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Five things on Friday #358
Things of note for the week ending Friday November 17th, 2023.
As I write to you now, it’s Thursday. 18:44.
It has been quite the fortnight.
First, a week or so ago we saw the completion of what I think might be the biggest project Diva has ever delivered (see above), featuring lenticular bus wraps, a 3D Piccadilly deep screen, and a monster full building projection mapped takeover of London County Hall - all in the name of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III.
You can see the full video of everything put together over on Linkedin - and not a single fake out-of-home execution - or ‘FOOH’ - among them.
The London County Hall projection was an incredible showcase centrepiece and with the blessing of London County Hall management, some consulting with military veterans, and an agency delivery record of four weeks from final-brief-to-execution, it went up on the evening of Friday November 3rd, with a showing every 15mins from 5pm. Absolutely nuts.
If you were walking by you definitely would’ve seen it (I could hear it the moment I stepped out of Westminster tube station; see this video I shot from the waterfront - that sound is live).
All credit to the team for delivering the work to such a high standard - with the client (Activision), the great partners (Rapport and Pixel Artworks) and of course, the staff at London County Hall who were brilliant all the way through.
Second, tomorrow (Friday) we deliver the second two parts of a mega three-part pitch for another huge project (due middle of next year). Part one felt good. Cross your fingers for parts two and three, please.
On top of that there’s another huge project moving through the agency (going live VERY SOON) with a lot of moving parts (at least 26) and, in a time when we should be beginning to wind down for Christmas, it feels like we’re revving up. It’s great to have the energy of the team all pulling towards the same goal and it’s really great to see the amazing work slowly come to fruition. But yeah, I’m looking forward to resting this weekend and I’m sure the team are too.
How are you?
Last edition I asked that and got some LOVELY replies. So, y’know, hit that reply button (or comment, or restack or whatever you do to read this) and say hi.
For this week’s edition, because of all the WERK I think we might be a light on content but let’s see how we go.
Shall we head to the things?
1. REFLECTIONS ON BLACK HISTORY MONTH
31 days. 31 reflections. 31 things to love.
And. I. Love. This.
Aisha Singleton writes:
‘I’m not just a black woman during Black History Month, I inhabit this skin all year round, and happily so, but sometimes there can be a disregard around how intersectionalities can affect your professional life.’
They are all gorgeous.
And you can read all of them right here.
So go ahead and do that and then go thank Aisha and let her know how they made you feel.
2. SOME GREAT WORDS ON LEADERSHIP
We’re going to dive right in with another thing I found on Linkedin recently (stay with me, I swear it’s of value).
My dear friend Marshall Manson was asked recently asked to try and capture a few of his key principles for leadership. He did that, of course, but then also shared those principles in the post linked below.
He didn’t number them but I have and there are 18 all told.
I’m not going to repeat them all here however Marshall does open with this belter:
Most important: Do the right thing for the right reasons. If that goes against someone’s rules, be ready to explain or face the consequences. Be as transparent as possible about your decisions and reasoning with anyone who shows interest.
I’ve worked with Marshall. I have seen this in action (if you know him, ask him about when he decided he wanted to hang a bell in the Ogilvy offices at Sea Containers - it’s one of my favourite stories). As principled men go, he’s one of the best.
Go read Marshall Manson’s 18 principles on leadership, they’re so good I think I might turn them into a poster or something.
3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING
My main reading recommendation this week is this week’s edition of the. With a well-researched look at Saudi Arabia’s gaming strategy, George Osborn puts together a compelling deep dive on where the
Good words, George.
This week in Fortnite
Yo dawg, I heard you like Fortnite and The Games Awards? Well now you can Fortnite in The Games Awards while you vote for your favourite Fortnite game in The Games Awards. What is life?
On the flip-side of this, kudos to the team at PRELOADED for dropping an actual teaching lesson plan to go with their UEFN work: Lives After Death: The Pyramids of Giza. Ubisoft have good caliber in this, it’s good to see other stepping up.
Final Fortnite thing. I’ve been enjoying FortniteOG but it’s great to think that the ENTIRE THING was predicted by (or implemented because of) Avengers: Endgame. Truth.
Quick news bites / gaming-related interesting stuff
It’s exhausting trying to read video game website headlines (a cry of sanity against click-bait hell)
Conan O’Brien on Starfield (clueless gamer does not get old).
Earlier this week, PlayStation removed ‘Share to Twitter’ from its consoles. As the editor in chief at Gizmodo so eloquently put it: ‘Imagine getting your hands on a social media platform so influential it got all three console makers to literally add a dedicated button to their controller design for sharing to it, and f***ing it up like this in less than a single generation of hardware’. Great job. Xbox did this first btw. I’m sure Nintendo won’t be far behind.
Speaking of Nintendo. It’s earnings call season and it turns out Mario and Zelda games still slap - to the tune of $2.8bn.
Games on Netflix. More are coming.
This is interesting (and again, another bonafide proof point about rEtAiL SaLeS not being a great signifier of success - looking at you, EAFC nay-sayers): physical games represented just 4% of PlayStation’s total revenue last quarter. To put that in perspective, digital sales was 21% (my quick and dirty maths tells me that that equates to a 16% of all [first party] games sold for PlayStation were physical (and 84% digital). I wonder what the YoY on that is (I don’t have the time to work it out right now but it’s a good noodle to tug on).
What am I playing?
