see why.

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2. HELL HAS A NEW NAME

Sometimes, when you work on big global brands (or sometimes small ones), you sometimes set the tone of the work globally. Your agency creates a campaign, it gets bought, and then, via often some godawful/painful asset-sharing experient, you create a ‘toolkit’ that the local markets can draw down on, localise, and use to their heart’s content (within the strict campaign guidelines that they all received as part of said toolkit). Some animals like to call this ‘think globally, act locally’ – better yet, if you’re in THE BAD PLACE, they might call it ‘Globalization’. If you’ve heard this word before, you can come out now – the bad people have gone. If you’ve never heard the word before, then just be glad that this stuff never reaches your eyes and ears. For some of us, it’s a daily routine.

I digress.

SOMETIMES though, SOMETIMES you’re just told to make a local version of the master ad. And by ‘master’ that normally means ‘U.S.’.

‘Here’s the US ad, please go and make a local-market version’

‘What? Exactly the same?’

‘Yes, exactly the same’

‘But what if the cultural references don’t match up?’

‘EXACTLY. THE. SAME.’

Hell has a new name. That hell is ‘Because I can’.

US version.

UK version.

I’ll be over here, crying into my fizzy water.

BECAUSE I CAN.

PS. I know I talked about this last week but this week the UK version hit and – OH MY GOD MY EYES. 

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3. THE MIRAGE

‘Journalists will go far for a story and they’ll go far for a drink—but would they buy a bar? In Chicago, that’s exactly what a newspaper did. An oral history of an incredible experiment.’

– The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That bought a Bar

A great read.

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4. TEENAGE BROTHERS ON SEX, SOCIAL MEDIA, AND WHAT WHAT THEIR PARENTS DON’T UNDERSTAND 

Two brothers, 14 and 16, sit down to discuss the above and more.

One of the best things in the newsletter this week.

(thanks Ben)

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5. SOMETHING ELSE

‘If you don’t consciously choose how to allocate your attention, it will be allocated for you, by entities whose objectives are not your own.’

This has been kicking around a lot in my feed this week – so you may have already seen it. That said, it is a worthwhile and provocative read.

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about ‘choice’ – and how privilege (white, male, status, power, class and more), plays into that.

Eg: What is the point in discussing ‘the future of brands’ if we’re only really talking about the people that earn enough whereby this is an actual ‘decision’ (ha!) that they make?

What is the point of spending your Saturday night slagging off brands on Twitter if, for the literal millions of people that live and work outside your bubble, this seen as great entertainment? ‘Oh, people must hate this because it’s SOOOOO obvious’ etc. Ugh.

What is the point of discussing media choice when for some, they don’t even know they have a choice?

That challenging thinking is a privilege?

I don’t know. It’s an unfinished noodle.

Anyway – the image and quote above are from the excellent ‘How to Balance Your Media Diet‘, by Faris Yakob. Read it.

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THE ESSENTIALS: 

This section is often dedicated to the continuous support of the #MeToo movement and others like it.

This week, some good things – mainly about IWD2018 (and I mean ‘good’, not ‘We’ve rebranded for one day because yolo’ – yes, I’m looking at you, WcDonalds).

Enjoy:  

And for what it’s worth, I’m with Philippa.

Normal service will resume next week.

B
O
N
U
S
E
S

‘No buses’ is an anagram of Bonuses. Which is fitting as there absolutely no buses: 

  • Having an idea ripped off by another brand/agency? Nothing new.Having said incident feature in Private Eye? A career highlight.
  • I’m fairly sure I’ve written about the ongoing discoveries regarding the eating habits of the Giant Squid but still – they never get boring.
  • *whispers super quietly* ‘I’ve turned notifications off on Instagram – it has been a revelation – you should try it’.
  • Yesterday was MAR 10 – aka Mario Day. Google celebrated by putting Mario Kart in Google Maps (and it’s there for a WHOLE WEEK!!!) – I celebrated by digging out my SNES and schooling the kids on what REAL gaming is. Woop.
  • Irrespective of how you voted, it is hard to see how the B word is any kind of ‘success’ thus far. Rory Bremner (yes, the actual one) tweetedthis link to a 1996 sketch featuring the amazing Bird and Fortune (I used to love these two) and it is eerily similar to the state of UK politics today…
  • Related: this huge Tory Whatsapp leak is mental.
  • Stop the world, I’d like to get off.
  • Ogilvy UK ‘retold’ the story or Rapunzel for SXSW/Sundance with YouTube. You can see our work (and others – but ours is the best) right here. I had the lightest of light touches in helping to make this happen and am so SUPER PROUD of the team for getting this out. Well done. 

