INCYMI: October

Do you like scary movies? Burger King and Jack in the Box, two American fast-food joints, have both acknowledged horror movies are the greatest forms of cinema and are serving classic scary scenes to advertise their newest cuisine. First up, we’ve got Burger King drawing from the 90’s playbook with references to classics like “Scream” and “The Ring.” But Jack in the Box has gone the extra cinematic mile, with a seven-minute short film that plays like a Goosebumps episode, if they had a budget and some childhood trauma to work through.

Bacardi is also getting into the Halloween spirit with a new set of ads paying homage to classic horror films like “Poltergeist” and “The Shining,” along with a glow-in-the-dark edition of their spirit. Note: the bottle is glow-in-the-dark, not the liquid. Do not drink glow-in-the-dark liquid. It’s either a harmful chemical, or going to re-animate the dead — either way it’s not good.

Vodka Cruisers, a brand exclusively associated with your poorest life decisions at eighteen, has created its own streetwear range. Cruiser Couture, a name you can somehow taste, was launched at a bottle-o drive-through, transforming it into a makeshift catwalk. Stay classy, Australia.

Great news for people who like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and whisky, the McLaren’s gang has launched a whisky. The ad targets those fed up with celebrity alcohol ventures, reminding everyone it’s better the devil you know. You don’t want a big corporation in your whisky, because of the implication.

Have you found your soulmate, but neither of you have any friends? Mountain Dew’s new campaign will throw one couple an all-expenses-paid wedding where the only people who can attend are strangers. Even the best man and maid of honour will be chosen at random. If you were planning to elope, but are willing to commit to a bit, as well as each other, this might be for you.

Most of us are only reminded of our regrettable romantic partners when we pass an old date-night spot, or see a red flag. Some unlucky souls have a permanent reminder right on their skin. For those looking to erase their questionable choices completely, Tinder is joining forces with a London tattoo shop to help those stuck with ink they’d rather forget – offering a service to remove tattoos of your ex’s name.

Get in losers, we’re fighting online scamming. October 3rd has the unique honour of being both Mean Girls Day and World Romance Scam Prevention Day. Tinder has teamed up with Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels, for those who don’t recognise him without his hair pushed back) for a fun, reference filled warning of the potential dangers of scammers. Don’t give your bank details to strangers on the internet, cause you will get pregnant and die.

A not-so-fun fact: Men are twice as likely to get skin cancer due to lack of awareness about daily sun protection. To combat this, skincare brand Pavise is packaging its SPF like condoms to encourage men to “practice safe sun.”

Want to see something really scary? Chinese beer company Tsingtao, is having a PR nightmare after one of their workers was filmed urinating into a tank. I guess sinking some p*ss on the weekend just took on a whole new meaning.

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It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, cause Muppet rockers The Electric Mayhem have teamed up with Spotify. The streaming site has released a rockumentary going “behind the scenes” of the band’s visit to Spotify studios, ending with a jam session that goes harder than any pieces of felt should be able to. Everyday it gets harder to remember these guys are puppets and not actually alive.

Edgy canned water company Liquid Death has unleashed an ’80s dance-pop album based on internet hate received by the brand. Featuring hits like “It’s Dumb and I Won’t Buy It” to “Rather Cut My Own D**k Off,” Greatest Hates Vol.3 is the perfect album for when you just want to bop out to your own vitriol.

Ever had to cringe your way through a sexist movie scene and wished you could make it stop? If you answered yes, today’s your day. If not, we need to have a chat about feminism and the patriarchy. Have a seat. The Mayor of London’s anti-misogyny campaign is based around an interactive ad allowing you to break up a sexist conversation between a group of young men once you feel the conversation has gone too far.

In one of the cleverest adverts of the year, a French media agency have used VFX for an exceptional ad showcasing soccer highlights. Put your trust in our taste and watch it all the way through.

Modibodi has released a sitcom on TikTok. I’m Dying Inside follows four housemates as they get into your typical sitcom hijinks, although more centred around their crimson waves than your typical episode of Friends. So no one told you your period was going to be this way…

To mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, a PSA supporting women’s health is offering an interesting warning: press the skip button and they’ll fund abortions. The ad opens by explaining, “Skip this ad and we’ll provide free family planning medication to someone in need. It’s your choice.” Must be nice, the whole choice thing.

European broadcaster Arte has programmed a special summer season around siblings, with showings of movies like The Blues Brothers and Rain Man. To advertise this they’ve focused on a much more realistic sibling dynamic — think less ‘heart-warming hugs’ and more ‘sorry don’t tell mum, you can hit me back and we’ll be even’.

