When Content Degrades and Distracts, Advertising Suffers Too

Advertising is a parasite that depends on the blood of its host—news and entertainment content—for its survival. When the body or in this case the media industry is sick, the parasite too will suffer. This is the conclusion, although not the language, of Mike Follett, managing director of eye-tracking company Lumen Research (and a former […]

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Meta Is Working On It

Most of us know what we want from Facebook. Family updates and sensational fake news! No, what we want is reform from within and regulation from the federal government. Have we properly considered what the company that owns Facebook wants? The company that owns Facebook wants “updated internet regulations to set clear guidelines for addressing […]

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Facebook Rebrands, The Company Is Now Known As ‘Meta’

Remember Second Life? Facebook didn’t buy it, but now the social networking behemoth wants to become it. This is not a joke. Facebook has changed its company name to Meta. The word ‘Facebook’ now refers to just the social networking application and site. Meta was chosen as the new name because it points to Mark […]

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Facebook Foibles and the Media Megaphone Mess

Facebook is under fire from all directions. Former employees are venting. The press is screaming. The federal government seeks to break the company’s monopolistic hold. And we the people just want to scroll—something that was denied to billions of addicted users of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp for more than seven hours on Monday. In the […]

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Are We Profoundly Misinformed? It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault

Are we, the people, adrift in a sea of digital flotsam? Joseph Bernstein, a 2021 Nieman Fellow, has written a thought-provoking piece for Harper’s. He believes we are profoundly misinformed about social media’s role in keeping us misinformed. Bernstein points to a 2019 Pew survey, showing that half of Americans think that made-up news/info is […]

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No “Country” for Holocaust Deniers or Other Factless Conspirators

Haters are having a hard time pumping the socials full of hate, right now. No, their venomous fangs have not gone dry. Social media platforms are starting to enforce their own codes of conduct. Accountability—it’s not just for breakfast anymore. F to the B Finally Tells Holocaust Deniers to Shove Off Monika Bickert, VP of […]

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Facebook Is A Multi-Way Mirror; What You Put In Front Of It, Determines What You Get Back

Is Facebook the doom machine? The Social Dilemma, a new documentary-like film from Netflix, makes the case. One of the technologists in the film, Jaron Lanier, makes the case (in the film and in many other instances). To varying degrees, we all make our cases against F to the B. Some of us quit the […]

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Brighter Futures for the Ad Industry Are Possible, Following Massive Reform

Someone moved the ad industry’s cheese. The various reactions from industry leaders have been slow and haphazard at best, but that’s starting to change. The World Federation of Advertisers has formed the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media. “In the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, the city collapsed because its inhabitants lost the ability […]

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Coca-Cola, Ford, Starbucks et al Halt Ad Spending on ‘All’ Social Media Platforms

In 2018, Coca-Cola launched #RefreshtheFeed giving its social media accounts a complete factory reset. Coca-Cola’s new social strategy was “rooted in optimism, uplift, and connection.” Now the beverage icon is going to pause paid and organic posts on all social media platforms globally for at least 30 days, effective July 1. Chairman and CEO, James Quincey, […]

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More than 100 Companies Stop Advertising on Facebook (Sort Of)

Hit pause on hate. That’s the call-to-action issued on June 17, by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL. Their new Stop Hate for Profit campaign asks businesses to suspend advertising on Facebook’s services during July. The campaign’s partners, including Color of Change, Common Sense, Free Press, and Sleeping […]

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You Can Check In To Holiday Inn, But You Can Never Leave

Retirement doesn’t come cheap if it comes at all. Almost half of Americans — 49 percent — cite running out of money as their chief retirement concern, with another 44 percent citing declining health, according to a new report from the Aegon Center for Longevity, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral […]

Twitter To World: Political Message Reach Should Be Earned, Not Bought

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of @Twitter, and founder and CEO of Square, made some interesting Tweets today to announce Twitter’s new policy that bans all political advertising from the platform. We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A […]

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Mark Is Responsible. Mark Is Irresponsible.

