Tag Archives: science

Best April Fools Day 2017 Pranks and Jokes in Advertising and Marketing

I’ve accumulated a collection of my top 10 favourite pranks from the creative world this year. It was hard to choose from such an array of alternative facts, that’s for sure. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 70% of the fake campaigns I found whilst researching for this post had something to do with dogs…)

10. Google Play for Pets:

Google has introduced a new category of games, apps and training tools to keep your pet stimulated:

Updates include:

  • New collections of games, apps and training tools your pets will love
  • 5-Paw rating system
  • Notifications when your pet has logged in
  • Multiplayer mode for nose-to-nose competition
  • Virtual Reality games to simulate real play

This fake product actually looks like something I can imagine happening in the not so distant future! I’m fairly certain I’ve already heard of apps and devices used to interact with dogs left at home all day…

 

9. Honda Blend

Honda Canada created Honda Blend, a blender for your car. It includes a blender and a refrigerated glove box to store the fruit and veg, and it even comes with an ‘exclusive cup system’.
Not so much a prank – just a fake product with funny undertones.

 

8. Google Gnome

The smart yard has finally arrived – Meet Google Gnome. See how Gnome can transform your yard.

I love this satirical take on Google Home for outside.

 

 

7. Virgin Australia Canine Crew

We are excited to unleash our new Virgin Australia Canine Crew in a world first initiative. On select flights, a Canine Crew member will work alongside our award-winning Cabin Crew team to offer a range of additional services.

This is a fake ad, but I’m going to call it a prank because Virgin are pranking all of us by creating such a wonderful and beautiful idea that’s not going to happen. Do not put this adorable idea in my head! Imagine the amount of fearful fliers who have their vertigo cured by puppy cuddles! Therapy flying.

 

6. IKEA: The Updated Småland

We’re about to transform Småland from a playground into a ‘press-play-ground’! Our studies of children’s play habits reveal that today’s kids prefer tablets to physical activity. So we’re replacing the magical forest with a haven of sitting pods with tablets—recreating the way your kids play.

The best part about this prank is the reactions on Facebook…

Leon Koh Kids should be running around giggling and playing. This pic of this beautiful gal with an expressionless face looks so scary to me as a parent

Wendy Choo This is so sad, why do the kids haf to come into IKEA just to face a tablet. Having fun is to move around exploring the surrounding and interacting with others. This is too lonely.

Leslie Lee So sad… Robot land. I thought Scandinavian education is different.

Conclusion: people are idiots and advertising works.

 

5. Hinge Parental Controls

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Dating app ‘Hinge’ introduced Parental Controls, “a dashboard in your Hinge account for your mom and dad to access.” Parents can set their preferences for your potential matches, such as choosing an occupation, timeframe for children, distance from parents, and select which holidays they’re available for visits. This genuinely sounds like something people would use.

 

4. Puppy Mudder/Tough Mudder

Introducing our newest event series, Puppy Mudder presented by Nulo. Starting in 2017, your fearless fluffy friend will be able to dominate our muddy courses across the globe. Events will feature fresh takes on classic obstacles like Barktic Enema, Electroshock Therapuppy, and more #PuppyMudder.

Yes, another dog related prank! The way this is filmed is so great, and apart from ‘Electroshock Therapuppy’ could actually be quite fun.

 

3. Pop chips: Cheddar “Cheese”

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Why go with alternative snacks when you can elect the only chip that can fix literally everything that’s wrong with snacks? People say that 11 out of 10 Russian snackers prefer this flavour because it tastes really, really, really, very good. It’s the best snack. There’s no snack that tastes better. Patriot Puffs are perfect for frequent golf trips and early morning Twitter rants, and even better if you get someone else to pay for it! Let’s make America snack again!

  •  yuge flavour!
  •  tremendous crunch!
  •  puffed with hot air
  •  45% less than promised
  •  glutton free
  •  36% of snackers approve this flavour

A prank wouldn’t be a prank without inspiration form the biggest joke of all time – Donald Trump. Even the CTA is a play on one of his most infamous comments: “grab’em by the bags! (soon)“.  Even the copy on the bag of chips itself is hilarious and mocking of Trump.