And finally…

The last ‘thing’ above was a brief to retell a fairytale using the video-lengths available with YouTube’s ad-products. Specifically communicating how to tell a story in various lengths of time. Our response was a music video (see above). And it’s ace.

I’ve literally just spent the last 15mins dancing around my front room listening to WELCOME HOME, by Spike Jonze and starring FKA twigs.

‘This is such a great ad!’ people say.

It isn’t an ad, you guys (or is it?). It is an EXCELLENT music video with product placement at the start and an end-frame.

But whatever, it’s great – so you should watch it. Loud. 

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You’re all lovely (yes, I’m still wanging on about the Macmillan thing but HONESTLY – IT’S ACE). Woooooo! 🙂

Last thing: a fortnight ago or so I managed to accidentally talk myself into going to San Francisco for a week. That’s on Tuesday (via an overnight in Barcelona). I’m not back on UK soil until a week on Tuesday (21st).

I have no idea if FToF will make it out next week. If it does make it, expect a US-flavour. If it doesn’t, then I’ll see you all in a fortnight.

Big love,

JW.

Five things on Friday #251

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS.

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1. #OGILVYUNPLUGGED

We have a CSR platform at Ogilvy called ‘Many Ogilvy Hands’. Every year multiple groups of Ogilvy employees head off to a country to try and help make a difference. A new cause is chosen every five years or so and this year, a total of a 12 or so Ogilvy folk will be headed off to Nepal to help rebuild the community centres that were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake in that region (this write up is from last year’s trip).

To qualify for a place, each individual who goes has to raise a certain amount of money for the cause at hand. Cue: myriad bake sales, pub quizzes, and a whole host of other fundraisers that the smart ones can think of to help hit those targets.

#OgilvyUnplugged was one of those such events.

And I think I can comfortably say it’s probably the best Many Ogilvy Hands fundraiser I’ve ever been to. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pub quiz (and will probably go to another Ogilvy one at some point next week) but for sheer brilliance of talent and organisation (the gig was held in probably the most soulless meeting room we have in the entire building and yet it didn’t feel that way for the night – an astonishing feat in itself), #OgilvyUnplugged nailed it.

The reason why I’m sharing this here isn’t that I just like wanging on about how great the people who work at Ogilvy are (they are though), or that I want you to donate more money to the cause (that would be nice, mind) but instead simply because I want to share the music of the four amazing artists that Bizhan, the organiser for the evening (and occasional compere for Sofar Sounds), managed to secure for the night.

First up was a man named Charlie Hole [Spotfy link].

Then it was Amare Symoné [Soundcloud link].

Followed by Anna Pancaldi (I meant ‘vowels’) [Spotify link].

Then we finished with HVNTER [Spotify link].

All were amazing.
All are new music YOU should go listen to.

GO ENJOY.

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2. THE THING I LEARNT THIS WEEK BUT WISH I DIDN’T

If you’ve never heard of Leeroy Jenkins, then you first need to watch this phenomenal video. You need sound, btw.

Go on. Even if you’ve heard of it before… I think you deserve to watch it again. I love it so much.

Well….

…this week I learnt something so AWFUL I almost feel bad telling you about it.

LEEROY JENKINS WAS A LIE.

😭😭😭😭😭

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3. NO ONE IS COMING

I finally got around to reading the excellent Dan Hon piece ‘No one is coming. It’s up to us.‘ It in itself an adaptation of Hon’s talk ‘We are the very model of modern humanist technologists’ (is there a video, Dan?), punctuated with slides and references that resonate.

Read it and let it challenge your thinking.

Go see.

