Kids Would Rather Eat an Apple from Tesco than the Apple Tree

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I had an interesting discussion of recent. It revolved around the power of branding – in particular, high street branding. It was around the idea of trusting the products you purchase. Consumers tend to trust products with a particular label on it. In fact, they are more likely to trust a product with any label on it. Let us delve deeper…

Washing the Brain

Capitalism has allowed for there to be a face on every single item you purchase in your weekly shopping. In other words, when you are shopping for groceries, whatever product you are buying there is already a brand that you go to without even thinking about it. For example, butter is next on the shopping list and, without even thinking about it, the Flora packaging is what your brain is telling you to look for (or whatever butter is your preference…maybe even margarine).

Brands have unlocked a door in the human brain which allows them to control how you percept them and almost implant their image into your mind. David Eagleman, a well-known neuroscientist, offered the idea (in his fantastic book ‘Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain’) that you do not remember such actions of the day because your brain is so accustomed performing that action, it does not require your conscious mind to be aware of it taking place. Actions such as opening the front door when you come home from work. Do you remember that action at any given time? Do you even think about it? The answer for the majority is ‘no’. It’s embedded into your brain that this is just something you do.

This trust in branding has a major impact on pricing, and the worst part is people would still pay ludicrous money for something which has many cheaper alternatives. For example, I recently went to Homebase looking for a few things I could use to clean my car. The brand Karcher popped up many places. However, when looking at the specifications of alternative products, they were exactly the same, if not better, than what Kaucher offered. Yet, Kaucher products are significantly more expensive. In fact, there was a man looking for the exact same product as I was and he picked up Kaucher without thinking twice about it. It’s amazing how our trust in brands has us spending our money oh-so illogically.

Parenting

I believe big brands have done the same thing…or at least similar. In particular, the names which have been around a long time, before our generation. The majority of our parents are not as actively aware of marketing tactics as we are. They easily trusted brands because there was a lot less competition. The internet wasn’t really a thing, it definitely was not as commonly used as it is now. That trust was passed on to us when we were younger. We shop at a lot of the same places or follow a lot of the same brands as we have grown up with them. For example, if I was to purchase some fish fingers, I would always go to BirdsEye without thinking twice about it. I’ve grown up with seeing BirdsEye in the freezer, therefore I’m accustomed to seeing that and lean towards them when looking for fish fingers.

Back to the Question…

…if a child saw an Apple fall from an Apple tree, would they pick it up, take it inside, wash it and then eat it? Or would they leave it because the Apple’s from Tesco come in a fresh clean packet, which is how they are used to receiving their Apple’s?

Is the reason kids prefer the Apple’s from the supermarket because of our parents? And their sub-conscious teachings of brand loyalty?

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Make Earth Cool Again…

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You see the wildest, craziest, almost unbelievable science and gadgets on the internet…and they really can be cool AF! You see them used for life hacks, fun in the name of science, even complete random nonsense. But, can fun science and engineering be put to better use? Can we use them to make Earth cool again?

In this article, we will take you through a few modern revolutionary items which could be used to create a much more sustainable environment.

This isn’t just an article as to why it could improve our planet, it’s the direction we must go. The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) was the biggest step we have taken so far into globally agreeing the actions we must all take to save our planet. There were many challenges discussed and many actions to defeat them, but the most significant agreement to have been made at COP21 is that we must not let the planet temperature rise another 2 degrees Celsius. By informing and engaging less-developed countries, as well as agreeing actions within individual nations (such as bans on petrol and diesel cars in many countries), the leaders, the businesses and the people of their respective nations will be doing their part in saving the planet.

As per my last blog article on the current state of our planet (Earth is Dead), I shifted a lot of blame on those in power; whether they be government or private companies; but COP21 will ensure everyone plays a part in providing and relying on more efficient energy sources.

While the plans and actions have been agreed, there’s only one place where we can exceed those expectations and really give ourselves a boost in the mission to save our planet… Science and Technology! And guess what, they’ve already started! Here are three revolutionary products, created by the art that is engineering, which can change the world and give us a MASSIVE boost!

OohoSkipping Rocks Lab

To be honest, I don’t know how this hasn’t taken over the majority of packaging materials. This is a game changer. I don’t understand how this isn’t talked about. I’ve told a lot of people about this and yet it seems to be the case that I am the only one who was actually aware of this.

Notpa – Ohoo Water Orb

If this is news to you, which I can guarantee it is for the majority reading this, Ohoo is an ‘alternative’ material for packaging. It’s not plastic. It’s not even paper or metal. It’s seaweed!

