Forced GIFs are the new forced memes

In an inevitable development, Giphy, which created a very handy platform for creating GIFs from existing content, is now bringing influencers into their studios to deliberately create original GIFs in hopes of getting some of that seconds-long heat for brands. Read the rest

In-depth investigation of the Alibaba-to-Instagram pipeline for scammy crapgadgets with excellent branding

Artist Jenny Odell created the Bureau of Suspended Objects to photographically archive and researched the manufacturing origins of 200 objects found at a San Francisco city dump; last August, she prepared a special report for Oakland's Museum of Capitalism about the bizarre world of shitty "free" watches sold through Instagram influences and heavily promoted through bottom-feeding remnant ad-buys, uncovering a twilight zone of copypasted imagery and promotional materials livened with fake stories about mysterious founders and branded tales. Read the rest

Apple's long-awaited podcast data-transparency reveals an ad-listening audience with no clear format-preferences

Apple's podcast feature in Itunes is probably the most successful podcatcher extant, and it's long been understood that the app gathers extensive data on listeners' habits: what they listen to, when and where, and how they listen (skipping ads, increasing playback speed, etc). Read the rest

Your inbox is full of spyware-riddled emails that are both potentially very harmful to you and also very easy to disable

It is routine for companies -- and even individuals -- to send emails with "beacons," transparent, tiny images that have to be fetched from a server. Through these beacons, companies can tell whether you've opened an email, whom you've forwarded it to, and even your location from moment to moment. Read the rest

Broetry is the perfect blogging format for the age of Trump

There's a new form of blog post going around comprising short, single-sentence paragraphs. Mostly marketing cliché delivered in the smugly impatient tone of know-it-all men, "Broetry" is the perfect material to game LinkedIn.

“I probably average around, 4,000 engagements and 600,000 views per post,” said Fechter. He also stressed that it’s “all organic” traffic and he doesn’t spend a cent marketing the content.

Three online marketers that spoke with BuzzFeed News said that they first noticed the single-line, single-paragraph updates becoming more prevalent on LinkedIn in late September, when copycats began mimicking Fechter hoping for similar success. Since then, there’s been a broem for almost anything: hiring, failing, dating, being single, and fake news. There’s even been broems about broems, like those published by Sam Parr, the founder of business newsletter The Hustle. He published one as a joke. It racked up more than 2,000 likes in a matter of days.

BBC News' style guide calls for one-sentence paragraphs, which gives its writing a simple staccato authority. This was copied and abused by the various Facebook-gaming viral sites of the early- to mid-2010s, and now some echo of all that has found a new life on LinkedIn, the web's coldest and most desperate social network.

Many broems read as parodies of things we read last year on Medium: the same life-lessons rooted in cash-fire entrepreneurship, the same anxious performance of wisdom and authority, but in 70 words instead of 700. I figure it all comes from spending 18 hours a day performing marketing or activist roles inside social media fishtanks. Read the rest

Vegemite releases an "achingly artisanal" premium version

Vegemite Blend 17 is a premium edition of the love-it-or-hate-it iconic Australian spread, packaged in a fancy box and sporting a fancy label, sold at more than twice the cost of plain-old Vegemite. Read the rest

Burger King in Russia claims Pennywise promotes McDonald's, wants "It" banned

Burger King Russia has filed a complaint with the country's anti-monopoly agency to have the film It banned because, they say, Pennywise the killer clown is free marketing for McDonald's. From Newsweek: Read the rest

A kit of neon 'electric spaghetti'

Someone in marketing got a hold of this box of el wire and gave it the alternate badass name of "electric spaghetti."

This is the DIY Neon Light Kit by UK brand Fowndry and you can get it in either pink or blue for $21. (bookofjoe) Read the rest

There's an evil clown donut delivery service in Texas

That revamped IT film is bringing clowns, downright terrifying ones, right back into the pop culture spotlight.

One donut shop in Texas is leveraging the trend by offering a scary clown delivery service. On Monday and Tuesday, September 25 and 26, you can have Hurts Donut (great name!) in the Dallas suburb of Frisco do the dirty deed for you. And by "dirty deed," I mean "have an evil clown deliver your friends donuts."

In an interview with Dallas area site GuideLive, Hurts Donut co-owner Kas Clegg denies the service was directly inspired by IT clown Pennywise, "We always try to keep up with the trends, and clowns are trending right now... We just love scary clowns."

Have future enemies in the Frisco area? Call 469-214-8001 to schedule delivery. The clown delivery fee is $5 in addition to the regular delivery fee of $5. So, $10 plus whatever the donuts cost.

The donut shop notes on Facebook, "If we have enough interest in surrounding communities, let us know in the comments below, we may pick a day for out of town clown deliveries as well!"

Thanks, Chris!

Previously: Steven King's "It" hurting the clown business Read the rest

Mona Lisa painted with burger grease

In 2009, Arby's commissioned Phil Hansen to paint the Mona Lisa using grease from its fast food competitors. The piece is called "Mona Greasa."

(via Weird Universe)

Read the rest

UPDATED: Walmart says "back-to-school" gun sign is “regrettable situation" but still can't confirm it's gone

UPDATE BELOW: Walmart says it was a "prank" but doesn't say what evidence they have or identify the prankster.

Someone snapped this astounding photo at a Walmart where one of their "Own the school year like a hero" marketing campaign signs was displayed on a case of rifles.

