Trippant Takeaways.

September 15th

Welcome again to the Trippant Takeaways, our regular selection of recent stories that highlight trends, best practice and provocative ideas in communications across sport, entertainment, technology and culture.  

Naturally, one story has dominated the global news and cultural agenda over the past few days.  

The death of Queen Elizabeth II was a moment of history that was inevitable but was always going to pack a complex emotional punch. It has been personal and political; a public loss laid over private grief.  

As commentators reflected on seven decades of quietly focused leadership and made sense of the country left behind by its longest-serving monarch, British institutions moved through meticulous, long-planned and near-ancient protocols to mark the passage to a new era. Led by the BBC, media organisations switched to round-the-clock coverage and rolled out special tributes that were years in the making.          

Other organisations had to be more reactive to the national mood, with mixed results. Several commercial media owners introduced ‘obituary schedules’ while out-of-home advertising providers repurposed their digital displays. On social media, however, some brands perhaps misjudged the moment.    

Sport, entertainment and the arts, meanwhile, faced a delicate balancing act of their own. The BBC cancelled its Last Night of the Proms concert as a mark of respect, while football fixtures at all levels were postponed – with people in both communities lamenting the fact they could not offer their own public tributes.   

Many sporting events did go ahead – including Test cricket, with London’s Kia Oval staging a poignant first rendition of a restored national anthem.  

Interest in Apple product launches probably outstrips anything else in consumer tech, with worldwide live blogs detailing even the smallest updates to familiar lines.

But pandemic-era restrictions meant a break from a format with roots in the Steve Jobs era – and some of those adaptations could now stick.  Read the Fast Company article here.

The new National Football League season is here and the world’s richest league has officially entered its digital age.

Amazon Prime Video is showing Thursday Night Football exclusively live in the US; the NFL+ subscription streaming service has arrived, and the aforementioned Apple has been heavily linked with a broadcast rights package of its own. A weekly esports series, Tuesday Night Gaming, will add another dimension.  

But one thing can be depended on: the Super Bowl will be the biggest thing on American network television next year. Fox has reportedly sold 95% of ads for the February 12th showpiece already, with some spots selling for over $7 million.  Variety has more.

World aquatics body Fina set itself adrift last year with an ill-advised competition ban on the Soul Cap, a swimming cap designed for people with Afro hair.

Now, it has officially reversed the decision. British Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing outlines the opportunity ahead for sports that take meaningful steps towards real inclusion. The Guardian picks up the story here.

Do you speak Simpsons?

This perfectly cromulent piece, which actually appeared in the Financial Times late last month, embiggens the conversation about how communities and rituals form around pop culture, how fandom reaches over other boundaries, and how new content conventions have already changed everything for the next generation.  Read the Financial Times article here.

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