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Google and Uber are being courted into buying minority stakes in a franchise that will serve the HS2 north-south train service. According to The Times, the transport department is trying to make sure that by the time the rail line opens in 2026 -  ending what will be one of Britain’s biggest single construction projects - it is future-proofed against new technologies, such as automated driving.  They want Google and Uber – in addition to other digital pioneers...

Matt Damon is a big movie star. That’s not in doubt. While he worked regularly before then, he seriously broke out in 1997 with Good Will Hunting, which he starred in as well as wrote with friend Ben Affleck. And while he kept making starring appearances in movies like Rounders, The Talented Mr. Ripley and more he never seemed to be a bankable star on his own. He’s usually been part of an ensemble, a great...

Secondary ticketing site Viagogo has been accused of “profiteering at the expense of teenage cancer sufferers” listing tickets for an Ed Sheeran charity concert at up to £5,000 a ticket.  In aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, tickets for next month’s gig at the Royal Albert Hall have a face value of £49.50 to £110. However, on Viagogo tickets have been advertised for up to £5,000, with the most expensive ticket on the site at the moment...

French officials have criticised Paris’ 2024 Olympic bid campaign likening the ‘Made for sharing’ slogan to a “pizza promotion”.  The Académie française, the body charged with preserving the purity of the French language, has voiced is disapproval of the tagline claiming “it has already been used in other campaigns…notably for pizzas to share.”  Speaking via a statement, the body said: “Even though the bid committee provided a second version of this slogan, in French - ‘Venez partager’ the...

The Atlantic has unveiled its first brand campaign in over a decade featuring Michael K. Williams in his most thought-provoking role yet.  Famed for his portrayal of complex characters - including Omar in The Wire and Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire - the two and a half minute long film sees Williams play four different versions of himself as he questions ‘am I being typecast?’.  Created by Wieden & Kennedy New York, the ad tackles a variety of...

Chinese phone brand ZTE has cancelled a crowdfunding initiative to create a smartphone designed by the public.  ‘Project CSX’ had 190 backers but was far off its $500,000 target with just $36,000 pledged so far.  The design promised to allow users to interact via voice control and eye tracking but analysts had been sceptical about the features.  According to the Kickstarter page, ZTE said it cancelled the project based on “feedback” but assured “this doesn’t mean the project is...

Exterion Media – the UK-based out-of-home (OOH) advertising outfit with some of the most lucrative contracts in Europe – is up for sale, with its US-based owners Platinum Equity reportedly asking for up to $1bn, according to reports.  The London Evening Standard today (February 17) carried a report alleging that “sale memorandums started landing on potential buyers’ desks in the past few days”, and claiming that its owners were asking for bids of up to $1bn, a significantly higher...

February is Black History Month in the USA. It is an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Black Americans that are often excluded from the history books. There are programs, articles, books, speeches and shows about the contributions of Blacks in science, medicine, technology, business, politics and many other fields. Except advertising. To hear the industry tell it, Blacks don’t know about careers in advertising. And that would be okay if that it was true. However, it isn’t...

It’s not every day the government calls on parents to destroy their children’s toys, but that’s exactly what has happened in Germany, where a connected toy has been likened to spy gear and banned over security and privacy concerns. According to the BBC, that’s because hackers can potentially use an unsecure Bluetooth device embedded in My Friend Cayla dolls to listen and talk to the children playing with them. Among other things. This Bluetooth vulnerability was the subject...

It’s not every day the government calls on parents to destroy their children’s toys, but that’s exactly what has happened in Germany, where a connected toy has been likened to spy gear and banned over security and privacy concerns. According to the BBC, that’s because hackers can potentially use an unsecure Bluetooth device embedded in My Friend Cayla dolls to listen and talk to the children playing with them. Among other things. This Bluetooth vulnerability was the subject...