Newsletter #283: Introduction
Hey you. How's your week been?
Thanks for the huge bump in subs this week. Honestly, the largest influx I've had in one week since I started this thing (way back in 2011).
Last week's trends have brought so many new folk running (hi!). If you're new and you missed the fuss, you can read last week's edition right here.
What have I been up to, well, on the DL I've been going and giving the occasional top secret talk, freelancing a bit on other top secret work, and also - my favourite part - just hanging out with my children.
Only one more week left of this bliss before... I'll tell you next week :)
In this week's edition, we'll find: WOMEN BEING AMAZING, some random COMIC BOOK MOVIE stuff (shocker), an update on last week's trends edition (some new numbers, and a link to where you can find the write-ups now), and a few other random bits and bobs as well.
The bonus section may or may not be massive (we'll see how I feel when I get down there - and whether or not I can remember where I've stored all the links; my tabs are looking dangerously low in number).
Shall we crack on with this thing then?
1. THIS WOMAN IS INCREDIBLE
When someone 'smashes' a record, you probably think a few minutes here or there maybe? No, not Jasmin Paris. She broke the record by TWELVE HOURS.
My mate Joe (the source of this story) summed it up brilliantly:
"This is completely insane. She is some kind of superhuman. She ran the won the race, set a new record, expressed breast milk at the checkpoints, only slept for three hours, was hallucinating and she did the whole think on a one week “break” from writing her PhD thesis."
Amazing story. Go read it.
In which James gets sold on a movie by a SINGLE GIF.
This one, in fact.
Taken from the first part of this trailer, SHAZAM, if you've never heard of him, is a kid who happens to get turned into a superhero.
The pitch for the movie, which I am totally on board with is, basically BIG, but instead of waking up as Tom Hanks, the kids wakes up as Superman.
Yeah, I'm in.
Also: SCROLL UP AND LOOK AT THE GIF AGAIN, ISN'T IT GREAT?!
PS. I'm a nerd. I've been saying SHAZAM! like this for years. I knew knew knew that as soon as the movie others would do it. YOU MARK MY WORDS.
3. #BONUSTRENDS2019: AN UPDATE
I'm sure I say it every week but truly you're all so bloody lovely. The number of emails, tweets, and private messages I had on the trends inspired me to write them up formally yesterday, as LinkedIn posts.
Trend 1. Let's talk about Stories.
Trend 2. Let's talk about Audio.
Trend 3. The Politicians are Coming.
Since first writing this lot up last week, I If you want one link to rule them all, I've hosted the above links (as well as a few bonus noodles) in this handy Twitter thread for y'all to favourite-for-later. So there's that.
The other bits I wanted to cover off in this section were all the other trend-related things that have happened since last week. And there are a fair few:
And then, two days ago, this happened:
- I spoke to the Guardian [re trends one and two] and attempted to land some salient points about where and how we might see (or hear) advertising in the future. Worth a read this (mainly as it includes commentary from people much smarter than me).
- You can now share what you're watching on Netflix direct to Instagram Stories with pre-made Netflix graphics.
- Instagram 'We're sorry'. ISBA 'You need regulating'. Link.
- 'The Amazon Awakening' (a trend I wrote about in 2017/18) continues to reap interesting news stories. This one, re a free sampling service that is based upon what you like/dislike is as obvious as it is fantastic. Expect it to roll out globally. And then be sold to brands.
- On the Politicians front (and the LinkedIn articles above have been updated to reflect these stories) we have 'US regulators meeting to discuss a record-setting fine against Facebook' (pre-shutdown one imagines) and then France setting a €50m fine for Google (thanks to GDPR). We're barely out of the blocks on this one.
- Additionally, it was nice of Zuckerberg to spell out what exactly Facebook is and how it works in a WSJ op-ed yesterday. Lots of truth here. Also lots unsaid. Maybe it's a Rorschach test? (as one friend just pointed out to me, if Zuck actually wanted people to read it, then he would have given it to a more mainstream paper that doesn’t have a paywall — WaPo, NYT, USA Today, etc. This seems more aimed at getting investors to feel as though Facebook is doing something to stop the rot).
- On a related note, at the end of the Politicians are Coming trend, I pull light to the moral conflict facing brand marketers about their Facebook usage. Thanks to FToF reader, Caroline, for sharing this link about how Basecamp is now a Facebook-free business. GREAT reading.
Oh, the screengrab doesn't have the most important piece in it:
"The Competition and Markets Authority has not made a finding on whether the influencers named breached consumer law, but said all of them volunteered to change their practices following an investigation.
