Welcome to Wednesday, Futurists. Scroll to the end for an unhinged Tiktok detailing a USPTO granted patent to P&G for (checks notes) *fake faeces*.
Have you been in Buzzfeed before? I have. The above tweet resulted in my brutal roasting for being “yet another millennial with a Gen Z take”. Thanks Buzzfeed.
My study of nostalgia stems back to our seminal piece on C.A.R.L.Y. (Can't Afford Real Life Yet), our pschographic of a Gen Z consumer who is “young, beginning to exercise spending power, celebrates irony, and yearns for a time before she was born.”
Nostalgia was once diagnosed and treated as a disease. Before the 19th century, heavy bouts of nostalgia and homesickness were treated with bloodletting, leeches, and opium. Once medicine had given up on treating nostalgia, the heartsick found their salve in poetry and in art.
Today we can cure it with Capitalism. Commerce has given us the ability to treat nostalgia with full-immersion, and we’re in a full-blown nostalgia-ssance. CPG innovations allow for bespoke products to go from concept to launch in as little as 9 weeks. You want your Kellogg’s Cereal Straws? You got it. Dunkaroos? No problem. Orbitz, Surge, you name it. You can have it.
Longing for the past isn’t confined to people who have lived through it. Anemoia is the experience of nostalgia for a time before. A past you never knew. Displaced Europeans in the Bolshevik Revolution saw their children and grandchildren yearn for a homeland. Today’s children don’t experience history as a “before time” — history is happening right now all of the time.
Gen Alpha doesn’t have an “oldies station” on the radio. Blackpink and CG5 are featured right next to Queen and Toad the Wet Sprocket in games like Just Dance. The full-immersion of “the past” is really just… the present, on steroids. It’s all happening right now, all at once, past, present, and future. This triggers a desire for more and more of that “good old stuff”, and you’re just in luck! We have a never-ending supply of yesterday’s media available by the truckload.
Where medieval medicine and poetics failed, and SSRI’s fall woefully short; technology is at the ready to treat nostalgia — with distraction and always-on full immersion. The past isn’t behind us. It’s in front of us, now, all of the time.
Augmented Appropriation. Capital Music Group cut ties with virtual robot rapper, FN Meka — effective immediately — after the AI-powered artist released their debut single. This was the first augmented reality artist to be signed by a major label, however the single, “Florida Water,” included slurs and appropriative lyrics. CMG has offered apologies to the Black community, adding they should have asked more questions about the project before signing.
Feigned Familiarity. Brands — and public figures for that matter — are a on a big “fake authenticity” kick. One main way they convey this is by using amatuer and “I don’t care” vernacular, rather than the polished sales-y talk of previous decades. Nike, a company we all know for dropping billions of dollars on their marketing showed this shift perfectly when they launched the General Purpose Shoe in May, with an ad that read ““Your sneakers shouldn’t be the most exciting thing about you” with a giant bold-faced “BORING” written under a photo of the shoe. Meanwhile, other brands are communicating “value” by making their visual branding with such amatuer and boring looking packaging designs that they almost look like army rations. And the thing about this vernacular branding… it’s working.
More Sights & Sounds. The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Kochava for selling sensitive location tracking data, which traces people at places like worship centers and reproductive clinics. And if you’ve ever wondered about some of the history and process behind Tiffany’s handcrafted trophies, the Tiffany’s website tells of how the company’s trophies are the only way to “honor a true champion.”
Mattress Mayhem. A new lawsuit is claiming that Amazon’s bestselling mattresses, the Zinus “Green Tea Mattress” is a health hazard. Complaints about the mattress releasing fiberglass fibers and causing injury have arisen, and the company has responded by telling customers “not to remove the outer mattress cover to protect the fire barrier inside.”
Political Pizza. The last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, died yesterday at 91, and a Pizza Hut commercial which hails him has resurfaced. It’s so surreal it seems fake.
“Miracle” Mobile Meds. TikTok ads are showing up advertising a new depression treatment that changes everything. Telemedicine company, Peak, touts the benefits of psychedelic therapy for people who haven’t had luck with traditions depression treatments. The issue is that the drug involved is Ketamine, and the company is not associated with medical doctors.
Censorship or Centeredness? Shopify hired channel champions to monitor employees’ slack conversations after the company went fully remote. Monitors shut down negative and heated conversations and report communications that veered off channel topics. The company also shut down entire channels or made them read-only so employees could not continue discussions deemed inappropriate.
P&G’s Poopy Patent Portends a Problematic Product: In a post entitled “Patent Tuesday”, Tiktoker _meredith_l details recent consumer products granted a patent by the USPTO. These include P&G’s development of fake faeces (for stain removal testing), Lululemon reinventing the elbow, and Mattel planning to release furrie suits for your Barbie dolls.