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Dropping like a pollen bomb, this week’s coolsh*t is bringing you histamine history, record-breaking botanicals, and some devilishly good advertising. Plus the return of the (sort of) new-and-improved coolsh*t podcast.

Face Value.

Sometimes the best ideas are right in front of you. And sometimes those ideas are so eye-wateringly obvious that you’re left wondering how they don’t already exist. Like when the spork came out and turned the service station fruit pot world on its head. Speaking of fruit, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference took place last week. The Vision Pro headset naturally hoovered up most of the headlines, but a far simpler yet arguably far more immediately useful innovation snuck under the radar… FaceTime voicemails. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s voicemails… for FaceTime… it’s Facemails. No longer will you be hit with the heart-breaking “FaceTime Unavailable” screen when someone doesn’t want to speak to you. Now they can never get away. This is going to be a gamechanger for anyone who decides it would be a good idea to leave an erstwhile partner a message at 3am.

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Movers and Sheikhers.

There appears to be an awful lot going on in Saudi Arabia at the moment. And we’re not even talking about the 10 ‘megaprojects’ currently underway looking to redefine the Kingdom’s urban landscape (which you can read about here, if you can be arsed). On top of that, they’re also finding the time to make a play at revolutionising the sporting world. Following months of tensions and lawsuits, it was announced this week that the PGA Tour will be merging with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf. If you can’t beat ‘em. And now the Saudi Soccer League has coordinated a Public Investment Fund to offer colossal petro-paydays to footballers willing to sign for Saudi teams, with deals that could reach wages of up to $1 billion. While exorbitant sums of money in football are nothing new, having all the teams in a league essentially work together to attract top talent to both their own sides as well as rival clubs is something we haven’t seen before. And as Man City’s treble has proven, you really can buy your way to the top. Can’t wait to get the reactions from the Keiths and Barrys of the football world to this. If you close your eyes and listen carefully you can almost hear them screaming “game’s gone” into their pints of John Smith’s.

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All the Smoke.

They say ‘Make hay while the sun shines’. And by they, we of course mean middle aged aunties sharing unsolicited, unoriginal axioms on their who-gives-a-shit Facebook status. But evidently you should also make ads while the smog smogs. Smoke from Canadian wildfires engulfed New York City last week to turn it into a Fury Road-esque hellscape, which is obviously pretty terrible for anyone who happens to live there (or in Canada, the place that’s actually on fire and seems to have been given far less attention). But to butcher another apothegm, one man’s natural disaster is another man’s marketing opportunity. To promote the release of their new Diablo IV game, Activision Blizzard launched a series of billboards across the big rotten apple that read ‘Welcome to Hell, New York’. And the apocalyptic orange smog really makes it pop. Activision Blizzard have since denied rumours of any affiliation or partnership with the Canadian wildfires – or any other wildfires, for that matter – and have claimed to be profoundly against wildfires as a concept. But they’re also not complaining.

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Pollen Haters.

You may think a documentary on Slovenian pollination is a little esoteric for coolsh*t, but it feels rather timely following the so-called “pollen bomb” that hit the UK this week. And if you hadn’t noticed that bomb, then bully for you. Hay fever is one of those maladies oft maligned and dismissed by those who don’t suffer from it, but I’ve been crying like a divorcee cutting onions while watching Bambi’s mum get shot. Yet despite the pain they bring, pollinators play an incredibly important role in maintaining this biosphere we like to call home. Over the course of a year and a half, Studio Airport created a first-of-its-kind, interactive documentary that uses a mixture of photography, moving images and spoken word to explore the crucial roles of pollinators and their fragile position in an age of ecological breakdown. So, next time you’re sat there unable to breathe, you can find immense solace in the fact that pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 90% of flowering plants and 35% of human-grown crops. Whoopy.

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Seventh-Day Advertists.

Ladies, gentlemen and theybies… we have a new champion. Fentiman’s broke Old Spice’s old record this week by creating the world’s longest ad – and they broke it by 154 hours. The Fentiman’s unique botanical brewing process takes up to 7 days, so they created a 7-day advert featuring some poor bastard sitting by patiently overseeing the entire process. And by overseeing, we really mean passing the time by partaking in activities such as mastering the art of juggling and plate spinning, practicing yoga, and learning to speak Bulgarian. I’m sure he did more, but those same 3 things were mentioned in literally every single article that’s been written about this campaign, showing that nobody has watched the video for more than 30 seconds. Us included. But it’s 7 days long, for Christ’s sake. Even God gave himself the Sunday off. And he supposedly created the whole world, not just some expensive cola. Still, hope this bloke’s getting paid time and a half.

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Give Her the Boot.

It can be hard to tell whether the differences between football boots are legit or if it’s all just smoke and mirrors marketing. There has always been a lot of effort put into building legends around boots to make them fit various on-pitch archetypes – like how Tiempos give you a better touch, Mercurials make you faster, Predators make your shot more powerful, and Sondicos make you a goth who doesn’t want to take part in PE. Well, Nike launched a new boot to add to their collection this week. That doesn’t sound terribly noteworthy, but the Phantom Luna is Nike’s first ever female-led boot – which sounds like it’s probably a good thing. Saying that, another interpretation would be that it’s quite surprising that we’re only getting the first one now. Depends if you’re a glass-ceiling-half-full or half-empty type of person, I suppose. Nike spent more than two years of research, trialling, designing, and styling to make the new boot more suitable to the female foot, based on feedback from actual female footballers. And just in time for the Women’s World Cup in Australia in a couple months, too. How fortuitous. Although it might be a while before we see them in the Saudi Soccer League.

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 54.

Going deep on the Apple Vision Pros. Plus a show of solidarity with the Reddit strikers…

Listen to the Podcast