Here’s a bumper crop of joyful things taken from the last 12 months of internet escapades, all of which made 2014 particularly amazing.
Some will make you think “wow the internet is brilliant”, some will make you think “wow the internet is kinda stupid”, either way these are all things that have somehow made our world a better place, in both minor and major ways.
Neo-Nazis marching against Neo-Nazis
In what is quite possibly the most heart-warming story about Neo-Nazis ever told, the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel managed to trick the attendees of an annual pilgrimage to Rudolph Hess’s grave into supporting anti-fascist charity EXIT Deutschland, a group that helps people safely leave the Neo-Nazi party.
The marchers raised more than €10,000 for the charity. Thanks Neo-Nazis! Same time next year?
Trailers regained their ‘event’ magic
Thanks to various returning franchises long thought dead, we not only had teaser trailers this year, but trailers for those teasers. And these teaser teasers had even smaller teasers to say when they would commence teasing.
This basically meant the world could gather together one Friday in November 2014 to refresh the iTunes Trailers page continuously, before collectively screaming “Quicktime!? Who the hell still uses Quicktime??” and eventually realising we were sharing an important pop culture moment with all of our friends separated across vast distances and platforms, and it felt kinda good.
For George Lucas and my Dad, who are the only people in the world not to have seen this trailer…
Information is Beautiful
One of my favourite talks from the 2014 Festival of Marketing was by David McCandless from Information is Beautiful.
McCandless and his team have a mission to distil the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and above all, useful visualisations, infographics and diagrams.
There are many more to gaze at lovingly here: Information is Beautiful.
The more than deserving winner of three of our Digitals 2014 awards.
Much like the rest of the internet last month, we had some fun with the YouGov Profiles tool.
Here anyone, including marketing teams, can extrapolate data from the YouGov vaults in order to segment and target relevant customers more accurately.
So basically, if you type in a brand or famous person into the tool, you will learn what the quintessential fan of that particular search term also likes.
Here’s what we discovered…
- The quintessential fan of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe believes that religion has done more bad than good.
- The quintessential Pac-Man fan works in a shop in Yorkshire and enjoys the music of LL Cool J.
- The quintessential consumer of Tangy Cheese flavour Doritos has a crush on Drew Barrymore and could probably throw you over their shoulder Judo-style.
- The quintessential Iron Maiden fan loves onion rings and thinks adverts are a waste of time.
- The quintessential fan of Jeremy Clarkson is in fact Jeremy Clarkson…
Revenge is a dish best served deeply sarcastically
Here are the best responses to the Daily Mail’s theoretically un-parodyable headline.
— Ed Balls (@eddbaIlsmp) November 10, 2014
— Prad Patel (@pradip) November 10, 2014
— Jake Graham (@AlbionJake) November 10, 2014
The Daily Mail are idiots. I made this Monte Cristo sandwich as proof. pic.twitter.com/t84KYeg7Id
— George Berridge (@George_Berridge) November 9, 2014
Inbox is a new email app that hits the reset button in terms of what we expect from an email account.
Things to love: the appearance, the swipeability, the colour-coded flat design, the reminders, its ease of use, the toggling between pinned and inbox and some powerful search.
The removal of Dapper Laughs from our lives
I say ‘our lives’, really it was more like hearing about something appalling via Twitter, instantly hating that thing, signing a petition to have it removed from our periphery and then seeing it swiftly actioned within the week.
Mob justice ruled Twitter in 2014 for good and for bad. As we’re in the ‘good’ version of the article, seeing to it that Dapper Laughs would never see a second series and having sexual predator Julien Blanc booted out of Australia were definite wins.
Just like everyone in your friendship group or everyone you follow on Twitter, I also urge you to listen to the Serial podcast.
It’s the utterly gripping true story of a reporter investigating a fifteen-year-old murder for which the wrong man may have been convicted.
It’s ‘True Detective’ addictive but with added humanity and insight into the American justice system.
Sochi-ing it to Putin
This video from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion made a wonderfully valid point…
General Electric’s continuing excellence on social video
It’s the brand to follow on Instagram, especially if you’re into mechanical stuff and tech.
Then there was this incredible advert, directed by the indescribable Tim and Eric and starring a rather leathery Jeff Goldblum. It might be the greatest advert ever made.
Virgin America have managed to create a six-hour-long in-flight video that’s somehow less of a laborious watch than all YouTube pre-rolls.
The whole campaign is an incredibly detailed multichannel experience with lots of hilarious hidden details, such as this email response to every complaint…
And the customer testimonials that range from the outwardly hostile to the numbly accepting: “If the only point in air travel is to get to your destination eventually, then I guess you could say that BLAH gets the job done.”
Check out the full story in 18 things to love about BLAH Airlines.
Hashtag my ass
I’ll mark this as NSFW despite the lack of nudity, violence or swearing… it’s more the sheer amount of bottom wiggling that you may not wish to explain to your colleagues who walk past your desk.
