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Volume 427

This week’s coolsh*t is revealing how you can safely eat and drink yourself into a stupor... whilst giving back to your community. We’ve also got a saucy collaboration, historical hogwash, and some earbuds that are about to put Duolingo and its judgemental owl right out of business. Plus the latest episode of the coolsh*t podcast, with things going back to normal (ish).

The Sauce x The Sauce.

Is this a perfectly-crafted collaboration inspired by astute audience awareness, or has social media utterly rotted our collective hive mind to such a degree that simply following TikTok trends has now become a viable marketing strategy? Being so magnanimously munificent (as well as grandiloquently redundant, apparently), we’re going to assume the former. Heinz have partnered with Absolut to launch a jar of vodka pasta sauce. Now, I don’t know what your algorithm’s showing you, but mine shows me an awful lot of old Italian ladies cooking pasta – penne alla vodka in particular – so I can only assume that my social media experience isn’t all that unique. And it was the apparent ‘instagramability’ of the vodka pasta sauce that inspired this collab. Granted, they got to the party a little late, but that’s more due to the glacial pace at which some of the more enormous FMCG portfolio brands are forced to move, so they oughtn’t be docked too many points when it comes to the actual idea itself or the execution. And you’re out of your swede if you think the Waitrose influencer mafia won’t be absolutely all over this.

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Horrible Histories.

They say history is written by the victors, but that presupposes the existence of any victors in the first place to write said history. What if someone just made it up? In the past it was easy to refute false historical claims if there were no evidence to support them. But now, thanks to AI, people are creating records of fake historical events that appear no less real than events that truly transpired, offering fallacious photo evidence to back them up. In very recent history, just this week the internet was duped by a hyper-realistic AI-generated image of the pope cutting about with absolutely stupid drip in a papal puffer jacket. Future historians are going to have a very difficult time working out what did and didn’t really happen. How are we supposed to explain that these images of Donald Trump getting arrested aren’t real but this advert of Michael Owen promoting Dubai is? The bloke oozes charisma. You can really see why he gets paid the big bucks to be on tele.

*After writing this, it has since been announced that Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and more than 1000 tech researchers and executives have called for a six-month “pause” on the development of advanced artificial intelligence systems such as OpenAI’s GPT, citing risks to human society. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. They must be subscribed to coolsh*t…

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Last Orders.

It is an utter tragedy that pubs are swiftly becoming a dying relic of a lost past. I don’t want to upset you with a personal sob story, but we’re forced to go to a pissing burger chain for our Thursday post-work libations, for crying out loud. But times are changing, and apparently people don’t want pubs, they want Prets. And many of the ‘locals’ that remain are now being squeezed out of business and hoovered up by the heartless homogeneity of Wetherspoons’ and Shepherd Neames. But Stella aren’t having it. They’ve recruited British artists Reuben Dangoor and Heath Kane to reimagine a series of iconic pub signs as nude artworks as a direct response to the threat facing pubs across the UK amid the current cost of living crisis. And while the beauty of the signs alone is unlikely to entirely overcome the deterrent that is the £7 pint, the signs have now been made available for online auction, with all profits being donated to Hospitality Action and Stella matching funds raised up to £50,000. So now you can legitimately claim that going to the pub and sinking 10 pints of ale is purely an act of community-building philanthropy. Do the right thing.

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A true sign of decadence is having to invent a pill that allows people to absolutely gorge themselves without subsequently vomiting. Well done, society – we did it. What a self-created chthonic Dionysian soup we find ourselves swimming in. But if you do happen to consume too much of that chthonic Dionysian soup (said it again in case you missed it the first time), simply pop a Jetson After Ate mint (get it?) to keep any unwelcome gas at bay. The After Ate uses broad-spectrum enzymes to supplement those already in the stomach to break down food more efficiently while still allowing the small intestine to absorb micronutrients – something that competitors such as Pepto Bismol and Tums can’t claim. Apologies if that all got a bit too sexy for you. So although we may still be a way off the Jetsons flying car, they have at least got a solution for your post-lasagne dicky belly.

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Best Buds.

The Timekettle WT2 Edge earbuds are capable of instantly translating over 110 languages in real time – apparently. Call me a cynic, but I’m willing to bet everything I have in my left pocket that these will not work. I simply cannot believe that the likes of Apple and Microsoft wouldn’t have snatched up the patent to this technology years ago. And the fact that they seemingly haven’t means 1 of 2 things: either they dropped the ball (which seems unlikely), or the technology doesn’t work all that well and some unfortunate mistranslations are about to provoke some boardroom fist fights when somebody accidentally calls their esteemed international colleague a yoghurt-faced dandy when trying to complement their tie. But… if they do work… then we will have moved far closer as a species to creating a universal language. Better yet, we would have essentially negated the need for a universal language. If they work. Which they won’t. And if they do, I owe you 27p, a used tissue and a Werther’s Original.

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

In our new white paper, we look at what brands, organisations and individuals can do to combat the effect of oppressive algorithms on the development of young minds.

We’ll be revealing all and sharing our findings in person at Soho Works White City, Wednesday April 19th at 6pm, so save the date.

And if you want to get ahead of the game and reserve your place already, drop us an email and we’ll add you to the list:

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