After finishing Spider-Man 2 I wanted to find a smaller indie game to explore/adore and I have found that in a gorgeous little game called Jusant (pictured, top). It’s only a few hours long and as such, I managed to finish it last night (it’s lovely). So now I’m back bouncing between Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Super Mario Wonder ,and a shiny new edition of Modern Warfare III (thanks for the code, Activision). I think I’ve got enough to get me through to the end of the year (!) but we’ll see how we go.
I definitely want to play Alan Wake: Remastered (and then the new AW2), I’m also hoping I can clear the slate enough by 2024 so I can make a start on Baldur’s Gate 3 in January but again let’s SEE HOW WE GO.
What are you playing?
And finally this week…
Another week in games, another week of devastating lay off news across the category. Once again all I can do is point anyone impacted by these redundancies to the relentless Amir Satvat and his excellent work over on Linkedin (that most recent post featuring links to a wide range of resources and support). Amir has also run the numbers on job vacancies vs people looking - it’s not great but it’s still important knowing.
I hope it’s helpful.
4. GROUNDS FOR DISCUSSION
With Rory Sutherland and James Hoffman.
Anyone who has ever worked at Ogilvy for any decent amount of time will almost certainly have a story about Rory. My own one is when I offered to drive him to the station after a client meeting once (‘Don’t kill the vice chairman’, my AD said to me as he got in the care). Rory spent the entire time asking questions about everything he could see - my phone choice (Android), my smartwatch (Pebble), car integration (non-existent) - and such was the distraction (combined with my relatively recent acquisition of a drivers licence and the many stop/start hills of St Alban’s) that I easily stalled the car a good six or seven times.
Anyway, in my mini book of Roryisms, I have a working/running theory. It’s not quite ‘Sutherland’s Law’. It might be a rule. Or simply a theorem. It goes like this: Rory’s public talks are a bit like that whole thing that happened with Eddie Izzard and Watchdog a few years back. Because he is such a consumer of data and information - and he’s processing it all the time - if you see him two weeks running then you might see or hear the same thing. If you see him at the end of one tour and the beginning of a new one, same deal.
Point is, since departing Ogilvy Towers, I try to time my Sutherland consumption to catch as much as new stuff as possible.
It was during one of these moments when I heard Rory talking about how hilarious and dangerous he thought YouTube could be. ‘One minute you’re looking at cat videos, the next you’ve ordered a three thousand pound Japanese coffee machine a man named James Hoffman told me about it’.
It’s a very Rory thing to say.
I like Rory. I like James Hoffman (you know who he is, he’s the YouTube coffee guy). And that comment stuck in my head. So when I saw that someone had managed to get them in both in the same room, to have coffee, and to chat about what drives consumer choices - well, I poured myself a hot black one (Aeropress) - and enjoyed every last word.
5. THE GORDIAN KNOT
This week, in light of Meta’s recent introduction of a charge to avoid advertising regular reader, Tim, sent me this article: ‘Meta, subscriptions, and the EU’s Privacy Gordian Knot’ (linked at the bottom of this thing).
Before we get into it, I hadn’t heard of the Gordion Knot until this article was shared with me so, of course, I went away and looked it up.
The Gordion Knot can be traced back to Alexander the Great.
In 333 B.C, the Macedonian conqueror marched his army into the Phrygian capital of Gordium in modern day Turkey. Upon arriving in the city, he encountered an ancient wagon, its yoke tied with what one Roman historian later described as “several knots all so tightly entangled that it was impossible to see how they were fastened.”
Phrygian tradition held that the wagon had once belonged to Gordius, the father of the celebrated King Midas. An oracle had declared that any man who could unravel its elaborate knots was destined to become ruler of all of Asia.
According to the ancient chronicler Arrian, the impetuous Alexander was instantly “seized with an ardent desire” to untie the Gordian knot. After wrestling with it for a time and finding no success, he stepped back from the mass of gnarled ropes and proclaimed, “It makes no difference how they are loosed.” He then drew his sword and sliced the knot in half with a single stroke.
So of course, when applying this particular turn of phrase to the route through which Meta is solving the knotty problem it faces with EU legislation around data sharing it has indeed sliced right through it.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
Sorry to to be the one to have to tell you but OREO x Xbox campaign I led the strat for went and won some more awards. This time EIGHT SILVER EFFIES. This is getting embarrassing now, lad. Come on.
How to swear at co-workers (a good read, this - I tend not to swear at co-workers. I swear at things. The work, the brief. The lack of time. But never people - at least, I like to think I don’t).
In what is potentially the most exciting thing I’ve read this week: ‘Brit Marling hopes to revisit ‘The OA’ - not yet but IT’S A SIGN! - in the meantime, watch her new show - A Murder at the End of the World’ #SavetheOA
What’s that? You want MORE Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij? OK fine.
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
It’s late now. I’m going to schedule this for 10am tomorrow morning and head to bed.
Before I do that, however, I want to leave you with two wildly different event recommendations.
First up is NJ Carter’s ‘Safe House Party’ looks great and is totally my vibe. It’ll be in Brentford on December 2nd and tickets are a fiver. All profits go to War Child.
Second is this event from BIMA x Good Shout: ‘Why Maternity is an EVERYONE issue’ on Dec 5th. Amy has asked me to specifically encourage MEN to attend. Tickets are £15ish and you are a man, please go. Thanks.
I am travelling when both of these are on so this is my way of saying ‘sorry I can’t be there’ to two people I think are excellent.
How will you be nice to people you think are excellent this weekend?
Until next time,
Whatley out x
PS. It’s my birthday next week so there might be an edition, there might not. Who knows? But if you see me in Soho, buy me a pint and say happy birthday would you? Thanks x