From Coke’s flower power to Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad – how ads co-opt protest

  It’s a unique skill to have #boycottpepsi trending among both the right and the left. It managed to alienate both sides of an increasingly polarised consumer universe,” says Nicola Kemp, trends editor at advertising trade magazine Campaign, who points out that the ad was made by an inhouse team at Pepsi, which may be […]

The UK’s inflation foot soldiers: how the ONS measures the CPI

  In a shop stacked to the ceiling with toys, Brenda Cleaver is searching for a very specific car. “I am looking for a modern road vehicle, and I am checking the price. Here it is. It hasn’t changed,” she says, comparing the price sticker on the toy car with the information on her handheld […]

From ‘hands that do dishes’ to a bathtime Flake: the changing face of brands on TV

  Ads like the one for Harmony hairspray in the 1970s perpetuated the idea that a woman’s main aim was to appeal to as many men as possible, as a series of potential suitors asked: “Is she, or isn’t she?” A later campaign for the deodorant Impulse showed men who “just can’t help” handing flowers […]

Air pollution masks – fashion’s next statement?

  Yesterday saw the launch of M90, an “urban breathing mask” created by the Swedish company Airinum and sold in more than 50 countries. Face masks are already a common sight in Asian countries, although the cheap washable cotton rectangles rarely perform well in tests. Surgical masks, the type usually worn by doctors, have tended […]

Do we still need Doctor Who? Time travel in the internet age

  Most people, Wells wrote – “the predominant type, the type of the majority of living people” – never think about the future. Or, if they do, they regard it “as a sort of blank nonexistence upon which the advancing present will presently write events”. The more modern sort of person – “the creative, organising, […]

Net ​nostalgia: the online museums preserving dolphin gifs and spinning Comic Sans

  Scott is interested in conserving the stuff we have forgotten has value. Increasingly, our culture plays itself out on the internet, yet even now we have a tendency to view what we do on there as trivial. Or we make the mistake of assuming that digital means for ever. “The problem is, the internet’s […]

Swedish supermarkets replace sticky labels with laser marking

  The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions. In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial […]

How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

  Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, […]

A ‘listening’ hairbrush and emotional cars: the futuristic trends of CES 2017

  There are already countless electronic devices that connect and report data to smartphones – activity trackers being the most obvious example – but what is particularly interesting about this year’s CES is the way companies are looking to exploit this idea for financial gain. It felt as though some product developers at the conference […]