Ten Stories From This Week

25th September 2021

Dave Trott’s history of GREAT advertising in 25 commercials.(41’40”)

Interesting piece from The Guardian. Does the Elizabeth Holmes trial spell the end of the #girlboss era?

When Covid stalled his film work, the writer took revenge on the virus in the form of a poem about Britain, Brexit and the pandemic. by Armando Iannucci

A short, though provoking post about the ‘creativity and relevance’ flywheel’ for brands. Creativity being internally facing value that defines who we are. Relevancy being externally-facing value that defines how we live in the world. ht @neilperkin.

NYT on the future of cinema“It’s frustrating that people keep writing lazy obituaries for cinema, something they have no feeling for or interest in. I don’t love all that’s transpired in movie history — the shift from film to digital, the loss of technical competency — but I remain buoyed by the persistence of the art and how its ecologies adapt and persevere.

Introducing Circus, an “obnoxious, vibrant, raw and unkempt” new anti-beauty mag. Launched this week as the brainchild of London-based photographer Jackson Bowley, the publication is a circus of chaos and high saturation.

‘Don’t be afraid to disappear’. Great line from an Emmy’s acceptance speech this week. Michaela Coel, creator of I May Destroy You:  ‘..visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success — don’t be afraid to disappear from it, from us, for a while and see what comes to you in the silence.’

You are still exhausted. “Life is still exhausting because the pandemic was and remains exhausting in so many invisible ways – and we still haven’t given ourselves space to even begin to recover.” From Ann Helen Peterson.

A really good interview question. 

48 colours of the moon. Beautiful.

No newsletter next week. Back on the 10th 🙏

Ten Stories From This Week

20th September 2021

From @Storythings. ‘If I was to ask you what was the most important invention of the 20th century, you might mention the car, the television, the computer, or the internet. But there’s another invention that had such a huge impact on culture and society that people would organise their lives around it, and it drove the growth of multi-billion dollar industries. Despite this, most of us wouldn’t think of it as an invention at all, as it seems to have always just been there. So here’s a brief history of one of the most important overlooked inventions of modern times: the TV schedule.’

Emotional, Intense and Necessary – The campaign supporting the UK’s NHS Workers. When They Need It the Most. Dial 0808 19 665 19 to leave your message of support. (two minute video)

Detailed report on the Metaverse, from Wunderman Thompson.Interest in the metaverse has peaked this year—the number of searches for the word increased more than tenfold from 2020 to 2021, according to Google Analytics. Media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian have all published extensive articles probing its implications. Companies from Epic Games to Microsoft to Facebook and SK Telecom have publicly announced plans to build metaverse worlds.’

The 1,000 Dreams Project. One thousand refugee stories, by refugees. If sometimes the refugee crisis seems distant and perhaps faceless, this project brings the issue vividly and wonderfully to life. 

Writing advice from Matt Stone & Trey Parker (from South Park) @ NYU. Useful anytime we are making a case or argument. It’s all about using the words ‘but’ and ‘therefore’. (2′.14″)

The most unexpectedly wholesome place on the internet, is the replies to NASA’s Rovers on social media. From XKCD comic.

The Alpine Edelweiss Beer Ad that’s giving us the space we all crave right now. (58″)

AI movie posters. Each of these images was generated by AI based on a brief text description of a movie. Can you guess the movie from the image?

Nice new work from Google. The more we learn, the closer we get.
‘It’s not our questions that define us, it’s what we do with the answers.’ @MarcusRashford narrates, celebrating the power of questions in building unity. #itsOKtoAsk

Russell Kane tweet on difference between coffee and green tea.Have a soft spot for Mr Kane as he was the presenter of the Travel Marketing Awards in March 2020 just before the lockdown started. He was in great spirits then and it was also the night that my company (MDSG) won the trophy for Advertising Agency of the Year, for the second year running 😁

Ten Stories From This Week

4th September 2021

From Flowing Data. Researchers asked 10,000 participants to list ten things that recently made them happy. The result was HappyDB, a collection of 100,000 happy moments.Counting Happiness and Where it Comes From. 

How equality slipped away. For 97 per cent of human history, all people had about the same power and access to goods. How did inequality ratchet up?

“Sanctuaries of Silence” takes you on a virtual journey into one of Earth’s last remaining bastions of true quiet — the Hoh Rain Forest, in Washington State. Shot in beautifully immersive 360 video. (7’19”)

‘They deserve a place in history’: a map of female composers. This interactive tool features more than 500 women who are often forgotten in the classical music world.

I know this divides opinion, but I love it. From Dave Trott –‘The language used in art galleries would do anyone in marketing proud. (Clue: “The accumulation of impressions produced by this ambulatory impulse” means footprints)’.