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4. LEGALLY BLACK TAKE MOVIE AND TV 

👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

A group of young Brixton activists have recreated a series of film and TV posters with black leads. Here’s why:

“Research by the British Film Institute shows that black actors played only 218 lead roles in the 1,172 British films released between 2006 and 2016.There were 45,000 roles in total, which means black British actors played just 0.5% of them.

The Special Patrol Group put the posters up during a snow storm on Wednesday night, so that those behind the concept would see them on their graduation from the Advocacy Academy.

By Friday, most of the posters had been taken down and replaced with adverts for McDonald’s. JCDecaux, the advertising company that owns most of the bus stop billboard spaces, did not respond to requests for comment.”

There are more posters than the one above and The Guardian has the full story.

This is great work; well done.

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5. FACEBOOK: IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

Facebook loves publishers‘ – LittleThings, June 2016.

Facebook is the destroyer of worlds‘ – LittleThings, February 2018.

The algorithm giveth; the algorithm taketh away.

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PRE-BONUS ESSENTIAL READING: 

Only the essentials. 

THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. YOU FIND YOUR BONUSES HERE: 

I say Bo, you Nus. Bo! 

Bonus bonus thing that came in as a VERY late entry is this Kickstarter for a Star Wars short film called ‘Padawan Rising’. 

Kano is a powerful but impetuous Padawan who’s been sent on a mundane mission to learn a sense of responsibility to an abandoned planet. While she’s there the First Order rock up, invade the planet and she gets well excited about having proper people to fight. She’s heavily outnumbered and hugely outgunned but really itching for a proper fight. What she doesn’t know is this planet was previously an imperial outpost and all that’s left are two Imperial Stormtroopers who’ve broken their conditioning and turned survivalist. In the end she has to team up with them to try and escape the oncoming hordes of First Order.”

Like supporting short films AND Star Wars generally? Get involved

THIS IS THE END. YOU MAY SOON CLOSE THIS WINDOW AND CONTINUE WITH YOUR LIFE. 

OK, confession time. I have a target of £250 to hit for my Thames Hike for Macmillan.

I’m going to see how much of that I can garner from my newsletter subscribers. There are a fair few of you, one newsletter plea in andwe’re already 1/3 of the way there – amazing. So, if pay-day has just passed and you can spare a fiver – please do donate. It’d mean a lot to me.

Thank you.

(neat coincidence: I had one reader write in and say thanks – turns out they work for Macmillan, sent me some drone videos of the last one and, yeah, anyway, it was a lovely email to receive – thank you). 

Until next time…

Whatley out.

Five things on Friday on Sunday #250

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS

______________

1. BRENDAN FRASER IN GQ

Well, this is something.

Please read Brendan Fraser’s interview in GQ.

“Fraser pauses, and his eyes seem to well up, and for the first time in this litany of surgeries and loss, he seems like he might not want to continue. I ask if he needs a break.

“I’m okay,” he says. “I think I just need to let some arrows fly.”

He excuses himself as I ponder what this means. A few minutes go by. When he returns, it’s with a leather quiver full of arrows strapped to his back. He steps out onto his porch. Outside, he lofts a bow, nocks an arrow. Down below on his lawn, maybe 75 yards away, is an archery target. He releases the arrow straight into the target’s center. Bull’s-eye. Then nocks a second arrow, and does it again.

Finally, he exhales. “I feel a lot better now,” he says. He hands me the bow.”

This, among a litany of anecdotes, pathos, and in one instance, a ‘Me Too’, is why you should.

It’s a ten-minute read. Do so.

2. THE THAMES MIGHTY HIKE

This week I volunteered to join a sponsored hike along the River Thames from Windsor to Henley (26 miles!) to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I need to raise £250 to justify my place.

Please help me reach that goal.

I don’t do this kind of thing often so please, if you can, sponsor me. It’d mean a lot.

That is all.

x

3. THE SPEEDIEST WINTER SPORTS 

The Washington Post here with a great interactive educational piece on what really is the speediest sport at Pyeongchang this year.

Go see.

4. GRAN TURISMO V REAL LIFEThis is quite fun.

Jay Leno gets taken (thrown) around a race track neither he nor his driver has been around before.

His driver – and PlayStation GT Academy Winner – Ricardo Sanchez does the business.

This is crazy when you think about it.

