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Volume 426

We’re not slaves to our algorithm, so we’re doing something a little different this week. We’re retaining some neuroplasticity in our collective pre-frontal cortex by dedicating this volume of coolsh*t to our new white paper, ‘Slaves to the Algorithm: Social Media & the Decay of the Developing Mind’. We’ve selected some examples of brands, organisations and individuals disrupting the often narrowcast, algorithmically-constrained social media experience – as well as some weird AI sh*t, because some things can never change. Plus we’ve got a special edition of the podcast, digging deeper into the paper and discussing our industry’s role in shaping our future.

Slaves to the Algorithm: Social Media & the Decay of the Developing Mind.

Our research shows that almost everybody thinks there’s a problem with social media dependence, but almost nobody thinks they personally have a problem. As with any addiction, denial is rife.

In our latest white paper we discuss the oppressive impact algorithms are having on the social, emotional and mental development of Next Gen audiences. And, more importantly, we look at the role brands and organisations can play to stimulate minds and encourage growth, while connecting more deeply with younger audiences and helping them break free from their algorithm.

We’ve chosen this week’s coolsh*t stories in line with the themes in the paper, so we would encourage to go read it before continuing. Get on it…

Read Our White Paper

Don't Buy This Lipstick.

Following the Age of Enlightenment there was an intellectual oversaturation that made it difficult for any one philosophical voice to make itself heard (I promise this is going somewhere tangentially relevant). That’s why Friedrich Nietzsche positioned himself not as a philosopher but as an ‘anti-philosopher’, with the main throughline in his often-disparate thought being a fierce iconoclasm and opposition to the conventional values and wisdom of the time. Fast forward a couple hundred years, and now in a world overpopulated by wannabe influencers, we’re seeing the rise of the ‘deinfluencer’. As audiences become savvier and more distrustful of the supposed epistemic superiority of traditional influencers flogging teeth whitening strips and weight-loss tea, deinfluencers position themselves as the voices of reason in the age of overconsumption, asking their audience whether they really need to buy that $60 lip balm they saw on TikTok. And now many young consumers are finding that the answer to that question, as well as questions like it, is, increasingly, no. There’s a debate to be had over whether this is at all different from regular influencing, but unfortunately we don’t have time to get into it because we took up too much space with that Nietzsche nonsense. Soz. You’ll have to read the white paper instead.

Read Original Story

Chef's Kiss.

Coca-Cola announced last month that they would be collaborating with OpenAI’s DALL-E2 model and ChatGPT for some upcoming work. A few weeks later they dropped their ‘Masterpiece’ global campaign featuring a mix of live-action shots, digital effects, and AI – and it’s gone down awfully well. The 2-minute ad includes re-animated versions of iconic artworks such as Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles (1889), Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665), Munch’s The Scream (1895), and, fittingly, Warhol’s Coca-Cola (1962), all fulfilling their ultimate purpose: plying an uninterested art student with 33 grams of sugar. God bless the United States of Advertising. And while the relieved sip at the end might be a little cheesy, the craft of the animation and the novel implementation of AI makes for a genuinely captivating spectacle. And it’s definitely more immersive than that poxy Dali exhibition in Shoreditch that charges you 30 quid to look at some iPads with pictures of pictures on them.

Read Original Story

Mad Musk.

Elon Musk gets some tough press. It’s always going to be a recipe for disaster when the richest man on the planet has the sense of humour of a 13-year-old internet troll. But when he’s not calling divers pedos or blaming Bill Gates for erectile disfunction, he does occasionally do some fairly worthwhile things. The latest example: he just announced that Twitter will be open sourcing its feed algorithm next week (which is outstanding timing for us launching this white paper, not gonna lie…). This means that they will publish the details of how their tweet recommendation algorithm works, offering new insight into which tweets gain traction, how to maximise tweet reach through engagement, and which specific elements Twitter’s system is looking to incentivize in the app. Where other platforms continue to obfuscate and hide behind their algorithms in a fairly ‘computer says no’ manner, this is a refreshing approach to demystify the process and create a transparency between platform and consumer. Suppose this perhaps shouldn’t be all that surprising considering the bloke’s personal penchant for oversharing. Or it could just result in a load more spammers and scammers now that the cheat codes to the game will have essentially been revealed. Time will tell…

Read Original Story

Fighting Back.

For all the hyperbolic chatter about dystopian deepfakes and their potential implications for identity fraud, it’s actually the more basic filters that may have a more deleterious effect on society. As digital filters become more sophisticated, they become more difficult to detect. It’s like the progression from dodgy toupees to Turkish hair transplants – soon it becomes impossible to tell what is and what isn’t ‘real’. And the danger of filters such as TikTok’s recent ‘Bold Glamour’ lies in the impact it has on warping beauty standards; research has found that 48% of girls who distort their photos regularly have lower body esteem compared to 28% of girls who don’t. Dove’s recent #TurnYourBack campaign encouraged users to literally and metaphorically turn their backs on unrealistic filters as part of their #NoDigitalDistortion movement. And if you want to read more about the necessity for brands to safeguard their user’s online experiences in this manner, then you’ll have to go read the white paper. Yes, we’re going to keep plugging it. This is the special edition, for crying out loud.

Read Original Story

The AI-pprentice.

Most implementations of AI in advertising have thus far been used primarily to supplement human creativity. Take that Coca-Cola ad for example; as lovely as it ended up looking, they didn’t get there with just a couple cleverly worded prompts. And with it being so nascent yet so immediately widespread, the current use of AI in ads can often have the paradoxical whiff of both novelty and hacky. But Jackson Fall is a soi-disant ‘brand designer & AI soothsayer’ looking to break this mould. For the last couple weeks he’s been undertaking a business venture led completely by AI. He set up ‘HustleGPT’ with a budget of $100 and told it to make as much money as possible, with him acting as its human liaison, doing and buying anything it says. Jackson now has 5 budding businesses and about 100k new followers (see the Twitter thread linked below for the nuts and bolts of how the businesses were created and how they’re getting on). This enitely unique use of AI really highlights the value of ‘injecting the unexpected’ into content to engage audiences and allow them to escape the parochial confines of their algorithm. And if you don’t know exactly what we mean by injecting the unexpected, you’ll have to… yep, you guessed it… go read the white paper. Hard sell over.

Read Original Story

The Coolsh*t Podcast - Episode 44.

…Alright, hard sell almost over. We’ve got a special edition of the podcast this week to discuss the stories above, the white paper, and the future of advertising. So yeah, pretty light stuff…

Listen to the Podcast