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The Week In Branded Content (16th Nov)

The Week In Branded Content (16th Nov)

“All 8.6 million New York City residents not employed by Amazon or an Amazon subsidiary are prohibited from using MTA trains, effective immediately, if you enter a subway station and cannot prove you work for Jeff Bezos, you will be arrested. If you insist on getting around New York, you can take the bus so long as you’re not planning on transferring to the train later. I think the easiest thing residents can do in lieu of the taking the subway is to drive to their destination and park nearby.”

– Fake Mayor De Blasio – (Spoof From the Onion)






Trumpy Bear Official Commercial!

In addition to being the unofficial press shop of Donald Trump’s White House, Fox News is happy to advertise pro-Trump merchandise of sub-Spencer Gifts quality, such as the baffling Trumpy Bear. For the uninitiated, the Trumpy Bear is a teddy bear with a patch of dry straw on its head and an absurdly long tie styled as a loving tribute to the commander-in-chief. There’s also an American flag blanket embedded in Trumpy Bear’s spinal column for you to pull out and wrap yourself in while watching Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade spin Trump getting his head stuck in a toilet as a bold, meticulously planned political gambit.

BY Trumpy Bear



JFK Library Foundation Launches Campaign Anchored By @JohnFKennedy

Twitter has a new tweeter, sort of—JFK. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation launched the verified @JohnFKennedy Twitter handle today to introduce the late president’s iconic ideas and messages to a new generation. The activation of @JohnFKennedy on Twitter kicks off the Foundation’s “Words Count” campaign, created by The Martin Agency in Richmond, VA.”


BY Steve McClellan




Watch céline dion liberate babies from the gender binary with glitter

We’ve finally figured out why on earth Céline Dion ended her Las Vegas Residency after eight years at Caesars Palace. She’s been plotting to overturn the gender binary. How? By breaking into children’s hospitals, and sprinkling black glitter on newborn boys and girls, to the point where their symbols of oppression (pink and blue male/female symbols on the wall) are turned into black and white plus signs. The babies are also magically outfitted in new digs, touting a “new order.” A genderless order, we suspect. At least, that’s according to the video for her gender-neutral kids clothing line, CELINUNUNU, that dropped today. In the video, Céline with an é is quickly found by security guards, chased through the hospital and arrested, before uttering these last words: “Guys relax, easy. I’m Céline Dion.”


BY Nicole DeMarco



After NRA Mocks Doctors, Physicians Reply: ‘This Is Our Lane’

A mocking tweet from the National Rifle Association has stirred many physicians to post on social media about their tragically frequent experiences treating patients in the aftermath of gun violence. “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” the NRA tweeted on Thursday. “Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves.”






New York City Announces Subway Just For Amazon Employees Now (Spoof by The Onion)

Championing the decision as a necessary step to make the “Big Apple” more tech-friendly, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the subway is just for Amazon employees now. “All 8.6 million New York City residents not employed by Amazon or an Amazon subsidiary are prohibited from using MTA trains, effective immediately,” said de Blasio, adding that the transit system’s 27 subway lines will now exclusively serve as shuttles for the roughly 25,000 Amazon employees to commute through the five boroughs.


BY Complex



Iceland deploys animatronic orangutan as part of anti-palm oil campaign

Iceland has sought to amplify the anti-deforestation sentiment sparked by its “banned” Christmas ad by taking a life-size animatronic orangutan around London. The seasonal stunt from Taylor Herring launched yesterday with an adult orangutan clinging to a Christmas tree in Coin Street on the South Bank, before heading to Oxford Street and the riverside opposite the Houses of Parliament.


BY Magda Ibrahim




The Best Marketing Material Is Something Your Audience Would Miss If They Stopped Receiving It

More than 20 years ago, in Permission Marketing, I narrated the beginning of a revolution.It’s about attention. Scarce attention. Marketers had been stealing it, abusing it and wasting it. Spam was free, so spam some more. Spam, spam, spam.Email spam, sure, but all sorts of spam. Constant efforts to steal our attention and precious time, which we can’t get back.


BY Seth Godin



The Question and Answer Economy : How Customer Questions Drive Revenue Growth

The single greatest advance of the last quarter century is the internet and the subsequent democratization of all of the worlds information. The benefits are obvious and realized collectively. Far beyond just providing access to more data, new revolutionary patterns of thinking and breakthrough possibilities in technology have emerged.Any piece of information or data is instantaneously available to anyone, anywhere on a supercomputer that fits in a pocket.


