Carhartt Labor Day colouring book – the American workwear brand put together a great children’s colouring book for labor day weekend. It allows parents to explain what they do for their kids and provides an activity for a socially isolated public holiday. You can download your Carhartt Labor Day colouring book here.
Vox Media have done a great video on rotoscoping and animation. Rotoscoping as a technique allowed animation to have life-like motion, but the creativity of animation.
I was introduced to rotoscoping with the Ralph Bakshi Lord of The Rings animated movie. Peter Jackson’s live action version borrowed from this version shot for shot, but I find the animated version more enthralling because of Bakshi’s use of rotoscoping.
Simon Peel of Adidas’ now famous speech that recommended a healthy skepticism on short term performance marketing and the impact of longer term brand marketing. He realises digital is important, but lays out why marketers should ask why? Peel talked honestly about marketing effectiveness, marketing efficiency and misleading metrics. I had read the articles, but this is the first time that I’d seen his talk. More on marketing effectiveness here.
Microsoft had been experimenting with sealed underwater data centres to see if they were possible and what the benefits were. Prior to the project starting there would be some predetermined benefits:
Reduced energy costs as refrigeration wouldn’t be needed. (You could achieve a similar effect, if you buried the data centre deep enough)
Reduced data centre costs. Internet hotels and server farms can cost a lot if built in cities with expensive real estate
But there were questions over corrosion, damage and reliability. Microsoft got around corrosion by filling a submerged data centre with a nitrogen atmosphere. They found that a data centre without human intervention had much less faults than a matching data centre on-shore.
Microsoft are now working on how the end of life process would work for an underwater data centre.
The Irreparable Damage Boris Johnson Is Wreaking on Britain – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – unlike many members of his party, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not have any particular animus toward foreigners. He has betrayed pretty well everyone in his various lives as philanderer, journalist, and politician: wives, mistresses, editors, readers, party colleagues, Parliament, and the wider public. EU negotiators are merely the latest victims of his boundless treachery – wow a sick burn, but factual and truthful in their analysis of Boris Johnson
Pooj Morjaria, founder, Did They Help? – Wunderman Thompson Intelligence – A growing pattern of morally driven consumption has emerged over the past few years, from ethical fashion edits to anti-excess beauty to carbon credit spending to cruelty-free travel. But what was once pioneered by a niche group of true believers is ballooning into a base rate, fundamental expectation of brands. Morally and ethically sound practices are increasingly considered table stakes for brands—and are an important factor in consumers’ path to purchase.The difficulty, according to Pooj Morjaria, was tracking and cataloguing brand behavior. Which is why he created Did They Help?, an independent watchdog website that keeps a running record of brands’ good and bad deeds
Science-backed brands – Wunderman Thompson Intelligence – A heightened focus on health is reshuffling the hierarchy of consumer priorities. In the wake of a global pandemic, consumers are putting more stock in medically and scientifically endorsed offerings. 89% of Americans put their trust in medical scientists, and those reporting a great deal of confidence in medical scientists has gone up from 35% before the outbreak to 43% in April, according to findings from Pew Research Center. Now, brands are harnessing that trust by enlisting medical professionals and spotlighting scientific credentials
Beats by Dr. Dre Sets Its First-Ever Campaign on TikTok – I like when campaigns actually inspire creative action. For this challenge, people need a bit more creative than just replicating a dance. I really liked the emphasis on color, which works well on TikTok as a full-screen, immersive experience. You couldn’t really replicate this on other platforms. What we’re starting to see on TikTok is this mass participation in creativity. The concept of UGC isn’t new, but TikTok has made UGC so much more powerful. – Good TikTok Creative newsletter on the campaign
Ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt: US ‘dropped the ball’ on innovation – BBC News – In the battle for tech supremacy between the US and China, America has “dropped the ball” in funding for basic research, according to former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. And that’s one of the key reasons why China has been able to catch up. Dr Schmidt, who is currently the Chair of the US Department of Defense’s innovation board, said he thinks the US is still ahead of China in tech innovation, for now. – The irony is that at Google Schmidt & co. pretended that this was precisely what they were doing
Gaming the charts has been going on for decades. Economist Tyler Cowen documented how prosecutions in the US for what was called payola started in the 1950s in his book: In Praise of Commercial Culture. Prior to this the process for the charts was opaque at best. It destroyed the career of radio DJ Alan Freed, who helped pioneer the rock and roll sound. American Bandstand presenter Dick Clark almost had a similar fate. Clark sold a stake in a record company and turned snitch for the authorities.
Over time labels relied on legal promotional means to radio stations. Here’s what KLF’s The Manual had to say about them circa 1988:
Your plugger. The man responsible for getting the nation to hear your record. From now on in this man will undoubtedly be the most important person in the jigsaw. Without his faith, vision and understanding of the fastest lane in this particular rat race, you will be nowhere.
So go with the plugger that’s got the faith, vision and understanding – indefinable qualities – but you will know within five minutes of meeting them if they have it. Top grade bull is something else they should have.
The plugger will try and explain what his job is. Each of them view their role differently but all must be able to deliver the following:
1. Concrete advice on what has to be brought out on your record for him to be able to do his job.
2. Appointments with Radio One producers where he is able to get them to listen to your record under the most favourable light.
3. Advice and help in putting together a video that will be acceptable for children’s television and a lead on some of the hungry young video makers who are out there.
Money and pluggers. They will want a lot and when your record starts happening pluggers will want more. Scott [The KLF’s plugger] wanted a thousand pounds to start working the record and then all sorts of bonuses related to our record reaching certain positions on the charts. We had to pay him five grand altogether once it had made Number One. He had a lot of costs and his team worked flat out for it, but we had to give him the first thousand the day of release. We had a couple of months to pay the other four. Anybody who can do it much cheaper won’t be much good.
The KLF – The Manual – How to Have a Number One Hit the Easy Way
Plugging services also worked with club DJs to get their artists in club play charts. When I used to send returns to these charts I used to receive ‘promotional copy’ records from promo agencies. Some of them were good, some indescribably bad. One of the agencies I used to get material from was IRP; my contact there Lohan Presencer went on to become executive chairman of the Ministry of Sound Group.
With the rise of hallyu and online voting you saw early breakout artists like the Wonder Girls galvanise fans and home and abroad to get them on to the likes of Disney Radio in the US.
Now it seems political activism has merged with the art of plugging. Miles Guo, a critic of the Chinese government based in New York has provided the vocals and money behind ‘Take Down the CCP‘. It feels like the Team America soundtrack, but without the irony.
It went to number one on the iTunes download chart in three countries on the one day America, Canada and Australia (you need to make an allowance for the international date line, so Australia appears on September 11th, rather than 10th). It has all the hallmarks of a coordinated promotion. The reduced prominence of downloads versus streams obviously paid a part in their chart choice. Promotions of streams are structurally very different, with playlists along genres being much more important; so for Guo it would be much harder in terms of gaming the charts. Gaming the charts for streaming does happen; but with more conventional agendas. More music related posts here.