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Volume 442

Choose your fighter: Barbie vs. Oppenheimer. This week’s coolsh*t is bringing you advertising of attrition, a kit fit for a jockey, and a computer that knows what you’re about to think. Yes, even you. And yes, even that.

The Barbie Queue.

The promotion for this upcoming Barbie film has been a masterclass in how to absolutely shove something kicking and screaming into the zeitgeist. I should not know half as much about this film as I do, but it has become impossible to open an app, walk down the street, or take a piss without seeing Ryan Gosling’s vacant visage staring back at you. And by now we’ve been force-fed so much Barbie-based content that many people feel as if they need to go see the film just for a vague sense of closure. We are the canards, and our collective livers are fit to burst, just begging to be turned into foie gras.

And a big part of this promotional assault has come by way of over 30 brand collaborations, each targeted with a sickeningly high level of acuity informed by watertight audience insight. The Ministry of Truth at Barbie have been on an absolute mad one. And now, like Winston Smith in the final utterance of 1984, we feel no choice other than to acquiesce and admit our brainwashed love for Big Brother Barbie.

We’ll do anything you want. Just make it stop.

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Stars & Gripes.

From extremely expected collaborations to one that even Nostradamus couldn’t have conjured up in his wildest ruminations.

Kid Super x Barnsley FC. An unconventional New York-based menswear label created and run by the infinitely idiosyncratic Colm Dillane x a town in South Yorkshire most known for its markets, brass bands, and coal mining heritage. The word “why” springs to mind. But in Kid Super’s lexicon, that word is often followed by “not?”.

Dillane’s latest creation – which comes following his work with Louis Vuitton for Paris Fashion Week – has been described by much of football Twitter, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, as the worst football kit ever created. And that alone deserves commendation. Because anything that can get an old bloke named Keith to cry into his lukewarm pint of John Smith’s is fine by us. Plus we don’t think the kit is that bad. We like the stars. And I’m pretty sure I saw a tiny man atop a horse wearing something similar in the 14:10 at Pontefract yesterday.

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Pack Your Bags.

It’s difficult to name any definitive aspects of British culture. Morris Dancing just doesn’t have quite the cultural cachet that it used to. Even in Barnsley. But one quaint quirk of the quintessentially British experience that seems impossible to shake off is the reputation that Brits abroad are utterly unbearable.

There’s something in their genetic make-up that renders many Brits psychologically condemned to burst into a rousing rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ whenever they get even the faintest whiff of sun cream and continental lager. But Yorkshire Tea are attempting to transform this notion of national shame into a point of patriotic pride. Because nobody wants to go on holiday and drink a gammy cup of tea. Apparently.

I feel compelled to mention that I found this ad extremely irritating after the first 10 seconds, but then found myself somewhat transfixed and compelled to complete the full 2 minutes and 36 seconds. And now I can’t get it out of my head. The donk is gonna get you. Send help. And tea. Plus I like how ‘Get the bags in’ is a slogan that could equally resonate with teenage ravers as much as tea-age pensioners. Although I’m realising now that there has been way too much Yorkshire in this week’s coolsh*t.

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Lashing Out.

The London underground has witnessed some outstanding creativity this week. And we don’t just mean that one-man-band bloke you sometimes see by the Central line platform at Oxford Circus.

We had considered talking about this Castore ad, which used an X-ray of Andy Murray’s actual pelvis in a didactic attempt to underscore their brand philosophy of perseverance. Neat, sure – but we felt ‘Better Never Stops’ in this context lost a bit of its bite when Murray was knocked out of Wimbledon a couple days later and had to literally stop playing tennis. But this activation from Maybelline is even simpler and even more eye-catching. No pun intended – stop it, you’re better than that.

The beauty brand strategically deployed gargantuan mascara wands that apparently resemble their apparently iconic ‘King Kong’ around the city. And while it’s never easy assessing the success of campaigns like these, I now know what a King Kong is – so based off that very limited anecdotal evidence, I can only assume that it was a tremendous brand awareness-boosting success.

Edit: we have since discovered that the installations were actually created entirely by CGI, which proves two things: 1) You don’t have to go out in the real world to go viral, and 2) You can’t believe everything you see on the internet. Although we also learned about the CGI on the internet, so now I don’t know what to believe. Such is the post-truth chthonic hellscape we’ve created for ourselves.

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Oh, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney – what have you started? Two of South London’s favourite sons have linked up to purchase a football club. No, it isn’t Andrew Lloyd Webber and Boris Karloff – unfortunately. It’s Stormzy and Wilfred Zaha, which is somewhat less interesting but probably makes a bit more sense.

The pair have taken over AFC Croydon Athletic with the aim of leaving a footballing legacy in the local area where they both grew up. And that makes sense, because I currently think of Croydon as an IKEA from which you would be wise to escape from as quickly as it is humanly possible to buy some furniture and finish chewing a couple moody meatballs.

The club currently compete in the Combined Counties League Premier South Division, the ninth tier of English football, so they’re probably unlikely to squeeze a Disney+ docuseries out of this. But you might see a couple clips on BBC Four’s TikTok or something.

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It Does Compute.

If you read last week’s coolsh*t, you will have seen an incredibly well-made series of ads created by Google’s in-house creative team compelling smart phone users to eschew the iPhone in favour of the supposedly superior Pixel Pro. But the general consensus was that even with all the advanced functionality in the world, it still won’t be enough to convince 99% of consumers to relinquish their precious iPhones.

Clearly that pissed off the panjandrums at Google, as this week they unveiled a quantum computer that can instantly make calculations that would take rival computers 47 years. See, this is what you should be doing, Google. Forget poxy little phones that will likely be rendered obsolete in the very near future when we’re all microchipped – stick to taking over the world.

And if anyone wants to know more about Google’s new supercomputer, go ahead and Google it. See, they’re everywhere. Almost as much as Barbie.

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