Weird Barbie, Kate McKinnon’s world-weary outcast from the Barbiemovie is getting her very own doll, graffitied face and eternal splits included. Although one could argue weird barbie cannot be sold, she must be made by a creative and destructive child.

There’s been an unprecedented level of marketing for Greta Gerwig’s record breaking film, and one of the more creative pieces of advertising comes via Bumble turning Barbie into your personal wingman. The promotional experience featured Barbies giving users suggestions for compliments to send to your matches. Although in an important distinction: you can’t send these compliments to the characters themselves, ’cause even in the veritable utopia of Barbieland, you cannot match with Margot Robbie.

Siri, play Dancing With Myself. UK-based sex toy company Love Not War’s latest campaign asks you to break up with your showerhead. The hilarious and semi-NSFW ad tells the tale of shower heads being dumped for a more sustainable solution.

In the most Aussie development ever, Uber Eats is petitioning to rename our capital to Can-beer-a in a new stunt highlighting their expanded drinks delivery service. Outside of billboards, they also enlisted a town crier to carry the petition to Parliament. Scratch that, the petition actually going through to parliament would truly be the Aussiest thing ever.

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We usually relish any opportunity to break out our soapbox and poke fun at brands for flimsy attempts at rainbow-washing, but this year we feel more compelled to give them snaps, not snipes. In a time when anti-queer hate speech is veering dangerously back towards the mainstream, far-right nasties are now savaging brands for the smallest attempts to represent equality; even destroying their products in stores. After Bud Light collaborated with trans model Dylan Mulvaney in a sponsored Instagram post, the ensuing backlash from this newly emboldened anti-trans crowd was swift and brutal. The brand has since ridden a rollercoaster of contradictory knee-jerk reactions, from firing the ad agency behind the campaign, to donating thousands to a queer charity.

The North Face, a brand traumatised Melbournians still associate with pandemic press conferences, has launched its “Summer of Pride” campaign fronted by a drag queen. Hot on the six-inch heels of the Bud Light fiasco, they seem to be taking the high road and just ignoring the hateful reactions.

Binge is in trouble for somehow managing to remove every reference to gayness in their new show… about a drag queen. Trixie Motel follows drag star Trixie Mattel and partner David Silver as they renovate a run-down Palm Springs motor-in. Foxtel’s streaming service accidentally uploaded a censored version, made for more conservative markets, which edits out any reference to their same-sex relationship. If you’re part of the deeply niche target audience who like drag queens but are homophobic, firstly, what is your life like? But secondly, you’re out of luck, Binge has now uploaded the correct version.

Verizon is doing pride month advertising right, with their campaign ‘No Straight Answers’, a camp throwback to 70’s gameshows. This video pits influencers The Old Gays against a team of younger queer creators, in a series of playful games about queer history and activism. The campaign is not only in partnership with a queer non-profit, it’s genuinely funny.

As those who remember the brutal scuffles to secure the last fluffy pencil at Scholastic book fairs can attest, never tick off a book nerd. Penguin Random House has joined the fight against censorship and filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s recent book bans. This comes as a bunch of mouth-breathing dinosaurs have been banning books that support any viewpoint outside of outright bigotry, which might be a violation of the whole free speech thing.

Match is telling young whippersnappers to get off their lawn and bring emotional maturity to the dating world with their newest campaign: Adults Wanted. Featuring billboards designed like vintage help-wanted signs, the campaign exalts the benefits of getting into an adult relationship like connection, maturity, and early nights. This one goes out to all the lonely hearts looking for someone to share their boardgames with and help do laundry.

Our fuzzy pals at Sesame Street are reminding everyone why they’re still the best in the early childhood genre, with a PSA supporting kids’ mental health. Elmo and friends perform a song reminding kids their grownups are there to help if they’re ever not feeling A-OK. Can you tell us what rent is like on Sesame Street? We’ve got a couple of adults who’d like to live there too.

Uber has released the 2023 edition of its ‘Lost and Found Index’, ranking the weirdest items left in their taxis. This year Australians have left behind rabbit medication, a wedding dress, some adult toys, and a girl’s number on a piece of paper “who might be the love of my life,” which is a rom-com just begging to be written.

Viewers of a new game show on the BBC were left stunned after one of the contestant’s heads exploded. Anthology show Inside No.9 decided to prank their viewers by thinking the time slot had been taken over by a new quiz show, only revealing it was actually a science-fiction program after one character unexpectedly murdered another.