BY Jason Pfaff




Top 10 reasons why the ICO model failed

The first iteration of the ICO model had serious design flaws. The lack of rules, regulations and sanity turned a great idea into a playground for scammers and fraudsters. I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons, in no particular order, why the ICO v1.0 is losing steam.
That doesn’t mean the tokensale concept itself will disappear. It will not. It will simply evolve and mature.


BY Alex Kleydints







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“I try to look at what’s happening in the world rather than what’s happening in the football world. Football doesn’t exist in a vacuum even if it thinks it does. The world has changed dramatically in the last few years and people like Donald Trump, Kanye West, Liam Gallagher and Wendy’s have all ripped up the rule book of how celebrities and brands use social media and interact with the public. In the case of the first three, there’s simply no filter and what people get, good or bad, is unquestionably straight from the person tweeting. No one is reading a tweet by any of those first three—capped up, typos, swearing, not even making sense a lot of time—and thinking it’s been written by a slick social media agency. We’re bombarded with so much content these days, from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep, that we simply don’t have time for bland, meaningless, corporate marketing-agency nonsense. Content specifically designed to say nothing, offend no one and not cause any ripples does exactly that—it gets ignored. No one shares a piece of boring content.”

– Roma Football Club / Head of Digital / Paul Rogers






Watch Eminem’s Empire State Building performance, shot mostly on Google’s Pixel 3

Self-proclaimed rap god Eminem and visionary director Terrence Malick officially have more in common than people may have thought: both partnered with Google for over-the-top Pixel 3 commercials. But whereas Malick’s commercial captured the Pixel 3 camera’s best qualities, Eminem’s gaudy performance failed the entire concept.

BY Julia Alexander



Chinese city ‘plans to launch artificial moon to replace streetlights’

In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city’s streetlights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one. The south-western Chinese city plans to launch an illumination satellite in 2020. According to an account in the People’s Daily, the artificial moon is “designed to complement the moon at night”, though it would be eight times as bright.






AS Roma and Friends: The Clubs Who Are Crushing Social Media

When Kostas Manolas scored an 82nd-minute goal to complete an incredible AS Roma comeback against Barcelona last season, it was not just the crowd inside the Stadio Olimpio that erupted: so did the world of Twitter. It had seemed unfathomable that Lionel Messi and Co. would throw away a 4-1 home win from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final, yet that near-post header turned the tie on its head—and social media users across the globe scrambled for their laptops and phones.





Tim Hortons | The Away Game

There’s only one hockey team in all of Kenya. They had nobody to play. So, we brought them to Canada for an unforgettable game.


By TimHortons




Reigns: Game of Thrones review – death, disaster and dark magic on your phone

An endearing, witty mix of card game, Game of Thrones fan fiction and dating app, this mobile game is another brilliant thing to emerge thanks to George RR Martin’s meandering tales of dragons, feasts and blue-eyed zombies. In contrast to the aesthetic opulence of the TV series, the art is minimalist, but the colour all comes from the writing. As the various nefarious denizens of Westeros and beyond come to you with their problems, you swipe left or right to decide how to deal with them, uncovering plots and secrets as you advance your reign.


BY Keza MacDonald



How Robots and Drones Will Change Retail Forever

Amazon’s one-million-square-foot distribution center in Baltimore is a massive fulfillment machine. Stand at one end of the warehouse, and its titanium-white scaffolding and seemingly endless conveyor belts disappear at a vanishing point that is, somehow, within the building. The machine is a dazzling combination of chutes, ladders, rollers and 11 miles’ worth of conveyor belts. Customers’ orders move from shelving into bins and from bins into boxes as they travel via the machine straight into delivery vans, passing by stationary workers at various points along the way.






David Lynch talks about shaking up perceptions as his Festival of Disruption returns to Los Angeles

David Lynch’s instantly recognizable, pinched-nose Midwestern drawl crackles through my phone’s speakers on an October afternoon: “You’re walking down a path after the sun is set,” he begins matter-of-factly, with the wholesome, folksy affect that also has him dropping phrases like “fantaaastic” and “I gotcha” during our interview.