The product was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab and is sold by Notpla. Notpla plan to lease the machine used to produce Ooho’s to relevant stakeholders and customers. For example, if an events company wishes to use Ooho’s to create little sachet’s of sauce or food, then Notpla will provide this. Ooho’s are 100% biodegradable and take around 4 to 6 weeks to “disappear”. It’s been used to create little orbs of water, in an attempt to remove plastic bottles from shelves. A single orb can hold around 20ml to 150ml worth of product (primarily liquids). Head to Notpla’s website to find out more.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is amazing? If this can be developed further and produced on a mass scale, it wouldn’t just reduce the production of plastic and its use for packaging, it could completely replace it! Now you know what I mean when I say it’s a game changer. However, maybe Ooho’s are not so talked about generally because of how undeveloped they still are. They can only be used for very small packaging at the moment, but I am certain that they will become hugely significant in the near future. We would really be reaching our targets as a planet if we do have a strong focus on the use of packaging and Ooho’s will be a very strong start to that. Plastic is very harmful when being disposed of, but the production of plastic is where it really causes damage. If you think of where and how plastic is used, you’ll realise how dependant we currently are on plastic and how the need for Ooho is essential.

Tesla SolarTesla

Tesla Solar – Roof Tiles

So simple yet so clever. Many people are already aware of this product. It’s actually taken off amazingly well in America. To put it simply, Tesla have designed roof tiles which have incorporated invisible solar cells. The best part is that it’s actually a cheaper alternative to slate roof tiling. In fact, it offers different materials and slate is one of them!

Tesla’s batteries are already renowned for their efficiency and use of sustainable energy. The solar tiles are integrated with their Powerall home battery which means you are able to rely on your own produced energy and use it as and when you wish to.

Why is this huge? Because it means we wouldn’t have to rely on massive power plants to power our homes with more expensive and less sustainable energy. Tesla have already taken this international, but it’s about adapting this to the existing, rather than just new homes/buildings. It also begs the question of what new ways we are able to share energy.

Tesla Solar is the first major effort, that I have seen, to change the way homeowners/residents use and gain energy. I mean, obviously solar panels already exist and have done for a while, as well as other renewable energy sources, but Tesla Solar is the first time I’ve seen someone push for sustainable energy as a ‘norm’. It makes the current method of energy-use look somewhat ‘old’. It’s kind of like a “get with the programme” statement.

Bamboo

Bamboo is often used for architecture – Bali (shown here) are well-known for this

An overlooked resource. Bamboo is natural, grows quick and easy and can be used for tons of stuff inside and outside a home! It also absorbs greenhouse gases and grows anywhere and everywhere! I think people need to realise how incredibly useful Bamboo can be. It’s a tough material. It’s used for scaffolding in many parts of the world, in particular East Asia. But not only can Bamboo be used for beneficial tools, it can also be used for luxury items, such as decoration, ornaments, etc.

In all honesty, engineers should take this resource and let their imaginations run wild with it. If any professional region is going to turn this highly reliable, hugely sustainable material into something beneficial for everyday life, it’s them.

In Fact…

…It’s our engineers who have accelerated our journey to a sustainable planet as they are the ones who innovated such game-changing products and the ones who have put our natural resources to efficient use.

Our hopes of the future lie in our scientists and our engineers. Developing and growing such ideas like those in this article are what can help the planet achieve our mission from COP21 and can help us ‘Make Earth Cool Again’.

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Earth is Open to Suggestions

What innovative products/materials should be used at a higher volume, or should have higher funding and focus, to help develop a more sustainable environment? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Creatives Should Ask, “What Would Jobs Do?”

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Steve Jobs – A true artist of the product. The man who changed the world because, not only did he have the imagination for change, he sold it too.

We predominantly know Jobs as the Co-Founder of Apple. He was the face of the brand. He also funded Pixar, allowing the animation company to become a highlight of our childhoods. “Toy Story” was the first-ever computer animated feature film. For some that’s old news, for some it’s new! Jobs was a huge part of that. It was his vision, hence why he funded it. He was even the Executive Producer (Pixar Wikipedia, 2019).

But it was his work at Apple which really implemented his status as one of the great geniuses the world has ever seen.

Modern Day Genius

I recently wrote an article about Elon Musk (which you can read here) stating how we was also a genius of the modern day. Musk has changed the landscape of survival. But in a world which is built of various social beliefs, industries and a million-and-one different lifestyles, Steve Jobs has not only caused a greater impact, he’s shaped the entire future of how we function.

Steve Jobs didn’t care about the money. He wanted to change the world. And I think it’s pretty obvious to say that if you change the world, there will probably be a handsome cheque being written to you at the end of it. The idea was what Jobs thrived off. Not only what it could bring, but how it could grow and become influential.

He Didn’t Sell Products; He Evolved Our Lifestyles

I mentioned “Toy Story”, but as much as that influenced and evolved the film industry, it didn’t change our lives. But the iPhone, well, that changed everything.

Our smartphones are more than phones. We rely on them. They’re our phones, our libraries, our galleries, our games, our music, our wallets, our news, our maps, our browsers, our emails, our notes, our TV, our jokes, our interaction with the greater world and, for some, our careers.