Director Sofia Coppola gets Lost in Translation again to celebrate Suntory’s 100th anniversary in a short film starring Keanu Reeves. Set to a rockin’ Joan Jett soundtrack, the ad highlights all its coolest ad campaigns over the years, even throwing back to a floppy-haired 90’s Keanu and a reference to Coppola’s Japanese film setting.

Soft-drink brand Fentimans has created the ‘World’s Longest Advert’, with an exhausting runtime of 168 hours. Like the beverage version of Waiting for Godot, the ad follows one man watching over a fermenting batch of Fentimans for its full brew-time of seven days.

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If there has to be someone in the room who always takes the joke too far, you can bet it’s a social media manager wandering what the kids these days are up to. This is why every April we are forced to reckon with the influx of hilarious and totally real no seriously pranks done by major brands. Some lowlights this year are Heinz’s Lovecraftian-horror of a bean bag made from baked beans, and the Goonlivet, a goon bag of whisky, although you could play a pretty good game of Goon of Fortune with that one. The only winners would be Duolingo’s fake dating show, a Love Island-esque competition where none of the contestants speak the same language, and of course, the greatest prank ever.

In a departure from their usual association with not putting healthy things in your body, Heinz has partnered with tattoo ink manufacturer Electric Ink to create a pigment in their official signature Pantone shade of red. After recent health concerns over colour tattoo pigments, Heinz goal is to create an ink that only uses non-harmful ingredients. Picky little brothers everywhere rejoice, you can finally say ketchup is a healthy choice.

1.8 million bacteria-laden, horror-infested mattresses are illegally dumped in Australia every year, a statistic that isn’t shocking to anyone trying to access the bins in an apartment complex. To bring awareness to the issue, mattress company 10PM has turned illegally dumped mattresses into a guerrilla billboard campaign. The ad copy has been printed directly onto discarded mattresses marring the inner-city suburbs of Sydney, turning them into king-sized billboards.

For a different kind of cleaning up the city, Amsterdam’s new tourism campaign comes down to a central message: stay the hell away. The new discouragement campaign aims to deter men aged 18 to 35 from travelling to the Netherlands capital city, as statistically they can’t seem to handle the easy access to a red light district and legal marijuana without going on a bender. It’s like when the really sheltered kid from your school gets their licence and goes way too hard in the other direction.

The international equivalent of the co-worker no one invites to pub lunches, American conservatives continue to ruin everyone’s day. A Florida school principal was recently fired after students were shown a picture of Michelangelo’s David, as the classic biblical statue was deemed ‘pornographic material’.  In response to this stupid decision, The Florence Museum has offered to have the school board visit the exhibit, which is the kind of classy response you would expect from a fine art establishment.

Speaking of very European attitudes toward reproductive organs, CerHom, a French health association, has found a way to turn unsolicited dick pics on dating apps into diagnostic tools. Over 50% of women have received a non-consensual dick pic, which while a downer statistic, is at least better than meeting a serial killer. (1 in 160,000 chance for serial killers, 1 in 200 chance for people convicted of any crime.) The company has set up fake dating profiles and upon inevitably receiving the unwanted slugfest, an auto-response will lead them to a free, anonymous consultation.

Your teenage years are a hellish landscape of insecurity and anxiety that’ll make you wish you had the ability to turn invisible. But in the kind of fresh positivity we all could have used as neurotic teens, Amazon’s new ad sees a girl learn to embrace her growing moustache. The new spot by Olivia Wilde, director of the equally positive and upbeat teenage portrait Booksmart, features a teen girl get inspired by moustachioed and unibrowed heroes who came before her.

Levi’s has come under fire for their decision to create more representation among their models by replacing humans with AI-generated images. The point of diversity amongst models is to give opportunities to those usually dismissed from fashion and showcase the inherent beauty of women who don’t meet the very narrow standard previously dictated. Putting a bunch of pixels on the screen is a very shallow attempt at inclusion, literally just looking the part without putting in any work. Then again, as any art student being asked to justify their work can tell you, it’s very easy to pull up social justice reasons on the fly, and it’s very likely pixels are a lot cheaper than people.

For their new campaign, Modibodi is encouraging young people to both unleash their creativity and be open about their periods, the direct opposite of what’s taught at every high school around the country. Modibodi is asking creatives under 18 to design, draw, make, or create what ‘period power’ means to them, for the chance to have their design made into an exclusive range of period underwear.

Pepsi is rebranding for their 125th birthday, throwing it back to their rock & roller cola wars image of the last century, rather than the stilted minimalism we saw being handed to riot police by Kendall Jenner. The days of lower-case austerity are gone! All hail the return to Pepsi Max-imalism.