However, if they fail to comply with the agreement reached with the CMA, they could be taken to court and face heavy fines or prison sentences of up to two years."
Emphasis mine. Obvs.
TWO YEARS IN PRISON.
FOR NOT PUTTING #AD ON YOUR GRAM ABOUT YOUR FREE £2K WATCH THO.
A few things on this:
First, it is an absolute imperative that you put some time aside and read the new CMA guidance on how to be transparent with your followers.
Second, I hate to say I told you so but I TOLD YOU SO (in 2013).
Third, in December 2017, my old trend-writing partner-in-crime, Marshall Manson, wrote a section about how the 'Tragedy of the Commons' was a perfect analogy for what was happening in influencer marketing. He couldn't have been more right. This is that. And it's not going away.
Fourth, and this is a minor point, it has been an absolute blast watching the influencers of Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube lose their collective sheeeeeet over this. Lots of stamping of feet and crying from people that have only read the headlines and not the actual guidance (again, you should read that). It's still going on out there - if you know where to look.
Fifth and final point (on this at least): I do love the whole 'We agree to follow the law' thing. Hilarious.
It feels good to get all this trend stuff out. I'm glad you're enjoying and engaging with it. I'll be keeping an eye out for more proof points as the year develops - I'd love it if you did too. Find something interesting or relevant? Hit that reply button!
4. YOU'VE GOT ANOTHER THING COMING?
There's a phrase.
You've been doing it wrong.
If you've got 'another thing coming', you've got another think coming.
5. "WHAT HAS BEEN LOST ON THE FACEBOOK SWINGS HAVE BEEN GAINED ON THE INSTAGRAM ROUNDABOUTS"
I came close to putting it in the trends piece above.
But I think it's worth a section on its own.
The quote itself is from a session between Sir Martin Sorrell and Scott Galloway at DLD 19 - 'The State of Play of Media'. SMS says it quite early on - and he's spot on. Scott's subsequent piece on what to do re: FB's CEO and COO is also great watching.
In short, this is well worth 25mins of your time.
To the newbies, The Essentials are the weekly links to what's the latest with the Me Too movement. Any article. Any press. Any story. Any white male firing. If it happens, it's here.
- #MeToo in Silicon Valley
- South Korea
- More on Surviving R Kelly
There's nothing further on Gilette. I think I said enough last week.
THE BONUS LINK SECTION
Here are your bonuses for the week. Use them wisely. Remember children, neglected tabs rot your brain...
- He reported on Facebook. Now he approaches it with caution. NYT's investigative tech reporter on what he does differently today vs before he started his work.
- I spoke to WIRED about why Instagram's world record egg is the last of a dying breed (ps. there's a very good reason why the creator is keeping schtum).
- What is Glitter?
- Very smart person and gifted writer, David Levin, on 'Why brands should stop posting in first person' - great points, well made. And Nathan Allebach's thread that followed is also a good read.
- Artist replaces billboards with photos of what they block behind (lovely).
- 'Amazon solved buying but it killed shopping' - great quote, better podcast.
- Divers swim with one of the biggest great white sharks in the world (HUGE)
- Why start a side hustle?
- Your old tweets give away more than you think.
- The woman you felt for most from the Netflix Fyre doc is getting her money back from a huge influx of global generosity. Love her.
- Advertising is in crisis, but it's not because it doesn't work - Rory Sutherland on excellent form.
- Red hats are the new white hoods - compelling from Alyssa Milano.
- Got Deliveroo? Yeah, don't do that anymore.
- Do women need mentors or champions?
- Good marmalade.
- A statue for Wales ♥️
- Making the case for data.
- Schooled by WIRED. Burn.
- A sim-racer beat a real-life racer on a real-life track. Brilliant.
- BBH, the owner of THE BEST INDUSTRY BLOG OF RECENT TIMES™, published this piece this week 'THE METHOD IN THE MANTRAS' - an amazing hit list of the best advertising agency mantras you've ever (or never) heard of. The 4th one on the list was of GREAT interest to me. If you know, you know. If not, ask me sometime.
- We've made it this far and I've barely mentioned gaming! I'm changing that now. AOC breaks the internet with a charity Twitch stream to help trans kids. See also: reasons why her opponents don't understand her (and never will). Brilliant.
- Analogies help us plan elegantly - I like this. A lot.
- The case for Inbox Infinity - YES!!!!!!!!!