Mark Zuckerberg testified, a.k.a. whined a lot, in front of Congress this week. U.S. Representative Katie Porter from California, a law professor and graduate of Harvard Law, cross-examined the witness. She asked Mark if he cares about privacy as he claims to do, why is he arguing in federal court that consumers can’t hold  Facebook […]

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Facebook’s Rogue Founder, Chris Hughes, Funds Anti-Monopoly Efforts

Do you know Mark? Mark knows you. Do you know who does know, Mark? Chris Hughes knows Mark. Hughes was there along with fellow Harvard undergrads Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Dustin Moskovitz when Facebook was founded in 2004. Incidentally, Adpulp was founded a few months later that same year. Because Hughes knows Mark, Hushes […]

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Facebook Blows Technicolor Chunks

Facebook blows technicolor chunks. Let’s count off a few of the leading reasons for the giant suck. Facebook lies about its traffic, inflating their numbers by 900% in some cases. Facebook allows politicians (and Russian agents) to run paid lies on its platform. Facebook is the world’s largest excuses factory. The San Jose Mercury News […]

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Volvo wants you to take a car selfie, for safety. #SelfieforSafety Wait, what?

You may think it’s a little weird that Volvo is asking to see your selfies. but they actually do have a plan. They design their cars around real people and real behaviour, so they need to see real people and real behaviour. Asking selfie-taking people to simply tag them when they are already taking a selfie while sitting in a (parked) car is a good way to learn how people are actually sitting in their cars, and how they are wearing their safety belts.

take a selfie when you are wearing your seatbelt and tag it #selfieforsafety on any social media platform

I suppose this is a new twist on the old “tag us on social media” ploy, which we have seen plenty of times before. This is market research under another name and with a bonafide Doctor at the helm of the research, we might see some interesting insight come out of the analysis. 

”The amount, the range and the diversity of data that we can gather via this approach is very difficult to replicate elsewhere.”

says Dr. Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.


“The Selfie For Safety initiative uses the selfie, but in an unselfish way. From The E.V.A. Initiative we saw that people wanted to join the conversation about safety and equality. We are now taking it a step further by inviting everyone to contribute. Once again it’s been possible thanks to our close relationship with Volvo Cars”, said Hampus Elfström, creative at the Forsman & Bodenfors office in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The final report from Volvo Cars is expected in late 2019. The results will be made publicly available for the whole automotive industry on the E.V.A. Initiative website.

Advertiser: Volvo Car Corporation
Client: Auste Skrupskyte, Dominique Amkell Client Supervisor:
Adress Client:
E-mail Client: auste.skrupskyte@volvocars.com, dominique.amkell@volvocars.com
Phone Client:
Year: 2019
Airdate: September 2, 2019

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Art Directors: Karl Risenfors, Leo Dahl, Sophia Lindholm Copywriters: Hampus Elfstro?m,
Account Supervisor: Magnus Wretblad
Account Executive: Katarina Klofsten
Agency Producer:
Music Supervisor:
PR: Bjarne Darwall
Planner: Trine Keller-Andreasen
Digital Strategist: Sara Bjo?rnung
Web Design: F&B Inhouse
Artwork: Martin Joelsson, Christian Sunde?n

Media Agency: Mindshare

Title: SelfieForSafety
Director: Marcus Ibanez
Producer: Dea Saracevic
Production Company: New Land
D.O.P: Jake Hunter
Executive Producer: Sophie Tamm Christensen Online: Chimney
Online Post-Producer: Moa Looft @ Chimney

Photographer: Therese O?hrvall


Composition: Pierre Riddez
Performed by: Pierre Riddez
Master rights owned by: Pierre Riddez Publishing rights controlled by: Pierre Riddez


Move over Vantablack, MIT scientists create the blackest material ever, by accident. And then they coated a $2M diamond with it.

I may have said this before, but great news for Art Directors, designers and typographers – we can now get an even blacker turtleneck! I did say I am wearing black until I find something darker, and finally, an MIT scientist team has actually found something darker. Eeeek, I’ve been using this joke since at least 04* when they discovered the blackest of blacks, and again when Vantablack appeared.

