Covid-19

In a time of global chaos, we outline the steps businesses can take to imagine new scenarios and build future-fit strategies to turn uncertainty into action.

Need to Know
07 : 12 : 21

A browser extension for data-conscious netizens, a reality show for the Instagram generation and Londoners are feeling more stressed since lockdown.

UNESCO takes aim at data harvesting

The Cookie Factory by DDB Paris for UNESCO

Paris – As UNESCO prepares to host an international negotiation about the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), the organisation is launching a browser extension that aims to alert internet users to the dangers of data collection. The Cookie Factory uses fake HTTP cookies to allow netizens to adopt fake identities that demonstrate how data is harvested in real time.

Created in collaboration with French agency DDB, the extension allows users to choose from a portfolio of fictitious personalities, including a Japanese hacker, a conspiracy theorist and a survivalist. Once users have chosen their preferred identity, they can surf the web with their avatar’s chosen cookies, fooling the browser into thinking that they are someone else. By switching identities, users will be able to see how data collection triggers different recommendations and targeted advertisements on popular websites such as Amazon and YouTube.

Upending the algorithms that underpin the digital world, this initiative aims to expose how data collection can create harmful echo chambers of thought. With the rampant rise of online misinformation, there is growing demand for Morality Recoded and rising awareness of the potential harm of AI technologies.

Strategic opportunity

Tech-savvy consumers are more conscious than ever of the negative impact of data collection. Instead of running targeted campaigns to promote products, why not consider using ad space to spotlight a social cause?

Channel 4 spotlights Gen Z with Instagram reality show

Channel 4 in partnership with You Do You and Sindysplace, UK Channel 4 in partnership with You Do You and Sindysplace, UK
Channel 4 in partnership with You Do You and Sindysplace, UK Channel 4 in partnership with You Do You and Sindysplace, UK

UK – As a way of engaging young audiences, the tv channel and social media platform have teamed up to launch a reality series about a group of creatives. The four-part series, You Do You, follows the Manchester-based collective Sindysplace, who use Instagram to document their lives and explore who they are by connecting with others.

The series comes as part of Instagram’s Yours to Make campaign, which explores the lives of UK Gen Z and their communities. In an age of Everyteen TV, such initiatives show how lo-fi content more accurately represents the lives of young people. ‘This is a show that is not just about great Gen Z characters, it’s shot through with their DIY, mixed media approach to creativity,’ says Joe Churchill, digital commissioner at Channel 4. Instagram is almost another character in the series and it is particularly exciting to see a story play out across their real and digital worlds.

To retain interest in social networking, online platforms should recognise the importance of Smartphone Storytelling to elevate the experience of mindless scrolling.

Strategic opportunity

Companies offering traditional forms of entertainment, such as tv and film, should find ways to connect with young audiences through alternative mediums. Consider also how real-time broadcasts can bolster interactions

Co-op’s festive spot is the UK’s first live tv advert

UK – Eschewing the usual high-budget campaigns that characterise the Christmas period, British supermarket group Co-op is running the UK's first live tv advert in a bid to highlight food deserts during the festive season.

Celebrating the power of communities to tackle food insecurity, the two-minute advert promotes the efforts of The Community Fridge Network, a charitable organisation that redistributes an average of 2.4 tonnes of food per fridge per month. Hosted by tv personality Dermot O’Leary and rapper Big Zuu, the advert contains a live link to a community fridge in the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association Community Centre in Feltham. Cementing its commitment to the cause, Co-op is pledging to expand the UK's network of fridges from 250 to 500.

Aiming to ensure that no family goes without food during the holidays, Co-op is pioneering a new form of tv advert while helping to bolster community networks. In a reactive and relevant Christmas campaign, Co-op is demonstrating how advertising can be faster to air by meeting the needs and mood of society in a given moment.

Co-op in partnership with The Community Fridges project and Hubbub, UK Co-op in partnership with The Community Fridges project and Hubbub, UK

Strategic opportunity

Instead of focusing on consumerism, companies should consider using holiday campaigns to launch charitable initiatives

Stat: Londoners under pressure to be productive post-lockdown

Cyan Skincare, US Cyan Skincare, US

While many people have relished the freedom to socialise, shop, dine and enjoy leisure activities post-lockdown, some 66% of people living in London feel significantly more stressed since lockdown restrictions have eased.

According to research by Censuswide commissioned by Microsoft Surface, a further 42% of people say they are struggling to keep on top of their to-do lists post-lockdown, particularly as they begin returning to the workplace. Experts in the study claim that Londoners are feeling stressed due to pressures to be productive. More than a third (36%) said they now dread the day ahead ‘most nights of the week’.

While often seen as a cause of stress, Microsoft suggests technology can be reframed as a tool to ease pressures. ‘Technology can play an important role here – it can be used to reconfigure new routines, set new boundaries and truly support productivity,' says Kate Wright, consumer devices director at Microsoft UK and Ireland. In this vein, we’ve previously explored how technology can help people to establish and retain healthy routines. Discover more about cyber-care within our Recuperative Living macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Apps and social media sites can support people in achieving a work/life balance. Consider integrating daily reminders into your services as a way to boost positive habits

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