And a very small sign of things to come.

5. GDPR + FACEBOOK

Another newsletter, another mention of GDPR. Newsflash: this ain’t gonna go away, you guys. So get jiggy with it.

Sharpish.

I was asking about this with some friends the other day. The only thing FB had said was covered in this TechCrunch piece (tl;dr – ‘we’re doing something soon’).

Well, soon has arrived and the big blue time suck machine has set up a bespoke GDPR page with all the information you will need if you’re conducting, managing, or handling any user data on its platform – and plan on being GDPR compliant.

If you do ANYTHING on Facebook then you MUST read it. Above all, it’s going to be the law but also, when you’re in your next meeting and the topic comes up, be the smart one that’s done the reading. It’ll help.

PRE-BONUS ESSENTIAL READING: 

Only the essentials. 

THE BONUS-SHAPED BONUS SECTION FEATURING BONUS THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN ADDED AS A BONUS: 

But don’t worry – there ain’t gonna be 250 of them…

YOU ARE APPROACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. PLEASE DISEMBARK SAFELY. 

Two hundred and fifty editions.

That ain’t bad is it?

Yeah.

I’m happy with that.

Here’s to the next 250.

Someone asked me this week ‘What is the conversation people aren’t having in your office? What is the one thing that people SHOULD be talking about but just aren’t?’

I thought about it for a minute and said, ‘Without sounding like a complete nob, that’s just not how I operate. If there’s a conversation we should be having, I damn well bring it up and make sure we have the conversation’.

Sitting here, recounting this story to you, I realise that this position is one of privilege. I am white, male, in a position of power – and so my voice is heard. But that doesn’t mean mine is the only voice heard. If there is a topic that people SHOULD be discussing and AREN’T. Then SAY SO. That’s how stuff changes. By making it change.

Literally, be the change you want to see.

Just do it.

Just. Do. It.

Until next time folks,

Whatley out, x

Five things on Friday #249

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, February 11th, 2018.

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS

1. PARAMOUNT + NETFLIX

Last week, during the Superb Owl, there was a ton of new movie trailers (as well as one great ad – for TIDE) one of those trailers was for a film called ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’.

What happened next is old news now. The trailer dropped and, minutes after the big game finished, the film was available to watch on Netflix.

‘AMAZING!’ screamed some.
‘IT’S A REVELATION IN MOVIE MARKETING!!’ screamed others.

But then, when the dust settled, it appeared that with very little spend from Paramount (at best, they went 50/50 on the movie’s ad spot with Netflix) they managed to get millions of people excited about a very bad second-rate movie.

That’s the interesting part to me. I get that JJ Abrams’ ‘thing’ is mystery and surprise (hell, he even did a TED talk on it) so I get that this could be seen as just another JJ marketing move. But I don’t think so. Paramount has not had a HUGE hit at the box office in years. Last year, it’s best-performing movie was TRANSFORMERS (episode 17, Primes of the round table or something) – and that barely scraped the top 20.

Taking that into account, and also looking at the recent news about a similar ‘straight-to-Netflix’ deal re: the forthcoming sci-fi movie, ANNIHILATION, it looks a little like Paramount is playing it super safe. It’s one big hit this year is probably going to be MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT.

Outside of that? Who knows. It’s a shame. Some of the best MARVEL films started out at Paramount. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for them. I also hope that this isn’t the start of a trend where ‘straight to video’ movies just get sold as ‘straight to Netflix’ – that is not a good luck for any/all involved.

2. THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE

My friend Molly Flatt has a book out.

I am awfully proud of her.

And the book is pretty damn good (so far) too.

I’m fortunate enough to have been sent a proof copy. You can pre-order yours now (out in May).

Do so.

3. DIGITAL OUT OF HOME AD SCREENS AS BITCOIN MINERS. 

Terence Eden has seen them.

This is 2018.

4. TWITTER ACTUALLY TURNED A PROFITAbsolute scenes.

You can read the whole letter to its shareholders here. Interestingly, aside from kinda waving vaguely at the President of the USA, I can’t really see anything here that screams ‘We know exactly what we’re doing!’

I’m being unfair.