Like the moody perfectionist creative types, scientists seem to have a thing for black. Because light-absorption has other applications, of course. This time, however, the scientists weren’t even looking for this, they stumbled on it by happy accident. The material, which is 10 times blacker than anything ever before reported, is made from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and cuts out over 99.99% of light.
Postdoc Kehang Cui, now a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and his team were experimenting with different ways to create CNTs. These are extremely thin tubes of carbon that are strong and excellent conductors of heat and electricity, very useful stuff, but they ran into a problem. They found that a layer of oxide would coat the aluminium as soon as it was exposed to air, and this layer stopped it from conducting heat and electricity thus making it useless. To remove the oxide layer, Wardle and colleagues used salt to dissolve the layer.

That’s when he noticed how dark it got;

“I remember noticing how black it was before growing carbon nanotubes on it, and then after growth, it looked even darker,” Cui recalls. “So I thought I should measure the optical reflectance of the sample.”

Now, in collaboration with Brian Wardle, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, and his group they looked into this more, to create something new.

“Our group does not usually focus on optical properties of materials, but this work was going on at the same time as our art-science collaborations with Diemut, so art influenced science in this case,” says Wardle.

Wardle and Cui, who have applied for a patent on the technology, are making the new CNT process freely available to any artist to use for a noncommercial art project. 

Diemut Strebe is an artist-in-residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology, and with this black in collaboration with Wardle and Cui, they coated a diamond with it.

The yellow diamond before and after coating with carbon nano-tubes. Image by Diemut Strebe

Not just any diamond. This work of art a 16.78-carat natural yellow diamond from LJ West Diamonds, estimated to be worth $2 million, which the team coated with the new, ultrablack CNT material. The effect is mind-blowing. The gem, normally brilliantly faceted and obviously 3D, now appears as a flat, black void.

The cloak-like material as part of a new exhibit today at the New York Stock Exchange, titled “The Redemption of Vanity.”

“Any object covered with this CNT material loses all its plasticity and appears entirely flat, abbreviated/reduced to a black silhouette. In outright contradiction to this we see that a diamond, while made of the very same element (carbon) performs the most intense reflection of light on earth. Because of the extremely high light absorbtive qualities of the CNTs, any object, in this case a large diamond coated with CNT’s, becomes a kind of black hole absent of shadows,“ explains Strebe. “The unification of extreme opposites in one object and the particular aesthetic features of the CNTs caught my imagination for this art project.” “Strebe’s art-science collaboration caused us to look at the optical properties of our new CNT growth, and we discovered that these particular CNTs are blacker than all other reported materials by an order of magnitude across the visible spectrum”, says Wardle. The MIT team is offering the process for any artist to use. “We do not believe in exclusive ownership of any material or idea for any artwork and have opened our method to any artist,” say Strebe and Wardle. “The project explores material and immaterial value attached to objects and concepts in reference to luxury, society and to art. We are presenting the literal devaluation of a diamond, which is highly symbolic and of high economic value. It presents a challenge to art market mechanisms on the one hand, while expressing at the same time questions of the value of art in a broader way. In this sense it manifests an inquiry into the significance of the value of objects of art and the art market,” says Strebe. “We are honored to present this work at The New York Stock Exchange, which I belie


Esthero hacks Spotify to rail against the company's awful royalty payments

Canadian singer Esthero joins other musicians and groups like Vulfpek who have found a way (or at least tried) to circumvent Spotify’s notoriously low royalty payments to make a living wage. As the BBC points out,

“Fans streaming the new single by pop singer Esthero have discovered it’s been deliberately doctored to protest against Spotify’s royalty rates.

Ninety seconds into Gimme Some Time, the music dips, and Esthero explains the full version of the song will only be available on her website.

The money Spotify generates is “really not a liveable income,” she explains.

“I really hope you enjoy my music enough to actually go and support and buy the song from me.”

The BBC didn’t bother to add the part where Esthero directs you to her website to download the song, so I will add her link. And I will add it a second time, too.