From Tricycle. ‘For Philip Glass, the celebrated American composer, pianist, and Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, music comes from the deeper recesses of the mind that are inaccessible in ordinary waking consciousness. A piece of music may arise out of a moment of total meditative absorption—an “intensity of attention” that eliminates all self-awareness. Or it may come from a dream state, and one wakes up with a piece of music clear in his mind.

A Hollywood style sign welcomes Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny to Wrexham, Wales.

The 26 most beautiful towns in America.

Beautifully done- The Tokyoiter. A celebration of Tokyo artists, designers and illustrators whilst also paying tribute to the New Yorker. (HT @presentcorrect)

Possibly the best Venn Diagram ever…..?

Ten Stories From This Week

29th August 2021

So far and no further: the philosophy of Samuel Pepys….this is exactly why Pepys is so fascinating to us still: not because of his value as an accidental historian, but because in his diary we watch him reflecting upon his days with such largesse and candour that he either doesn’t care or doesn’t see what he is saying of himself. Had he done so, perhaps there might have been no diary at all.

From Wired. Facebook Quietly Makes a Big Admission. The company’s new approach to political content acknowledges that engagement isn’t always the best way to measure what users value.

From Wunderman Thompson. The metaverse workforce. Teleportation, holograms and roaming avatars – this isn’t the latest sci-fi movie, it’s the future of work.

Love this idea. ‘We need new rules! Many of the rules we have in the world are old rules – Beano and Somerset House are looking for new rules, to help us change the world for the good.’

Very nice. 25 Famous Songs With Misunderstood Meanings. This from Jim Steinman – ‘With ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song.’

From CN Traveller. The 27 Most Beautiful Places in Europe..and this is fun from Wanderlust – How well do you know these famous musical destinations? From the birthplace of the blues to songs about Rio, how many high notes will you hit in this music-themed quiz?

DHL Has a Licence to Deliver in Epic James Bond Spot (1′ 30″)

Lol. The 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

The South Pole experiences the ultimate dawn when the endless six-month-long dark winter, finally ends.

New Zealand cinema’s expletive-laden voicemail gets rave reviews.

No newsletter next week, we will back on the 18th.

Ten Stories From This Week

22nd August 2021

Did America just lose Afghanistan because of WhatsApp? ‘It appears the Taliban tried something different this time around. Open source reporting shows that rather than rocking up and going toe to toe with the Afghan national army, they appear to have simply called everyone in the entire country, instead, told them they were in control, and began assuming the functions of government as they went.’

Another instance in which Bitcoin is seen to be helping individuals achieve some form of economic independence in an authoritarian regime. As political demonstrations show the world that Cubans are tired of dictatorship, Bitcoin is providing an option to peacefully protest and opt out of a broken system.

Is anyone surprised? Harvard just discovered that PowerPoint is worse than useless.

Five truths about covid that defy our intuitions by Tim Harford. ‘It’s striking how much Covid confusion still reigns. Some of the informational miasma is deliberate — there’s profit for some in the bewilderment of others — but much of it stems from the fact that epidemics defy our intuition.’

Beauty filters are changing the way young girls see themselves. When augmented-reality face filters first appeared on social media, they were a gimmick. They allowed users to play a kind of virtual dress-up: change your face to look like an animal, or suddenly grow a moustache, for example. Today, though, more and more young people—and especially teenage girls—are using filters that “beautify” their appearance and promise to deliver model-esque looks by sharpening, shrinking, enhancing, and recolouring their faces and bodies.

Wonderful. Adam&eveDDB launches worlds biggest inclusivity movement for people with disabilities – ‘#WeThe15’. Supported by the International Paralympic Committee, the film supports the 15% of the global population who have a disability. (1’51”)

Perhaps the true value of an adventure is that it shrinks our ego. From Conde Nast Traveller – For the most intrepid travellers, exploration has more to do with mental resilience than trying to reach a destination.

Asteroid update. Scientists think they know where the asteroid which killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago came from. Researchers simulated more than 100,000 asteroid trajectories, finding that an asteroid more than six miles wide hurtled towards Earth 250 million years ago. Frequency of occurrence is five times more common than previously thought. Nasa has increased the odds of an asteroid hitting Earth before the year 2300, from 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 1,750. The riskiest single date is 24 September 2182, so make sure to pop that in your diaries.

Pixel: a biography. ‘An exact mathematical concept, pixels are the elementary particles of pictures, based on a subtle unpacking of infinity’. This brief history of the pixel begins with Joseph Fourier in the French Revolution and ends in the year 2000.

Blip is a short 2D animation that explores the topic of digital addiction, an issue increasing year by year and especially during the pandemic lockdown. (1′ 12′)

Ten Stories From This Week

14th August 2021

Media that were once free or easily accessible — including news websites, podcasts, TV shows and games — rushed to get behind paywalls during the pandemic. This accelerating trend is carving theinternet into many niche audiences, Balkanizing our collective media diets.