I predict, one day, that we will no longer need actual wallets or car keys or whatever you carry in your pockets on a day-to-day basis because EVERYTHING will be on your device. They won’t even be called smartphones, they’ll be called our “ePockets” or something.

Jobs did that. He changed the world. He launched the iPhone. He wasn’t the first to come up with a touchscreen phone. But he made the touchscreen aspect unimportant. They were the trend, yet he decided to not even focus on that. ‘Yeah it’s touchscreen, but did you know it’s not just a phone?’ is essentially what he said. That was a huge surprise to everyone! No-one expected that. No-one at all.

There’s been many inventions over the course of recent time which never took off. Microsoft developed tablets way before Apple came up with the iPad, but it never took off. There’s a reason for that. It was just another Microsoft product to be sold. The marketing wasn’t so great, or maybe we just weren’t ready for it. So how did the iPhone become so successful? Steve Jobs didn’t sell the product, he sold the vision. People saw this launch and instantly started to think ‘can you imagine how good this will be in 10 years?’

I still remember the launch. Steve Jobs genuinely blew my mind with how he delivered it. He knew it was a game changer and you can hear that in the reaction of the crowd when he said, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device…”

“Wait… one device?????”, said everyone.

It still gives me Goosebumps. Legendary.

Watch the iconic launch here:

It’s Not the Same Anymore

Apple’s vision was Steve Job’s vision. I mean, it kind of still is but it seems different. Jobs thought outside the box. He never thought of what the consumer wanted, he thought along the lines of ‘this is new, and people will love it’. His ideas and concepts were not originated from trends in the industry or keep up to pace with competitors; it was his vision of how he wanted everyone to live.

But now, their focus seems to be on the current rather than the future. They’re improving what’s already out there, just like their competitors are doing. There’s no distinction any more apart from their unique house-style. In fact, all Tim Cook does is use Apple’s highly perceived brand image and use it to drive for a bigger profit margin. Whatever Apple sell, people will buy because they assume that Apple are ahead of the game and still changing the future due to the work of Steve Jobs. But that’s not the case anymore. Their competitors have caught up and Apple are, debatably, no longer the most forward-thinking technology company. For example, I see why AirPods exist (wireless earphones were always going to happen, it’s no biggie), but why on Earth do they cost nearly £200? I can get a decent pair of wired earphones from HMV for about £20 and probably cheaper online. Just because they’re wireless does not mean they should cost 10x more! Again, it’s the brand image built by Jobs which has caused consumers to constantly be in awe of everything Apple put out there.

Like I said, with Jobs gone, Apple have lost that out of the box innovation which they were built on.

R.I.P Steve Jobs

His work changed the world. He’s an absolute icon in many industries. There’s no denying that he was one of a kind. He accelerated societal development and changed how everyone lives within a decade. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, our devices around the house (and beyond) have become essential, problematic and debated. We are yet to learn how to efficiently cope with this drastic change, but there’s no denying we are heading in the right direction. Jobs’ vision is only directing us the right way. It’s crazy to say that how we live should adapt to his vision rather than it being the other way round. That is unheard of.

Every creative agency and creative mind in the world should have some sort of tribute for Steve Jobs in their offices and/or rooms. He’s an inspiration to the creative mind. To all the creatives out there, when you’re stuck in a rut and are struggling to get that ‘light bulb moment’, just ask yourself the question: ‘What would Jobs do?’

R.I.P Steve Jobs.

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The Sound of Music? Or the Sound of “Cha-Ching!”

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The Beatles are one of the most significant events which pushed the music industry further towards the ‘industry’ side and away from the ‘music’ side. Let’s be honest here, their music isn’t even that good. They had some sort of flare and charisma about them which was the reason for their popularity. They had a very conspicuous presence, which led to (as the cool kids might say)… “hype”. They started this trend. If I am going to be honest, The Beatles MADE pop music.

Today, no one has used the patents of The Beatles more effectively than Drake and Beyonce. In this article, I will tell you exactly how and why. For any Drake and Beyonce fans, prepared to get (another one from the cool kids)… “triggered”.

Beyonce is a Brand, not an Artist

Beyonce has had some great songs over the years, whether it was solo or when Destiny’s Child were slaying the charts. ‘Say My Name’ is a personal favourite at the Karaoke. However, despite the belters she has under her belt, I would think of Beyonce as a commercial success in the industry before I would think of her as an artist. In fact, I wouldn’t even call her an artist at all. She’s created her own brand, the ‘BeyHive’, and that has been a pinnacle part of her success.

Beyonce does not write her own songs. Therefore, can we even call them her songs? In my eyes, she’s just the ambassador of the Beyonce brand. Just like Taylor Swift and the like have done. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the music industry works today. The quality of the content has spiralled downwards, yet the numbers get greater each time. The true power of branding. Beyonce is branded as “Queen Bee” and she is perceived to really be a Queen; the most powerful of them all too. She could literally breathe into a microphone for a whole concert and the ‘BeyHive’ will still scream her name. They are hypnotized. They have fallen for the commerce.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to call out the ‘BeyHive’. I know they will disagree. They are brainwashed beyond restoration. For anyone apart of this fanbase reading this article, I would like to know why you disagree on Twitter. Click here to tweet me. I will prove you wrong.