The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust

Not long ago, I was in Montreal for a cryptocurrency conference. My hotel, on the top floor of a big building downtown, had a roof garden with a koi pond. One morning, as I had coffee and a bagel in this garden, I watched a pair of ducks feeding on a mound of pellets that someone had left for them at the pond’s edge. Every few seconds, they dipped their beaks to drink, and, in the process, spilled undigested pellets into the water. A few koi idled there, poking at the surface for the scraps. The longer I watched, the more I wondered if the ducks were deliberately feeding the fish. Was such a thing possible? I asked the breakfast attendant, a ruddy Quebecer. He smiled and said, “No, but it is what I tell the children.”


BY Nick Paumgarten




How Hedley & Bennett Went From Making Aprons For Chefs To Collaborating With Vans

Ellen Bennett is at the helm of a unique business. Starting as a purveyor of professional kitchen aprons, Hedley & Bennett has now expanded into a full-blown lifestyle brand, outfitting over 6,000 restaurants, operating a direct-to-consumer retail business and selling via wholesale partners including Williams‑Sonoma, Sur La Table and Whole Foods. Bennett has collaborated with brands across categories, with events or products in collaboration with Vans, Samsung, Pellegrino and Parachute Home. All Hedley & Bennett products are manufactured in its 16,000 square foot Los Angeles location, where Bennett has also created an immersive, playful community space.


BY Christopher Mims







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The Week In Branded Content (September 21st)

The Week In Branded Content (September 21st)

“We launched with a pretty mediocre product, we quickly realized there was a need for a better-for-you deodorant and customers were willing to pay a higher price for it, but we also realized we didn’t have that product, so the first year of business was just us trying to figure out how to make a better product. In May 2016, we launched a better formula and we quintupled revenue between May and December because we had a better formula.”

– Native Deodorant / CEO/Founder – Moiz Ali






RIMOWA | Never Still Ft. Roger Federer

Twenty-time grand slam winning athlete Roger Federer is the first of five cultural icons featured in RIMOWA’s global campaign. Shot in Lucerne, Switzerland, the film reflects on a conversation Federer had with his father at age 14 as he began to venture out into the world to pursue his dreams – reminding us of what it means to take the first step.

BY RIMOWA Official




It sure seems like Arby’s is covertly coming after Subway. Not just because its new ad campaign — featuring an Arby’s hotline with the voice of comedian H. Jon Benjamin — is focused explicitly on sandwiches. But because it appears to be working hard to change what you think of when you hear the phrase “sandwich artist.” (That’s a Subway trademark.)”






Land Rover celebrates 70th anniversary with Grizzly Torque

“An around-the-world road trip undertaken by two prominent Canadians is at the centre of a new campaign celebrating Land Rover’s 70th anniversary.

The campaign’s three-minute short film chronicles the 14-month journey of artist and naturalist Robert Bateman and ecologist Bristol Foster across 19 countries in 1957. Bateman later became a well-known naturalist painter and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, while Foster later headed up the Royal B.C. Museum.


BY Justin Dallaire




The four bronze lions that surround Nelson’s Column in London’s Trafalgar Square are pretty passive-looking creatures. They sit on all fours and gaze blankly ahead, more sphinx than lion. Legend has it that their sculptor originally planned for the animals to be posed in more active stances, stood up on their hind legs and roaring at the square. But Queen Victoria reportedly vetoed the decision as too shocking. Now, 151 years after they were originally unveiled, the lions have a new colleague, and he is definitely turning heads.


By James Vincent




A Decade Of Defiance

A look back at the 10 year history of Beats By Dre


BY Complex



People are leaving one-star reviews for Salt Bae’s restaurant after he served steak to Venezuela’s president

People are leaving one-star reviews on TripAdvisor and Google of restaurants run by the viral chef known as “Salt Bae” after he served an expensive steak dinner to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro this week.

Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gokce, received widespread criticism after footage of him flamboyantly serving Maduro at an Istanbul branch of his Nusr-Et restaurant chain went viral.


BY Bill Bostock




Deezer’s AI can classify songs by mood and intensity

Human ears have no trouble sussing out the sentiment of songs — say, the melancholia in Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” or the passion in Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Machines do, however. In an attempt to get the latter to perform a bit more like the former, researchers at Deezer developed an artificially intelligent system that can associate certain tracks with moods.





Building A Great Brand With The Stroke Of A Pen

Picture a CEO of an innovative startup that has won countless awards for its products, developed a legion of devoted fans, and is poised to redefine the industry in which it operates. What should the CEO’s next step be?

In the case of Gunner Winston, CEO of dosist, the leading disposable vaporizer maker, he changed the company name and slowed down the aggressive expansion plans his staff had planned.


BY Marissa Peretz




Tuft & Needle, Native CEO | Full Interview | 2018 Code Commerce

Tuft & Needle co-founder and Chief Visionary JT Marino and Native founder and CEO Moiz Ali spoke onstage with Recode Executive Editor Peter Kafka at the Code Commerce conference on Sept. 18, 2018.


BY Recode







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The Week In Branded Content (September 14th)

The Week In Branded Content (September 14th)

“A lot of Democrats, for years, have been supporting and voting for candidates who didn’t always say exactly what they believed, didn’t always show their authentic, true selves. To look around, not just at Trump, but at who’s been winning elections, a lot of us have started to think: ‘Why don’t we say what we mean’?”

– Hans Goff – American Association of Political Consultants






Scoring The Drive

THE VISCERAL FEELING OF DRIVING a Range Rover on the winding roads of Angeles Crest Highway, high in the San Gabriel Mountains, is an inspiring experience. We invited award-winning composer Hans Zimmer to embark on this very journey with the goal of creating a score inspired by and unique to this unparalleled drive. Zimmer has scored more than 150 films in a career that’s been recognized by Hollywood’s most prestigious awards. For this project, the creative process was unlike any he’d practiced in his 30-year career.

BY Hans Zimmer



Watch Usain Bolt Race Some Guys In Zero Gravity

Olympic sprinting legend Usain Bolt often looked as if he was running on air.

But in a video circulating Wednesday, he did it for real.

Bolt raced some guys in a near-zero-gravity environment aboard a special plane flying above France, For the Win reported Wednesday. The stunt was for a Mumm Champagne promotion that showed off the company’s no-spill cocktail bottle for astronauts,

Bolt endured several parabola dives, calling the experience “mindblowing.”


BY Ron Dicker




Olivier Rousteing on Balmain’s Latest Sonic-Driven Video Project (Exclusive)

“People are sometimes scared to do something new,” says the French label’s creative director of the visual campaign that premieres today, “but the reality is that it’s only interesting when you go someplace where no one has gone before.”
Chances are when you walk down the street, your ears encounter the sounds all around you — a car door slamming, heels clicking on a sidewalk, the rev of a motorcycle engine — as merely noise, the cacophony of city living.


BY Laurie Brookins



Tone Vays vs Roger Ver – BTC/BCH Debate from Blockchain Cruise

Evangelists for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash battle it out during this week’s Bitcoin Cruise.


By Tone Vays




Netflix Research

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve launched a new website at that provides an overview of the research that we do here at Netflix. We have many amazing researchers working on a variety of hard problems and are happy to share some of our work with the world.


BY Netflix



This Animation Shows The Sad Reality Of Our “Modern” Society

Steve Cutts is an illustrator and animator based in London, England.[1] His artwork satirizes the excesses of modern society.[1][2] His style is inspired by 1930s and 40s cartoons, as well as modern comic books and graphic novels.


BY Steve Cutts




Patagonia’s latest doc joins the fight for Europe’s last wild rivers

A group of women from the small Bosnian village of Kruščica have stood guard on a bridge to the town for 24 hours a day, for more than 300 days. They’re a human blockade, denying access to construction crews set to begin building a major hydropower dam project on the Kruščica river. In the film, the women explain that it’s just them because local police are less likely to arrest them, while male protestors would have been beaten, arrested, and dragged away long ago.





No One Wants Your 9/11 Branded Content

Every year since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have come together to remember the lives lost in the devastating terror attacks. Also every year, with perverse punctuality, brands have used the tragedy to try to sell their products.

New Jersey restaurant Acai Ya Later, for instance, really hopes you can take some time to honor this solemn anniversary. And why not do that with a nice acai bowl? Yum!


BY Sebastian Murdock




Why we buy the things we buy

A food trend arrived two summers ago in the neighborhood of Toronto where I live that continues to beguile me for its endurance. In an area with several fantastic ice cream options, the longest and most consistent lineups are for a place specializing in charcoal-infused ice cream. It tasted no better than your average soft-serve, it looked like poop and stained your teeth black, and it required a half-hour wait just to get a cone.


BY David Sax







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The Week In Branded Content (September 7th)

The Week In Branded Content (September 7th)

“As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously. We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities.”

– Chip Burgh / CEO Levis Strauss






Watch: How Eminem’s ‘Fall’ Music Video is A Solid Example of Branded Content

This time, he’s most definitely ‘not afraid.’
Released unannounced and unexpectedly, Eminem’s latest album, Kamikaze, dropped late last Thursday evening to kick-off the long Labor Day weekend. His 10th raucous studio album, the work took a recently “in vogue” approach to mass distribution: release with as little fanfare as possible; who needs a hit single for promotion when the artist’s mere existence is the promotion?

And now, just a few short days later, the first single and accompanying music video for Kamikaze—the angrily catchy rebuttal, Fall—has sprouted upward.

BY Erik Luers



A 5-star boutique hotel in Switzerland with a world-famous infinity pool no longer has to pay for advertising, thanks to Instagram

A five-star hotel in the Swiss countryside has become so Instagram-famous that it doesn’t even need to pay for advertising anymore.

Thanks to the popularity of its infinity pool on Instagram, Villa Honegg hasn’t paid for advertising since 2011, according to Forbes.

“Social media is our advertising,” general manager Sebastian Klink told Forbes. “We haven’t had paid media since our renovation in 2011.”

According to Klink, the hotel first blew up on social media when a Brazilian blogger posted a video on YouTube of the pool at night — and it went viral.


BY Katie Warren




Samsung found a new smart home evangelist in ‘Family Guy’

Samsung gives me smart home fatigue. Enough about Smart Things, enough about how a thousands-of-dollars TV can connect to a new thousand-dollar fridge or washing machine. Enough beautiful families showcasing features in beautiful houses that I can only dream of living in. Samsung’s leaning on augmented reality and some Family Guy branding to show the kind of tasks that can be accomplished with connected home assistance — and make it a little more, well, friendly.


BY Mat Smith



The surprising reason why this yogurt drink is flying off store shelves

A recent boom in sales for a Japanese yogurt drink that’s been around for decades is proving, once again, that being featured in a popular Netflix program can be a boon for business.

After a Yakult-like product, a probiotic dairy drink, made an appearance in the recently released Netflix original romantic comedy, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” it’s been flying off supermarket shelves.


By Erica Chayes Wida




‘You can’t just treat it as a retail platform’: Inside Lego’s Amazon voice strategy

Lego is spending more money on Amazon, using everything from video advertising to voice to augmented reality.

Lego has already launched two Alexa Skills within the last eight months. The second debuted in May as an interactive storytelling service for children aged 2 to 5. While it’s too soon to share feedback, the toymaker is already thinking about how similar services might look as podcasts or audiobooks on Alexa and beyond. Lego’s approach is less about buying search adverts — for now — and more about producing content.


BY Seb Joseph



Here’s 23,000 Ways That Branded Content Is a S**t Show (Guest Column)

My company, Studio71, received a request for proposal not too long ago from a major Hollywood studio looking to hire an influencer to promote one of its upcoming projects. We were one of four shops competing for the work and we felt confident, given that we worked with the perfect talent for the project, that we could win the business.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out … for any of us.

Just days after submitting our proposal, I received a call informing me that every shop had pitched the same talent — our talent — for the project. The exec on the phone said that she had never seen anything like it.






Levi Strauss CEO: Why Business Leaders Need to Take a Stand on Gun Violence

In November 2016, I wrote an open letter requesting that gun owners not bring firearms into our stores, offices, or facilities, even in states where it’s permitted by law. This was following an incident in one of our stores in which a customer accidentally shot and injured himself while trying on a pair of jeans. While that was bad, it could have been worse: The bullet could have killed him, another customer, or one of our employees.

In the days after I published that letter, I received threats to our stores, our business, and even on my life.





Global social media regulation is coming – Alex Jones is just the start

Despite all his rage, is Alex Jones still just a rat in a cage?

In August, Facebook removed four pages run by Jones, a vile conspiracy theorist, and his company, Infowars. YouTube closed his account. So did Pinterest. Apple banned several audio streams. Spotify cut a major podcast. Twitter suspended Jones’ account for one week.


BY Samuel Scott




Is Colin Kaepernick’s Nike deal activism – or just capitalism?

Gil Scott-Heron famously noted that the revolution would not be right back after a message, would not go better with Coke, and certainly would not be televised. It now appears, if Nike’s current advertising campaign is to be believed, that the revolution comes embossed with a Swoosh.

On Monday the famously underemployed NFL player Colin Kaepernick tweeted a black and white image of his face, his eyes staring at us, with the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” etched over the top. Below sits Nike’s Swoosh.


BY Ben Carrington







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