Spotify unveiled its traditional year-end “Wrapped” campaign, which, as always, digs into the music and podcast streaming platform’s reams of data to take a temperature check of pop culture. The overarching theme this year is that 2021 was totally normal—well, at least when compared to 2020.

The work leans heavily on out-of-home executions, which offer witty takes on our collective listening habits, informed by the billions of streams throughout the year. As you can see below, each one references the idea of normalcy in some way—ironically, of course, since the year was far from normal.

“We’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about a return to ‘normalcy,’ but as we sat down and began reflecting on this year, we realized there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and that’s something worth celebrating,” says Alex Bodman, global executive creative director at Spotify. “On Spotify, ‘normal’ is whatever you listen to, however Read more

Lego, the world’s largest toymaker, has awarded its 20,000 employees three extra days of holiday and a special bonus after a year of bumper revenues. 

The succession of pandemic-forced lockdowns has seen demand for Lego’s signature plastic bricks soar alongside a rapid expansion in China.

“The owner’s family wishes to … thank all colleagues with an extra three days off at the end of 2021,” the Danish company said in a statement.

The family group reported a net profit of more than 6.3bn Danish Krone ($954m) for the first half of 2021 – an increase of 140% on the same period in 2020. Revenues shot up 46% to 23bn kronor in the same period.

It had been “an extraordinary year for the Lego Group and our colleagues have worked incredibly hard”, the statement said, adding that an unspecified special bonus would be paid to staff in April 2022.

With families Read more

Clarks began with a sheepskin slipper in 1825, but Clarks is moving out of its comfort zone in a battle for survival under new Chinese leadership. 

The British footwear institution, founded by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark, shifted from comfort to fashion after the desert boot inspired by James’ great grandson Nathan Clark’s time in Burma in the 1940s became the footwear of choice for the Beatles, Oasis and generations of reggae artists.

The Clarks founding family were forced to cede control to Chinese Olympian Li Ning and private equity group LionRock after slumping into the red and struggling to refinance debts after years of malaise.

Li Ning, the billionaire former gymnast who now heads a sports footwear colossus with sales of 14.4bn RMB (£1.7bn), teamed up with LionRock shortly before it pumped £100m into Clarks to take a 51% controlling stake.

The Chinese investors want to follow the Read more

Lush said that they will be shutting down their Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat pages. The new policy will be rolled out across all 48 countries Lush operates in.

Lush will continue to operate on Twitter and YouTube “for now”, as it looks to “build better channels of communication elsewhere”.

chief digital officer and product inventor at Lush, Jack Constantine expressed “[Social media channels] do need to start listening to the reality of how they’re impacting people’s mental health and the damage that they’re causing through their craving for the algorithm to be able to constantly generate content regardless of whether it’s good for the users or not.”

The retailer has previously closed several of its UK social media accounts, but said it found itself “back on the channels, despite the best intentions”.

It said it decided to bring back “some limited use of the channels we had mothballed”, to Read more

Netflix has scooped up Scanline, the visual effects company that has worked on films and television series including Game of Thrones, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Stranger Things.

This is the US streaming service’s first deal to take control of a major player in the in-demand special effects industry.

Scanline VFX, which operates seven offices globally from its headquarters in Canada and employs more than 1,100 people, will become a “fully owned, semi-autonomous” Netflix subsidiary.

The move comes weeks after Weta Digital, which has built characters and scenes for productions spanning Lord of the Rings to Avatar, sold its visual special effects technology arm to the US-based video game company Unity for $1.63bn (£1.22bn).

The Netflix deal will allow the streaming company to focus Scanline’s attention on its ever-growing TV and film production slate. Scanline has already worked on original productions, including the big-budget Ryan Reynolds film 6 Underground and Read more