Drake is a Genius…

…And I can’t stand his music. I’ll tell you why. Drake is talented, I’ll admit that. For those who know me personally, they will know it pained me to say that. Anyway, with that being said, Drake is still a commercial success.

He knows how to make a hit. Every song created by Drake has the intention of being a hit. He’s the only person in the music industry with the ‘Krabby Patty Secret Formula’, so to speak. He knows what you want to hear and how to create content to gratify your ears.

His talent contributes to his success because of its diversity. The formula for success mixed with the diverse skill set he brings is exactly why he has more hits than the Beatles. He’s dominated Rap, RnB, Pop, Afrobeats and even Reggaeton. You can see why the numbers are as impressive as they are!

But this is exactly the reason I am not a Drake fan. I can admit he’s very successful. But music is an art and he is making a mockery of it. He has no intention of making meaningful, true music. He’s a 32-year-old grown man singing songs about teenage heartbreaks and parties. I could never be a fan. He’s doing exactly what the Beatles did, gathering attention and “hype” and producing a compelling brand image which is guaranteed product sales.

I Know Many Disagree…

…So, tell me your view. I would love to hear it. Tell me on Twitter or Facebook:

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Elon Musk: Hero or Villain?

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I first came across this idea back when I was a student. In one particular lecture, my professor asked the question “Is Elon Musk really trying to save the planet or is he exposing a hot topic for profit?” Those who thought he was a hero stood on one side of the room, the others on the opposite. It was 50/50. I thought (and still do) that Elon is the hero we’ve been looking for, but the result of that question genuinely had me surprised. In this article, let us explore both arguments.

Who the Hell is Elon Musk???

He’s the man of the hour. He might just be the man who saves us. He is his own franchise (not sure if that’s the right word here). He’s not only an entrepreneur, but he’s also an engineer, an investor and an all-around genius.

He’s the co-founder of PayPal, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Tesla as well as the founder of, my personal favourite adventure of his, SpaceX. These are not the only companies he has founded by the way, just the ones which are more commonly known amongst the general population. He’s the CEO of three of those companies. He has a net-worth of over $20 billion. He’s made it on to two of Forbes most prestigious lists: ‘21st in The World’s Most Powerful People (December 2016)’ and he is the ‘40th Richest Person in the World (April 2019)’. If you want a more detailed background on the man, check out his Wikipedia page.

In this article, we are going to look at his three most recognised successes: PayPal, Tesla and Space X. It will talk about why or why not they may be beneficial to the future of our home. It’s time to decide whether Elon Musk is our saviour or our super-villain.

PayPal

PayPal logo

Not a great amount can be said on PayPal in all honesty, aside the fact it is contributing to the whole ‘cashless society’ movement. It was an early move from Musk, more of a start-up to fund his more recent projects rather than going straight for the sole purpose he conveys.

The whole cashless society idea, which I believe is estimated to be lodged around 2030, is a movement which can really benefit the environment. The printing of cash will be a thing of the past and so intangible monies will significantly reduce the resourcing and use of paper.

However, PayPal incurs fees for commercial purposes for sellers. It’s a fair amount too but there’s many variations, dependant on geographical location, which you can see here (Finder, 2019).

Now, the question is here is: Is Elon Musk passionate about advancing towards intangible cash to reduce paper-use? Or is he using this reasoning to take advantage of the extra costs of using card-payments, whilst applying his own fees, for higher profit?

Tesla

Tesla are the automotive and energy company who are really on the come up. The quality of their vehicles is second-to-none. Although founded in 2003, it is only recently that Tesla are becoming quite the popular name.

Why are they popular? It’s because of the efficiency of their products. Tesla cars are entirely electric, yet they are still as powerful, beautiful and luxurious as your top-end car brands (such as JLR, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, etc). Only once have I sat in a Tesla car, but oh my is it quick! It’s easy for me to drift on a tangent here and talk about why it’s probably the best brand in the motor industry right now, but let me stick to the point here. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say Elon Musk has changed the industry by focusing on electric motors, as many other car manufacturers are also taking the route of electric (and even hybrid) vehicles, but he is certainly accelerating the rate of pace in which electricity-run motors are taking over our roads by producing the best quality product through the only well-known car manufacturer who do not rely on fossil-fuels.

Tesla Logo

Who knows where this might lead. It could come to the point where Tesla are the leading brand in the industry and so other car brands would have no choice but to accelerate their own pace of throwing out the oil-run motors and relying on electricity. It would lead to public transport relying on electricity too. It might even expand further than the roads. Our boats on the waters and our planes in the air could all follow in the footsteps of Tesla.

