Youth Scum

Posted in Culture on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

young peopoe

I Hate Young People (IHYP) is an online forum for people who hate youths. Haters are invited to vent their disgust by posting a video explaining what enrages them most and submit comments and solutions to the issue (corporal punishment being the most popular). The most passionate and creative entries will be turned into a US TV pilot. “Be specific! Be real! And don’t hold back!!!!”, contributors are told. Young people are invited to give their response too. Our favourite reasons for hating youths from the IHYP community are, that they smell (“like gunge”), they’re naive, and their pockets ‘ring’ (mobile phones).

Trust Economy

Posted in Branding on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

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A lecture this week on ‘Of the People for the People: Rebuilding the Trust Economy’, likened trust in the economy to the trust formed in human relationships and discussed the different forms of trust. Professor Kenneth Costa talked about the ‘human factor’ in industry trust. Trust is a concept that is hard to earn and easy to lose. Humans work on the assumption that we give and receive trust, however, there is ‘asymmetry of trust’, where we expect to gain it but are not so eager to offer it back (i.e. the recent UK government expense scandal). There is also the notion of ‘false trust’, where trustworthy behaviour is just for show. And the concept of the ‘free rider’, where one person shirks their duties and takes advantage of the group’s trust. Read Professor Costa’s 3 steps to rebuilding trust here. </span>

Professor Costa concluded with 3 steps to rebuilding trust. These steps can be applied to business and humans alike.

1. The need to learn important lessons from what has happened.

2. The need to be willing to admit wrong-doing and serious breaches in trust.

3. The need to offer and embrace forgiveness, drawing the line to obtain closure. It is not just about being negative and regretful, but taking positive action towards changes in attitude.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2009, 62% of people in the world trust businesses less than they did a year ago.

Go Teddy!

Posted in Digital on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

Teddy On The Go is a quirky Kuwait-based photoblog showing the daily antics of a stuffed bear as he spends a year travelling around the country. Garden gnomes and Barbie dolls might have been taken round the world before, but we’re still fascinated by the life of Teddy B, who is fired out of canon one day, and befriending the police the next. Fans have adopted the bear as a “blank slate,” using it to ponder their own lives and as a reflection of local issues. The blog casts a new light on Kuwait, with Teddy travelling across ethnic, social, and spatial boundaries. The project also proves that there is an active audience in a region deemed to have low Internet involvement. Follow Teddy here.

Go Teddy!

Thanks to Matt Hardisty and Ellie for this story. Ellie’s favourite bear doesn’t have a nose anymore because she loved him too much.

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Dwarf Ville

Posted in Miscellaneous on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

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A group of bullied Chinese dwarfs have set up their own village to escape discrimination. This is an exclusive community that only permits dwarfs who are 4’3” or less (dwarfs can reach 4’10” so this community is technically a bit dwarfist). Unsurprisingly, Dwarf village is turning into a tourist attraction, which the dwarfs are happy to exploit. They have built a theme park featuring mushroom houses and the 120 residents live and dress as fairytale characters. Fu Tien, a spokesman for the village explains that, “As small people, we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren’t any big people and everything we do is for us.”

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Thanks to Zoe Meskell for this story. Zoe is 5’5’’.

The New Working Class

Posted in One to Ponder on October 2, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

New working class

The working classes are not what they were, according to guru Steve Lacey of Leithal Thinking, who gave a talk this week on how the recession is impacting on this group and working class Britain in the 21st C. No longer a homogenous group, the working class has fragmented into six sub-groups and is expanding as a whole. Within these sub-groups, we’re seeing a greater binding of communnities, and a narrowing of attitudes, perspectives, and geographical locale. In recession, brands that want to tap into this market need to look small, talk local, facilitate sharing, and promise instant gratification.

The working class can be segmented into six sub-groups, says Lacey. These are Salt of the Earth (older males with staunch Protestant values); Aspirational Working Class (display middle-class values); Thatcher’s Children (they want money and don’t care how they get it); Chaos Heads (poverty and crime-riddled with the recession dragging more into this group); Family Diamond (want a better life for their kids); and British and Proud (40s males devoted to football, pubs and porn).

Lacey believes the media’s portrayal of the working-class needs to reflect this shift. He believes the media is guilty of demonising this market, with TV shows such as Shameless and Little Britain making poking fun socially acceptable.

The real signpost here we think, is our dated, static approach to segmentation and probably class too. Why do we need labels to identify types? It is increasingly hard to identify consumer groups in the more fluid, ever-changing marketplace. Perhaps we need to change our segmentation models rather than try to shoehorn individuals into groups?

Lacey also talked about the key trends that have emerged from the recession. Localism, conservatism and the desire for quick-release, being the most important. The marketing implications for these mean the ‘buy British’ message and grassroots activity resonates more strongly than ever.