 

2. NanoDrop (SodaStream)

THE GREATEST INVENTION SINCE DRINKING! NanoDrop is a revolutionary product which ensures a dramatic decrease in your carbon footprint while increasing your hydration levels. keeping you fresh, cool and so hot all at the same time! If style and responsibility ever hooked up, NanoDrop would be their baby.

You have to check out their website – the amount of effort put into this fake ad is incredible. God knows how much it cost to hire Paris Hilton as their fake celebrity endorser and inventor, but her satirical acting puts the cherry on top! This isn’t the first SodaStream ad I’ve appreciated – they have some fantastic creatives working on their ads.

1. PornHub shares your videos

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PornHub users that click a video receive a pop up that thanks them for sharing their porn viewing habits on social media.
This may not have as much pandemonium and creative output as some of the others, but PornHub 100% have to claim the top spot by creating the scariest, creepiest prank of all time. I bet heart rates were sky high that day! Muahahaha

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Nokia 3310 is My Ultimate Nostalgia: Will the New Version Destroy my Childhood Memories?

I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed, I read “the Nokia 3310 is being resurrected” and my first thought is a negative one: “there’s no way they will recreate the original Nokia 3310 in all it’s shit brick glory!” Well, I was right! The first, and most obvious change is that the 2017 ‘version’ has a colour screen, as it runs on Series 30. It also has a 2MP camera phone and a web browser. WTF.
I’m being precious, I’m being judgmental. I can’t help it – 2000 was the beginning of advanced phone technology, and my generation was a part of it. I was given my first phone at the tender age of 11, and spent a lot of my hard earned money on polyphonic ringtones and custom phone cases (Winnie the Pooh and Playboy Bunny being two of my favourites). After I had enough money I soon upgraded to a Motorola flip phone (still on pay-as-you-go, obviously) but secretly still enjoyed playing Snake on my mum’s 3310. Talking of Snake (one of the most iconic games in history) the new 3310 actually features the game, but visually it just doesn’t feel nostalgic for me – as mentioned above, firstly, the screen is in colour so that’s pretty heartbreaking, and secondly it has been replaced by a multi-directional navigation version, rather than the classic up down left and right. We don’t need any more directions!

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The new 3310 was revealed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday and was created by new mobile firm HMD Global, which licensed the Nokia brand last year. There are some improvements that might increase its appeal – apart from the new features mentioned above, it has almost halved in weight (so can no longer be referred to as ‘The Brick’ RIP), has a month (standby) battery life, is a third of the price (£42 rather than £129.99), uses a microUSB charge and has a micro SD card slot.
Here’s my problem with the new version of my beloved Brick: the aesthetics (and I presume the actual feel of the phone) are similar like the QWERTY keyboard and removable back, but who will be buying this if it isn’t identical to the original? Upon first hearing about the remake, I assumed the target market would be collectors and nineties kids. People going away on holiday usually don’t have to worry about charges abroad or phone damage because most people have contracts that allow for calls abroad and phone insurance. There’s no WiFi and no range of apps like the essentials Facebook and WhatsApp, so the only people I can imagine this would be suitable for is OAPs who struggle to adapt to technology and want simple call functions.

Penned as the the “detox phone”, I think Nokia’s aim for the the resurrection of the Nokia 3310 is to appeal as a cheap indestructible backup phone, riding on the back of a classic. Honestly, I don’t think people should be saying “The Nokia 3310 is back”, because it simply is not the same. It will be interesting to see how HMD Global market this phone – will they use nostalgia or endurance as their POS?
So, who is it for? You can buy basic phones for under £20 (we bought one for my grandparents) so drug dealers and festival goers won’t care, and it can’t be aimed at hipster techies because it isn’t the same phone…

 

Check out the demonstration by the Telegraph below:

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Vicious Cycle

Vicious Cycle by Michael Marczewski features a group of robots performing a range of repetitive functions. Driven by mechanical devices, the machines speed up and the robots struggle to cope. Aside from the bizarre and mesmerizing animation, I love the colours and typeface Michael used for this animation!
You can watch the making of here.

Of course Michael works as a motion designer at ManvsMachine! What a guy.

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Hollywood is Deeply Failing Those with Mental Health

A few weeks ago I was sitting at home, watching ads in the break of whatever TV show was on at the time. I found myself both saddened, cringing and wanting to change the channel – the ‘Split’ movie trailer was being aired. As someone who isn’t a fan of horror films, I’d usually never pay attention to trailers that do not interest me, however it was impossible to ignore the clear demonisation and offensive narrative created by M. Night Shyamalan.

