How Brands Can Ride the Stranger Things Eighties Wave

Eighties Retro Background

Our culture nowadays is one of remixing and reworking older things, presenting them in a fresh way. Those kids who grew up in the Eighties are now the people creating art, fashion and films. With the US population alone numbering over 78 million Millennials, this demographic is a key one to target for advertising. For instance, the popular Eighties-themed TV show, Stranger Things has dominated Netflix and internet chatter amongst Millennials for months. One notable reason behind this success seems to be its Eighties throwback style, appealing to Millennials’ earliest pop culture memories; and it’s not alone. Style it out Topshop, a large UK retail fashion chain is a brand who are constantly targeting the Millennial demographic, and seem to...

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Does It Give You Tingles or The Heebie-Jeebies? The Rise and Rise of ASMR


ASMR – short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – is somewhat of a hidden but burgeoning online phenomenon. It’s basically an experience, triggered by a unique set of sounds and potentially visuals that gives the listener a static-like sensation, going from their scalp and go down their neck and back. Rather similar to the hairs on the back of your neck rising. In its current online form, ASMR is tapping into the triggers and tingles that induce relaxation, and is often used to help people fall asleep. Some swear by it as a useful methodology, but others are less convinced.   ASMR is bigger than you’d expect A simple YouTube search reveals a whopping 10.6 million videos under the category....

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Twitter Passion Report: How Brands Could Engage TV & Film Buffs


Last month we introduced our work with Twitter, uncovering a series of passion communities on the platform by analysing 800,000 randomly selected users. This month we’ll take a closer look at the community whose main passion is identified as TV & Film. The TV & Film passion community is rather a diverse audience, characterised by a relatively small amount of interconnectedness with medium fragmentation. Communities tend to cluster around interests and genres and less around geography, indicating a progressive Twitter audience which resonates with media in a global fashion. From Star Wars to Chipotle, the affinities and interests between the subgroups in this community are rather broad. Within the report, we found 4 major subgroups which make up around 30%...

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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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