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Volume 445

Does life exist on other planets? Are our governments lying to us? And what exactly is ‘natural beef flavour’? This week’s coolsh*t addresses some of the big questions. We’ve also got morbid marketing, Kentucky Fried Caviar, and aromas of ammonia. Plus the latest coolsh*t podcast, featuring some infallible alien expertise.

Grease Enlightening.

Brands are exploring new ways of engaging audiences who perhaps previously haven’t been given the mainstream representation they deserve. And at long last, it’s now the turn of the drunks staggering around at 2am in pursuit of grease, poultry, and the self-affirming experience of being called ‘boss’ by a man they don’t know.

Heinz announced a partnership this week with a bastion of the finest culture and cuisine South London has to offer: Morley’s. The partnership will launch the new Morley’s x Heinz Fried Chicken Sauce, which has been blended by the so-called ‘sauce scientists’ at Heinz HQ. Picture Heisenberg, but with less meth and more monosodium glutamate.

They will also be launching a month-long pop-up chicken shop in The Standard Hotel – which is far fancier than the name implies – showcasing an exclusive and elevated menu that combines the finest of delicacies with best-in-class fried chicken. Basically they’re just going to dollop a polyp of caviar on top of a drumstick. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

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Kill Bill.

Speaking of birds getting fried, Twitter is no more. And its iconic hovering hummingbird logo has had its truncated beak sealed for evermore after being unceremoniously taken out back and shot through its tiny head like Candy’s dog. Twitter is dead, long live X. Even if their new widget looks like an app for a membership-only human trafficking gentlemen’s club in Budapest.

Overall, the re-brand has gone down like one of Elon Musk’s exploding SpaceX rockets. Amongst all this talk of X, the rest of the world has been left asking ‘Y’? But this has also provided ample opportunity for brands to exploit Twitter’s (Sorry, X’s – there’s too much re-naming in this week’s coolsh*t) decline like the merciless vultures they are.

One such vulture, fittingly, is the the WWF. They’re a bit like Just Stop Oil, but with fewer twats. The NGO jumped on the re-brand to create the timeline of Twitter’s Xtinction, not-so-subtly hinting that some animals will equally be heading for extinction if we don’t protect them. And what was an incredibly simple idea has gone viral this week. Well, not actual viral. But LinkedIn viral, which is arguably even more impressive. Usually the only posts that get that hundreds of thousands of likes on LinkedIn are the ones Stephen Bartlett writes about how absolutely fucking fantastic he is.

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Putting the Fun in Funeral.

It appears we’ve been suckered in by more fried chicken advertising. No wonder the western world is contending with an obesity epidemic. Sorry, a *body positive epidemic. But considering that most of our existence as a species has been spent trying to avoid starvation, our current rate of over-consumption could actually be interpreted as an indicator of immense human progress. We’re choosing to adopt the glass-half-full point of view. Even if it happens to be half full of sucralose and aspartame.

It’s been common knowledge for quite some time that KFC’s fries are nothing short of an abomination. And KFC themselves have now admitted this. So they did the only logical thing: they livestreamed a funeral for their old fries. And they even sent a fry-filled hearse through some of Toronto’s busiest areas to allow people to “pay their final disrespects” – which has apparently upset some pearl-clutching Trudeau supporters.

Morbid? Maybe. But it’s certainly captured the public’s attention. Although the consensus is that this new recipe will have to go quite some way to have any chance of comparing to McDonald’s – which might not be surprising given the fact that Maccies’ fries have 19 ingredients in them, including 4 types of seed oils and something made out of hydrolyzed milk called ‘natural beef flavour’, which feels like it was named ironically. And again, that sounds pejorative, but shoving 19 ingredients into something the size of, well, a chip, could be viewed as a remarkable achievement of modern science. Life is all about perspective.

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Taking the Piss.

Piss-activated advertising. That’s a new one. Working with equality, sexual health and diversity NGO Imagina Más, VMLY&R Health Spain have been taking STI awareness messaging to the streets of Madrid with pavement ads that appear when urinated on. It’s like those ‘magic drawings’ you had as a child, but if you were from a very troubled family.

Apparently Madrid is one of the most pissed-on cities in the world. This campaign takes that unfortunate accolade and spins it into a positive. All in the name of sexual health. Because apparently Gen Z are absolutely riddled with syphilis. And that’s what did Nietzsche in. It was probably punishment for all that ‘God is Dead’ stuff – because for an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being, our divine creator isn’t half touchy.

So the good news is that this may encourage some people to get themselves tested. The bad news is that Madrid is likely even more urine-soaked than usual. Hope they’ve been laying off los espárragos.

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Give Her the Boot.

We’ve got a bit of an unwritten rule that no single volume of coolsh*t should include both Liquid Death and MSCHF. I suppose that does technically now make it written. But there’s simply too much shithousery when the two brands inhabit the same coolsh*t and it’s a threat to the space-time continuum. So it was a toss-up between this MSCHF Big Yellow Boot and an ad from Liquid Death in which a load of people lick a corpulent gentleman’s sweaty back. We opted for this, but if you do want to see some licking, you can do so here.

The reason we went for the Big Yellow Boot – which in true MSCHF fashion is actually named the Big Red Boot – is that this represents a bit of a crossing of the Rubicon moment for the New York-based art collective. MSCHF are by their nature anti-establishment, having previously fended off lawsuits from big brands such as Nike. But now the establishment are coming to them, as the Big Red Boot (which is actually yellow) is being released in partnership with Crocs.

In an era in which meme-culture reigns supreme with Gen Z, more brands are now leaning into the strange sensibility and sense of humour of this twisted generation. And this is a prime example. Because if you can’t beat them, get Paris Hilton out of her cryochamber and launch an absolutely hideous product. This is MSCHF’s world, and we’re just living in it.

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They walk among us. Told you. We’re not crazy. And neither is that weird bloke from Blink-182 who quit music to research aliens for a few years. Alright, maybe he is. But he may have also been right about the aliens.

Last week three former US military officials appeared in front of Congress to testify under oath that they believe the US government knows a great deal more about UFOs (sorry, *UAPs) than they have led the public to believe. You may be wondering what relevance this has to the creative industries. And if you are, then I’m now wondering who you’re working for, what do you have to hide, and where have you put ET’s finger?!

Apologies, that took a turn. I haven’t taken my medication today. But the reason this is relevant (ish), is due to the extent to which space is currently shaping our cultural dialogue. Space has gone from the obsession of conspiracy theorists, crackpots and stoners to the lofty heights of the US capitol, which is a privilege usually reserved for lawmakers and autistic blokes in horn helmets. And with all things alien now very much in the zeitgeist, expect to see this filter through into advertising. Like this recent launch for Canterbury’s new boot. Who made that? That’s well good, that is. (It was us)

See, that was all a conspiracy to get you to look at some of our new work. So if you didn’t think supposedly trustworthy institutions are capable of malevolent Machiavellian machinations, think again. And jet fuel doesn’t melt steel beams.

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