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Chrome´s Ad Blocker

Hello, and welcome to the newsletter.  

This week we have 8 stories, including Chrome’s in-built ad blocker, Unilever’s blockchain test, and two views on how social media is affecting different parts of the apparel industry.

Enjoy!

Google has introduced an ad blocker to its Chrome browser
This week Google’s Chrome browser started incorporating ad blocking features.  The browser will initially monitor all ads on sites that you visit.  After a time, it will issue warnings to sites whose ads don’t meet the ‘Better Ads Standards’ set out by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Google is a founder member), and stop these ads from appearing.  Ads that will be blocked are very intrusive ones - including video ads at full volume, and flashing display ads.
The ‘ad blocking apocalypse’ never really happened, or at least it hasn’t impacted the business as much as some feared, and I think that this initiative is potentially a good way to discourage sites from using overly intrusive ads.  Let’s see what happens once it starts blocking ads.

Unilever has been running a test of blockchain technology
Blockchain is a technology that brings trust to transactions, in anything from recording bitcoin payments to showing the route that produce took from farm to store.  It could also help to bring transparency to media trading and delivery, and this is what Unilever have said that they have been testing for the past seven months.  
I suspect that many clients who have their own marketing technology, like DSPs and DMPs will also try this - and this could have a big impact on the industry over the next few years.  I’m trying to find more information. 
(Please let me know if you have a take on this!)

'Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook - and the World'
An important and well-researched article in Wired that looks at the events that led up to Facebook being a conduit for fake news and external influence during the 2016 election.  It’s a very long read - 11,000 words - but it goes a long way to explain what happened and why, and crucially why the strength of popular sentiment against ‘The Four’ or ‘GAFA’ is growing.  In the same vein, L2’s Scott Galloway wrote this article for Esquire, again signalling how tech is now seen as a threat.

Nike’s Londoner Campaign
Nike’s #LDNR campaign was a call to arms for Londoners, especially those of school age who had a half term holiday this week.  The 3-minute ad features over 250 athletes and stars, and directed people to a page where they could sign up - after downloading the Nike Plus app - to take part in free events all over the capital.  Events were booked up within days, and they must see this as a huge success.  It may seem baffling to people outside the UK, but watch out for this one at Cannes.

Fashion and social media two possibly contradictory views:
First, Bloomberg looks at how the apparel industry accounts for less of consumers’ spending than before, and blames factors like there being less need to have a separate ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ wardrobes.  They also posit - controversially I think - that social media has taken away some of our need to express ourselves through what we wear.  Instead of projecting your style though an expensive coat, you now do it through your fun ‘stories’.

Second,  As a counterpoint, The Business of Fashion looks at the rise of kids clothing brands, saying the opposite is true when it comes to kids.  Social media, especially instagram, is making parents much more conscious of how their kids are dressed, every day of the year.  

A new ‘scary robot’ video from Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics’ new video shows how fast the artificial intelligence and features for their robots is developing.  Their robot dog now has an ‘arm’ attachment that can find a door handle, open it, and let the dog move through.  Very impressive!

Meanwhile the Skydio drone is a self-controlled flying camera
It costs $2,500 and only has battery life for 7 minutes, but you can see this drone selling very well.  Just launch it, then let it film you as you run, play tennis or whatever.  Imagine what this will be able to do in a couple of years (& how much the price will have come down).