Welcome once more to the Trippant Takeaways, our pick of stories highlighting trends, best practice and provocative ideas in communications across sport, entertainment, technology and culture.
The Athletic explores controversy surrounding the World Cup
It would be an understatement to call the upcoming Fifa World Cup in Qatar a departure from the norm.
Fan parks will be a bit different in wintry northern hemisphere countries, not to mention in the host nation itself. But while some venues swap pints for mulled wine and hot chocolate – which hopefully won’t be thrown in the air in celebration – cities across France are skipping mass public screenings in objection to Qatar’s poor human rights record. Paris became the latest to join the boycott this week – despite some prominent local investment from the emirate. Energy costs have also been cited as a factor.
It all illustrates how far political discussion could come to define this tournament, putting brands involved in football in a delicate position. Hummel, the kit sponsor of the Danish Football Union, revealed it would fade down its branding on Denmark’s World Cup jerseys and introduce a black third strip in memory of migrant workers for have died on Qatari building sites.
That brought its own counter-questions about hypocrisy, opportunism and the limits of brand activism – explored thoughtfully in this interview with Hummel owner Christian Stadil.
The Guardian covers the Saudi plans for a $500bn desert Asian Winter Games
Speaking of contentious event hosts, the International Olympic Committee released what looks a lot like a veiled reprimand to colleagues at the Olympic Council of Asia, who awarded the 2029 Asian Winter Games to the as-yet unbuilt desert city of Neom. The IOC, which was not involved in the decision, restated its ‘clear priority for existing venues’ as part of its sustainability strategy.
The whole thing calls to mind an ‘Olympic bid’ that made a very different point about climate issues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4Af7IQeyVc
The BBC and Vanity Fair examine the complexity of AI-powered storytelling techniques
AI-powered storytelling techniques became a talking point after James Earl Jones, 91, confirmed that he had retired from playing Star Wars super-villain Darth Vader – but had given permission to recreate his booming voice in future projects.
The tale of how Ukraine-based Respeecher worked with Lucasfilm to bring Jones into the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi is a minor epic in itself.
That being said, not everything in the world of deepfakes is how it appears – as Bruce Willis will tell you.
TMZ on the Eli Manning come Chad Powers skit
Super Bowl-winning former NFL quarterback Eli Manning turned to more conventional forms of fakery to create Chad Powers, who he took to tryouts for the Penn State university gridiron team.
Now, Manning’s brother Peyton is fielding offers through his Omaha Productions company to build a new comedy series around the character.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the cheating scandal rocking the chess world
The world of chess has been rocked by a wild cheating scandal at odds with its conservative reputation.
But then the reality of chess has often been more colourful and – in the age of digital communities and streaming – innovative than the popular perception. The Guardian has more.
The Financial Times grapples with the relevance of human judgement in a sea of performance data
Data is now at the heart of decision-making processes for organisations around the world but where does personal judgement fit amongst all the numbers?
Ed Smith, former chief selector for the England men’s cricket team and author of Making Decisions: Putting the Human Back in the Machine, offers his perspective here.
The Creative Review remembers Dan Wieden
Finally, the world of advertising has been mourning the loss of one of its most influential and widely admired figures.
Dan Wieden was the co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, working with some of the most culturally powerful brands in the world and coining what might be the great tagline of the last 50 years: Nike’s ‘Just Do It’. His peers have been sharing their thoughts on his contribution and character after his death at the age of 77. Its Nice That and AdAge has more.
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