Sunnier Side of the Office – January 7, 2019

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."

- Albert Einstein
The Rise of Interactive Data Mining
By: Sergio Saucedo
Christmas time is full of family, friends, eggnog, and binge watching. This past holiday season Netflix released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch an interactive film that lets the viewer choose and to a degree control the narrative of the film by choosing between different actions that would appear on the screen. While Bandersnatch is by no means Netflix’s first interactive content, this film does help to shed some light on new data mining practices that are emerging.
Unlike traditional content, interactive content enables the viewer to engage with what they are watching which provides insight into a user’s real decision making rather than predictions. It’s those decisions that provide the brand with a new form of data mining that can uncover deeper insights, patterns, and more impactful information on how their subscribers engage with their content. We can expect Netflix to use this new source of data to inform the type of content they release moving forward.
This new format and the data that comes from it not only provides an opportunity for Netflix, but for advertisers as well. In fact, the film showed the opportunity for programmatic product placement. Given the different storylines based on the user’s choices, Netflix could begin to accept ad dollars in exchange for incorporating a brand’s product into one of the choices they provide the advertiser’s target audience.
Fiji Girl Quenches Thirst for New Memes
By: Jessica Gaylord 
Like any notable awards ceremony, Sunday night’s 76th annual Golden Globe awards was ample fodder for social media. Between Sandra Oh’s inspiring opening speech to Christian Bale thanking Satan for inspiration in his role as Dick Cheney, there was plenty to discuss online.
But it’s not the celebrities or snubbed films I want to talk about. Rather, I want to talk about the photobombing Fiji water woman who stole the show and became an instant meme overnight. Fiji Water, the official bottled water partner of the Golden Globes for the past four years, hired model Kelleth Cuthbert to distribute their product to thirsty attendees. But after managing to photobomb nearly every celebrity during the awards ceremony, Cuthbert upstaged them all in a stunning royal blue gown and a tray full of Fiji water bottles—thus earning the fitting name of “Fiji water girl.” I’m sure the wry expression on her face probably didn’t hurt her meme-ability, either.
It’s unclear whether this was a planned stunt by Fiji, or the company just happened to get lucky. Either way, it knew the importance of capitalizing on this branded moment on social and tweeted this out Sunday night:

We’re certainly starting off on the right foot for 2019 memes. What more will the new year hold?

Thank U, Next
By Wells Wallace

Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” music video was *a smash.*  Its first day it broke the record for most Vevo views (55.4M) in 24 hours beating out Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do”, and 3 days later it broke another record for the fastest time to reach 100 million views, besting Adele’s “Hello.” Not to mention both “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Hello” were singles that premiered alongside the video, whereas “Thank U, Next”  was released and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 weeks before the video premiered. It even led to a surge in Amazon Prime streams of the movies (Mean Girls, Bring It On, Legally Blonde, 13 Going On 30) that the music video paid homage to. What contributed to its success?

The platform itself made an impact. The video appeared on YouTube Premiere, a new feature that lets artists livestream their video premiere-- “complete with a one-hour countdown clock to the actual premiere time and a chatbox to the right of the video widget.” In this way the video release is treated like an event and reintroduces the concept of experiencing music videos as a community. YouTube’s Global Head of Music likens YouTube Premiere to MTV’s TRL (Total Request Live) saying “It’s a shared experience, as opposed to the isolated, video-on-demand experience.”

And speaking of 00’s nostalgia, it’s impossible to talk about the success of this music video without speaking to its nostalgia play. But while nostalgia is always a powerful sensation, today’s cultural context makes it particularly effective.

Anxiety around social, technological, and political issues peaked and the conversations taking place across media--not just news but pop culture--were challenging and heated. There was little room or tolerance for lighthearted. So when the Thank U, Next video dropped, paying homage to female-lead, cult-favorite 00’s  films, it was a slam dunk--[comfortably] familiar, female, and fun.

There has only been one three-way tie in the history of the Golden Globes, and that was between Jodie Foster (The Accused), Shirley MacLaine (Madame Sousatzka) and Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist) for best actress in 1989. They each went home with an award. 

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