However, there is another side to this. Does Elon Musk want the others to follow Tesla?

A forum on Quroa suggests that Tesla does not supply their batteries to other cars. This is because Tesla’s technology is different. They’re ahead of the game. Their batteries/chargers wouldn’t be compatible with other cars, or even if they were, would not work as well. By offering better product which is more advanced tech than your competitors, and by keeping in-house and quiet, it will give you a distinct advantage in the industry and will definitely induce profit even though they are not selling it.

Does Tesla want to take over? Do they not want their competitors to succeed? Do they want to get so far ahead they kill them off? Do they want 100% of the market share? ALL the profit? Do they want to be just like Apple in their quest of world domination?
Or do they really want to create efficient motors and be the only ones to do so? Does Elon Musk think he’s the only one with the “right” vision and doesn’t trust the others in following that path?

What do you think Elon is trying to do with Tesla?

SpaceX

SpaceX Logo

SpaceX, supposedly, is here for space exploration, transportation and developing space technology. They’ve developed a rocket (Falcon 9) which is “re-usable”, and by that I mean it doesn’t just fall off into the sea it actually lands back on Earth and can be sent up again.

But you know what their mission statement is? Their “ultimate goal” is to enable people to “live on other planets” (SpaceX, 2019). In other words, even though Elon Musk is trying to save this planet, even he knows it’s f****d. In my eyes, SpaceX is a programme to get us the hell out of here before it’s too late. It’s his ‘Plan B’. Just watch this video and you’ll know what I mean:

Elon Musk’s vision for Mars

He wants to send people to Mars by 2024. You know why? Because once that step is done, and considering the pace Musk’s companies develop at, there won’t be many more steps before people can actually live there. Recent discoveries from NASA have suggested that there once may have been life on Mars, with some ice under the surface having been found.

How could Musk possibly be using this programme as a venture for profit rather than an escape plan? There’s not much against it, in all honesty. I might be saying that because I am, admittedly, slightly bias. I love his work. The only argument I could possibly think of is that he’s exposing an industry which only he is capable of being successful in. He has the finances to fund such a venture, as well as the advanced technology to actually have a massive presence there. The longer they stay there and develop their technology, and potentially exceeding NASA, it turns into a bit of a monopoly. NASA will have no choice but to buy from SpaceX (they’re already putting their astronauts on Falcon 9) because if they don’t, SpaceX will do it themselves. They have the knowledge, technology and, at some point, will definitely have the money. They’re either a threat or friend to NASA.

It’s difficult to suggest that SpaceX is some sort of “exploitation”. It’s nothing close to that in my eyes. Yes, it is guaranteed profit; if you factor Musk’s technological ability, his financial stability and his excellent entrepreneurial skills; but you need that if you are going achieve a mission which people don’t think is possible for DECADES! The big money is essential if he is going to achieve that goal. But I guess you could always ask ‘will he ever achieve it?’

YOU DECIDE

Is Elon Musk a hero or a villain? After reading this, it would be great to hear what you think of Musk and his projects!

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and give us a follow while you’re there):  

You Win Some, You Lose Some.

April and May have been HUGE for the entertainment industry. Avengers: Endgame smashed all sorts of records at the box office (which makes me super happy) and, to be honest, THAT episode of Game of Thrones really should give Arya her place in the Avengers too (LOL)!

With Disney dominating the film industry right now; with Marvel’s MCU, Fox’s X-Men, Star Wars and their own house movies; and other big names jumping into the mix too; DC with Shazam and Joker, Godzilla, Jordan Peele’s “Us” and many more; the big screen is the big talk of the year (outside of Westeros).

With that being said, I think it’s fitting to have a top 5 and worst 5 movie franchises of all time! So with that being said, let’s start with the losers:

Worst 5

5. DC Extended Universe

DC Logo

It’s clear what DC are trying to do. Their rivals, Marvel, have smashed it. They’re dominating the box office because of their movie franchise. But DC…I mean, they’re trying. I know their mistake, in fact, we all do. They rushed into it. They didn’t want Marvel to rush ahead, but their constant blunder of giving Zack Snyder the role as Director just gave Marvel an even bigger lead.

Justice League should have been better than Avengers. I was so much more excited for a Justice League film (I have always been team DC) than Avengers, but when I saw it, I left the cinema as Team Marvel.

DISCLAIMER: Wonder Woman was a brilliant film. The only one, which I have seen, which I thought was well-made (probably because it wasn’t directed by Snyder).

4. Disney’s Classics Reboots

I’m talking Jungle Book, Aladdin, Cinderella and, soon to be, Lion King. Why are they making these? Running out of ideas, Disney? Kids are still watching Cinderella (1950) and loving it; that was made over half a century ago. Reboots are a bit of an issue in Hollywood at the moment, but the Disney ones are bothering me. Is there something wrong with the animation? Is it outdated? No, it’s just a given that it will do well at the box office, so they change how it looks to make you think it’s a different film. It’s like dressing King Kong in a cute monkey costume and calling it a new Curious George movie.