The new working classes want brands that are empathetic and on side. Communications that are reflective, advisory (but not lecturing), talk about attainable achievements, and tap into the ‘glory days’, are all areas brands targeting this market might do well to explore. A sign of Facebook’s maturation is that the working classes are embracing it, which is one of the new tools they are using to reignite their sense of community.

Post-recession, Lacey says ‘trust’ will remain a constant value for this group. We will see more of the ‘ugly side’ of the working classes too, such as racism and drug abuse, but there will also be a slowing down of their pace of life and big dreams will shift to small achievable steps.

The group that stands out as being most resilient through the recession is women, he says, because they are better able to cope with and communicate their problems. One of the most valuable insights was that women are the strongest conduits to social change. Girlfriends he says are key influencers that help get vulnerable men off crack and out of jail. Why aren’t they targeted more in drugs and crime campaigns, we think? And working-class men frequently cite their mums as their heroes. Bless.

Thanks to the beautiful Margot Molinari for this story. Before she worked for Mother, Margot used to be a spy.

Brave New World

Posted in One to Ponder on September 25, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

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A talk about what life might be like in 2050 was held this week, bringing together experts from the 21st Century School, Wired and Intelligence². We are now in the last era of youth, by 2050, life expectancy is predicted to reach up to a Star Trek-like 250 years. We won’t have kids until we’re 80, resulting in ‘bean pole’ families where 5 or 6 generations live together. Longevity will become the new global inequality, overruling race and class. Whilst in the West we will expect to live to 150 years or more, people in developing countries will hope for 50. The social challenges facing us by 2050 will be not how to eliminate poverty, but how to give everyone the same long life.


‘Bioliberation’ versus ‘biothreat’ was the most controversial topic of the evening. An experiment where genes from a glowing jellyfish were used to create a fluorescent rabbit was described. The science behind this was transferred and used in developing a glow-in-the-dark human embryo. It was destroyed so that it couldn’t grow into a luminous baby.

This raises lots of ethical questions about the implications of harnessing genetic modification, taking qualities from nature and combining it with humans. For example, could we develop a way to see in the dark like a cat, or exploit the jellyfish genes and become a luminous race, helping to solve the energy crisis simultaneously – we would never need electric lights again. Today’s ‘frankensciences’ could be tomorrow’s sustainability solutions.

There was also a key discussion on the science of happiness. Scientists have discovered that happiness is linked to biology, rather than a person’s circumstance. With gene technology it might be possible breed happier, less greedy, more generous human beings.

Stephen Hawking also believes our survival depends on using GM to make us less aggressive. “I think the biggest challenge we face is from our aggressive instincts. In caveman days, these gave definite survival advantages and were imprinted in our genetic code by Darwinian natural selection,” he says. “But with nuclear weapons, they threaten our destruction. We don’t have time for Darwinian evolution to remove our aggression. We will have to use genetic engineering.”


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Shaggledick

Posted in Miscellaneous on September 25, 2009 by Something for the Weekend

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There’s a little-known way to address people whose name you can’t remember, you can call them shaggledick. When she’s not being a diva, Aretha Franklin practices tyromancy, the expression for predicting the future by watching cheese curdle. These are among the bizarre, rarely-used words in the English language that feature in a curious new book called The Wonder of Whiffling. We also like Growlery (a place to growl in, often applied to a sitting room); Blatteroon (a person who will not stop talking); and Badonkadonk (buttocks of exceptional quality and bounce). The author Adam Jacot de Boinod, describes himself as a “linguistic bowerbird” (a person who collects an astonishing array of – sometimes useless – objects). He hopes the book will make people more articulate. The author sent us his favourite words:



Adam Jacot de Boinod’s wondrous wiffle:


gulch (Newfoundland English 1895) to frequent a sheltered hollow for sexual intimacy


exhibition meal (Hobo slang) a handout eaten on the doorstep: the madam wants the neighbours to witness her generosity


spanghew (1781) a cruel custom among lads of blowing up a frog by inserting a straw into its anus; the inflated frog was then jerked into the middle of the pond by being put on a cross stick, the other end being struck, so that the frog jumped high into the air


noop (Scott: Heart of Midlothian 1818) the sharp point of the elbow


grille-peerer – one of a group of clergymen in the 1940s who used to haunt the stacks of the London Library to look up the skirts of women browsing above


handbags at ten paces (US slang 1991) a verbal spat, usually between athletes on the field of play


feague (slang b1811) to put ginger up a horse’s fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well


witches’ knickers (Irish slang 2000) shopping bags caught in trees, flapping in the wind


cochel (Sussex dialect) too much for a wheelbarrow but not enough for a cart


ostrobogulous (1951) unusual, bizarre, interesting


petrichor (1964) the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell


juck-cum-peng (Jamaican English 1943) imitating the sound made by a wooden-legged person walking


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Thanks to Ellie for this story. Ellie is a self-confessed Pozzy-Wallah, (someone who is inordinately fond of jam). Her particular favourite is rhubarb and ginger on not too crunchy toast.