Photos of the newest UNESCO World Heritage sites.

‘When brands stop advertising for a year or more, we find sales often decline year-on-year following the stop (on average, sales fell 16% after one year, and 25% after two years)’. Ehrenberg-Bass research takes a look at what happens when brands stop advertising.

National Geographic is an Instagram powerhouse. The publisher has just topped 175 million followers, which makes it the 12th most followed account on the platform and the only media brand to crack the top 50. Their photographs and stories reach tens of millions of people around theworld each day. Inspiring through Instagram: Exploring NatGeo’s socially responsible strategy.

Five lessons from China’s internet businesses Bullet Commentary & the Hive Mentality, Social Serendipity, Participatory Experiences, Collaborative Learning, Social Commerce & Livestreaming. HT @zoescaman

Lack of travel getting you down? Take an online architecture tour around some of the world’s best buildings.

I try to keep off excel as much as possible….. ‘The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group’ looks into risks associated with errors in Excel. Here are some of the horror stories featured.

IKEA has decided to release a candle that smells like its Swedish meatballs.

Why are CAPTCHA pictures just… so deeply depressing? They are by AI, for AI.

This dog has the best method for going downstairs.

Ten Stories From This Week

7th August 2021

A worn pair of nurse’s shoes. That coronavirus model Anthony Fauci used in public briefings. Oral histories, iconic photos and social media posts. All of us are curators now, and what we preserve — as well as what we don’t — will write the pandemic story. What will history say about Covid? Museums scurry to collect — and prepare to remember.

‘Before launching a new campaign, marketers, branding experts, and advertising practitioners often spend months trying to define what a brand should stand for. They are very fond of the concept of “brand meaning.” This is driven by the belief that consumers impute specific attributes to brands and exercise their buying prerogatives based on themeaning they assign to the brand, and how well that meaning aligns with their values. Or something like that….’ Adcontrarian on The Power of Familiarity.

This weekend, tens of millions will watch and interact with an Ariana Grande avatar for a concert in video game Fortnite – the latest in a growing, lucrative market. ‘Limits are non-existent in the metaverse’

Having just finished my first year studying for a Masters in Psychology (Mindfulness) at Bangor University, this rather tickled me – Tsundoku, theJapanese concept of buying books and never reading them.

From GQ. The brain-changing magic of new experiences. Thepsychological reasons why novelty—from visiting new places to socialising—makes us happier and healthier people. (the importance of paying attention, of course)

Brilliant (because I have a dog and a mini). MINI UK opens its doors to paws for a happier travel partnership with the Dogs Trust. (30″)

What makes the perfect vehicle? The reality of driving in cities is a far cry from what the advertising tells us. Nice spoof from @Specialized_UK (1′ 04″).

Find the farthest city on earth from where you are. Mine was Dunedin.

The 1001 Albums generator recommends a different album every day taken from the the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’.

Interview with a horse after the Olympics Equestrian Dressage.

Ten Stories From This Week

1st August 2021

From @storythings. The Death of Counterculture: Where Are All The New Style Tribes?
‘In the early days of the teenager we had mods and rockers fighting on Brighton beach. But since grunge, the idea of style tribes has faded. This piece looks at a few ideas as to what happened: “Put simply, thanks to the internet, the churn of ideas, and the speed with which those spread – and become co-opted by fashion brands – makes the establishment of a style tribe a seriously tall order. Style tribes need time to bed in – those cited above didn’t just explode, but seeded and grew over the best part of a decade – and the internet’s info torrent does not allow that: the new is old almost instantaneously.”

From the excellent Tortoisemedia. ‘First he came for your friends, with a mission to bring the world closer together. Now Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, has announced an even bigger ambition: to build Facebook into a unified and interconnected digital world…. a goal to “transition” Facebook into a “metaverse company”? To Zuck, it’s a “successor to a mobile internet” where “instead of just viewing content – you are in it”. That means that Facebook users would feel as present in it, as if they were in the real world. 

Apparently, TikTok never drops below 95% in the proportion of installed users that open up the app weekly. Here is a useful WSJ video on how the TikTok algorithm works.

The world first learned of Sophie Zhang in September 2020, when BuzzFeed News obtained and published highlights from her nearly 8,000-word exit memo from Facebook. Zhang has supplied concrete evidence to support what critics had long been saying on the outside: Facebook makes election interference easy, and that unless such activity hurts the company’s business interests, it can’t be bothered to fix the problem.

A good read on the problem of link rot – the phenomenon of article links no longer pointing to their original target. This story reveals the extent to which the internet, which holds so much of our knowledge, is rotting: overall, more than half of all articles in The New York Times that contain deep links, have at least one rotted link.”

