About James Whatley

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Five things on Friday #258

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TO THE THINGS.

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1. BE MORE PIRATE

Another week, another book recommendation (if you missed the last edition, then Molly Flatt’s Charmed Life of Alex Moore is OUT NOW – it’s dead good).

This week I’m recommending a different book altogether. Something that, had I not heard it from the horse’s mouth direct, I probably would’ve shrugged and moved on from – I’m hella glad I didn’t.

Some background: last week, the second week of the Squared Guru training I mentioned, we were fortunate to have an amazing speaker in the shape of Sam Conniff. Founder, ex managing director of youth marketing agency, Livity, and now author, give a talk about why pirates were THE ORIGINAL innovators (he wrote this article about the book launch – worth a look).

Aside from setting a new bar for representation on a single slide, the talk – and Sam – was excellent – and I am a complete convert. I bought the book off the back of that presentation and you should do the same.

I’ll read mine, you read yours, and then we’ll compare notes in about a month. Deal?

Deal.

Go get.

2. BITS AND PIECES OF SELF-SERVING STUFF THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE USEFUL TO YOU. 

First, The Drum wrote about the purposeful decision to cultivate and encourage different cultures between companies and their in-house innovation teams/departments – something that I hugely disagree with!

You can read more about that, here.

Second, WIRED wrote about YouTube’s recently announced foray into recruiting ‘A-listers’ for its next batch of original content. The angle of the piece makes it seem like it’s an ‘instead of’ or an ‘either/or’ when it’s actually an ‘and’ and furthermore, a really interesting strategic point of growth when you think about it…

Me? I tend to fall down on the more audience-centric POV.

Third and finally, I’m speaking at the Buy Yorkshire conference on Tuesday next week (May 15th). Running through a slimmed down (but updated) version of the #OgilvyTrends2018 presentation. I’m really looking forward to it and, if you’re in the area, you should come (it’s free).

3. THE HUMAN TEST


It was a Sunday night. An ad came on in the background – it sounded a bit… different. I looked up. And I saw this.

And it was awesome (and so I tweeted about it, above).

There’s a lot to love here.

1. I LOVE how the ad uses a catch-all term for all home assistant. Over, for example, the easier route of just going after one.

2. I LOVE the test itself (you should try it).

3. And I LOVE the fact that Channel 4 used a TV ad to drive interaction with this, what is ostensibly a teaser trailer for its next seasons of its sci-fi drama, HUMANS.

Ask your Home Assistant ‘Start Human Test’ and have a play.

Those that hold up the Burger King ‘Whopper Hijack’ as a ‘best in class’ use of voice (it isn’t) could learn a lot from this.

4. GO SPEED GO. SPEED RACER came out ten years ago this week and, for what it’s worth, that film is a GOD DAMN MASTERPIECE –  and I’ll fight anyone that disagrees.

Good job HULK agrees then.

5. OFCOM REPORT ON ADULT MEDIA USAGE

Not that new but if you missed it it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

As is this thread of data points therein.

THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

YOU ARE NEARING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.  

Aaaaaaaaaaaand…. GO! 

  • Did you know that you can view (and edit) the advertising info that Google has on you? I didn’t either. Go see.
  • What is life?
  • Klout closed. Just in time for GDPR. I’m probably going to write about this at some point (the first two comments on that post are SOLID GOLD too).
  • Mark Hamill is great
  • There’s a pixel watch coming, apparently.
  • Facebook said sorry – in an ad.

Five things on Friday #257

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.

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TO THE THINGS.

_______________

1. THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE

I wrote about this several editions ago – when the proof copy of my dear friend Molly Flatt’s debut novel, The Charmed Life of Alex Moore, first arrived.

Back then I said something along the lines of:

“My friend Molly Flatt has a book out. It is pretty damn good (so far). I am awfully proud of her.”

Last week I finished it.

And here’s what I said, to Molls, shortly after:

Quite.

Having had a few days to reflect, I’m less emosh and more thoughtful. The Charmed Life of Alex Moore starts out as a rich and knowing insight into the crazy world of startup land. If you’ve ever been anywhere near that industry, or have wanted to know how crazybatshi it can be, then you’ll love the way this book starts.

But then things get weird.

Unexplained coincidences. A call from a research agency in the Orkney Isles sets in motion a chain of events that completely flips everything Alex knows about herself, and the world, completely on its head.

