Friday Reading #99

99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky, 99% invisible, we’ve got 99 problems but an intro idea ain’t one. We’re getting awful close to the big centenary….


Salience is something we bang on about a lot at Goodstuff, paring communications down to their simplest and most distinctive so they can be easily though of. It’s famed political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby’s favored approach, applied with effect in the 2010 election with David Cameron’s relentless focus on the economy. But S______ and S_______ L_______ quickly became a hated cliche, indicative of robotic politics, not empathy. Why is that? The Drum argue that the issue lies with the inflexibility of the message across channels, an analogue campaign for a digital world.

For us it highlights the importance of understanding the context of communications. When no one is looking for you (as with many brand comms), brutal simplicity is necessarily to cut through – but when everyone is watching, all the time, greater finnesse is required to keep them watching.


In typical Zuckerberg-fashion, big Mark wants to make customer service even more user friendly by teaching his 100,000 strong bot-empire the art of negotiation.

The purpose of the upgrade was to allow businesses to interact with users on a more complex level, allowing them to negotiate deals across a number of different services including taxis and shopping deliveries, by using bots.

However, as the bots were required to learn more than just basic language syntaxes and pre-determined algorithms, they were trained on natural language negotiations between two people -but unfortunately, went above and beyond what engineers thought was possible. They found instances where the model was feigning interest in a valueless issue, so that they could later ‘compromise’ by conceding it. A fascinating example of the unexpected consequences of AI, and an example of its growing sophistication

Maybe next time we’ll think twice before asking bots if our bum looks big in this though…


Yep, it’s real. Honestly. Some bright spark working at Colgate in the 1980′s tried to get on board with the frozen ready meal trend by suggesting you might want to eat a branded dinner before brushing your teeth with Colgate. Funnily enough, it didn’t take off. It’s just one example from The Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden – a new institution dedicated to showcasing boundary pushing innovation disasters, from coffee Coke to female pens. Helping us to learn from the mistakes of the past, and raise a wry smile along the way.


Since the 1860s, the price tag has been the sole way that
retailers indicate price and flog their ways to the average punter like you and
me. In the online space, the idea of a stable price tag has largely gone out of
fashion – brands like Amazon, Secret Escapes and others allow customers to plug
into a marketplace reflecting the dynamic supply and demand, and changes the
prices to reflect this. Great stuff for online, but bricks
and mortar retailers are now moving into
this space to deliver flexible
pricing, and attracting the highest value customer at the lowest price point

You might recognise the women in the bath from a previous edition of Friday Reading – it’s Louise Delage, the fictional Parisian influencer created to raise awareness of everyday alcoholism. It’s just one 25 campaigns Adweek have pulled together as their tips for Cannes glory, the full list is a feast of inspiring ideas and brilliant case studies. Making the cut from past Friday Reading entries are Nike’s ghost running, and the little girl facing down the Wall St bull.

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