3. Transformers

Autobots and Decepticon respective logos

Who likes getting the same movie every 2 years…from MICHAEL BAY?!?!

2. Fast and Furious

Just kill it already. Honestly, why won’t you let it go? I never liked it in the first place. Did anyone? CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW IT’S STILL ENJOYABLE?

1. Star Wars

Star Wars Logo

Putting this one on here hurts, but I think Disney killed one of the greatest movie franchises in history. This new trilogy has been an unoriginal exposure of our love for both Star Wars and nostalgia. To make matters worse, D & D (the producers for our much beloved Game of Thrones) are to produce the next trilogy. Yes…yet another trilogy…

For some, this is great news. Why wouldn’t it be? They’re great producers. But the choice to have D & D on board for Star Wars is for hype before it is for a well-made film. It will be another commercial success for Disney.

Top 5

5. Star Wars

Did you ever notice The Shepherd (me) in Luke and Vader’s battle??

Regardless of what I just said, it deserves to be here. What stand-alone movie franchise has it’s own THEME PARK! It’s iconic. It’s not just a bunch of movies anymore, it holds a significant place in pop culture. It will never die. It gave us the greatest team of heroes (more so than the Avengers). It gave us the most sinister and powerful of villains. It has given us epic story lines and character development of such greatness, the likes of which is rarely seen.

Even if Disney have ruined the movies, there is no denying the legendary status of Star Wars- whether you are a fan or not.

4. Avatar

The man, Taaj, who is quoted here and who got Avatar on the list- credit to BBC Show ‘Come Fly With Me’

“Oh man, Avatar. Have you seen Avatar?! YOU HAVEN’T SEEN AVATAR?!”

3. Bad Boys

I know I mocked Michael Bay earlier, but his style, combined with the charismatic performances of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, allows for movies of epic proportions. It’s action packed, violent and hilarious. It’s straight up toxic masculinity and I’m all for it.

I can’t wait for Bad Boys 3…

2. Rocky

A story like no other. The fighting isn’t just in the ring, that is what makes it so great. The emotion, drama, intensity, action and realism of it is very admirable.

The characters were ALL memorable. Mr Balboa was just that guy. Then we had Clubber Lang, Apollo Creed, Ivan Drogo, Paulie, Adrian and Mickey.

Think of all the iconic moments; Rocky running up those steps, Apollo’s shorts, Rocky vs Ivan Drogo, Rocky vs Apollo (Fight 3), Apollo’s death and…who can forget… “AdriaaAaAAan!”

1. Marvel’s MCU

Whoa. Where do I begin. Let me start where they did with Iron Man. 11 years ago was the start of something extraordinary. The film landscape was changed. Marvel did what no-one else has done before. Over 11 years and 22 movies (as well as multiple TV series), Marvel created an entire universe of characters and plots and led it all to the greatest, largest and most amazing spectacle in cinema history.

I could talk for hours about how amazing this MCU is and why. How can one film have an 11-year build-up? All that hard work and patience for Infinity War & Endgame. They created history at the Box Office and deservedly so. Both character and story development grew on a level like no other and we became attached to many of the heroes involved (especially Tony and Cap. they deserve a statue). And the best part is, that’s not the end! The next phase starts with Spider-Man! It’s the ultimate franchise. It can never end. I guess you could say it will last for…an infinity.

P.S.  Rest in Peace, Stan Lee. We love you 3000 💙❤️

That’s All Folks…

That concludes my Top and Worst 5 movie franchises of all time! Do you agree with it? What would you say are the top and worst movie franchises? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Find us on the links below:

How Social is Social Media?

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Does judgement, conflicts, selling a lifestyle, posting pointless images with unrelated song lyrics count as being social? Let me ask you a question. How many Instagram (or Twitter) followers do you have? For many, it’s well over 300. Out of those hundreds, how many do you actually know? How many do you actually interact with? If you’re answer is “not many”, or thereabouts, let me ask you one final question. Why do you want strangers to see your life? You’re not interacting with each other, I’m assuming you just want to be looked at. Is this being social or is this just a crave for attention? What was the original purpose of social media? It was to stay connected to friends and family, right? It was a way of keeping in touch without actually keeping in touch. It was essentially an update of your life. Let’s be honest, it’s not used for that anymore (or very rarely I should say). In this article, I’m not going to talk about how businesses use social media (that will come another time), but more how personal users sell their lifestyles on various platforms and how some misuse the channel.

What’s Changed?

Social media feels like it’s been around forever. I mean, what did we used to do when we were waiting around for something? What did we do when we were procrastinating at work? What did we do on long journey’s? It’s crazy to think social media has only been a ‘thing’ for little over a decade. But a lot has changed in its use in that time.