This isn’t the first time an artist has shall we say intervened with the listener. Back in 2003 Madonna rightly knew that torrents and other sites would take a chunk out of her livelihood. So when she “leaked” American Life, it was actually a trolling message demanding to know “What the fuck do you think you’re doing,” which is why I will forever love her. But people didn’t listen then which is why Spotify appeared as the wolf in sheep’s clothing to dole out a pittance to musicians, masquerading as a legitimate business. A legitimate business who constantly has to settle lawsuits from the very people it depends on to keep its service going.

While Madge was typically on brand with her chutzpah, Esthero’s message was more refined and heartfelt about it,  explaining why it’s important to support artists. Most people have no idea that if they use Spotify’s free service very little money goes to the musicians they love, just as the majority of people have no idea that even if they use the paid service, it’s not a one-for-one payment system. So even if you support Esthero by listening to her stuff hundreds of times, that money is pooled to other artists. So it’s unfair on countless levels.

Meanwhile, as people finally wake up to the so-called gig economy only exiting to benefit the corporations (meet the new boss, worse than the old boss) more and more musicians are hopefully coming to the conclusion that playing a gig is one thing, but adding their songs to the gig economy is not paying. Good for Esthero for speaking out.

We’ll see how long Spotify takes before they pull the song for “violating their terms of service,” or whatever reason they make up. Because if it’s one thing Spotify is really bad at, it’s getting musicians and singers and bandmates on its side. No, not fake artists it invents so it doesn’t have to pay the real ones, but real ones.

big tech

big tech

Havas group pursues its expansion in India with its second digital acquisition this year: Langoor

Havas Group today announced the acquisition of one of India’s leading independent agencies – Langoor. A full-service digital agency led and driven by creative technologists, Langoor has grown steadily since being founded in 2010, and is now present across India, the Middle East and Australia.

Reading left to right: Venugopal Ganganna, Chief Executive Officer, Langoor, Ruchir Punjabi, Founder & Chair, Langoor, Vishnu Mohan, Chairman & CEO, Havas Group India & South East Asia, Bobby Pawar, Chairman & CCO, Havas Group India, Girisha Gowda, Chief Operations Officer, Langoor, Kishore Karumbaiah, Chief Creative Officer, Langoor and Rana Barua, Group CEO, Havas Group India

Its team of 170 specialists provide meaningful digital experiences and connections to MNCs, local brands and start-ups across strategy, online marketing, website planning and development, data analytics, marketing automation, e-commerce and SEO.

Langoor will be rebranded as Langoor Havas and be led by its co-founder – Venugopal Ganganna – who will take on the newly-created position of Chief Digital Officer, Havas Group India, reporting to Rana Barua – Group CEO, Havas Group India.

Langoor Havas will have three key focus areas – health, business and vernacular – and will expand their services to markets outside of India in the coming months.

Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and CEO Havas Group comments: “Digital business is booming in India and bringing Langoor on board is an important new step to further strengthening our digital skills locally. Through their unique blend of data, creativity and technology, Langoor enables brands to engage their customers meaningfully and drive growth. Earlier this year, we acquired the leader in user experience and digital design in India, Think Design, making Langoor our second acquisition in the country in 2019. The combined expertise of Think Design and Langoor boost Havas’ digital offer in one of the world’s fastest growing ad markets. India continues to be a priority for the Group, we aim to triple our presence there by the end of 2019 and have put in place a solid new management team to lead this expansion.”

Vishnu Mohan, Chairman & CEO, Havas Group India & South East Asia adds: “In the current, rapidly changing marketing landscape, a technology-based solution needs to be intuitive, interactive and extremely customer-centric. Langoor has emerged as an unmissable player in the digital transformation space in India due to its ability to deliver outstanding, innovative results, leveraging creativity and technology. The acquisition will reinforce our integrated offering and digital expertise in India and complement our existing capabilities. I am delighted to welcome Langoor to the Havas family.

