What in the World—Week of December 5

Pantone’s colour of the year inspired by a beetle
With its usual romantic flare and, well, colourful prose, Pantone announced Viva Magenta 18-750 as its colour of the year on Thursday. According to Pantone, the colour is rooted in nature, descends “from the red family,” is a signal of strength, bravery and fearlessness. “[A] pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.” As for its connection to nature, New York Times critic Jason Farago called it “a saturated shade honking at the threshold of fuchsia, definitely not organic but not quite electric.” But Pantone said the organic origins of the colour come from the cochineal beetle. “This insect produces carmine dye, one of the most precious, strongest, and brightest of the natural dye family. The red tone of Viva Magenta connects us to original matter, imbibing us with a primordial signal of strength.” New for the colour announcement this year, Pantone used the AI image generation tool Midjourney to produce artistic interpretations of the colour. Pantone described its “Magentaverse” as an “endless new ecosystem to be explored.”

2022’s word of the year: ‘Goblin Mode’
“Goblin Mode,” a slang term used to connote a type of behaviour that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, often in a way that rejects social norms or expectations, is this year’s Oxford Word of the Year. First seen on Twitter in 2009, “Goblin Mode” exploded on social media in February, and rose in popularity as Covid restrictions eased and people ventured out in public. Linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer said that “Goblin Mode” speaks to the times and the zeitgeist. “People are looking at social norms in new ways,” he said. “It gives people the license to ditch social norms and embrace new ones.” This year saw Oxford Languages open up word of the year suggestions to the public, with more than 300,000 people voting on the three finalists. “Goblin Mode” garnered 93% of the votes, putting it far ahead of “Metaverse” and “#IStandWith.”

McDonald’s unveils new test concept
Ba-da-ba-ba-ba… they’ve movin’ it. McDonalds has officially unveiled a new test restaurant in Texas, that is catering to “customers on the move.” Belying the old saying that everything is bigger in Texas, the concept store is considerably smaller than a traditional McDonald’s, and prioritizes customers who plan to eat at home or on the go. It features a dedicated Order Ahead lane for people who order via the app, with their order delivered via conveyor. There are also in-store kiosks, a dedicated pick-up shelf, and a delivery pick-up room for couriers. Several parking spaces are also devoted to curbside order pick-up, along with designated spaces for delivery drivers. According to this year’s edition of Intouch Insight’s annual Drive-Thru Report, McDonald’s trails only Chick-Fil-A when it comes to the total amount of time cars spent in line, at 118 seconds.

SBF breaks with crisis communications protocol
Disgraced FTX head Sam Bankman-Fried provided a textbook example of what not to do during a public relations crisis by agreeing to a round of interviews with media outlets including The New York Times and Good Morning America, say communications experts. “He’s basically breaking every rule that somebody in the crisis communications field would advise,” Andrew Gilman, president and CEO at CommCore Consulting Group, told The Wall Street Journal. In one interview, Bankman-Fried said he bears full responsibility for the cryptocurrency company’s recent implosion, and said he had no intention to defraud investors. While some experts praised his candidness, others said that the typical formula for crisis communications involves disclosure of the efforts being undertaken to fix a problem and prevent it from happening again. However, SBF doesn’t have the ability to put it back together because “he’s out of the company,” said SKDK partner Jill Zuckman.

Twitter offering ‘generous’ deals to disgruntled advertisers
After attempting to bring back advertisers who had left the platform by threatening to “name and shame” them (including publicly calling out Apple CEO Tim Cook), Twitter owner Elon Musk is now opting for a more conciliatory approach. The social platform is currently offering advertisers “uncommonly generous” deals to get them back on the platform, including matching their spend, says Marketing Brew. Advertisers who spend $200,000 will receive a 25% value add, while those spending $350,000 will receive a 50% value add, and those spending $500,000 and above will receive a 100% value ad capped at $1 million. Major advertisers including Jeep, Mars, and Kellogg have all stopped running ads on Twitter in the past month. Even so, marketing executives say that a 100% value add is “absurdly high.”

David Brown