When platforms such as Facebook and Twitter first came around, we were given a purpose for them by the brands themselves. Facebook was supposed to be used to connect people globally. Twitter was more or less the same except it was more interactive, especially with celebrities (and such) being a lot more active and personal on this channel.

What’s changed is that people have let the ideology of being connected to the entire globe get to their head. The possibilities of what you can make out of this became endless. For those who realised that early on, they have become successful. They have created businesses and careers out of it (e.g. The LadBible and ‘Vine-ers’). But nowadays, everyone wants the same thing. They want to be seen. They realise the possibilities, so they’ll do anything for a like or a retweet. And ‘anything’ became worse and worse and continues to do so. People will embarrass themselves. Matter of fact, they will degrade themselves if it means they get seen. If you want an example, I have one word for you…TikTok.

What’s changed is that the users of social media have realised there’s no limit to what they can do or say on the channel. They almost get lost in it, like it’s detached from reality. It’s detached from reality because people can be whoever they want. Who says you have to use your real name? Or your own photo? Or your own thoughts? People can be massive on the socials but hidden in real life. People have actually forgotten that social media is a part of the real world.

This can cause trouble. I remember I got suspended in school for uploading a video of a kid singing a Peter Andre song and pranking another kid. I thought it was hilarious. But I forgot the people who were seeing this were real people, and some of those real people were people I had a professional relationship with (the students and teachers). But I was a kid, I learnt that lesson early. I see adults making similar mistakes. I saw someone on LinkedIn telling their life-story of how they got to where they were now, which is fair enough, but some of the content was not relevant for that platform. This lady was telling a lot about her personal life, focusing on her past relationships, on a platform where your professional credentials matter, not your personal matters. Something like this would stand out on LinkedIn because it is content which does not fit the purpose. It’s as if they are looking for the attention so they get views on their profile and likes on their post. Only businesses should live by the saying “any publicity is good publicity”, not people. You’re not getting the views for the right reasons. I highly doubt your future employers have a keen interest in your ex. I also highly doubt it’s doing you any favours.

People

People who use social media use it in a way to attract a certain audience. You’re behaving like a business. You want followers to see what you get up to but you don’t even care about them. You don’t care who see’s just as long as they see. You’ll behave like someone you’re not just to get them to see you. You will act like a completely different person online than you will in real life.

People will only show one angle (literally) of themselves. They only get their good side, and I’m not just talking about their selfies. In order to get them followers, to get that popularity and attention, people only show the best versions of themselves (if it is actually themself).

Does this effect people’s behaviour in real life? I feel like it might. I feel like there may be individuals who get so lost in this virtual world that they change their actual habits. They become this other person, one they prefer, so one they become.

Why?

I don’t know…

It could be years of media portrayal of the “ideal” person or lifestyle. It could be the vacuum we call the internet and the virtual world, which ironically could be seen as a disconnect rather than a connect to the real world. It could be something deeper than that.

DISCLAIMER

There are plenty of people who use the socials as a place for creativity, sharing new ideas, alternative news, fun, raising awareness and, it’s original purpose, connecting with family and friends. I respect the people who do that. They’re being positive and are taking advantage of such an impactful platform, rather than getting lost in it.

Here’s the Irony…

Follow the socials! (lol)

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London is a gimmick….

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You have to pay premium for London. It’s expensive. We know that. But why? That’s the ultimate question really. It goes beyond the fact that it’s the capital city; it’s all about the image. Many agree with the idea that ‘London is more a brand than it is a city’ as you can see on our Twitter poll here.

The Rest of the Country Exists

Most of the stereotypes which tourists outside the country have of the UK are predominantly London-based. Some of them are way off. I remember on a trip to the Grand Canyon when I was younger, we were on a bus with some other world-wonder seeking humans. We (by we I mean my parents because I was only 11 years old and awkward) were talking to a married couple, who happened to be American, and the topic of travelling (on our travel) came up. We asked them if they had ever been to the UK and they said not as of then. For some reason, it was on their wish list. I say ‘for some reason’ probably because I know what to expect from this place and they didn’t. Long story short, they thought Shakespeare was from London. In fact, they couldn’t even name a single city outside of London.

That’s quite shocking. But it makes London a very (if not, the only) popular destination in England. It means the stereotypes tourists had of London, even if they were somewhat accurate, are turned into money grabbing extortionate gimmicks.

Lost Culture?

Red buses, Big Ben, geezers, pubs, the underground, black cabs, phone boxes, the Royal Family, posh accents, etc. The list goes on. These are all gimmicks now.

I’m going to use the pub culture as an example because it’s something which is close to my heart and it makes me feel somewhat glad that I am not from London. It’s a big part of the London culture. You finish your 9 to 5 on a Friday and head straight to the pub. But come on, £6 for a pint? There’s probably some economic reasoning behind that too but personally I think the culture is being rinsed. People will buy that because “it’s the culture”. It’s not, it’s exploitation.

