Five things on Friday #338
Things of note for the week ending Friday 7th October, 2022
Hello friends old and new… (like - a lot of new people this week - hi!) and welcome to FToF #338.
I hope you’ve had a good week. As I write this intro section to you now, it’s a little past lunchtime on a Thursday afternoon. I’ve been over in Bristol this week, catching up with the Diva gang IRL and generally soaking up the decent Bristolian vibes.
Much fun (mostly).
If there’s one thing you have to watch this week then it’s the video embedded below. I don’t care what else has happened, or even if you read literally nothing else in this week’s edition - the first and official thing we are starting with is something that happens to be funniest damn thing I have seen in months.
You have to watch it:
Thank you, Damien Mulley, for putting this my way - me, and the kids, are still laughing about it.
What else can I tell you?
In a personal career high point, I was invited onto Mark Pollard’s Sweathead podcast (iTunes link also available) and honestly, it couldn’t have come at better time. We talked about confidence, strategy, gaming - and strategy & gaming together.
Recording this with Mark sincerely meant the world to me, so I hope you enjoy it.
Finally for this introduction section, if you caught last week’s edition then you’ll know that thanks to an extended mini-summer break we have a bumper crop of bonus links for you. That means that half of this week’s Bonus Section was written last week BUT they’re all still great… don’t judge them, OK? They’re just a bit older, that’s all.
I’m chatting rubbish now.
Shall we get to the things?
1. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT ARGOS
aka: this week in Metaverse madness
Sometimes you have to pull on a thread and see where it goes. This week’s that thread went and went and went… Let’s get it into it:
You know Argos, right?
Proper UK legacy brand, Argos. Been around since the 70s.
As a kid, getting a NEW Argos catalogue was a proper pre-Christmas treat - this is how you knew what to ask for from Santa (I once saw a 20min presentation on how much the catalogue meant to one particular strategist - you know who you are). the world was at your fingertips with an Argos Catalogue.
And then growing up, if you really fancied the girl you were going out with at school, then you might save up a bit and get her something nice from [Argos’ own brand jewellery] Elizabeth Duke - immortalised forever in Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s seminal work: ‘You knows I love you’
This erstwhile high street giant, a stalwart of Britain’s town centres, with its unique shopping experience - a combination of an old school betting shop and a new school McDonald’s - was bought by Sainsbury’s in 2016. And while the catalogue is no more and the catalogue stores not far behind it, Argos collection points are still available in Sainsbury’s its online footprint continues to grow.
And I mean grow. Argos Online is the third biggest retail website in the UK and over 80% of its sales now come from online (it’s funny what happens when you close the stores).
So with that brief (?) history lesson about UK-high-street-brand-now-online-UK-superstore Argos out of the way, let’s bring us bang up to date with the latest Argos advertising news to hit this week:
“Argos and Ocean Outdoor have teamed up to launch what the media owner claimed is the world’s first campaign to run simultaneously in the metaverse and on out-of-home media.
The retailer hopes the campaign innovation will increase awareness of its premium products and tech offering and encourage people to consider buying such items from Argos.”
The retailer ‘hopes’. I see.
The press release continues…
The campaign will appear on some of Ocean’s roadside locations, including in Birmingham and Manchester, as well as virtually inside Somnium Space until 23 October. The media and outdoor agencies behind the campaign are PHD and Talon respectively.
But the ads aren’t just appearing in.. er… Somnium Space (that famous metaverse-like destination for UK shoppers), the ads will be appearing in Decentraland as well!
According to Ocean:
Argos is using the space on the metaverse screens as part of its strategy to drive consideration and awareness of premium products and tech brands.
Each of the screens occupy key locations within Somnium Space platforms to deliver maximum engagement and reach in highly trafficked and immersive areas like a conference centre, a GenesisVR Disco Club, a concert hall and the most popular metaverse gaming zones.
Areas include Decentral Games, the busiest single area within Decentraland, accounting for more than 60 percent of all traffic.
I only have one question:
How is this not embarrassing?
Somnium Space is not the metaverse. Decentraland is not the metaverse. And a single google search for the daily active user count for these spaces would tell you this test and learn experiment shouldn’t have even made onto the last page of the media response to the client brief, let alone bought. Christ alive.
Decentraland is empty.
I haven’t seen a single piece of data that suggests the daily active user number in Decentraland is anything higher than low four figures. In fact, when I went in looking for the ad myself (I found it btw), the user count in the ‘busiest single area within Decentraland’ was 162.
How many of these users do you think are based in the UK and/or make up Argos’ target market for this ad?
According to Ocean, this number represents 60% of Decentraland’s overall population.
How is this not laughed out of the meeting room?
Did anyone actually visit these spaces before they bought the ad space?
Has anyone got any numbers on UK DAUs of Decentraland?
Literally what is the point of this exercise?
I have no idea.
“Ocean claims the screens are in “highly trafficked and immersive” locations within the platforms, including a conference centre, a disco club, concert hall and gaming zones such as Decentraland Games.”
‘Highly trafficked and immersive’
OK, so that’s hilarious. What about the other space where these ads are? What about Somnium Space? Let’s have a look.
Somnium Space is also completely empty.
I know because I have been there and frankly I am lost for words on this one.
In fact, instead of me embedding anymore tweets, you can click on the one above and scroll back up the thread. The conversation is insane.
If you can’t be bothered to do that, it goes a little something like this:
Me: Steam shows all time users are 479 four years ago. How many of Argos’ target are in Somnium’s three daily users today?
Somnium’s founder: Ahh yes, but as a marketer you should know ENGAGEMENT is a key metric (it isn’t) and engagement in VR 1000 times more effective. People can ‘feel’ these ads. But you obviously don’t that because you don’t use VR (I do).
