Welcome to another edition of the Trippant Takeaways, our regular showcase of stories on trends, best practice and provocative ideas in communications across sport, entertainment, technology and culture.
The New York Times covers a bumpy year at Zuckerberg’s Metaverse
All may not be well in the metaverse – or at least in Meta’s version of it.
The company formerly known as Facebook made a huge strategic gamble when it changed its corporate identity a year ago. That was effectively a bid for ownership of an emerging concept but for now, it means focus is drawn to current technological limits and the benefits of avatars with lower limbs. Read more from the Washington Post.
FIFA and Roblox announce landmark partnership
Whatever form Mark Zuckerberg’s vision actually ends up taking, there are already some intriguing possibilities to be found in exploring shared digital spaces – even if it means thinking a little smaller. World football governing body Fifa is the latest organisation to build an official presence in the massively multiplayer world of Roblox, perhaps giving the first hint of its post-EA Sports gaming strategy.
The variation in brand messaging for Qatar 2022
Brand messaging around the Fifa World Cup in Qatar is going to be influenced by social commentary – as the Takeaways explored last week. But there is going to be some regional variation.
Here, for example, is a spot trailing Fox Sports’ coverage of the event in the US. Hollywood megastar Jon Hamm plays a footballing Father Christmas – or a soccer Santa, if you prefer – in a star-studded appetiser for the sporting feast to come. The host nation, however, is not named.
Yet those ethical sensitivities are not foregrounded as much everywhere and partners are taking a different approach in other territories – such as in Brazil, where McDonalds has rolled out the limited edition McQatar burger. Caterer has more.
ARS Technica and the Drum explore the future of ads
The world probably doesn’t want to hear much from Russian scientists right now but even if it did, news from Moscow’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology that space advertising has moved a step closer might not be greeted with widespread enthusiasm.
Still, OOH placements a little less out-of-home continue to evolve, as this spectacular 3D ad for WhatsApp in London’s Picadilly Circus demonstrates.
Cycling Weekly examines the return of sportswashing
With Covid and wider economic challenges triggering a funding crunch, sports bodies may be a little more pragmatic – to put it diplomatically – about where they get their money.
But does British Cycling’s sponsorship deal with oil giant Shell cross a line? What values can these partnerships reasonably be expected to embody? Cycling Weekly reflects on the outrage this week’s announcement has caused.
The Athletic explains the 3pm blackout
The English Football League may drop the generations-old 3pm TV blackout to expand its broadcast reach, reigniting a debate about the effect of media coverage on live attendances. The Athletic has more.
Minor League Baseball unveils their 2023 Marvel-designed team logos
Comic book powerhouse Marvel has been experimenting with sports branding and storytelling efforts recently – especially in basketball – and it’s now expanded those efforts into Minor League Baseball, home of such heroes as the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Augusta GreenJackets, the El Paso Chihuahuas and the Montgomery Biscuits.
The minor leagues and exhibition baseball have a long-held reputation for creativity so it will be interesting to see what this multi-year partnership produces.
Variety covers the Charmin Ad Next to an ‘SNL’ Sketch debacle
US comedy staple Saturday Night Live often does sketches about brands. Just how close can that come to advertising – especially in the digital age?
Sports Pro Media reports Twitter’s new multimedia posts
Conversation about Twitter is focused once more on the twists and turns of the wild and wearying saga of Elon Musk’s on again, off again, begrudgingly on again and maybe off again takeover bid.
But for those who actually use Twitter to communicate, these new mixed-media post features are worth a look.
The Guardian long-read investigates the ‘Honduran Maradona’
Finally, here’s a spectacular yarn involving teenage pranksters, the ‘Honduran Maradona’ and a decade-long international football career shrouded in tall tales. It’s also a fascinating look at where information comes from in digital media and how influential it actually ends up being in the real world.