Let’s be honest, the Royal Family are no different to the Kardashians (other than they’re probably a bit less dramatic). Why are we so infatuated with their lives? They do nothing for us. They’re a tourist attraction, just like the Kardashians are a brand. They are one of the main reason’s tourists want to come here and so, to be fair, why not con them into buying tacky and false patriotic souvenirs.

Big Ben…

…surprisingly has not been sponsored by Rolex yet. London has lost its personal value and gained a business value. According to MoneyInc, London is in the top 5 most expensive cities in Europe. Tourism is a huge factor of that. It’s why I call it a ‘designer city’ because you’re paying premium for nothing special. You just think you are because “it’s London”. London city has become one big gimmick.

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“My Funny Valentine; Sweet Spending Valentine”

Valentine’s Day makes less sense than Christmas, especially if you’re already in a relationship. I mean, I guess if you’re single it’s a good chance to use them cringey Valentine pick-up lines you came up with, but that’s not the point here. The only real winner on Valentine’s Day are the brands. Valentine’s Day is not important, but most customers will be more than happy to pay £30 for a bunch of flowers which cost £12 on any other day of the year. I was conversing with my mum about this and she agreed. “You should be showing love everyday,” she said. But she still celebrates this day because she’s a passive consumer. I’m not. That’s why I’m writing this blog article. Active and passive consumers play different parts on this day.

Why?

What not to buy for Valentine's. Chocolate, roses... in fact, no presents at all. Photo taken from Highsnobiety
(Highsnobiety, 2017)

Most of you already know that it’s daylight robbery. But why do you still do it? Why do you pay double for a meal on Valentine’s Day instead of just going the day before or the day after? Are you just a fool for commercialism? Your everyday media (e.g. TV, Internet, Radio etc) make it seem absurd if you don’t take part in these “celebratory” holidays. Some may disagree with this because they think that it’s perfectly normal to not take part in these traditions, but I just want to make it clear I’m talking about the media here. But from the perspective of an active consumer, if the media didn’t think it’s illogical to take part, why do they always push it on to you? Why do they flood your timelines and your feeds with all things Valentine’s Day? They want expect you to be involved. They want your money.

You want your date/crush/partner to think you’re the “Bee’s Knees”? You empty your wallet on us and we’ll give you the “perfect gift for your Valentine”. This is what the big brands subtly communicate and what you so obliviously accept. It is that exact statement with a sprinkle of persuasion. That is essentially what Valentine’s Day is.

How the Brand Wins

I saw an advert on my timeline from Forbes, which stated “time to show your special someone how much you care.” I mean… you should be doing that anyway right? The only reason Valentine’s Day actually has value is because brands put it in their calendar, not because you put it in yours. An ideology is shaped to have you believe this day is important. Simple lines like “perfect gifts for your partner”, “celebrate your love”, “show how much you care”, and so on, have many consumers believing this day has significance. As soon as companies roll out these Valentine’s marketing campaigns, alarm bells start ringing in consumers brains. “Oh shoot it’s Valentine’s Day soon”. Boom. Presents bought. Tables booked. Cash splashed. “Ching Ching,” says the big man upstairs.

This day may hold significance for some people, but for most it’s unnecessary. I can remember when Burger King came up with the idea of the McWhopper as a sign of peace with McDonalds for World Peace Day. How often do you celebrate World Peace Day? For most, probably never. I mean you’re all aware but you don’t do anything for it. But that one campaign brought a ton of awareness towards it. The power of advertising at its finest. The reason Valentine’s is such a big deal is because it’s done on a much larger scale and for a much longer period of time. It’s been embedded into consumers minds that this is a day to mark down on your calendar’s.

Passive Consumer’s

A passive consumer won’t look past the words in front of them, or the images on their screen. They take it as it is. They don’t think deeper. They just agree with the brands telling them Valentine’s Day is important. In fact, they just agree with anything brands tell them, especially their favourite brands. They think of them as their friends. They influence who they are and the lifestyle they live, I guess just like friends do.

I know it sounds like it, but I’m not calling them idiots. I’m just saying it’s a lot easier to sell to a passive consumer than it is an active one. A passive consumer is already interested in buying. When advertising, brands don’t have to communicate how important Valentine’s Day is, they just act like it already is. To be quite frank, it’s very smart.

Active Consumer’s

They are aware of what the brands are trying to do. I’m not saying active consumers don’t do Valentine’s Day, because they do; but they have greater awareness of the choice they are making.

It’s 2019, most consumers fall into this category. Adverts are becoming a thing of the past and so convincing the Valentine’s Day meaning to active consumers is a challenge. Brands are having to go beyond the conventional advert. They’re doing it well, however, as I’m sure the jewellery stores and florists will tell you.

Might be worth your love, but…

Is it worth your dough? If you’re going to buy your partner chocolates, or flowers, or whatever cliché gift you’re thinking of; be smart and do it on any other day but the 14th of Feb. If you want your Valentine to be your wallets favourite brand, by all means give them what they want.

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