This is an incredible video which links to your Instagram account and makes your images part of the album artwork contained. Just maybe tilt your screen to the window first.
The popularity of flat design
The fast adoption of flat design has practical applications as well as aesthetic ones.
With mobile devices becoming the primary screen on which we browse the internet, there is a growing need for desktop sites to utilise responsive design.
Flat tile shaped sections on a site are much more adaptable and easier to shrink down and rearrange when viewing on different screen sizes.
Also without fancy graphics and animation, page load times are much quicker. Making your site more user-friendly and accessible, and will ultimately improve its SEO.
If you want to know about flat design and its history, there is a gorgeous website called Flat Vs Realism that explains everything in a scrolling, animated and of course beautifully flat way.
Samsung Mobile completely owing Vine
The consumer electronics company is the brand to follow for endless inspiration for your six-second long masterpieces.
Over the Hills
The Over the Hills project involves endless interaction that’s subtly intuitive and some of the most pleasing real-time audio manipulation I’ve experienced online.
Then just when you think it can’t get any better, you find the hidden keyboard.
This was also the inspiration for a recent round-up of incredible sound and music sites.
The Google Art Project uses street view cameras to take armchair art lovers on a tour of various museums and galleries.
Spanish artist Mario Santamaria has diligently looked through all of the views and created a Tumblr of all the moments when the Google camera is caught in the reflection of various installations. Check it out here: Camera in the Mirror.
There’s a similarly eerie quality to the images, reminiscent of the final moments of Kubrick’s 2001.
A cinematic history of text messages
Movies somehow used to grind to a halt whenever a character received a narratively important text message. Here’s a brilliant explanation of why that is and also looks at other ways to visualise the digital world.
We all gave Greg a holiday. That was nice of the internet wasn’t it.
I won’t dwell on this example too much, as we’ve talked about it an awful lot already.
— TrekAmerica (@trekamerica) May 22, 2014
First Kiss was good. This was better…
Priceless surprises revenge
In a glorious piece of revenge hashtag-hijacking, Brit Awards’ sponsor MasterCard, or more accurately its PR company, got what it deserved last February.
Journalists were asked by the PR company to agree to certain demands before they were given press accreditation for the event, including a guarantee that the journalists will use social media from both publication and personal accounts to live-tweet the event, to link to specific pre-event coverage and specific YouTube videos afterwards and all tweets must carry the #PricelessSurprises hashtag.
Thanks to The Telegraph’s Tim Walker and a leaked email via Press Gazette, word got out and the hashtag soon became something quite different.
Good press coverage is hard to bribe. For everything else there’s Mastercard. #PricelessSurprises
— Felicity Morse (@FelicityMorse) February 19, 2014
Having your crass social media campaign backfire on you spectacularly #PricelessSurprises
— Ed Hayes (@edjhayes) February 19, 2014
— Jon Cudby (@JonCudby) February 19, 2014
I’m not friends with Google Maps anymore since its overhaul, however this little trivia game certainly went a long way to making amends.
The Onion launched an entire website to harpoon Buzzfeed, Gawker and Upworthy. (I chose the word harpoon over lampoon, as lampoon sounds too friendly). It’s called Clickhole.
It was particularly interesting to see how many of these articles got passed around as genuine.
Of note were 16 Pictures Of Beyoncé Where She’s Not Sinking In Quicksand, Meet The Most Powerful Man You’ve Never Heard Of (it’s Barack Obama) and this excellent How Many Of These ‘Friends’ Episodes Have You Seen? quiz…
Oh and this…
First men on the moon
This is just incredible. An endlessly interactive exploration of the Apollo 11 lunar landing as experienced minute-by-minute by its crew and Mission Control.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the reason for the internet.
This is a generic brand video
Based on an article written for McSweeney’s, this video created by Dissolve and made entirely out of its own stock footage is as glorious and manipulative as it is vague and meaningless.
Laughing alone with salad
LeanIn.org and Getty Images jointly curated a new library of stock photos depicting images of realistic women going about their lives in a normal, authentic manner.
Why was this necessary? Time reveals just how sexist and woefully patronising those original stock photos were in its brilliant comparison article.
It’s the highly addictive official Lego builder extension for Chrome.
Look how I’ve accurately created the Econsultancy office.
Noel Gallagher: insightful music critic extraordinaire of own music
These are the best moments from Noel Gallagher’s audio commentary on the ‘Time Flies’ collection of Oasis music videos, available to buy in all good Virgin Megastores eight years ago.
Warning! Predictably contains swearing.
Econsultancy finally gets a new design
Responsive. Refreshed. Revised and about bloody time.
Too Many Cooks
And finally, my very favourite thing to happen on the internet in 2014… Now gather the whole family round for some good old fashioned family sitcom fun.