Alex Moore is a brilliantly realised character living her best life in a perfectly described London of 2018. Until she’s not. And that’s when things get weird and wonderful. Go with it – the reward is worth the journey.

I cried. Thrice.

The Charmed Life of Alex Moore is out next Friday and you can pre-order on Amazon, Kindle, or Audible TODAY. Don’t just do it because Molly is a mate, do it because it really is a bloody good book. x

2. NOT TECHNICALLY BEAUTIFUL

Tracey Thorn, best known as being one half of the duo ‘Everything but the Girl‘, writing for The New Statesman on 35 years of being described by male journalists.

It is an essential read.

3. THE REDEFINITION OF CHARACTER IN THOR: RAGNAROK

Cutting off Thor’s hair in RAGNAROK should be a huge deal. But it wasn’t – not really – and it was handled with such deft care, along with a whole bunch of other huge character changes that you barely even noticed because you were having so much fun.

As Film School Rejects notes:

“Thor: Ragnarok is a little miracle of a movie. It’s easily the funniest film in the franchise. As much as I praise the vision of the directors witnessed in Iron Man 3and Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok plays like a Taika Waititi film first and a Marvel movie second. He picks up two of their most mishandled action figures, frees them of their usual accessories, and redefines their appeal. Thor is not the God of Hammers; he’s the mother frickin’ God of Thunder. Cue “Immigrant Song.””

And the Marvel Cinematic Universe is better for it.

Read the analysis – it’s good.

4. THE WORST OF TIMES, THE BEST OF TIMES.(OR ‘HOW I GOT MADE HEAD OF STRATEGY AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY INDUSTRY LANDSCAPE)

Ben Shaw writes:

“Consultancies are eating our lunch, brands are spending less with agencies, with procurement running the show and paying us by the hour, pitches now seem to be not only chemistry, tissue, strategy and creative but hey look we even made the ad too. Instead of a multi-year marriage between client and agency, long term brand building responsibility has seemingly been handed over to the logo, creatives are increasingly being told to tell a thumb stopping, emotionally engaging story in 3-6” vertical mobile film, the programmatic revolution increasingly looks like Brexit with lots of overpromise and plenty of under delivery, ad fraud seems ripe within the digital ecosystem with fewer and fewer pounds going towards actual comms, media agencies have been found out for not being transparent so brands are building teams in-house, influencers are the new media and replacing creative ideas with poorly acted product placement, Social Media ad spend is set to beat the storytelling heartland of TV, unsurprisingly, more and more of our best young talent isn’t even thinking of joining the industry, whilst our best talent is leaving to go client side or join a platform/consultancy, the #MeToo wave is slowly making its way through the industry with the biggest of big dogs being taken down, the gender gap pay difference confirms that we aren’t supporting talent in our industry if they want to nurture life as well, and our entire industry feels like it’s built on a cultural cohort of white middle class Oxbridge thinking that is more out of touch with the rest of the country than ever before. Phew. Oh. And A.I. is going to replace all of us.”

When you put it like that way, the industry’s problems writ large, it all becomes rather depressing.

The good news is (and also delivered by the brilliant and newly minted Head of Strategy at BBH London), it’s not all as bad as it looks.

Putting Ben in this role is bloody smart. I admire the man and his work – and I’m looking forward to seeing what else he brings to the table. Soon.

5. PASSING THE TORCH

This is a GREAT read.

Andrew White for the New York Times sits down with Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan. He opens with a question on what it was like for MBJ when, after his performance in Fruitvale Station (no, Robbie, I haven’t seen it yet -I’ll watch it tonight) film critics described him as a young DW.

And then it just flows from there.

One of those interviews where you just wish you were in the room.

THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

THE END IS NEAR. THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE CHUNK OF INTERNET TO FOLLOW: COME AND HAVE A GO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE HARD ENOUGH. 

LET’S HAVE IT. 

Five things on Friday #256

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. YOUTUBE KIDS, BUT WITHOUT THE YUCKY STUFF

That’s what Buzzfeed is reporting anyway. If you’ve not followed this one, here’s the first proper in-depth look that made so many parents (myself included) uninstall YouTube Kids from their devices.

The good news is, YouTube has spent the past six months or so a) attempting to get rid of the bad stuff (v difficult given the sheer amount of content uploaded every day) and b) developing a new whitelisted-content-only version of the app.

