Stranger Things x Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is featured heavily in Stranger Things 3, as it is set in 1985, this is the same year that ‘New Coke’ launched in America. The soft drinks company are yet another major brand to partner with the TV series.

To celebrate the launch, Coke opening an ‘upside-down’ based arcade, for one day only on Brick Lane.

Guests were able to play original video games as featured in the show and take Instagram-able Stranger Things style photos. Plus, the first 800 visitors receive a limited edition Coca-Cola x Strangers Things can.   

A Coca-Cola spokesperson of the event said the two brands were the ‘perfect marriage, adding: “Both brands are steeped in nostalgia, yet still have huge appeal to modern audiences.” 

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We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette Viral Campaign

Gillette launches viral campaign to challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to ‘be a man’. Interesting example of a brand using its equity to instigate a culturally relevant conversation.

Chasing Hipster: A Following of Followers

Probably a combination of a successful day at work and the after-work drinks left Emily and I in high spirits last week, so while the night was still young, we decided to act on a tiny tip-off in TimeOut magazine: a new streetwear shop was throwing an opening party in Shoreditch that evening. We’re a creative team t the time we only been working here for a month, but we’re quickly learning the beauty of Stellar’s East London positioning on Appold Street. With Spitalfields market five minute’s walk away and Old Street another five in the other direction, you are never far from the Shoreditch action. 

Let me first take a moment to talk about Shoreditch. London’s home of cool, a hipster heaven and unfortunately the latest area to be hit by gentrification and ‘cultural cleansing’. It’s part of a classic cycle: a neglected inner city neighbourhood becomes colonised by artists, causing the cafe culture to boom. The problems come when big business take an interest and to move into the area, forcing up the rent and forcing out the artists that popularised it in the first place. This cycle has been happening in Shoreditch for a while now, but it’s not done yet and fortunately there are still cool places popping up, and staying here, clinging on to the attractive original culture. At least, until somewhere else takes up the mantle. 

The artists, musicians and creators that populate these places (Shoreditch in particular) commonly are referred to as hipsters - though they would never identify by this term. It’s like the first rule of Fight Club, and labelling yourself as a hipster would go against what they stand for: non-conformism. Hipsters will go out of their way to go against what is popular, commonly agreed upon or accepted. They will listen to music you’ve never heard of, rejecting it as soon as it becomes mainstream, and hang out in coffee shops that they’ve probably worked at at some point in their lives. Traditionally their look and attire consisted of flannel shirts, Converse/Toms, skinny jeans and beards. They soon realised that to continue looking like this would cause them to be a cliché of their own selves (ironic I know) and so of late there has been a move to fisherman beanies, dungarees, shaved heads, ugly trainers and trousers turned up at the bottom that were already far too short for them. But here’s the real irony of this whole situation: I shouldn’t be able to categorise them by putting them into these boxes just described; and in doing so disproves their whole purpose of non-conformism. Dressing and looking a certain way to fit in, even if it is to fit into this ‘hipster’ movement is conforming and thus the premise really becomes a joke. This being the case, it’s still quite a fascinating movement to follow.

This now links to the quite amusing part of our evening. We arrive at the streetwear shop situated on Redchurch Street. It’s called SCRT - if you haven’t heard of it, they probably prefer it that way - don’t worry we hadn’t. We’re greeted by chock-a-block little little outlet with loud indie house music and plenty of beers (craft of course). The shop had crafted the space into the perfect house party set-up - a retro games console, vintage rugs a DJ booth in the corner and canvas posters with type: independent thought completes the picture.

After grabbing a beer and moving over to the DJ booth Emily and I quickly realised we were out of our depth - the place was full of hipsters. Thinking on our feet we decided to make some quick costume changes with what we were already wearing and what was in our bags from work. We took off our coats, I pulled out my beanie and perched it high on my head and luckily I was wearing a cardigan with a knitted belt that if fastened, could be mistaken for a dressing gown, so decided to loop the belt and make a bow at the front - the hipsters would love that! Or so I thought.

It worked. Or at least it seemed - Emily was vibing out to the tunes and I happened to be venturing over to the other side of the shop when I was pulled aside by a guy dressed exactly as described earlier on, “Man d’you mind holding your beer and getting in this photo?” Sure! Whether it was out of genuine respect or simply to take the mick I will never know, but the guy seemed pleased with his shot and I walked away having learnt something.

Despite their flaws, hipsters are a movement that you can either fully engage with, laugh at from the sideline, or simply follow from arm’s-length. I’d probably put myself somewhere in that latter category and as long as you know the score, are aware of their pitfalls and maybe keep them on face value without going too deep… they can be quite an entertaining bunch.

Lighting a fire under British culture

We talk about entertainment here a lot, and what it means. The term entertainer gets thrown around a lot too, but Keith Flint earnt every accolade. There’s no doubt Liam Howlett was a visionary producer but he was no front man. When other superstar dance act like the Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack and Orbital retreated behind vast light shows, The Prodigy came up with a more radical solution. Keith was one of Liams rave mates, a backing dancer they thrust to the front. What seemed like a remarkable leap of faith on Howlett’s part turned out to be inspired: whatever qualities Howlett lacked as a performer, Flint had in abundance. He became a manic presence on stage. He memorably described his revised dancing style as “using my body to shout”. The result turned them from being a bit of a joke to the backing track to a generation, they seemed to be perfectly timed with the mood of the nation. He came together with his close friends and created something greater than the sum of its parts, in the process they changed the game. Remembering the original Firestarter.