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Ever wish your ex would be eaten by a crocodile, but don’t want the unfortunate manslaughter charges that come along with it? The San Antonio Zoo has a solution. The Cry Me a Cockroach fundraiser allows you to name a cockroach, rodent, or veggie after your special someone, and then have them be fed to a zoo animal. There’s also the option to send a digital card to let them know, and then promptly get blocked on all social media. For those wishing to revel in this kind of petty  revenge closer to home, Who Gives a Crap is offering disgruntled lovers a new way to double down on ‘you’re dumped’. Turn your ex’s love letters into toilet paper, with their Flush Your Ex campaign. That’s one way to wipe them out of your life.

For Valentines Day, sandwich chain Jimmy Johns released a spoof of The Bachelor titled MILF & Cookies. Don’t make us explain the acronym, American Pie was released in 1999 and Urban Dictionary is free. The campaign features “multi-platinum rapper & MILF connoisseur,” Yung Gravy (great business card) facing the tough romantic decision of which mature lady to romance. Yes, it’s funny and acceptable for this to be an ad campaign, no, it’s not acceptable when Leonardo DiCaprio dates a nineteen-year-old. I don’t make the rules. I am simply the Rod Serling to this nightmare of sexual politics.

Burberry came under fire recently for its Valentine’s Day campaign showcasing a number of real-life LGBTQ couples embracing each other. The responses are what we can now come to expect whenever a popular brand features anything other than straight white people. Ranging from the usual ‘too sexualised’ to ‘you’ve gone woke,’ to the more severe of labelling the inclusion of a model with a double mastectomy as the “glorification of self-mutilation.” It’s just too exhausting at this point guys. Calm down a little.

To paraphrase Cady Heron, Math is the same in every sexuality. Dating app Hinge just published its first report into the dating habits of the queer community. It’s almost boring how normal the findings are, communication is important, conversation is better than passion, the usual. The secret meetings about world domination are reserved for print publications.

Continuing the trend of fun statistic drops, one in five Aussies said they would be spending less on their partner this Valentine’s Day, citing the rising cost of living as the reason. Which makes sense; a holiday invented by card companies would be the first to go when that level of consumerism is no longer viable. There are no movies where someone gets visited by three ghosts who tell them the real meaning of Valentine’s day.

As Aussie as arguing about The Hottest 100, the annual summer Lamb campaign has dropped; this time poking fun at the overuse of the term ‘Un-Australian.’ The ad imagines an alternative reality in which offences like turning off the test cricket or not knowing the second verse to Khe Sanh get you banished to a Phantom Zone-esque anti-Australia.

What does Australia sound like? Answers cannot include a bogan yelling on a tram, or an increasingly angry magpie. Sounds of Australia, a national archive featuring sounds that “inform or reflect life in Australia” has inducted this year’s selection of iconic sounds. Joining the ranks this year are The Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive, the Neighbours theme tune and Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech. The archive now features over 160 sounds, comprising everything from radio jingles to AC/DC and the Divinyls. Although there are some glaring omissions, as there isn’t a bar in the country where you couldn’t get a response by yelling ‘have you ever, ever felt like this?’

NBC has unveiled the newest logo for the summer Olympics with the help of the woman the city was named after, Paris Hilton. In a tongue-in-cheek spot, the ‘famous for being famous’ socialite becomes the unexpected face of the Olympics. It’s a cute joke about the name, but for those of us nostalgic for The Simple Life reruns and a world where people famous for doing nothing weren’t a dime a dozen, Paris Hilton’s camp valley-girl performance is almost quaint.

Retro technology is making a comeback, to the vindication of record and polaroid owners everywhere. It’s not just a case of nostalgia selling, this particular wave is driven by the desire for the tangible. Clinical psychologist Dr. Jaime Zuckerman says: “this desire to hold something in our hands, to feel textures and weights, is something  visibly absent in our current society.” Anyone who remembers the visceral satisfaction of slamming a flip phone shut can relate.

As a fun stunt for this year’s Super Bowl, Blockbuster, the long-forgotten friend of every sleepover and rainy day, will release their first commercial in over a decade… on VHS. Embracing their status as a surviving relic, the last remaining Blockbuster store will be hosting a Super Bowl watch party where they will dust off the old VCR and play the ad in store. Then, assumedly, party like it’s 1999.

There’s a running joke amongst anyone who watches Friends reruns about how there’s no way Monica and Rachael could actually afford their spacious NY apartment on a waitress and sporadically employed chef’s salary. The ultimate Hollywood fantasy is not superheroes and magic, but comfortably affording both a spacious penthouse and frequent coffees. To cement this, someone with a good eye for real estate and economics has put together a list on how much your favourite screen homes would actually be worth today.