From start to finish, James McAvoy provides a performance (an outstanding one, however) that is detrimental to those suffering from mental health, and more specifically dissociative identity disorder (DID). The character, Kevin, has obtained DID from childhood trauma, which is both a Hollywood classic and highly inaccurate assumption of the causes of DID. Most importantly is the overt and presumptive link between mental health and violence, stringed by Hitchcock in the 1960s (e.g. ‘Psycho’) but replicated in hundreds of movie plots, such as Rear Window, Betty Blue,High Tension, Fight Club, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Shining, Silence of the Lambs… the list goes on!
Why should we care about the plots in horror films? Isn’t it all clearly an over-dramatic, scripted fantasy that has no attribution to real life? Well, thousands have already signed a petition to boycott Split because “at a time when so much attention is being paid to mental illness and gender identity, we’ve reduced both conversations to a horror movie trope.” I couldn’t agree more! The film and TV industry has progressed enormously in the representation of gender, sexuality and race (although there is a very long way to go, but that’s a whole other story), but has seriously failed those with mental health problems. Despite organisations and campaigns for mental health being heard more and more in the 21st century, Hollywood has remained obsessed with narratives including schizophrenics who murder, rape and torture random victims.

Aside from the representation of DID in ‘Split’, the most common mental health condition used in horror films is schizophrenia, and characters with mental health are being depicted as more demonic and crueler than at any time in movie history, according to a report for mental health charity Time to Change.

Psychiatrist and film expert Dr Peter Byrne says:

This is omnipresent in cinema misrepresentations – the psycho killer is immortal and sadistic, motivated by madness – in almost all psychosis films, that character will kill.

The report highlights something really important – that the main source of information about mental health is from films. That is scary and highly damaging. Unfortunately, the mass media shapes people’s ideas about mental illness, and whilst British soaps contribute a lot of their story lines to mental health, the horror film directors and producers are yet to follow suit.
Little discussion of sympathy towards mental health is depicted in Hollywood horror, apart from the exception ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. In 1975, a time of little understanding or discussion of mental health, a film sympathetic to the mentally ill managed to win all five of the Academy’s top awards. Hollywood (well, some of it) took note: compassion can pay, and gave us films depicting empathy towards mental health like A Beautiful Mind, Shine, Rain Man, Adam, The Aviator, The Black Balloon, Séraphine, Keane, Away from Her and Girl, Interrupted. That being said, take those examples with a pinch of salt, as the characters were not accurately or correctly represented, but still contained sympathy rather than demonisation, which is really important.

One of my favourite films, ‘Shutter Island’, has received a mixed response from those concerned about mental health. Set in the 1950s, when psychiatry involved barbaric practices like lobotomy, electric shock and incarceration (scenes I found incredibly upsetting to watch), the film is based on a best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane published in 2003. Scorsese was out to create high drama and to maximise emotional impact – but how could he do this without becoming yet another director taking advantage of mental health? Before filming, Scorsese’s intense research included appointing his own psychiatrist, Professor James Gilligan, who specialised in violent psychosis. The character Dr Cawley is actually based on Dr Gilligan, who in fact was the director of a Massachusetts prison hospital for the criminally insane (much like the one depicted in the film) in the 1970s. Dr Gilligan wanted to protect the image of psychosocial treatments, and was pleased by the historical accuracy in ‘Shutter Island’, but not so pleased with the script itself. Dr Cawley’s treatment of Teddy Daniels was highly inaccurate, as his attempts to shock Teddy out of his delusion were done by enabling him to act it out. This would never happen. Despite the highly empathic narrative and the fantastic performance by DiCaprio, Teddy is still represented as a murdering maniac. However, Dr Gilligan believes that the plot is:

a kind of metaphor for psychosocial methods of treatment as opposed to damaging the brain.

So, ‘Shutter Island’ was successful at portraying the inhumane practices in mental health hospitals, but in the end, movies are drawn to madness because it’s scary. Horror fans eat that up.