Walmart's Charles Crowson told CNNMoney that they're "not happy" about this and is "working diligently" to make sure the sign is gone.

The company initially stated that they identified the store location and removed the sign but according to Crowson, they were mistaken and actually still trying to find it.

UPDATE from the Associated Press:

“We have definite proof it was a prank,” Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told The Associated Press on Friday evening...

Crowson wouldn’t say what proof the company had: Was an image manipulated? Did a customer move a sign for a joke? Did an employee deliberately or inadvertently place the “Own the School Year” sign on the wrong display?

Read the rest

Wrist-worn device for monitoring people's emotions during market research

MIT Media Lab spinoff company mPath has developed a wristwatch-like wearable that measures changes in skin conductance tied to stress, frustration, disinterest, or boredom. Combined with other data, the device is meant to help companies with "emotyping," the process of "undersand(ing) customers’ emotional needs or wants" during market research and product development," according to CEO Elliot Hedman. Their clients range from LEGO to Google to Best Buy. Most recently, they started working with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Denver that could lead to new ways to encourage reading. From MIT News:

This process combines the stress sensors with eye-tracking glasses or GoPro cameras, to identify where a person looked at the exact moment of an emotional spike or dip. Personal interviews are also conducted with all participants, who are shown the data and asked what they think they felt.

This entire process creates a more in-depth, precise emotional profile of consumers than traditional market research, which primarily involves interviews and occasionally video analysis, according to Hedman. “All these things combined together in emototyping tell us a deep story about the participant,” he says.

Emototyping is an especially useful tool when studying children’s experiences, according to Hedman. “It’s hard for kids to describe what they felt,” he says. “The sensors help tell the whole story..."

A study with the New World Symphony found that making songs shorter and performing classical compositions of modern pop music help engage new audiences in classical music. Studying movies such as “The Departed” revealed where some techniques or concepts (such as dark humor) can be implemented in films to keep audiences engaged.

Read the rest

Texas parks department posts photos of "Bigfoot" footprints

The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department posted images of mysterious large footprints reportedly spotted at parks and trails just north of Austin, Texas. Is this Bigfoot or a marketing stunt?

"I'm leaning towards not real at least on the top one," area Bigfoot researcher Russell Miller told the Houston Chronicle. "Too narrow at the instep."

And, of course, if the "surveillance" camera was capable of capturing the footprints, why didn't it get a shot of the (ahem) "cryptid" that made them?

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Our Park Ranger surveillance has captured strange footprints at various parks & trails in the area. If you find these,...

Posted by Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department on Saturday, June 10, 2017
Read the rest

Giving vegetables seductive names gets people to eat them

Boring vegetables need better marketing. That's the gist of a new study from Stanford university psychologists who gave cafeteria vegetables more "indulgent" names to see if students would buy them more often. Healthy labels ("wholesome," etc) didn't do well but indulgent labels ("sizzlin'", "dynamite," etc.) boosted vegetable sales by 25%. From the BBC:

The experiment took place over the whole of the autumn academic term. Each day, a vegetable dish was labelled up in one of four ways:

• basic - where the description was simply "carrots", for example

• healthy restrictive - "carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing"

• health positive - "smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots"

• indulgent - "twisted citrus-glazed carrots"

...The indulgent labels came out top and included "twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash wedges" and "dynamite chilli and tangy lime-seasoned beets".

Seductive names resulted in 25% more people selecting the vegetable compared with basic labelling, 41% more people than the healthy restrictive labelling and 35% more people than the healthy positive labelling.

"Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets" (JAMA) Read the rest

Vending machine offers artisanal fare, precious marketing buzzwords

Want a quick cultural glimpse of the current vibe in SF Bay Area? Take a peek at the contents of this artsy souvenir vending machine my pal Jessica Nguyen spotted at the Oakland Airport. 

Whoever curated this thing really has their finger on the pulse of the Bay Area. Though, it is a little like playing a game of "Find the precious hipster marketing buzzwords."

I spy (from top to bottom, left to right):

MOO, dog treats made from Five Dot Ranch's grass-fed beef  ($12 plus tax)An eco-friendly embroidered kitchen towel made from hemp depicting the state of California and its state flower: poppies ($24 plus tax)A "super-warm cuffed beanie" by local retail favorite Oaklandish ($18 plus tax)Peanut butter & Jelly granola by San Francisco-based small batch granola brand, Garrett's ($2.75 plus tax)Ready-to-hang wall art made from upcycled 1950s fence wood and a reclaimed California license plate ($15 plus tax)

(And, the winner is... )

A bag of nut-free, soy-free AND gluten-free "100% organic bone broth-infused kale chips" ($6.50 plus tax)

The company behind the this little beauty is called souveNEAR and they've got machines in Kansas City and in San Francisco, as well as in Oakland.  Read the rest

UK juice company Crushed tweeted product pitch pegged on Manchester attack

Bad taste. And I'm not just talking about the drink. Crushed has just deleted the Tweet.

(via Reddit and @CrushedUK) Read the rest

The Marketing Seminar: an online masterclass in marketing from Seth Godin

From the wonderful, refreshingly bullshit-free marketing guy Seth Godin (Seth Godin, a new online course on marketing, called (simply enough), "The Marketing Seminar." Read the rest

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