An early warning, a big moment for Super Mario, the dawn of Max, the real face of influencers and the unmasking of dril are all in this week’s Trippant Takeaways — our weekly selection of stories that highlight compelling communications trends across sport, tech, entertainment and culture.
The BBC with a special alert
On Sunday 23rd April, at around 15.00 BST, almost every smartphone in the UK will get the same unusual and possibly unsettling notification at the same time.
The British government is running the inaugural test of its national emergency warning system. Ironically, one early issue has been to prevent the trial being too alarming.
When Discovery and Warner Media announced a mega-merger back in 2021, they set a countdown on the launch of a global challenger in the streaming wars.
On 23rd May, Max will arrive in the US — combining the HBO Max entertainment platform with Discovery+ and its unscripted programming. In a moment of truth for streaming financially, has Warner Bros Discovery found the right offering and the right brand?
Variety and The Guardian on Super Mario’s big week
The reviews have been middling but the returns have been spectacular. Nintendo’s return to cinemas has paid off in spades, with the Super Mario Bros Movie smashing a whole range of box office on its opening weekend.
It’s promising news for plans to expand Mario’s world, and another sign of how influential the coming wave of video game adaptations could be in film and television. And as if to underline Nintendo’s renewed status as a cultural powerhouse, the original Super Mario Bros theme has become the first video game composition introduced to the US Library of Congress.
The BBC sits down with Elon Musk
Twitter’s relationship with the media has gone from strained to outright antagonistic in the past couple of months, with owner Elon Musk picking fights and the official press office email account auto-replying to all requests with the ‘poop emoji’.
So it was a real turn-up when Musk suddenly chose to sit down with the BBC’s technology correspondent James Clayton for a wide-ranging, if sometimes defensive hour of conversation.
The Ringer is not owned
Musk’s BBC appearance may not even have been the most surprising Twitter-related interview of the week.
Satirical account dril is responsible for some of the wildest, most enduring and oddly incisive tweets in the platform’s history. The man behind it, Paul Dochney, gave a rare audience to sports and culture site The Ringer to discuss the future of Twitter and his own strange art.
TechCrunch on WhatsApp’s Brazilian payment plan
Over at Meta, the ‘year of efficiency’ is continuing with new ways to monetise WhatsApp. Brazilian users will now be able to pay businesses directly through the messaging service, hinting at much broader functionality to come.
The Drum on France’s straight-faced new influencer rules
French regulators have introduced new rules that require social media influencers to state clearly whenever they have digitally altered their appearance in posts. The move has been welcomed, even as it demands more from brands.
Forbes on the reality of the NFL’s Black business investment
In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, reflecting on its own chequered history in race relations, the NFL announced plans to invest heavily in social justice programmes and Black-owned businesses.
Nearly three years later, where has that money ended up? Forbes sports business reporter Jabari Young takes up the trail.
Pepsi’s recent rebrand followed a reimagining of how its business can operate in the 2020s, with artificial intelligence moved to the core of some vital processes.
That’s a reminder of how many contexts AI was already being applied in before the recent sprouting of generative chatbots. Yet products like ChatGPT are also finding themselves repurposed for unexpected everyday tasks.
The Spectator on padel and property
Much like pickleball in the US, the fast-growing racket sport of padel is seeing well-funded, athlete-backed leagues emerge alongside a surge in participation. But one other factor has underlined its rise — the desirability of private padel courts in the homes of the very rich.
The New York Times on a sports bar for a new era
Every leap forward for women’s sport comes with the caveat that more work lies ahead — particularly on getting a foothold in the cultural mainstream. In the UK, for example, a survey found this week that 63% of teenage girls cannot name a member of England’s Uefa Euro 2022-winning team.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of signs of a lasting change ahead. The New York Times visits The Sports Bra in Portland — a bar focused exclusively on screening women’s sport, and a runaway success.