I’m pleased for Twitter. Truly. 12yrs to get this far. And it is indispensable. I just hope this isn’t a blip. Time will tell.

More here.

5. THE BANANA TRICK

I’ve never stolen anything from self-checkout (although when I was a kid, I stole my fair share of sweets from the pick’n’mix at Woolworths (WE ALL DID IT)) but apparently, this is a THING. With its own nomenclature and everything.

The Atlantic has more.

PRE-BONUS ESSENTIAL READING: 

Only the essentials. 

  • Uma Thurman’s interview with the NYT dropped hours after I published last week’s edition. I’m hoping you’ve all read and/or seen it by now. If not, fix that.
  • I considered linking to the Quentin Tarantino piece that came after this one but no, f*** him.
  • Related – Jill Messick, caught up with all of this, took her own life last week. This is all so awful.
  • Steve Wynn has FINALLY stepped down.
  • CP + B fires its CCO. Doesn’t say why…
  • Droga 5 loses its ECD in a similar way.
THE BONUS SECTION OF BONUS-SHAPED BONUSES: 

They shoulda told us about da bonus…

YOU HAVE REACHED THE END. 

Thank you for reading.

It has been a long and hard weekend. I am very much looking forward to a Monday night of peaceful sleep.

We shall see.

Whatley out, x. 

Ps. This week’s was late.

Nextweek’s may not appear at all.

I’m in Rome Wednesday – Monday and may not take my laptop with me.

If we don’t speak, have a lovely couple of weeks and I’ll be in touch upon my return.

Ciao, Bella x.  

Five things on Friday #248

Things of note for the week ending Friday, February 2nd, 2018.

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS!

___________________

1. QUINCY JONES IN GQ

This is a great interview (I’m about a third into it) – I’ll give you a taster and then you can decide if you wanna read the rest of it.

“When Quincy Jones talks—wandering from subject to subject as he does—the next famous name is rarely more than a few seconds away, but it doesn’t seem like name-dropping or showing off. It’s as if this just happens to be the interesting world he occupies. So he’ll refer to the time Nelson Mandela tried to get him to touch a cheetah—”I couldn’t do it”—and then he’ll mention that Colin Powell called a couple of days ago because Powell was annoyed at how Tyler Perry appeared to be portraying him in a forthcoming movie. (Jones helped connect them.) Or he’ll refer to the time Steven Spielberg showed him the first abandoned prototype for E.T.: “They made that little monster, and he looked too much like a brother. That’s why the second one had blue eyes.” Or the occasion in May 2007, when Oprah brought Barack and Michelle Obama ’round to this house in an attempt, unsuccessful at the time, to woo Jones away from his friends the Clintons. “To try to sell me on them,” he says. “And we sat down in the kitchen, and for six hours…a really heavy meeting.”  As another aside, he’ll let slip that he saw Stevie Wonder last night…”

I mean, really.

Quincy Jones has a story.

__________________

2. BLACK PANTHER: THREADS

It was the global premiere of THE BEST REVIEWED MARVEL FILM TO DATE– BLACK PANTHER – this past week.

The dress code: ‘Royal attire requested’

THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT.

DAYAM.

  1. I want Donald Glover’s suit.
  2. I have no idea what I’d do with it because THERE IS NO WAY ANY OTHER HUMAN COULD PULL THAT OFF.
  3. GO AND SEE BLACK PANTHER.

That is all.

(more, here)

Related: I love this ‘United Colours of Nyong’o

__________________

3. HOW MUCH DOES AMAZON MAKE FROM ITS DIGITAL MARKETING BUSINESS?

Y’all may remember in the #OgilvyTrends2018 presentation a teeny little slide that looked like this:

Therein you would’ve read some huge statement like ‘Amazon will be the most important emerging platform for digital advertising in 2018’. That was December 12th, 2017.

January 28th, 2018 and the Wall Street Journal publishes this ‘How Amazon’s Ad Business Could Threaten Google and Facebook‘.

However, this section is not about me saying ‘Ooooo, look how smart we are!’, oh no. This section is about sharing this amazing chart that is a) from the WSJ article linked above and b) a good primer for exactly where Amazon sit among today’s major players.

