Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Watch a Mesmerizing Timelapse of Reddit’s ‘Place’ Experiment
“There is an empty canvas. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more.” Such were Reddit’s instructions for ‘Place,’ part April Fool’s gag, part rad social art experiment. The rules of /r/place were simple: Each user could change the color of one pixel on the board every five minutes, anywhere they wanted, and as many times as they wanted. You might think this would be a recipe for disaster, but somehow beauty emerged from the chaos. The final result was a complex digital mosaic full of references to movies and video games, logos, and more memes that you’d care to count. It’s probably the closest thing to an embodiment of the internet as we’ve seen. Check out this mesmerizing timelapse to see Place in action.
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THUMBS DOWN: PEPSI’S KENDALL JENNER COMMERCIAL
How Pepsi Got It So Wrong: Unpacking One of the Most Reviled Ads in Recent Memory
There are going to be missteps when brands try to assume a larger role in culture. Pepsi found that out the hard way last week when it unveiled an ad that seemed to co-opt protest movements for commercial gain. Created by Pepsi’s in-house creative team, the widely ridiculed ad was pulled after 24 hours of nonstop criticism. Though Pepsi intended to project a message of peace, unity and understanding, the reaction to Pepsi’s ad, not the ad itself, brought people together. Kudos to Pepsi for having the courage to admit they “missed the mark,” but the experience should serve as a cautionary tale for brands intent on making bold moves.
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THUMBS UP: NETFLIX SWITCHES TO THUMBS UP
Netflix Officially Kills Star Ratings, Replacing Them With Thumbs Up and Down
Last week, Netflix announced that it is retiring its longstanding five-star rating systems for content recommendations. Instead, users will rate TV shows and movies they like using a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Instead of the star rating next to each title, Netflix users will see a personalized percentage “match score.” That’s a prediction “of what Netflix thinks you may enjoy watching, based on your own unique tastes,” Cameron Johnson, the company’s director of product innovation, wrote in a blog post. According to Netflix, the thumbs-based ratings will produce far more accurate recommendations for what you want to watch. More relevant content recommendations? Thumbs Up.
The social web has made it easier than ever to surface negative stories about brands. And that’s a good thing. A much less good thing happened Sunday when a man on an overbooked United Airlines flight was forcibly removed from his seat and dragged through the aisle for refusing to take a later flight. Video of the incident circulated quickly as people criticized the airline’s tactics, and the speed of public outcry has been remarkable. United is in full-blown damage control, but it remains to be seen how much their brand will suffer.
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THUMBS DOWN: TAKING THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER
‘S-Town’ Attains Podcasting Blockbuster Status
A big RED Thumbs Up to ‘S-Town,’ the latest podcast that listeners can’t stop talking about. From the team who brought you ‘Serial,’ S-Town is a gripping story about murder, money, outcasts and mystery. But it’s also a moving portrait of an ordinary man, a piece of Southern Gothic nonfiction that’d fit right in with the likes of William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor. In its first week of release, listeners downloaded episodes of “S-Town” 16 million times. There are only seven episodes, so pace yourself.
According to new Google research, teens think Google is cool—sorry, “lit”
If you tend to be skeptical anytime someone makes generalizations about an entire generation, you’re not alone. Last week, Google released an ebook called “It’s Lit: A Guide to What Teens Think Is Cool.” The pamphlet is a guide to help brands market to Generation Z (which they define as teens ages 13-17), but it also takes the opportunity to poke fun at millennials: “Unlike millennials, this group is ambitious, engaged and feel like they can change the world,” the introduction reads. And wouldn’t you know it, teens think Google is cool. Hmm…