Interesting perspective from The Atlantic, on a remote work future. ‘Remote work empowers those who produce and disempowers those who have succeeded by being excellent diplomats and poor workers, along with those who have succeeded by always finding someone to blame for their failures. It removes the ability to seem productive (by sitting at your desk looking stressed or always being on the phone), and also, crucially, may reveal how many bosses and managers simply don’t contribute to the bottom line.’

Naomi Oreskes, a science historian and expert on climate denial at Harvard, says the anti-vax movement is following the same playbook. “The doubt mongers have a much easier job than scientists because they don’t have to prove anything.”

Young people can make real money selling vintage clothes online — if they can stay on the right side of the algorithm. These are the Teen Tycoons of Depop.

Great piece from The Guardian. Mental health memes are everywhere – can they offer more than comic relief? A meme may help, but it doesn’t come close to a hug.

As a keen paddler, I particularly liked this piece – Swimming gives your brain a boost – but scientists don’t know yet why it’s better than other aerobic activities. 

Ten Stories From This Week

18th July

Super Human: Channel 4’s Awesome Paralympic Games Advert. This moving and upbeat film by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young shows a real human side to Britain’s elite athletes competing in Tokyo this summer. Top marks for featuring a Bugsy Malone song as a soundtrack and the line “To be a Paralympian there’s gotta be something wrong with you.”
(3′:00″) (HT@storythings)

“To be an optimist is to be highly familiar with the historical situation of mankind throughout most of its existence.” This piece, explores thenotion of “reflexive modernity”. As a society, we have progressed from “unconscious modernity,” where science and technology developed without any concern for the consequences of its evolution, to a world where what humanity does is reflexively examined for its potential future risks.

The Faults. Mountains are huge creatures on a scale of billions of years, and this work presents a fast-forward look at the changes in these mountains, not only in the form of growth, but also in the form of fractures and destruction. These movements are driven by different noise algorithms. (1′ : 41″)

After Twitter’s launch fifteen years ago, the LA Times described it as an alternative to “your MySpace page”.

No cults, no politics, no ghouls: how China censors the video game world. The number of gamers there, is bigger than the entire populations of the US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK combined.

For years, mathematicians have said it’s unknowable. New proof suggests otherwise. How many numbers exist? We might know one day.  Not every infinity is the same.

Wonderful. Watch Beluga whales migrating on this livestream.

You should use emojis at work 👍 A well-placed emoji can save you a whole lot of words...and apparently, Clippy’s coming back. This time as an emoji.

Video tricks by a stop motion animator. This wizardry is outrageously good. (30″)


  1. Just marvellous. This quirky Pedigree campaign imagines thefantastical former lives of shelter pets. (1′:00″)

Ten Stories From This Week

10th July 2021

Great piece on the current period of uncertainty, considered from the parallel, historical perspective of the eruption on Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. The devastating impact this event had and how, out of the crisis, modern agriculture was born- ‘We Have No Idea What Happens Next’.

Really like this from from Business Insider. ‘Time is seen in a particularly different light by Eastern and Western cultures, and even within these groupings assumes quite dissimilar aspects from country to country.’ This is how different cultures understand time. (we have linear, multi-active and cyclic).

Smashing idea, wonderful result. 100% of bars supported by Heineken’s Grand Prix-Winning, Shutter Ads idea, have re-opened. This campaign turned locked down bar shutters into media space and showed that purpose-driven and commercially impactful creative ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Nice from @geniusteals. Culture & trends report from YouTube. References specific videos or channels which you can add to your playlist. You could use it for your next presentation, or simply for a way to discover some new YouTube content.

TikTok is upending the book industry. “BookTok” has sent old books back to the top of bestseller lists and helped launch the careers of new authors. Videos with the BookTok hashtag have been viewed a collective 12.6 billion times and getting more people to take up the hugely fulfilling habit of reading.

GOGOSOHO: Celebrating the independent spirit of the eternally cool London neighbourhood.

Nice guide from, friend of The Filter, Greenwood Campbell. The Human Guide to Tech, Summer 2021 Edition. Challenge, Adapt and Thrive.

Artist Jan Is De Man asked residents of an apartment building to identify a treasured possession — then painted an image of that possession on the side of the building. Images on Street Art Utopia.

Magnum gives poet Dante and muse Beatrice a kiss to remember for International Kissing Day (6th July). Over 700 years ago Dante fell in love with his muse Beatrice and some of his most famous works were inspired by her. But despite his dedication, their love never happened. To celebrate Dante’s anniversary and International Kissing Day, Magnum, the brand that is about pleasure and art, has finally brought them together. (1’28”)

Take a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty.