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Volume 411

This week’s coolsh*t is here to give you the 4-1-1. We’re talking loner litigation, water torture, and a wrap up of what we’ve been up to over the last year. Plus the latest episode of the podcast, featuring some chat about that Balenciaga campaign…

2022 Wrapped.

Well, that was an eventful year…

It feels like we were only wrapping up 2021 about 5 minutes ago, but after another 12 months of being consistently all hands on deck, balls to the wall and any other vaguely corporate cliche you can think of, here we are. From LA to Barcelona to Paris to Amsterdam to… Buxton – we got about this year. And that’s without even mentioning launching a Christmas campaign for an original icon, hosting a Notting Hill Carnival yard party, and capturing not one but two FA Cup finals.

But why would we prattle on about all the sh*t we’ve done this year when we could just show you?

Here’s our 2022.

Check You Out.

Have you heard the news? The Tesco self-checkout is about to get a new voice. You hadn’t? Are you living under a rock? Granted, on the surface this doesn’t sound all that ground-breaking – and it tends to be on the surface where ground typically has to break. Most people’s lives – meal deal connoisseurs aside – probably won’t be too affected by this change. However, it does at least provide a lesson in how to harness the dark power of UGC-led TikTok campaigns. The search started with a callout for duets, offering people the privilege of being the new voice as well as the chance to win 10,000 Clubcard points (which would almost cover a full one week’s shop – how very generous). The reason this worked so well – having now racked up over 42 million views and been awarded ‘Greatest Creative 2022’ by TikTok themselves – wasn’t due to the prize, but because of the campaign’s obvious potential for virality, supported in large part by TikTok users taking the piss out of the challenge. Most of the thousands of entries harboured no real hope of becoming the voice but still submitted videos to make themselves look funny (ish) to their followers, thus promoting the brand and proliferating the reach of the challenge. Smashed it. Now just put the meal deal price back to £3 and we won’t have any problems.

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Licence to Kill the Fun.

The hermetic misanthropes of the world got a W this week, as a French man emerged victorious following a 7-year legal battle over whether he was wrongfully dismissed from his job due to his refusal to have any ‘fun’ at work. France’s highest court ruled that the man – referred to as ‘Mr. T’ in court documents, conjuring all sorts of amusing mental imagery – should not have been let go by a consulting firm for failing to go out for drinks with his colleagues. Mr. T claimed that the “fun” culture in the company involved “humiliating and intrusive practices” including crude nicknames and sharing his bed with another employee during work functions. I pity the fool. In fairness, you can see why forcibly sharing your bed with a drunken colleague who keeps calling you ‘Pissy Pants Pierre’ might wear a tad thin. The Court of Cassation ordered Cubik Partners to pay Mr. T €3,000 in damages and said it would look into his demand for a further €461,406 at a later date. Not bad for getting sacked. He must feel like Rafa Benitez.

H2... Oh...

Is this… allowed? Liquid Death have become somewhat notorious for their slightly ‘out there’ marketing department who aren’t afraid to push the limits of what’s considered acceptable by civilised society. Most recently, they’ve taken quite an interesting approach to dealing with online trolls and digital naysayers of the brand: they’re tasing them. Liquid Death conducted a blind taste test (or tase test), which is a common trope on YouTube for people who have run out of video ideas, but they elevated it with 50,000 volts of electricity. If the 2 members of the public who claimed that Liquid Death was “the worst water ever” were unable to identify the brand from a line-up, they would get tased. And get tased they most certainly did. Hopefully this example will encourage us all to choose our words a little more deliberately before resorting to hyperbole.

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Toodle-oo, Tuvalu.

Despite what the marketing department at Liquid Death would like you to believe, there is such thing as too much water. Tuvalu, a tiny independent island nation in the Southern Pacific, is set to become the world’s first digital country. You may now be wondering what on Earth (or not on Earth…) that means. And if you are, then that’s terribly unfortunate for us both, as I’m not sure I’ll be capable of giving you a satisfactory answer. But here goes literally nothing. With Tuvalu being one of the nations most at risk of being completely submerged by rising sea levels, they’ve partnered with The Monkeys and Collider to recreate one of Tuvalu’s islands in the metaverse in order to preserve the nation’s land, culture and history. Except that’s not really what they’re doing. This campaign was announced during COP27 to call out decision makers on their inaction following previous summits and to attempt to garner enough public attention to force some substantive change – or at least to draw attention to a lack of it. Somehow I suspect they’ll have to settle for the latter.

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Hotting Up.

Yes, it’s more AI art. Shut up. And it appears that we’re sticking with a bit of a theme this week, as it’s AI art about the environment. Ken Bromley Art Supplies has teamed up with Lacuna 5 to raise awareness of the climate crisis*, which they have dubbed “the greatest threat of our generation” – although I imagine an itsy-bitsy Russian bloke with a big red button might beg to differ. They released this series of AI-generated works in the styles of various iconic artists – such as Rembrandt, Dali, Picasso, and Hunter Biden – with each piece highlighting a different issue across the spectrum of climate change, culminating right at the far end of that spectrum with a Warhol portrait of Greta Thunberg. You may think these, while impressive, paint a rather gloomy picture of our future. But don’t worry, I can link you to a load of right-wing crackpots who say that climate change isn’t real anyway.

*As a tangentially relevant aside, when did we go from “global warming” to “climate change” to now “climate crisis”, and what’s next in that taxonomy of terror?

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 32.

However many layers of approval that Balenciaga campaign went through, it probably should have had at least one more…

Listen to the Podcast