Look:

Umm…

So tell me again – where is your media agency recommending you spend your dollar this year?

__________________

4. BRANDS WITH ‘PURPOSE’

Not really a section to talk about a particular piece of work more a follow-on piece from FtoF #241 (item 5) regarding BRANDS WITH PURPOSE.

Here are some thoughts on the topic. Some related, some not.

  • I do not believe there is enough evidence to support that a brand with a ‘purpose’ to do good in the world is the route to a successful product. For every example you throw forward, there will be fifty that do not make the cut. You read about the exceptions, not the rules.
  • The theory that ‘MILLENIALS (blergh) have a higher propensity to buy brands with A HIGHER PURPOSE’ is as ridiculous as it is unresearched.
  • That said, I believe that for brands to exist, they do need a purpose for existing. ‘To help the company become profitable’ is as much of a purpose as ‘to make the world a better place’ – both will sell.
  • When a brand has a purpose over and above its overall goal of just making money – it has ‘the right’ to participate in the cultural conversation – sometimes, in very rare cases, it sets it.
  • There is nothing wrong with a brand that doesn’t have a BIG SOCIAL PURPOSE. ‘Brand X believes the world would be a better place if Y could Z by A, B, and C’ – is a perfectly good model of setting a brand purpose.
  • Without insight – purpose is kinda meaningless.
  • Having a MODEST ‘purpose’ is OK. You don’t have to set out to solve world peace simply by selling more toothpaste. It won’t happen – so don’t try.
  • That said, using your platform to talk about matters that matter – to the company, the brand – the people that the product identifies with – that is OK.

And it’s that last point that leads me to these two pieces from BURGER KINGand SONOS. Both addressing Net Neutrality. Both doing so in their own way.

Standing up for something that is relevant to your consumer? I think that’s important. Wading on a cultural conversation where your brand has no relevance? I mean, just GTFO.

The point is – I don’t where this has come from but it’s bugging me. In 2018, where things seem to be so darn binary, how does a brand find its ‘purpose’ – an authentic, modest purpose? With room to breathe, play – make money – and stand up for what it thinks is right for its consumer.

Food for thought

I will come back to this in a later edition, I’m sure

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

___________________

5. FACEBOOK ALGORITHM STUFF

This is super fresh. I think I mentioned in either the last edition or the one before that about the huge newsfeed algorithm changes coming to a Facebook near you (not heard? read up, yo). Since then, I’ve been either been on the fence or full-blown snark about the whole thing.

In the first instance, my opinion is that if you’re a publisher that still sees benefit from organic reach and you DON’T publish link/engagement-bait-y headlines/articles, then you really have nothing to worry about.

In the second instance, the snarky one, it’s often off the back of reading post after post, article after article, discussion after discussion about ‘What these changes mean for brands’ – when the truth of the matter is: NOBODY KNOWS. Literally, a few hundred people on the west coast of America MIGHT know, but that’s it. The changes haven’t been made yet and so the REAL WORLD IMPACT of the thing is UNKNOWN. So please, don’t swallow the BS from the second-rate ‘digital’ experts on LinkedIn – they know nothing.

OK, so rant over.

The good news is: Facebook is lifting the lid slightly – and did so TODAY!

The better news, the man who literally LIVES on the pulse of this stuff, Matt Navarra (you really should follow him), was invited to the Webinar.

Better yet, he shared a bunch of slides!

Official ones! With clarity!

With clarity!

Such clarity!

Like I said at the start: if you’re a brand/publisher that DOESN’T focus on your audience or promote MEANINGFUL interactions, then what the hell have you been doing this whole time?

It’s good to see this stuff from Facebook directly. It’s not exactly rocket science – but at least it’s clear.

Cheers for sharing Matt.

____________________

PRE-BONUS ESSENTIAL READING: 

Only the essentials. 

______________________

THE BONUS SECTION OF BONUS-SHAPED BONUSES: 

You. Me. Us. Bonus.

___________________

YOU HAVE REACHED THE END. 

Thank you for reading.

As I said at the start: the grass is always greener when you water it. Wherever you are in the world, whatever your situation, spend some time watering the garden this weekend.

You’ll be amazed at how green it can be when you put the work in.

Whatley out, x.