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John Lewis continues their stranglehold on your heartstrings this Christmas with The Beginner, the story of a new foster father finding a way to bond with his new daughter. It’s a simpler tale than their usual fare, but no less touching.

You have a higher chance of being hit by lightning seven times than winning the lottery, but you have an even slimmer chance of finding love on a crowded train full of miserable commuters. But this year’s Lottery Christmas ad will have you believing in the possibility of both, as it follows the story of a missed love connection on a train. Enjoy the weird experience of weeping over the lottery.

J&B just released She, a holiday ad telling the story of a grandfather experimenting with makeup before a family gathering. Look, it’s probably pandering for a whiskey company to use a story of transition unrelated to their product, just to get you to break out the tissues. But in the tradition of Christmas movies, the pandering works damn well.

You’d think you wouldn’t be able to get emotional while Hall and Oates is playing but Boots, the UK health and beauty company, has found a way with their fun, adorable Christmas ad. A pair of magic specs gives a woman the ability to see what those around her want for Christmas.

Just when you thought you could escape the Christmas ads with your Grinch-like tendencies intact, The Petspiration Foundation has deployed cute dogs. The charity uses their Christmas Project initiative to provide assistance animals to those in need. Their emotional ad spotlights the impact pets can have on people who need them the most, via a little girl’s selfless wish list.

Subway is tackling holiday loneliness with its new Christmas ads, probably because you’re never more alone than when you haven’t rehearsed what sauces you want at the sandwich bar and there’s a queue growing behind you.

Welcome to the Thunderdome, sponsored by your local grocery store. In the hilarious new ALDI holiday campaign, politeness becomes a bloodsport as two women are determined to be the one to offer the final prawn at a Christmas lunch.

HelloFresh has released a super cute holiday meal kit inspired by the classic Christmas flick, Elf, offering Buddy’s signature dish: chocolate and maple syrup spaghetti. While we’re still not fully convinced this would be appetising, there’s no kid that wouldn’t lose their damn minds over the chance to make this meal.

It seems there’s more than one way to spice up the holiday driving, as a digital billboard in Brisbane was recently hacked and started broadcasting pornography. The billboard was shut down after a few minutes, but given its location on one of Brisbane’s busiest roads, it’s probably safe to say the advertising did its job and reached a fair number of eyeballs.

Like the terrifying concoctions of a mad scientist, Kraft Mayo has been combined with Juicy Couture. The condiment brand has collaborated with Juicy to create the kind of outfit sane individuals left behind in 2005. Featuring a blue velour tracksuit with “Smooth” replacing the iconic “Juicy” on the back and a white velour tube top boasting “Mayo Couture,” this flashback to the aughts is now available for pre-sale. Get in loser, we’re going shopping.

Did you know in Washington, it’s illegal to harass a Sasquatch? LegalShield has released a new series of ads bringing to light some of the stupidest laws in America, but the fun kind, not the depressing  gun control and corruption kind we make fun of them for. The ads serve as a handy guide, should you ever end up in an X-File and need to worry about legal representation.

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First to jump on the spooky bandwagon, Paramount launched a terrifying guerrilla marketing campaign for their newest horror flick, Smile. The film sees the protagonist stalked by an entity pretending to be other people smiling at her throughout the film (but menacingly, not in a positive feedback kind of way). To give viewers the full immersive experience, actors were hired to stand in the background of sports games and smile maniacally at the camera, freaking the living daylights out of both horror fans and sports audiences alike.

Coming to you with a dose of real retro 80s-style Satanic Panic: Reebok’s new shoes are accused of being the work of Satan and a possible harbinger to the end of the world. According to the kind of people who don’t get invited to family gatherings anymore, these shoes are designed to mimic the hoofed feet of a demon and will bring about the apocalypse, rather than the more likely design inspo of traditional Japanese Tabi.

Freelance marketplace Upwork has turned to Halloween for inspiration in their new ads. To show the old way of working is dead, their new tv spots have featured a singing zombie, because this is a thriller, thriller night, and no one’s gonna save you from the beast that’s about to strike.

Speaking of seeing dead people, Bruce Willis has become the first actor to sell his likeness rights to deepfake technology, allowing a deep fake of himself to be superimposed over another individual. The ethics of this technology has been a topic of discussion in Hollywood recently (aka uncanny-valley Peter Cushing in the new Star Wars) but for an actor who has recently announced illness is forcing him to retire, this technology could be, as Willis puts it, “a great opportunity to go back in time.” (Or, to keep earning an income long after your physical body has passed Hollywood’s unforgiving use-by dates).