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Hollywood needs to focus less on the fear-factor and presumption of traumatic etiology in mental health, the misrepresentation of psychologists themselves, and more on the authentic experiences those with bipolar disorder, DID, schizophrenia etc. experience. Hollywood has a responsibility to steer away from harmful stigmas about mental illness.

Here’s a list of films that have been praised for avoiding the sensationalism of mental health narratives:

Silver Linings Playbook
Clean, Shaven
The Hours
A Beautiful Mind
Christine

Have a watch! And next time you want to spend your hard earned money on a horror flick, think about what kind of industry you are supporting. Mental health is so common, you will undoubtedly have a friend or family member who suffers and/or has been diagnosed. By supporting films like ‘Split’, you are halting the progression of destigmatising mental health, and that deeply effects people like me.

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Netflix: The Art of Design

HELLO! Yes please.
New documentary series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ will feature designers Paula Scher (Pentagram), Bjarke Ingels (Danish architect), illustrator and graphic designer Christoph Niemann, stage designer Es Devlin and the shoe designer behind Nike’s self-lacing trainers, Tinker Hatfield.

Looks interesting. Anything with Paula Scher.

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Enemies of Equality: If Coachella’s Price Tag Isn’t Putting You Off, Maybe Your Conscience Will

Put the flower crowns away, kids. Philip Anschutz, the owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG Live) has been exposed for his right-wing radical beliefs and contributions towards organisations against human rights!
The Coachella lineup has only just been released, and the hippie, beige, HOLLYWEED, home-made flower-power accessory makers of the world rejoiced after headliners like Beyonce, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar were announced.

boho

In all seriousness, last year, festival-goers spent a minimum of $400 on the most basic tickets for Coachella, and LGBTQ activists are urging people not to spend their hard earned money funding hate. The wonderful organisation ‘Freedom for All Americans’ released this infographic, showing well-known and influential anti-LGBT supporters:

FFAA is the bipartisan campaign to secure full non-discrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. The organisation has gained attention from reporters, journalists and bloggers for their claims that Anschutz’s foundation gave $190,000 to anti-LGBTQ organisations between 2010 and 2013. Having picked up on this information about the 77-year-old billionaire, more information has come to the surface that shows how Anschutz supports some of the most damaging and oppressive organisations in America, donating the following:

  • $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) between 2011 and 2013. The ADF litigates cases to oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil unions.
  • $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013. The lobbyist organisation battles pro-LGBT laws and has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013. The foundation has contributed tens of millions of dollars to ADF, the Family Research Council, and other similar organisations.

Apparently Anschutz has funded anti-equality groups for decades, supporting Colorado’s 1992 proposition Amendment 2, a ballot created to overturn laws offering LGBT protection. Also, he has been noted by Greenpeace to finance science denial groups, with a Greenpeace report alleging that he attends “strategy meetings” with the Koch brothers (Republican narcissists who don’t believe in climate change) twice a year. This man is starting to sound weirdly similar to Donald Trump…

So, why do I care? Why should you care? Well, as we’ve seen in last year’s US election, with great power comes great responsibility – and unfortunately power is often put in the wrong hands. Something that has always deeply disturbed me from a young age is the rose-tinted glasses people seem to wear surrounding topical issues that don’t directly affect them. This is exactly how immensely rich and powerful people take control and spread hate. This is particularly important when it comes to something like Coachella, because the artists performing (almost always), such as Beyonce, are pro-human rights. Most importantly, so are their fans (Beyonce is a huge gay icon and pioneer for young black women). Thousands and millions of people are fans of these musicians, yet they would probably still buy tickets to Coachella knowing this information. Headliners Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé have both released amazing, politically charged albums over the past two years that have helped set the conversation around blackness, feminism and progressive politics.
Similar to this situation, following the US election debates, business in the USA made their political beliefs known (which is unusual) and confidently showed support for democrats – check out the extensive list here. Also, here in the UK the campaign Stop Funding Hate has convinced businesses to stop advertising their products and services in newspapers that contain ‘hate campaigns’ – Lego being the first company to break their contracts with said newspapers.

By purchasing tickets to Coachella, you are paying towards an empire that supports the following:

  • gay conversion therapy
  • pro-abortion
  • anti-LGBTQ groups
  • extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s (a despicable televangelist in the US) ‘Pray in Jesus Name’
  • denial of climate change and global warming
  • Mission America Foundation (vomit), whose president considers homosexuality a “deviance”

…the list goes on.

