Posts tagged with "Instagram"

Whatchamacallit candy bar maker asks fans to name its newest creation

June 1, 2020

What’s in a name? Well, according to Hershey’s, it depends what’s in a candy bar—and who knows that better than the customer who eats it?

Now, Fox News reports, the popular bar, Whatchamacallit—launched by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate manufacturer back in 1978—is expanding its “wacky, crazy, crunchy, chewy” brand by releasing another equally layered and equally zany confection in July. But, instead of adding another no-named bar to its repertoire, Whatchamacallit wants its fans to weigh in.

The as-yet-to-be-named candy—slated to be the first released under the Whatchamacallit brand in ten years—will be made up of layers of chocolate rice crisps and peanut butter crème, and covered in chocolate.

If naming the “latest wacky and wild innovation” sounds like a dream come true, simply submit your moniker on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag whatchamacallit and hashtag contest, along with tagging @whatchamacallit on Twitter or @whatchamacallit_bar on Instagram.

The contest will run from June 1 through June 15. The winner will receive $5,000 and a year’s supply of the new chocolate bar, as well as lifetime fame of seeing the name printed on the bar’s packaging.

Research contact: FoxNews

Obama tweets ‘vote’ after Trump promotes ‘Obamagate’

May 18, 2020

Now that his Attorney General Bill Barr has dropped DOJ charges against Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump has asked Republicans to take on the Obama Administration—promoting a planned political take-down with the term, Obamagate.

The issue, he says is that Obama-era officials “unmasked” the former national security adviser—gaining knowledge of his identity—after his call to reassure then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that sanctions on his nation would be expunged after Trump took the oath of office in January 2016.

Although, intelligence officials routinely “unmask” the identity of those who are in communications with the nation’s foes, President Trump demanded on Twitter that Senate Republicans call on Obama to testify, blasting what he called “the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA” and claiming that Obama “knew EVERYTHING.”

Indeed, on Wednesday, May 13, the White House sent lawmakers a declassified list of Obama-era officials whom Trump and his aides claim requested documents that led to Flynn’s identity being “unmasked” in intelligence reports.

According to a report by The Hill, former President Barack Obama had a simple message for the public on Thursday after his successor went after him on social media: Vote.

The former president shared similar messages on Facebook and Instagram, calling on supporters to “vote.”

Trump repeatedly lashed out at Obama last Sunday after the former president criticized the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case against Flynn. In a call that was subsequently leaked, Obama warned that the move to drop the Flynn case threatened the “rule of law.”

Trump declined to name a specific allegation when pressed by reporters on Monday, May 11, about what crime he was accusing Obama of committing following his tweets over the weekend.

Research contact: @thehill

Their lips are sealed: The #tinyfacechallenge is the latest quarantine obsession

May 14, 2020

While many of us who are sheltering in place are trying “to put a brave face on it;” others are “wiping the (natural) grin off their faces”—and instead competing in the #tinyfacechallenge on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

Makeup wizards are flooding social media with hundreds of wacky—and even slightly creepy—makeovers that create the cartoonish illusion of a freakishly petite face, The New York Post reports.

Using hashtags including #tinyfacechallenge, #tinyfacemakeupchallenge, and #tinyface, people are covering up the bottom half of their faces with scarves and then painting tiny mouth replicas and nostrils on their noses, The Post says. The effects veer anywhere from disturbing to hilarious. (And some are doing it “backwards,” with new eyes and brows painted beneath their real ones, which are covered up with a scarf or mask.)

One popular six-minute video by cosmetologist Jaime French has racked up nearly 1.4 million views since she posted it to Instagram on April 29.

The tutorial caught the attention of admirers who attempted to mirror her expertise. Others also posted their own video primers.

Some inspired artists even incorporate nose piercings into their new visages by transforming them into lip piercings for the finished makeover. Others make use of cups and straws as props so their new faux mouths look functional and slurp-ready.

Perhaps beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Brooklyn “drag enthusiast” @strewniverse put together a particularly unsettling face while noting in the caption, “… honestly I’ve never felt more glamorous.” Or, in the words of another challenge-taker, “Quarantine makes you do Strange things.”

Research contact: @nypost

‘Porchtraits’ by Minnesota photographer capture life under coronavirus lockdown

April 21, 2020

As millions of American families gather on their porches daily during the nearly nationwide lockdown just to get some fresh air and sunshine, as well as to sing and dance, to wave to neighbors, and to thank healthcare workers, one photographer is capturing the Coronavirus Culture for posterity.

Since launching what he calls his “Porchtrait Project” on March 18, Dave Puente has photographed over 200 homes for the project. Although he’s based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the photographer and filmmaker has driven over 2,000 miles in search of the perfect shot, mostly taking photos in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

“ I wanted to give somebody something that they can hang on the all and in a few years look back on it and in such a frantic and scary time see there was some silver lining to it,” Puente explains on his website.