We pride ourselves in having created an agency focused on digital brand thinking – which is the future. The integration within Havas Group will add scale to the depth of our services and help us to grow even further. This acquisition is an incredible opportunity for Langoor and the team and we are excited to be part of this new journey towards further success,” said Ruchir Punjabi & Venu Ganganna, co-founders of Langoor in a joint statement.



Jessica Hartley joins The Humblebrag – to drive creativity as a force for good

Jessica Hartley, a creative PR and advertising expert with several Cannes seasons under her belt, is teaming up with New Zealander Lucy von Sturmer, a sustainability and thought leadership expert – who is also an outspoken environmental activist. This partnership brings something new to the market. 

Lucy, who founded The Humblebrag in 2017, has a background working in NGOs and sustainability, while Jessica has deep roots in the creative industries, having instigated the PR strategy for some of Amsterdam’s most thought provoking and awarded campaigns such as The Next Rembrandt and School for Justice. 

Von Sturmer on the left, and Hartley on the right.

After six years as an independent consultant, Jessica is now joining The Humblebrag as Managing Partner, bringing two decades of experience in advertising, marketing and PR as well as numerous clients with her. 


Jessica Hartley, Managing Partner The Humblebrag:

“I have spent many years as an independent consultant working with some of the best creative talent on campaigns I’m very proud of.  However the reason I am joining Lucy at the Humblebrag is to continue working on the best creative work, but with a strong mission to create positive impact. Lucy and I have the same vision which is to deploy business as a force for good. This is why The Humblebrag is much more than a commercial communications agency. We are investing time, resources and capital into social, environmental and cultural projects that align with our mission. The most urgent topic being the climate crisis.”


Hartley moved to Amsterdam from the UK in 2006 when she joined 180 Amsterdam as head of PR and awards, working extensively on adidas campaigns such as Impossible is Nothing, +10 and numerous World Cup and Olympic campaigns. During Hartley’s five years at 180 Amsterdam, the agency grew incrementally and won numerous awards and accolades. Originally from London, Hartley was first trained in film production in Soho in the 1990’s, then moved into advertising to work with Trevor Robinson’s progressive agency, Quiet Storm. Settling permanently in the Netherlands, after her stint at 180 Amsterdam, Hartley gained extensive brand marketing and consumer PR experience by working at brands such as TomTom and Bugaboo. 

Most recently she has been working as an independent consultant on award-winning campaigns with agencies such as J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, DDB Unlimited, HERC the agency, HEIMAT Berlin, &Co Copenhagen and many more. An advocate for creativity and the importance of different and diverse voices within it, Hartley was this year’s Amsterdam ambassador for the inaugural Gerety Awards, a creative benchmark for advertising – judged only by women. 

Lucy von Sturmer, Founder & Managing Partner, The Humblebrag:

“As any entrepreneur will know, finding the right partner is a key. Jess is strategic, forward-thinking and very passionate, but most importantly on a day-to-day level, she’s really fun to work with. Having Jess on board gives me the confidence to take our mission to the next level – already we have an amazing client roster who are striving to create social impact, and I’m excited to see what we can do next.”


Lucy is also the Founder of The Amsterdam Creative Entrepreneurs (ACE) Collective, a community of 400+ creative entrepreneurs in Amsterdam for which she hosts a range of seminars, events and networking opportunities and she is the podcast host for B Building Business. 


The Humblebrag is a strategic communication and thought leadership agency, dedicated to amplifying the voices of innovators, forward-thinkers and industry disruptors who are driving positive change. Working with a mix of brands, NGOs, creative agencies, sustainable fashion and digital disruptors – the agency is setting the agenda for a new breed of fearless business leaders. While deploying time and resources to agenda-setting initiatives on the climate – and building communities around topics like diversity, social inclusion and creative entrepreneurship. 


Hartley adds:

“The direction I hope to take with The Humblebrag is to instigate wider change within the creative industry, moving away from a ‘brief and respond’ way of working to a place where we are setting the agenda and pushing back on commissions that don’t align with our values – and the needs of our planet. This is hard, and it’s an imperfect process, but I feel strongly that this needs to happen.”