In 1981, speculative zoologist Dougal Dixon released After Man, a futuristic encyclopaedia showing horrifying illustrations of what creatures may exist 50 million years after human extinction. To mark forty years and no change in humanity’s compulsive desire to destroy itself, Breakdown Press has released an expanded anniversary edition, showcasing our future inhabitants in all their creepy, terrifying glory. I, for one, welcome our new overlords, Vampire Bat-Chicken and Squirrel-Snake (Squake).

There’s an unofficial rule in horror cinema that you can kill as many people as you want, but you can’t kill the dog. We all know products featuring a cute bunny logo equals cruelty-free, but it turns out if a company can’t make it through the vetting process, they’ll often put a “fake” cute bunny on their products anyway, to imply a level of animal kindness they may in fact be utterly lacking. Turns out, technically there’s nothing actually stopping anyone from putting cute bunny symbols on their products, PETA approved or not. Check out how to spot the bad bunnies here.

Lets play another game of spot the difference: After-Dark Edition! Because social media sites can have strict policies about advertising sex products, Blush, an adult entertainment store in Iceland, hid their toys throughout the interior photos of a real estate listing. Creating a series of photos that appear to be kitchen appliances or décor and upon closer inspection are… not those things.

Like putting on a sitcom after a horror movie, here’s a break from all the spooky news. When Sweden reopened after lockdown, the waitlist to get married at city hall became fully booked for months, so McDonalds offered a solution: drive-thru weddings. Over sixty couples were married in one day, driving up to an officiant and leaving with a special happy meal. Apparently they can give you a legally binding document, but not an Egg McMuffin after 10am.

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Setting the design world alight with the fear of God this month is Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that creates fun new art from textual descriptions. AI has been used to make concert posters, magazine covers and even visions of the future. While there’s a genuine worry this program is coming for our jobs, the sunny side is it’s a tool like any other, and learning how to talk to it is a skill in itself. It’s also going to change depending on the user; in our case, when in the hands of someone with a penchant for retro science fiction, the result is our INCYMI header: a vintage comic-style group portrait of the office.

Pacsun has entered the uncanny valley with the new face of their brand, a virtual model. Not content with real women and their tendency to have thoughts and minor physical flaws, Miquela, a ‘virtual influencer’, is tiny, without imperfections and eternally nineteen. The decision to hire the robot was apparently because she aligns with their “core brand values and vision,” which is understandable, when a computer’s writing your thoughts.

The same cannot be said of another AI, as Meta’s new chatbot BlenderBot 3 took only one week to become racist. The chatbot is designed to evolve its language, based on the conversations it has with users, and was only up and running for a few days before it started repeating right-wing propaganda. This is not the future Star Trek promised us.

Coca-Cola has released a new flavour that’s supposed to taste like our dreams. Coke’s Dreamworld has the “technicolour tastes and surrealism of the subconscious”. There’s no information yet as to how Coca-Cola plans to harvest the taste of our collective dreams, but we assume it’s something along the lines of pretending to eat and drink during a toddler’s imaginary tea party.

For a flavour palette a bit closer to home, Street’s Ice Cream is teaming up with Dusk to make a line of candles inspired by some childhood favourites. The new candles come in Bubble O ‘Bill, Golden Gaytime, Paddle Pop and Splice. This is Calippo erasure and we won’t stand for it.

Beyonce’s most recent album was released with a collection of futuristic, disco-inspired album art; featuring a groovy monochrome bodysuit by Brisbane designer Bethany Cordwell. The materials come from an unusual source, however, as the designer has revealed the bodysuit’s black and white scales are made from cut-up Officeworks document folders. So head to your local stationary store to steal Queen Bey’s new look: confidence and groovy disco-ball horse not included.

To advertise their new series based on A League of Their Own, Amazon has spelled out an empowering letter to female athletes using 30,000 baseballs. A nice opportunity to hit a home run for equality, and other knock-it-out-of-the-park-style metaphors.

BBDO Canada and the Indigenous arts and culture magazine Muskrat, are raising awareness of calls for justice for missing Indigenous women by going after the biggest whitewash of Native American history; Disney’s Pocahontas. The actual story is far more horrific than the Disney version, and what happened to Pocahontas—whose real name was Matoaka – still happens to Indigenous women and children today, with homicide the third-leading cause of death. The Missing Matoaka project provides an alternative commentary track for the film, to clear up the facts and point out where Disney veers into fantasy. Stick it to the mouse.

