Pop phenomenon Billie Eilish talks screen time; the world’s last Blockbuster is offering nightly stays

Billie Eilish partners with Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom has launched a new European campaign featuring teen music phenom Billie Eilish that is casting a more favourable light on Gen Z’s often maligned screen time habits.

Eilish narrates a two-minute anchor film by Saatchi & Saatchi London that begins with her reciting the list of common complaints about kids spending too much time on their phones and devices, before flipping the script to talk about the ways connected youth are changing the world for the better.

The film focuses on five young people from across Europe, all of whom are taking action to affect progressive change on issues like the environment, equality and digital security.

“The seismic events of 2020 will impact the younger generation for years to come; culturally, socially, economically,” said Wolfgang Kampbartold, Deutsche Telekom’s vice-president for international market communications. “We wanted to provide Gen Z with a voice and a platform from which to demonstrate how they are harnessing the power of connected technology to make a real difference.”

The campaign’s Aug. 12 launch was timed to coincide with the United Nations’ International Youth Day.

The world’s last Blockbuster is now offering nightly stays

While Deutsche Telekom is connecting to Gen Z, the last remaining Blockbuster video store in the world is playing the Gen X and millennial nostalgia card by offering overnight stays in the store via Airbnb.

“[O]ur Blockbuster store is an ode to movie magic, simpler times and the sense of community that could once be found in Blockbuster locations around the world,” says the AirBnb listing.

Three groups of four will be able to spend one night in the Bend, Oregon store, which will be equipped with a living room style setup, including a pull-out couch and old-school TV so they’ll be able to watch movies and…. watch more movies?

Store manager Sandi Harding told CNN that the stunt was devised as a way to mark the location’s 20th anniversary. “[W]e were hoping to celebrate that this year, but with Covid throwing a wrench into everybody’s plans, we were really excited to be able to pull this off.”

While the opportunity to spend the night is only open to locals, it’s the kind of stunt that gets lots of press from media, with fond memories of roaming the aisles with friends in the days before streaming.

It was announced with a funny revival of the six-years dormant Blockbuster Twitter account. “You up @Blockbuster” asked Airbnb? “Hi sorry… we were napping,” replied Blockbuster. “For 6 and a half years?” asked Airbnb. “Yup. What’d we miss?” was the response.

Print newspapers may have only 20 years remaining, says outgoing NYT CEO

The outgoing CEO of The New York Times, Mark Thompson, says he expects print newspapers may only have 20 years left as consumers’ digital habits make hard copy less necessary.

“I believe the Times will definitely be printed for another 10 years and quite possibly another 15 years—maybe even slightly more than that,” Thompson told CNBC. “I would be very surprised if it’s printed in 20 years’ time.”

That prediction comes after the company reported that digital revenue exceeded print revenue for the first time last quarter. The Times now has 5.7 million digital only subscribers, and wants to hit 10 million by 2025.

While Thompson said that the 2016 election of Donald Trump contributed to the increased subscriptions, he also believes this to be a time of multiple big news stories that will lead to sustained interest. “After arguably decades of post-war stability, we’re now in this crazy period of uncertainty and tension and anger, and I don’t think the anger goes away,” he said.

Turns out that Twitter has a Peanut Jr. allergy

Remember in the before times, when the “death” of Mr. Peanut was treated like a national tragedy, only for Planters to resurrect its popular mascot as an infant named Baby Nut? Man, life sure seemed so much simpler then, didn’t it?

Anyway, peanut years apparently go by even faster than dog years, since Planter’s announced this week that the mascot is now “Peanut Jr.” He’s apparently just turned 21 and wants to buy a beer. “It’s been a nutty year,” says the ball-cap wearing, freckle-faced legume in a video announcing his sudden growth spurt.

It all feels like a carefully calculated ploy for Planters to bring back its original monocled mascot, except the public doesn’t seem inclined to play along.

On Aug. 11, a popular YouTuber named Mr. Sunday Movies tweeting that he was going to bed, but would love to wake up to a world where #BlockMrPeanut was trending. “He thinks he can just push himself to the front of public consciousness though cute forced vitality,” the tweet read. “Not the year for it. I won’t have it.”

He got his wish, as people across Twitter began posting screenshots on Wednesday showing that they had blocked Peanut Jr. with some roasting the brand in particularly nasty fashion. 

David Brown