Interestingly, a representative for AEG Live forwarded the following statement from Philip Anschutz in response to this report:

Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us – the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.

Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.

Let’s have faith in humanity for a moment and believe that Philip is pro-LGBTQ (which is hard to believe when he has had such a huge influence in Colorado politics)… this means that someone in his team is supporting these extremist views. These donations weren’t made by accident. Who is he trying to kid? That is so depressing.

My final thoughts on this terrifying, draining topic can be perfectly summed up by Ian Silverii, ProgressNow Colorado’s executive director:

At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.

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Apple’s Priorities: Are Driverless Cars to Blame for the New MacBook Pro fail?

Apple has finally admitted that it is going to heavily invest in the self-driving car industry, wanting to utilise their software expertise. Despite safety and privacy concerns, Apple are wanting to have a head start on its competitors (e.g. UK’s first self-driving car Oxbotica) in what could be a highly profitable industry.
Not only did Paul Newman from Oxbotica turn a hacked Nissan Leaf into a system that can make any vehicle self-driving, Google have also tested a driverless car. However, in September, the Google car collided with another vehicle after the jumping a red light.

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/technology/video/2014/may/28/google-self-driving-car-spin-video

Uber also swiftly managed to get ahead of the game by testing ‘Ford Fusions’ in Pennsylvania, USA, whilst collaborating with Volvo to develop a driverless car.

Steve Kenner, Apple’s Director of Product Integrity said:

The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.
Executed properly under NHTSA’s guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience — to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without.

Could this be the reason for the half-arsed attempt at the new MacBook Pro? If Apple are wanting to invest their time and money into this new lucrative industry (it could be worth £900bn by 2025), will they have time for their original fanbase – creatives?
Watch this space for ‘iCar’, which will happen sooner rather than later to get ahead the likes of Uber and Google

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Dear Apple pt.2: New MacBook Pro ad

Great ad, great song, great art direction.
If you read my previous post (Dear Apple. Are you high?) on Apple’s new MacBook Pro, you’ll see the irony in the strapline “Ideas push the world forward”.
Where do ideas come from? They come from creatives, thinkers, do-ers, makers, technologists, artists… all of those people that Apple decided to forget about when re-designing the new MacBook Pro. So, using the line “Introducing a tool for all the ideas to come” bears no relevance to the “new” product, because it has no congruence towards Apple’s most important target market – creatives!

*face palm*
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WWF: Tiger Protector

I am not crying, I have a large twig in my eye.

Created by J. Walter Thompson London and directed by Martin Stirling, ‘#iProtectTigers’ is an emotive ad featuring a CGI tiger and a personalised book encouraging children to sign up to the charity as “tiger protectors”.
The spot sees a family nurse a tiger back to health, eventually going back into the wild, emphasising the message that we can provide care for the quickly depleting species by donating £5 a month. 95% of the world’s wild tiger population has been lost in the last 10 years…
As part of the integrated campaign, the project has been designed as a gift for children – the book can be personalised with the child’s name, gender, skin and hair colour. Even the parent role can be personalised, steering away from the usual “donate £X a month and adapt an animal” campaign.

Jasper Shelbourne, Creative Director at JWT London says:

By making people Tiger Protectors we are bringing the audience much closer to the action, something manifested in the book, film and print. And, executionally there is something uniquely engaging about a 700lb Tiger in a small bedroom in suburbia.

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AI Experiment: Quick, Draw

In collaboration with Google Creative Lab and Data Arts Team, developers Jonas Jongejan, Henry Rowley, Takashi Kawashima, Jongmin Kim, Nick Fox-Gieg built a game built with machine learning:

You draw, and a neural network tries to guess what you’re drawing. Of course, it doesn’t always work. But the more you play with it, the more it will learn. It’s just one example of how you can use machine learning in fun ways.

AI experiment is a website released a few days ago that showcases Google’s artificial intelligence research through web apps that anyone can play with. Projects include a game that guesses what you’re drawing (Quick, Draw), a camera app that recognises objects you and a music app that plays ‘duets’ with you.

Very interesting! Give it a go here. There was only one drawing the machine couldn’t recognise when I tried to draw a stringbean.

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