He promoted the campaign by posting his hashtage, #porchtraits, on Facebook and Instagram, along with photos of his friends and clients. Word spread quickly and Puente has been contacted by interested subjects ever since.

“Business had come to a halt for me and for so many. I just felt I had to do something,” Puente told Fox News of his initial inspiration. “‘So I decided to give from what I did have: plenty of time, and my craft.

“About 175 of the families [photographed so far] are people I’ve never met before! Currently, there are about 350 people on queue in our email database and hundreds more reaching out on social media,” he told told the network news outlet.

For now, Puente is taking the “porchtraits” for free and intends to continue the project for “at least” the duration of the pandemic. He told Fox, “It’s not just a passion project; it’s a compassion project …. It’s a big metaphorical hug and a keepsake for people during this difficult time.”

Research contact: @FoxNews

Picture perfect: Bored during lockdown, couple constructs art gallery for pet gerbils

April 16, 2020

It’s not so much a rogue’s gallery as a rodent’s gallery. After all, what better to do when sheltering in place than to create an adorable art gallery for your pets—in this case gerbils?

London-based Marianna Benetti and her boyfriend Filippo Lorenzin, both 30 years old, constructed the miniature exhibition last week to keep their pets-and themselves—entertained during quarantine, The Good News Network reports.

Museums across Britain remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreaks, although many galleries—including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where Lorenzin works—instead are offering virtual tours for eager art enthusiasts

The tiny museum space produced by the couple is-about the size of a shoebox and has been filled with carefully curated rodent-themed takes on classic works of art—including the “Mousa Lisa”.

Benetti and Lorenzin also made mini benches, gallery assistant stools, large print guides, and a sign which read “DO NOT CHEW.”

Although both of the nine-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisu, enjoyed browsing the gallery, they did nibble their way through one of the delicately constructed chairs.

“The original project was for a doll house, but my boyfriend proposed the idea of designing an art gallery complete with all the details,” Benetti told The Good News Network.

The model took four hours to make, and in addition to the pair ensuring that all materials used were gerbil-friendly, they made a blueprint for the design to make sure the proportions were correct for their pets.

As well as the “Mona Lisa”, Benetti and Lorenzin also drew renditions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” for their pets.

The creative couple posted a picture of their creation on Reddit and were surprised by the reaction.

“Everyone was overwhelmingly positive. We didn’t expect such friendly feedback, and we look forward to adding more artworks to the gallery,” Benetti told the online news outlet. “It is great to see so many creative suggestions for other paintings from the community.”

If you want to follow more of there gerbil’s creative exploits, you can follow their Instagram page or YouTube channel.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Pedal pusher: ‘Peloton husband’ gives real-life girlfriend an exercise bike for Christmas

December 30, 2019

Some people just love “feeling the burn”—even if that extends beyond muscles to public opinion. In fact, the much-maligned Peloton Husband featured in the company’s polarizing holiday commercial isn’t back-pedaling on his choice of gift, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune/TNS.

After he was skewered for inflicting the Peloton bike on his reluctant-seeming “wife” in the viral ad—which attracted widespread criticism for being sexist and culturally insensitive—on Christmas Day, he gave his real-life girlfriend one of the exercise bikes.

“Here’s hoping this goes over better the second time. … Merry Christmas to my actual girlfriend (pls don’t leave me),” actor Sean Hunter, a.k.a. @pelotonhusband, wrote Wednesdaym, December 25, on Instagram—sharing a picture of himself and his girlfriend posing with the pricey bike.

The Vancouver, Canada-based elementary school teacher defended himself in Psychology Today when the ad went viral and he and his costar, Monica Ruiz, were roasted on social media.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My five seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face. My friend texted me today declaring that I’m ‘a symbol of the patriarchy,'” Hunter said. “As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me.”

Only some of that criticism cycled back after his Christmas Day reveal, with feedback calling out the real-life gift as a Peloton-backed publicity stunt and others praising his levity for bringing the narrative full circle.

Although Peloton defended the “The Gift That Gives Back” spot as a way “to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” the company said it was “disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial.”

On Thursday, however, it endorsed Hunter’s gifting idea, commenting on his post, “Looks like a successful Christmas gift to us! We hope you love it, and we’re so glad you’re a part of the Peloton family!”

Meanwhile, Ruiz blamed her brief but nervous smile in the ad for kick-starting the controversy earlier this month. “I think it was my fault. My eyebrows looked worried, I guess?” Ruiz said on the “Today” show.  “People were like, ‘She looks scared!'” she said, laughing. “I’m telling you, it was my face. That was the problem. And it just exploded from there.”

Ruiz fared a little better than her costar did amid the backlash. The actress was commissioned by Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin company for a follow-up ad spoofing her Peloton appearance and has landed a gig on CBS’ daytime drama  The Bold and the Beautiful.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Parallel universes: Dems raising $75 million to go head-to-head with GOP on social media

November 5, 2019

Two can play that game: A progressive organization called Acronym is plunging into the presidential campaign—revealing plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising that will be used to counterbalance and neutralize President Donald Trump’s early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states, The New York Times reported on November 4.

