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  • kathleen.goodwin

monday memo 131: scams, ai & winning streaks

Welcome to the Monday Memo — your pop culture snapshot from Manifesto.

Hey friends, Mondays can be tough. Here are 7 things to make May 22nd, 2023, a bit better. But first, you are one Monday away from Memorial Day. Make sure you figure out your (long) weekend plans.


Used with permission from the artist. Explore more of their work on Instagram @nickvarg 1. Artist of the Week: Nicholas Vargas Nicholas Vargas is a painter, illustrator, and tattoo artist in Santa Cruz, CA. His latest series resemble comic strips, displaying creatures in some very whimsical, vibrant, and relatable circumstances. Speaking of that, time for our second cup of coffee...


2. What we're listening to: Scamfluencers - Apple Podcasts

In today’s world, the power of influence can be the quickest path to money and fame, and it often ends in ruin. These are the stories of the world’s most insidious Scamfluencers. Every Monday, join co-hosts Scaachi Koul and Sarah Hagi as they unpack epic stories of deception from the worlds of social media, fashion, finance, health, and wellness.


3. What we're watching: SmartLess on the Road - HBO Max

Hop on the road with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes as they take us on an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the sold-out live tour of their wildly successful podcast, SmartLess. Traveling from city to city all over the country, the trio is joined by celebrities such as Conan O'Brien, Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin Hart, David Letterman, and other surprise guests. Check it out on May 23rd.


4. Trend & Advertising Highlight: Coca-Cola Masterpiece Coca-Cola's latest spot follows the journey of a Coca-Cola bottle from one iconic painting to the next as it makes its way to a thirsty student in need of inspiration. In a nod to the iconic artists and artwork, the bottle takes the style and medium of the work it touches. The VFX team at Electric Theatre Collective and creative agency Blitzworks used a mix of live-action shots, digital effects, and AI to create the commercial and its complex transitions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the term on everyone's lips, but many of us can't determine if AI is a friend or foe to advertising and marketing. While it streamlines content creation, the budding technology lacks the accuracy and creative caliber of real humans. The jury is still out on AI, but this spot from Coca-Cola shows us that we need to experiment with it alongside human creativity. In short, our relationship with AI shouldn't be all or nothing but instead a tool in our arsenal.


5. Cognitive Bias of the Week: Hot-handed Fallacy

The hot-hand fallacy is the tendency to believe that someone successful in a task or activity is more likely to succeed again in further attempts. The hot-hand fallacy derives from the saying that athletes have “hot hands” when they repeatedly score, causing people to believe they are on a streak and will continue to have successful outcomes. In advertising and marketing, one successful product launch or campaign can set the expectation for even bigger ones to come. While this seems all fine and dandy, this belief can also set brands up for epic failure. Whether we like it or not brands consist of people, and people are imperfect. Even a company like Disney, who created so many of our childhood classics, has many a box office flop. This does not mean Disney cannot produce a successful film; it simply means that we can’t expect brands to deliver “perfect” media every time. All we can do is surround ourselves with smart people who push us to do great work, set realistic expectations, and learn from every project. Nobody's perfect all the time.


Georgia State University’s Prison Education Project. For many inmates, this was the first degree they received in their lives. 6. Good News of the Week:

  • Under a new pilot program, Boston is rolling out free digital libraries at 20 bus stops across the city (NBC Boston)

  • Amazon deforestation down 40 percent so far this year (Yale School of Environment)

  • Illinois passes bill to ensure community college credits transfer to public universities (My Stateline)

  • Georgia State University hails first class of inmate graduates: ‘A degree to utilize when they come home' (GNN)


7. Bonus: Pegasus By Arlo Parks London-born singer/songwriter and poet Arlo Parks pens vividly descriptive lyrics about adolescence and mental health awareness, accompanied by an enticing mixture of bedroom pop and indie soul. Her latest release, Pegasus, features four fresh tracks, including the titular song with Phoebe Bridgers. Add this to your summer playlist for guaranteed good vibes.


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