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Out of Scope Issue 48: Trust Issues, Anyone?
Your boss might be more trustworthy than the U.S. government
This week, we take a look at public trust, NFT mishaps, TikTok journalism, and the folly of Web3.
💡ON OUR MINDS
Trust is anything but intuitive
Edelman has revealed some telling metrics from its latest “Trust Barometer” that surveyed 36,000 respondents in 28 countries, finding that “those who live in democracies are quickly losing trust in those democracies, while trust in authoritarian regimes — in China, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, for example — is increasing among the people who live under them,” according to Axios reporter Sara Fischer.
On the other hand, “my employer” is now the most trusted of any institution at 77%, and workers expect CEOs to be the “face of change.”
This is quite the switch up from previous barometer readings… “Government was the most trusted institution as recently as May 2020, when the world sought leadership capable of tackling a global pandemic,” says Edelman CEO Richard Edelman.
These dynamics could impact government attempts to tackle issues like COVID-19 and climate change while giving businesses an opportunity to step up to the plate. It also demonstrates that message consistency — found in big businesses and authoritarian regimes — is key to trust.
🏆 BRAND FAIL OF THE WEEK: Joss Whedon
The trend of slightly uncomfortable celebrity profiles continued this week with Vulture’s profile of Joss Whedon. After flying under the radar following accusations of mistreatment from former colleagues and actors, he made his return to the limelight with this less than flattering profile that lit Twitter abuzz. Central to Twitter’s backlash? Whedon’s insinuation that Gal Gadot, who has previously accused him of threatening her career, misinterpreted their discussion because English isn’t her first language. Sometimes the best thing you can do to repair your reputation is to stay quiet….
📡 ON OUR RADAR
The former mayor of New York City had an announcement this week… he’s not running for Governor.
As gaming headlines continue to dominate the public consciousness through talk of VR and the Metaverse, Microsoft (already a large player in the space) has declared its intent to purchase Activision Blizzard for a hefty sum. While some believe that the acquisition might engender monopolistic business practices (and garner regulatory scrutiny) it’s unlikely Microsoft will move the entire catalog to its Xbox exclusively. The real question is: How will Microsoft handle justifying this purchase amid the serious harassment case levied against the company?
In extremely wholesome ad campaigns, Twitter is shouting manifestations come true from the rooftops. Featuring hopeful tweets from now-celebrities’ early days, the campaign focuses on one element of what makes Twitter a unique place on the Internet.
Twitter also released its #RealTalk report on “the state of brand behavior.” The report, which analyzed over a decade worth of tweets and brand engagement, came to a myriad of interesting conclusions that may encourage brands to reevaluate the language and tone they use to connect with fans. Of those conclusions? Users increasingly want authentic, but timely communication from brands that acknowledges the state of the world, and brands should be wary of an over-reliance on humor lest they want to come off as outdated.
Airbnb is giving us undercover boss vibes with its latest CEO initiative. Brian Chesky announced that he will live in Airbnbs across the U.S. over the next several weeks. The idea seems to stem from Airbnb’s latest platform data findings and its latest customer program that funds 12 people to live anywhere on Airbnb for a year.
TikTok remains a forum for generating visibility around untold stories. This week, TikTokers championed the cause of Lauren Smith-Fields, a Black woman who was found dead after a Bumble date. Despite the many unanswered questions that linger for her friends, family, and community, her story has received little coverage across mainstream media. Users are encouraging others to engage in civic journalism to draw attention to the story in a bid to counteract “missing white women syndrome” – an idea that gained recognition throughout the disappearance and murder of Gabby Petito.
On the other hand, TikTok’s so-called civic journalism can often rear its ugly head by transforming into a form of online vigilantism as seen this week with West Elm Caleb. After women in NYC began noticing the similarities in a certain 6’4, midwestern guy they had all been allegedly ghosted by, initial amusement turned into irateness as the platform combined forces to accuse him of “love-bombing,” manipulation, and some even went so far as to doxx him. It’s another development that is causing some to take pause at the platform’s bloodthirst for dissecting an individual’s life in the name of accountability with little regard for whether users’ responses are worthy of the crime (looking at you, couch guy).
One thing is for sure though, TikTok remains a platform of choice for start-ups hoping to generate visibility via virality. The platform’s cultural relevancy and creative spirit are allowing start-ups to engage with prospective consumers in a more engaging and organic way. Take Poppi, a soft drink brand, for example, that went viral in 2021 and continues to reap the rewards.
What do the blockchain and Timothée Chalamet have in common? An interest in Dune. This week, Spice DAO bought a production book of Dune at auction for $3M (over 100 times its estimate), with the intention to splice and sell it as NFT. Unfortunately, they didn’t read the fine print and bought a copy of the physical book, not the actual copyright. Not everything in Web3 is better!
The Points Guy (the company, not the guy) is suing American Airlines and making sure the world knows. (American Airlines, for their part, is also suing back.)
Get ready for even more of your in-person shopping to be brought to you by the internet’s top seller: Amazon.
In case you missed these stories this week.
International trust issues? Winter Olympic athletes have been advised to use burner phones in Beijing.
One Brooklyn funeral home is giving the death industry a new look - are consumers interested?
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
The fine print:
This newsletter was brought to you by the proud owners of a decommissioned Staten Island Ferry: Pete Davidson and Colin Jost.