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Volume 476

Kick off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a pint of coolsh*t. We’re serving up superhero stouts, clandestine cannabis campaigns, and an ultra-processed sodium celebration. Sláinte...

Kiss Me, I'm Irish...ish.

It’s every alcoholic’s second favourite holiday this weekend: St Patrick’s Day. If you’re wondering what’s number one, it’s Easter. There are few joys sweeter than downing a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and elbowing 7-year-olds out the way whilst hunting down delicious chocolate eggs – just as God, and the Easter Bunny, intended.

The original lore of what St. Patrick’s Day actually means has largely been lost – something about a bloke chasing a load of snakes into the sea, which definitely really happened. These days, for most people, it simply means Guinness. And this year Guinness have flipped the tale of St. Patrick on its head by dragging something out of the sea, having used this as an opportunity to launch a partnership with Aquaman.

This was an ambassadorship years in the making following Jason Momoa’s claim that the secret behind his physique is a diet of meat, veg, and Guinness – plus, apparently, nude mountain biking. So take this as your explicit permission to stomach a skinful of the black stuff this Sunday, strip down stark bollock naked and take to the streets of central London on a Lime bike while pinching anyone not wearing green. Just tell the police Aquaman told you to do it, they’ll understand.

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Off the Rails.

I’m worried that I may like this campaign for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think it’s meant to be funny, but come on. Seeing the words “You Absolute Moron” plastered across a can of tomato soup is at least a little amusing. No? Have I completely missed the point? Am I the monster here?

The logic behind South Western Railway’s new OOH campaign is that there’s never a good reason to verbally abuse their staff. That idea needs some unpacking. Should you verbally abuse railway staff? No, absolutely not – never. However, are there good reasons to do so? Undoubtedly – but you just still don’t do it. You cowardly mutter under your breath and distract yourself with a Pret tuna baguette, like a decent member of civilised society.

To make things even more definitely-not-funny, the campaign dropped on a day when many SWR services were disrupted due to a derailed train. I imagine some of the utterances on that fateful afternoon were deemed unprintable.

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Just Doob It.

We enjoy seeing brands exploring creative methods of circumventing stringent marketing laws, so we enjoyed this “legal-ish” campaign from Stok’d, a Canadian purveyor of the devil’s lettuce.

Titled “Next to Stok’d”, the campaign sidesteps Canada’s tight cannabis regulations – which prohibit showcasing products, people, paraphernalia, the interior of stores, or discussing the effects – by promoting a bookstore, a nail salon, and an electrician, rather than directly advertising their products.

The ads actually launched last month through a mix of paid digital posts, radio spots, and pre-rolls (which feels like an apt name, given the context), but Stok’d waited until the run concluded before making any public announcements to avoid being blocked by equally restrictive platforms like Meta and Google. These crafty Canucks really thought of everything. Maybe all those irritatingly evangelical stoners are right and weed really does make you more creative, rather than just hungrier and a bit more boring.

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Happier Meals.

When you’re utterly ubiquitous, you don’t even need to show your products – a mere graphical rendering will do.

McDonald’s have been known to experiment with employing obscure interpretations of their iconography in their marketing, with these doors and this blurry Big Mac billboard springing to mind. And embracing the Confucian maxim of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, Maccies are back and they’re back with a bang of confetti.

Using an ultra-high-speed camera and a trampoline to shoot the confetti into the air, the campaign is apparently supposed to emphasise the atmosphere of celebration that McDonald’s believe to be synonymous with their restaurants. Debatable, but I can see why they went for that over the connotations of throbbing heads and creeping anxiety most of us associate with dragging our desolate souls towards those golden arches on sorrowful Sundays of stupor and somnolence.

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In a coup for jingoists and a blow for dancing teenagers, the House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that may force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban in the United States. With over 170 million users nationwide – including many who rely on the platform for their livelihoods – this news hasn’t gone down terribly well. But with a key rival potentially vanquished, if there’s one person this is good news for, it’s Mark Zuckerberg. Time to celebrate by slathering himself in Sweet Baby Ray’s and doing some jiu-jitsu.

To make this week even sweeter for Zuck, Meta and Ray-Ban’s AI glasses had a multimodal update and can now report the history of landmarks, share the backstories of objects, and give scientific explanations of phenomena in the world around us.

Zuck revealed the update himself in a video from his weekend trip to Montana in which he asks the glasses to tell him the history of the Roosevelt Arch, explain how snow is made like a caveman, and let him know if horses feel cold in snowy weather. Thankfully we’re using this nascent ocular encyclopaedia to answer life’s greatest mysteries.

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Chill Out.

Some weeks the coolsh*t gods are kind, other weeks… less so. We won’t tell you which of those this week was, but let’s just say this final slot was a toss-up between this and a wooden wheelchair crafted for the pope using burnt oak beams from Notre-Dame. A worthwhile creation, sure – but this week a security guard shouted at me for taking a selfie in the Sistine Chapel, so on that basis alone anything associated with The Vatican is unfortunately ineligible. We can be vengeful gods too…

With the sun finally starting to emerge from what felt like an eternal hibernation, we can confidently declare that better times are on the way. And with better times, come sweaty times. But not anymore, as researchers from RMIT University are using nanodiamonds to develop high-tech textiles that can help cool you down.

The nanodiamonds, known for their high thermal conductivity, remove and release heat from the fabric to lower the wearer’s body temperature by two to three degrees Celsius compared to ordinary or untreated cotton. Musky Victoria Line voyages will soon be a thing of the past. And for that reason alone, I’m sure the Pope will understand his omission when he reads this. He’s meant to be a proper sound bloke.

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