Imagine a road without rules—one where you can drive like a madman, cut people off at will, and stop wherever you want for an impromptu selfie. That might sound either awesome or awful. Luckily, none of us has to experience it in real life ... or do we? This riotous spot on the subject veers off into a message you might not see coming:
Facebook is starting to friend—and maybe even poke—a new area of innovation outside of Silicon Valley: France.
Four years ago, we started to wonder—what would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want and just ... go? That's how the ad for Amazon Go begins. Released late last year, it promises an idyllic grocery store experience in which you no longer have to queue and fiddle with your wallet to pay for pork loins and cereal. Everything happens automatically, and the goods are delivered to your door.
One reason people go for over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix is you don't have to worry about channels anymore. You can just run it and have this broad array of awesome content at your fingertips. Barring HBO, channels are too dispersed to put up much of a fight against that kind of variety. They're niches, and if you don't fit into theirs, it isn't likely you'll visit the channel all that often. Then there are bundles. Bundling is one of the things millennials would like to see vanish—you're paying for a few channels you like, and getting a whole bunch you don't care about. Even so, French network Canal+ has just released an energetic little ad that makes bundles feel a lot like ... well, Netflix, frankly.
We'd all like to be seen as more than a condition or label. There's little worse than one that defines your life. It is little known that HIV-positive people following treatment can arrive at a point where they may no longer transmit the virus, even with unprotected sex. But the stigma of HIV remains, which makes it hard for carriers to court intimacy. "It is our responsibility to reveal this information to the most people possible," says Aurélien Beaucamp, president of French advocacy group AIDES. "What weighs most on the quality of life of HIV-positive people today is not the virus. It's the daily discriminations they have to suffer." Some 86 percent of HIV-positive people who've been tested in France, and are currently being treated, have an undetectable viral load, making it unlikely they will pass the virus on, according to AIDES. But intimate rejection remains a critical part of their lives. Per an "HIV, Hepatitis and You" inquiry carried out in March, 49.1 percent of declared discriminations happen in a sexual context. For World AIDS Day on Thursday, AIDES and TBWA\Paris released "Revelation," a series of racy—but also curiously serene—print ads that convey everything else an HIV-positive person has to share with a partner.
If you're from a city on terrorist watch, you're probably familiar with that unsteady, cold-shower feeling you get when you've suddenly turned a corner to discover a bunch of armed soldiers guarding the door you're about to walk into. They're there for protection, sure, but they also become a constant reminder of what could happen. Now imagine you're a kid, and those soldiers are in your school.
Remember those sailor stories about mermaids who drag drowning men to their doom? In this creepy—yet charming!—little piece of work, the National Maritime Rescue Organization tells just that tale ... from the perspective of the mermaid. Set to the plaintive croon of Tobias Jesso's "Without You," a mermaid sulking on the balcony of a sunken ship sees a sailor drifting down toward her. This kicks off a model courtship. The graphics depict a magical world illuminated by jellyfish. Love blooms around the shipwreck, a foreshadowing of darkness to come. You're bound to ask yourself a few questions: How does the sailor breathe underwater? Can you really barbeque steaks below sea level? How does that mermaid get pregnant?
This summer, the Sundance Film Festival hosted the premiere of Notes on Blindness. It's a film about John Hull, a theologian who spent 16 years chronicling his degenerative blindness in an audio journal before total darkness fell in 1983. Alongside the film, Agat Films/Ex Nihilo and Audiogaming released "Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness," an immersive VR project that builds on that audio odyssey, and both supplements and promotes the original work. Funded by ARTE, the studios used binaural audio and real-time 3D animation to give people the sense of going blind alongside Hull—a neat juxtaposition to how the National MS Society used VR to help MS patients "relive" certain passions.
The Paris Motor Show is taking place from Oct. 1-16, and Opel has a surprise for visitors to its stand—an Opel Astra you can start with your mind. Guests are invited to sit comfortably in a chair facing the car, where they're outfitted with a headset that'll get the engine humming with the right mental feedback. The experience has conveniently been dubbed "Opel Mind."
If you're gnawing at the bit for the return of Black Mirror, you'll find brief gratification in "BEN (Bionically Engineered Nursing)," an ad that offers a brief glimpse into the world of a woman and her care robot.