This is a good development on a bad story.

Well done everyone.

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2. ONE QUESTION

The next One Question event has been dated (June 7th), venued (Electric Cinema), and the tickets are available NOW.

The one question this time around is ‘Has technology enhanced or damaged our experiences?’ and the perspectives on offer cover everything from data, to business, the arts, and more.

One Question is my favourite conference(?) in the events calendar and, if you fancy a day of being intellectually stimulated on topics and ideas that are sometimes close but often quite far away from your day to day then I wholly recommend it.

Off you pop.

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3. DIE HARD WITH THE FBI

Have you seen DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE (easily the best sequel in the entire franchise)?

Know that whole ‘let’s rob the federal reserve and steal it all with dump trucks’ bit? Yeah, the writer’s work on the subject was so good that the FBI was called in to investigate just how the writer, Jonathan Hensleigh, knew so much about it.

Brilliant.

4. TIME PASSES VERY SLOWLY WHEN YOU’RE IN A HIPPO’S MOUTH. Quite.
5. CHATBOTS, EH? 

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while (or if you know a bit about me and my work) you’ll know that about two years ago now, I started dicking about with building chatbots. I built one for the building I work in (if you ever visit Ogilvy London, search Messenger for ‘Roombot’) and subsequently wrote the strategic POV for the agency and launched a bot building practice/framework to help figure out how this new technology could be applied to solve consumer and client problems.

I wrote about it two trends decks ago and, in the most recent one, reviewed my prediction of ‘The chatbot gold rush’ as a ‘B+’ for effort while remarking that ‘it was less of a rush, more a leisurely jog’.

In short: bots arrived but they didn’t exactly set the world alight and, like multitudes of new technologies as and when they’ve appeared, it takes a bit of time to figure exactly how to apply them.

This article (and the title for this section) is a really good dip on where we are with bots today.

It goes some way in addressing the whole mis-naming problem that’s gone on with chatbots/bots etc… ‘Message app’ or ‘Message service’ is probably an easier and more accurate sell.

We’re still building bots for clients (we’ve run Stoptober on Messenger for Public Health England the past two years and, most recently, built the messenger solution for Reuters) – with more to follow v soon.

I guess our golden rule is a combination of framing vs pointy-problem-solving. In reverse order: what is the pointy problem we’re trying to solve and, when we’ve worked that out, how do we frame the messenger-based solution correctly to the consumer to encourage participation.

One to noodle on…

THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

BEHOLD! THE BONUS SECTION FOR YOUR EYES!  

BEEE-OH-EN-OH-ESSS.

 

Five things on Friday #255

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. THE ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS

Related to last week, a reader sent in this profile of The Rock.

And it is worth your time.

_________

2. HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN IPHONE

This is great. This guy went to the markets in Shenzen, China, to see if he could build his own iPhone 6S from spare parts.

[watch the 24min video – yes it’s long but it’s great]

There are a few things of note here:

  1. It’s super interesting!
  2. The one thing the guy doesn’t tell you is how much all the parts cost (it’s $300 (not including duff parts)).
  3. The proliferation of We Chat as the payment mechanism throughout the market is phenomenal.

A couple of trends presentations ago (specifically slide 25, here), Marshall Manson and I said that, when it comes to the future of messaging apps, we should look east to see where the tech is going.

Worth a watch.

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3. A HIGHER LOYALTY

Ahh… the James Comey book is nearly here.

The New York Times review is worth a read as is I am sure the book itself (out on Thursday).

_____

4. ABOUT THE BOYS

Tim Winton on how toxic masculinity is shackling men to misogyny.

Christ, this is so well written.

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5. ACTUAL MACHINE LEARNING

Research scientist, Janelle Shane, has been pulling out the more interesting findings from a paper on algorithmic creativity.

You can read the Twitter thread or Shane’s blog post on the topic.

Both are insane.

Turns out if you ask an algorithm to learn how to jump a certain height, it’ll teach itself to can-can.

(thanks, Olly, for the tip)

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THE ESSENTIALS: 

Three this week: 

BEHOLD! THE BONUS SECTION FOR YOUR EYES!  

B/O/N/U/S.

Five things on Friday #254

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. 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.

___________________________

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.

__________________

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.
__________

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.