Regarding lying to viewers, Russia’s latest tourism ad is optimistic, to put it nicely… or, some might say, straight up propaganda. The controversial new ad lists the country’s positives as “cheap gas, beautiful women, no cancel culture, traditional values and vodka!” While tourism ads tend to paint a rosy picture of their destinations, it’s hard to ignore the very real presence of a fascist dictator and an ongoing war. It’s also worth noting those same ‘traditional values’ being exalted in the video led to Russia decriminalising ‘domestic violence that does not cause serious injury’ in 2017.

New proof being single isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you has just dropped, as conservative anti-“woke” dating app, The Right Stuff, has announced it will go live in September. The invite-only right-wing app is exclusively for straight people. The only gender options are “lady” and “gentleman” and there are “no pronouns necessary” (he and she are also pronouns, but this is an issue for the education system). A further concerning aspect of the business model is that only men are required to pay for subscriptions. Well, as the saying goes; “If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product being sold.”

A North Queensland newspaper has gone viral after a disgruntled woman took out a full page ad, publicly calling out her cheating husband. This serves as proof print media really is irreplaceable, as no Instagram callout post will ever beat this level of drama, or unpaid media coverage.

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Continuing the great tradition of pride campaigns you just know were cooked up by very sheltered straight people, Burger King’s contribution to pride month was a pride whopper, a burger with either two top sesame-seed buns or two bottom buns. While this is probably just supposed to symbolise two men or two women, it was interpreted VERY differently by the queer community. Despite its supposed best intentions, the Rainbow Washing of this campaign is likely to leave you feeling faintly queasy and a little ashamed – no surprises there.

You know what actually works when it comes to direct action? Irritating the hell out of people. Non-profit NYC Pride and Havas New York launched a campaign to spam conservative politician’s fax machines with excerpts from queer literature. No, we didn’t just slip on a time-warp banana peel: while state legislators can ignore emails, calls and text, they legally must keep their fax machines switched on in their offices at all times; even in 2022.

Independent creative agency GreenRubino went for the jugular with its guerrilla advertising campaign in support of ending the outdated regulation which prevents many LGBTQ+ people from donating blood. Although scientifically disproven, long lasting stigma by the FDA prevents gay and bisexual men and their partners from donating blood, even in times of crisis. This initiative features a number of tongue-in-cheek images denouncing the arbitrary nature of the ban.

Ikea’s catalogues have recently expanded to include baby names. Presumably because assembling one of their cupboards correctly is about as difficult as rearing a child. Lockdown has seen an increase in pregnancies in Scandinavia, so in a new campaign, the Swedish DIY chain has trawled through Ikea catalogues dating back to the 50s to come up with a selection of possible names for your prospective offspring, as well as offering their own unique explanation of each. Some people are named after flowers, others are named after chairs.

Europe is knocking us out of the park in the gender equality field, as Spain could be the first country to introduce menstrual leave for employees. The legislation says people with severe period pain could receive three days of leave per month, or up to five days in some circumstances. This seems like a perfectly reasonable request, since doctors have recently confirmed some menstrual cramps can actually be as painful as heart attacks.

Australian advertising equality movement shEqual has released a statistics report about sexism in the advertising industry, and the results are grim, but not hopeless. Dianne Hill, CEO of Women’s Health Victoria says “Our data shows a disconnect between the intentions and actions of the industry in depicting women. It’s encouraging that the motivation is there, but the missing piece is an open dialogue on what representation looks like in 2022.” In short, get your shit together Advertising.

Facebook has been collecting the personal information of users who sought out information regarding pregnancy termination, a recent investigation has shown. These actions, which even violate their own privacy policies, could be the difference between life and death for those seeking abortion in the real life Handmaid’s Tale of America, with the Supreme Court’s recent decision that women don’t get rights anymore. Unfortunately, states that have criminalised abortion could use this information to incarcerate innocent people.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, sisters.

Speaking of archaic institutions, Internet Explorer has officially kicked the bucket, roughly a decade after everyone stopped using it. Safe journey to the big loading screen in the sky, old buddy.

Vegemite, the salty spread only a mother-country could love, is turning 100 next year! For this special occasion, Bega has teamed up with Thinkerbell to request a letter from the Queen, as is the tradition once you reach a centenary. The brand deployed a fleet of mobile digital billboards to drive around London, conveying the request to Buckingham Palace.

Milkrun is offering the chance to win a lifetime supply of avocado in their latest campaign. Taking a leaf from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (hopefully with less child maiming), they are offering a ‘Golden Avo’ to anyone who gets an avocado from their app. The campaign is due to run until mid-July, meaning soon one lucky millennial might actually be able to afford a house.