Me: How many of your VR DAUs are based in the UK? Can you share the 1000x effectiveness data? How do people ‘feel’ an OOH ad?
SF: In Somnium, we partner with TeslaSuits which allow you to actually feel the environment…
Me: How many of your VR DAUs are based in the UK? How many of them have Tesla Suits? Can you share the 1000x effectiveness data?
SF: We don’t share those numbers…
Look, you don’t have to take my word for it. Go to Somnium Space yourself and then click on ‘Visit Popular Parcel’ - tell me how many users you see. What am I missing?
I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
The media owners gets to pop a few bottles of champers for a ‘first’ - so what? Like, seriously? ‘Hooray! You were first to tread on a dog turd! Let’s celebrate and hope nobody notices the smell!’
Final PS. on this. If you fancy discussing this further by all means either hit reply to this email or join the 40-comments deep conversation on Linkedin. I’m interested to hear what you think.
Metaverse quick hits:
Even Facebook’s own employees can’t stand Horizon Worlds (I wrote a bit about over this on Linkedin, if you wanted to join the conversation there).
In other meta news: ahead of Meta Connect, people are misreporting incoming interoperability between TWO-META-OWNED PLATFORMS as a ‘step towards a proper metaverse’. This reply about Nintendo’s ‘Miis’ nails it for me. Yet again: gaming has had this stuff for literally decades.
‘How Honda used Twitch to drive its audience to the metaverse’ - what they mean is ‘How Honda used Twitch streamers to drive the streaming audiences to a Honda-themed land in popular video game Fortnite’ - this isn’t difficult.
What do chief metaverse officers actually do? (answer: not much a chief digital officer wouldn’t be doing).
Clothes made to look pixellated ARE very cool. They ARE NOT the metaverse.
The Metaverse ‘Real Estate Boom’ has all the makings of a bubble (as an interesting aside, the author of this piece was also challenged by the Somnium founder on Twitter but suddenly stopped replying when the questions got more pointy).
Finally, if you’re here looking for Walmart in Roblox analysis, that was in last week’s edition (we will revisit soon though).
2. ‘SYNTHETIC GRIEF’
“It is worth remembering that when the worms make their inexorable way through your eye-socket, they will not care whether you lived in a palace or a council flat. Only those you knew and touched can testify your worth; the imagined qualities of people we've never met are as insubstantial as those who try to exploit them.”
That is all.
3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING
Only a few things this week. FIRST, I can’t believe we got through all of last week’s things without mentioning the trombone game!
BRILLIANT. Game Pass when?
The Street Fighter 6 built-in commentary looks fun.
As an aside, I signed up for the Street Fighter 6 beta and told all my friends to do the same. All my friends made it onto the Street Fighter 6 closed beta and I… did not.
So if anyone has one or knows how I can get one TELL ME PLEASE. THANKS.
Drifting in and out of Destiny 2’s latest season.
Played a ton of ‘Let’s build a Zoo’ with the kids last weekend; wholesome fun.
Still struggling to put Roller Drome down. IT’S SO GOOD.
I’m looking forward to:
I’m looking forward to SCHiM (definitely do watch the trailer).
New Need for Speed is coming. Basically ‘NFS but make it SpiderVerse’. In.
God of War: Ragnarök. Nuff said.
What are you playing?
4. IT’S A GOOD TIME FOR GOOD TELLY
But before we get to that, I wanted to kick off with this. Tom Wakeling’s ‘Pattern’ - in Tom’s words:
It uses a unique 'no-CGI' effect to tell its story of a man being overwhelmed. It's just picked up a Staff Pick award from Vimeo and it might be of interest to your 5 things peeps.
I think it’s beautiful.
What else? I’m watching and enjoying:
Andor (good writing, top casting, and a slow pulse of a political thriller building underneath - I love where this is going),
She-Hulk (a seemingly harmless yet highly playful MCU adventure that’s eminently watchable thanks to a cast who just want to have fun).
And for what it’s worth, I don’t think enough of you have watched LUCA.
So go do that x
5. SIGNING OFF WITH SOME FROGS
For no real reason other than it is gorgeous.
YOU SAY BONUS. I SAY BONUS. WE SAY BONUS TOGETHER.
THERE WERE SO MANY LEFT OVER LINKS FROM LAST WEEK’S EDITION, THAT THIS WEEK’S EDITION IS SPLIT. I KNOW RIGHT?
SPLIT 1. NEW STUFF YOU MUST CLICK
The new BURBERRY ad is lush (I would’ve kept the one shot out of the bus at the start mind).
Amy Kean on tone policing is MANDATORY FIRE.
Rob Campbell on what it means to bring your whole self to work is the very definition of actionable insight.
Iain Tait: Dan Wieden: The Quiet Titan
SPLIT 2. EVERYTHING ELSE
The story about a chimpanzee escaping in Kharkiv is worth your time.
Shopify, please stop with the NFT nonsense - here for the phrase ‘International Plonker Gary Vee’ alone.
Tales of the Jedi looks fantastic.
My mate Clare has a tweet in a museum. You don’t.
What it’s like to model for Mr Bingo.
Henry Winkler now knows he’s a DILF.
James Earl Jones has officially retired from being Darth Vader, so here he is reading the alphabet because why not.
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
As I write this closing paragraph to you, it’s 1201pm on Friday October 7th and I can’t believe this thing is actually going out on time for once.
If you’ve enjoyed this edition then do please forward it to someone else who might also enjoy it. You can also use this link and share it around on your socials or whatever.
ALSO if you’ve made it this far, why not hit that reply button and say hi - especially the newbies. Did you like your first edition? Will I see you again? Validate my existence!
And now I am smiling ear to ear as I hit that publish button - I hope you are too.
😁 😁 😁
Big love, always.
Whatley out x