What Trump’s Visual Style Tells Us About His Presidency


Trump is famous for his love of social media, relying heavily on Twitter to communicate with his online following. Whatever your politics, Trump makes a fascinating object of study so here at Pulsar we have been tracking his Twitter footprint for the last seven years – giving us access to the metrics behind his media preferences. In the last year, Trump has tweeted 3,800 times from his personal account @realDonaldTrump, which he started using in March 2009. These tweets have received over 11.6 billion impressions. In this new blog series, we will highlight the surprising aspects of Trump’s tweets. This week we will be investigating the kinds of images have most commonly been posted by the President in the last...

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Are you living in the year 3017? Welcome to the crap life-hack craze making a splash online

Phone Shoe

    First we had the Ice Bucket Challenge, then batmanning – now the latest craze in social sharing is sarcastic images of life-hacks we might use in 1,000 years. If this craze has not so far passed you by, panic not, Pulsar are here to explain all. To give this trend its full and original name would be ‘Y’all living in 2017, but this guy already in 3017’. However the catchier ‘living in 3017’ or #3017 is usually used – these two terms alone have raked up almost 200k mentions in the last month. The images or videos showcase ingenious but mundane improvements to every day life, i.e. ‘in the year 3017 we will be doing this so much...

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Can social data show Macron’s journey from a nobody to a very significant somebody?


Emmanuel Macron’s rise to power has been called ‘meteoric’, ‘surprising’, and even ‘mysterious’. But can social data tell us about this dark horse and his unlikely win?   First things first, can we infer the direction of the election using social media? Well, that’s a tricky one…but we can see that the word Président is far more readily associated with #EnMarche and @EmmanuelMacron than Marine Le Pen or Le Front National, and that (faire) barrage – to block – is in the top five words associated with Le Pen. So, although we can’t say with certainty that social data could have revealed the result before the ballot papers did, things on social definitely weren’t looking good for Le Pen. “When...

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How the GE2017 conversation was commandeered by an intergalactic space lord


Amidst a night of arguments, tension, exit polls, surprises and hasty minority government maths, a very British tradition provided some welcome comic relief. Those of us that stayed up to watch could rightly assume that they had, in fact, dropped off and were dreaming when they saw Mr Fishfinger swimming in the background as Tim Farron gave his victory speech in Westmorland and Lonsdale.   Irregular election candidates are right up there with the other bastions of British strangeness – along with Morris Dancing, Cheese rolling, and Bog Snorkling. As well as entertaining us, they remind us that we live in a truly democratic country, and that you’re free to make a complete fool of yourself in front of millions...

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‘The Data on Daters’ – How do online daters talk about the apps they use?


  Brief encounters or meaningful matches? Imagine it’s 2007 and you announce to a room full of your friends that you’re dating someone from the internet. Their reaction would probably be one of shock and concern – are they a real person? Aren’t they a complete weirdo? Is it safe? Why don’t you meet someone from the real world? Now fast forward to 2017 and the scene is entirely different. A few of your friends are more likely to respond with their own tales of using dating apps. In fact, a quarter of people in the UK have at least one dating app installed on their phone. And with it, mentions of ‘dating apps’ are increasingly popular… This shows the...

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“Covfefe” – a harmless typo or a calculated distraction?


Donald Trump’s administration is rapidly becoming defined by the president’s late-night tweeting. His messages usually spark the internet into action as people race to decipher the true meaning behind his words. Just after midnight on 31 May, the president tweeted: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” And that was it. No context, no explanation. The tweet spread like digital wildfire over the next 24 hours as the internet grappled with its significance and flirted with what it could mean. And of course there were memes. Lots of memes. Meanwhile at Pulsar, we decided to track the conversation to see how it would evolve. There was a huge spike in posts and engagements immediately after Trump tweeted his cryptic message at...

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How Gaming Marketing Grew Up – Part 2: Shock, Emotion and Creativity


In Part 1, we explored how, just 20 years ago, gaming was perceived to be targeted to a young audience; vying for attention during the Saturday morning cartoons and laden with shouts of ‘radical’ and ‘awesome’. Then, as home console gaming shifted into the 3D space, graphics became more realistic (well, with some growing pains) and themes became darker. Naturally advertising had to adapt. There was a definitive pivotal point with the stirring PlayStation advert covered in Part 1, but we should also mention the… weird side of PlayStation.   PlayStation brought to you by… an Aphex Twin video director (1999) In 1999, a somewhat bizarre advert centred around an ‘unusual’ Scottish girl aired, in which she talked about the...

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How companies are treading that fine line between pushing boundaries and overstepping the mark

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‘Exploitative’ and ‘insensitive’ are certainly not words that you want to be associated with your brand. Yet, it currently seems that not a week goes by without brands being forced to apologise to their customers with their tails tucked between their legs. When we switch on our TVs, scroll our Facebook feeds or tune into the radio, we want adverts to resonate with us…maybe even make us smile, laugh a little, or encourage us to buy that thing that we hope might improve our lives (for at least all of 5 minutes). What we definitely don’t want, however, is for these adverts to offend us. Yet, at a time when opinions are often polarized and sensitive issues proving highly complex,...

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Brand Dig: When a product has flaws, brands need a communication strategy that understands their audience.


In this blog series, we dig into the world of marketing and discuss brands, news, trends and examples that have made the digital headlines. In this week’s post, researcher Harry looks at how Samsung and Huawei have responded to their recent product controversies.   Samsung discovers how loyal people can be If you’ve boarded a plane in the last few weeks you may have heard the flight attendant make a strange announcement. Before asking you to listen to the safety demonstration, many air stewards are now requesting any passenger with a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to hand it over. The reason? There are so many reports of the smartphone spontaneously combusting that the device is now considered a safety hazard.  ...

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Using Pulsar to Estimate the Time for a Trend to become a Legend


When exactly will Carter get his nuggets? Not long, it seems… One question is on course to beat the highest number of retweets ever, but more importantly, can it surpass 18 million? And can Carter finally get his year of chicken nuggets. HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS — Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017 Brands are increasingly taking on youthful personalities to engage with core demographics – Tesco Mobile & O2 rap battled back in 2013, PaddyPower consistently prove to be the overlords of irreverence, Old Spice completely nail the tone and demographic… and there’s another subsector quickly becoming powerhouses on social media – fast food restaurants. And one brand absolutely owning this is Wendy’s. From...

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