In their latest campaign, Jeep is answering The Call of Adventure by creating a language no other brand could speak: Morse Code. Since Morse Code is made up of a series of dots and dashes, Publicis Middle East has created a new language of adventure based on the same dots and dashes in the Jeep’s grille: O|||||||O.

Remember when you were a kid and having an eraser or bracelet that smelled like fruit made you the coolest kid in the playground? Well Nails Inc. is here to provide the same experience for adults by releasing a line of nail polishes that smell like… *checks notes* …cheese. Partnering with Velveeta, these nail polishes are for (what we hope is) the very niche market of people who want their hands to smell like both acetone and cheese at all times. Mmm, tasty.

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Who said print is obsolete? Type company, Playtype, has brought back a bespoke typeface from an out-of-print publication. Degan, a danish newspaper, was created over twenty years ago, to the be peak of publishing: aesthetically, politically and journalistically. It folded after 41 days. A font was created specifically for the newspaper, and with its demise, became something of an urban legend among typographers. For the launch of Publish Gothic, Playtype partnered with Weekly World News, to create a series of posters presenting some favourite headlines from the iconic publication.


On the topic of bringing back a classic, Qantas’ new ad was released this month… raise your hands if hearing ‘I still call Australia home’ again made you weirdly emotional. Filmed pre-covid, it was unable to be released until this month due to the whole ‘no one was allowed to go anywhere’ thing. Now they’re back in and on the air, it’s become less an ad for flights and more a symbol of life returning to normal.

Skittles has rereleased their lime flavoured skittle, with a new campaign showcasing all the complaints they received over the years, after changing the flavour of their green skittle from lime to apple. Ooh self-burn, those are rare.

Designer Vanessa La Delfa and copywriter Leah Morris recently released a digital anthology, Creative Sheroes, highlighting advertising women whose work focuses on social change. The anthology and exhibition profiled 26 women in ad-land, driving change in their work. Support your sisters and check it out.

In your mind, imagine a CEO. Now, did you picture a man or a woman? CPB London is tackling the gender bias in our thinking with their new ‘Imagine’ campaign. The striking poster campaign prompts us to imagine a certain role and then asks what gender you pictured. This campaign was prompted after a nationwide study found 39 per cent of primary school children still think women should look after babies and do all the housework, while men go to work.

Ogilvy has declared they will no longer work with influencers who retouch their faces or bodies for brand campaigns, to combat social media’s damage to body image. “We have a duty of care as marketers, as agencies and brands to the next generation of people so they don’t grow up with the same stuff we are seeing now,” says Ogilvy’s head of influence Rahul Titus. Right on.

Speaking of bodies, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania has released a line of chocolates shaped like vulvas, because of course they have. Made by hand, presumably while The Divinyls was playing, by local Tasmanian chocolatiers, this serves as an expansion of their long standing exhibition by artist Greg Taylor. The chocolates have already sold out, because nobody ever lost money underestimating the tastes of the internet.

Florida recently signed a “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. In a subtle ‘screw you’ tourism campaign, the City of New York is encouraging Floridians to do what every self-respecting queer kid does and move out of your backwater town into to a big city. The campaign will run in five Florida cities, letting people know all are welcome in the Big Apple.

Sesame Street has unveiled their newest puppet, Ameera, a wheelchair user designed to inspire disabled children. Ameera has a spinal cord injury (huh, muppets have spines) and likes basketball and science, also encouraging girls in STEM. Damn, those puppets do more than some people ever will. Sesame Street has a long and admirable history of providing representation in media – and Ameera will be a great new kid on the block for the almost 240 million children worldwide living with disability.

The blindest of blind taste tests has occurred, with Ketchup brand Curtice Brothers’ ingenious new campaign. Playing the long con, they scoured Berlin for the lowest rated restaurants, gave them bottles of ketchup to place on their tables, and waited to see if the reviews changed. Turns out, everyone’s picky little brothers were right, tomato sauce makes everything more edible.

Over on Reddit, r/place returned this year, highlighting the diversity of internet culture and how alive and powerful these online communities really are. Created by Josh Wardle (inventor of everyone’s favourite online puzzle Wordle), r/place was a blank digital canvas made up of one million pixels, where users could replace a pixel with a single colour once every five minutes. If you joined up with other like minded people, you could make a masterpiece. More than 5.9 million tiles were placed per hour by over 1.7 million users, from 236 different countries and territories. If being mesmerised by this chaotic masterpiece isn’t enough, the data is open source for anyone who wants to look under the hood.

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