And such a rampart may well be needed: Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, the news outlet says. That’s more than the four top-polling Democrats—Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg—have spent in total on those platforms.

Since its creation as a nonprofit group dedicated to building power and digital infrastructure for the progressive movement in March 2017, Acronym claims to have “run dozens of targeted media programs to educate, inspire, register, and mobilize voters,” as well as to have “worked with dozens of partners to accelerate their advocacy programs and investments.”

In the 2018 cycle, Acronym developed new digital tools and strategies to encourage voters to register to vote and show up at the polls on Election Day. Through these programs, Acronym and its affiliated political action committee, Pacronym, claim to have helped elect 65 progressive candidates across the country.

Photo source: AcronymAnd in January 2019, the group launched Shadow, a technology company focused on building accessible, user-centered products to enable progressive organizers to run smarter campaigns

Political organizers and pundits agree that such an effort is necessary. “The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,” said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym’s board. ”If the things that need to happen don’t happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.“

In an interview with the Times, Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately, with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.

“Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party; and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,” Plouffe said.

“There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,” he added. “If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they’re not going to win.”

The campaign, which the organization is calling “Four is Enough,” will focus initially on key swing states: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. One state that is historically a battleground was notably missing from the initial list: Florida.

The effort will feature advertisements across multiple digital platforms, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, and Pandora. There will be original content, such as videos and animations, as well as boosting local news coverage that portrays Trump, his administration,and his agenda in a harsh light.

McGowan told the news outlet that for months her group had been raising the alarm about the president’s early online spending advantage.

“It started to feel as though we were really screaming into the abyss,” she said. So

McGowan told the Times that the group had already raised approximately 40% of the planned $75 million budget. She noted that Plouffe has joined as both a political adviser and to help raise funds. The spending will be made across two groups, Acronym, which is a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, and Pacronym, a political action committee, which does. (The group’s winking moniker is a poke at the frequent practice of settling on a meaningful series of words to form an acronym for a nonprofit; they have skipped that alphabet-soup step entirely.)

“We’re absolutely, as a party, not doing enough and I don’t know that $75 million is enough,” McGowan said. “We can’t afford to not do this work right now.” Of the fact that some of her group’s donors would remain undisclosed, she said, “We have to play on the field that exists,” noting that Trump is aided by such funds, as well.

Research contact: @nytimes

Pleasingly plump hands are being celebrated by a new social media movement

October 18, 2019

There’s a new kind of “digital revolution” going on—an online celebration of “diverse fingers and hands.”

Model and plus-size fashion expert Maxey Greene uses Instagram to connect with her followers—reaching out for wisdom on fashion, culture, relationships, how they feel about their bodies, the list goes on. But, as HuffPost tells the story, she wasn’t using it for that recently when she posted a photo of her manicure. At least she didn’t think she was. Then the DMs started.

“In tiny font in the corner of the image, I mentioned how I never see fingers that look like mine,” she said of the photo she told the news outlet about the photo she posted. “About two seconds after posting it, a woman sent a photo reply of her chubby fingers and said ‘chubby hands for life!’ After that they just started pouring in.”

Fingers that look like hers, or fingers that are not extremely thin, aren’t represented in jewelry and engagement ring advertisements.  “I think a lot of women instantly felt seen,” Greene said.

The inherent message that the lack of hand diversity sends stems from a larger systematic issue that love, like high fashion, is seen as only being reserved for people who look a certain way. Photos of rings might seem like a small thing, but it plays to that same old trope, Greene explained to HuffPost.

“I think not seeing chubby fingers with rings, specifically engagement rings may stem from the mentality that ‘fat women can’t find love’ or don’t deserve it—n idea that’s been ingrained in our heads for years,” she said. “But it’s just not true! Advertising should reflect that. We’ve got plus-size dollars to spend!”

“Someone told me a story about how when they posted a picture of their engagement announcement on Facebook, she was made fun of for the ring being too small on her and that it didn’t look good on her finger,” she said. “It did fit her, that’s just the way chubby fingers look in rings. She was mortified and it turned a happy moment into an insecure one. It devastated me to read that.”

It’s a small movement just in its early stages, but it sends a clear message to the engagement ring industry—and the ring industry in general—that it’s time for a change. Inspired by the people who reached out with their stories, Greene started an Instagram account called @allhandsaregoodhands, where people can look for inspiration and to see what rings look like on hands that more closely resemble their own.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Cheap thrills: Dollar General’s new $5 beauty brand is going viral

September 10, 2019

Fashionistas, take note: There’s a new brand in the beauty business—and it’s not sold at swanky cosmetics counters for big bucks, or at drugstores, either.

Launched last spring, Dollar General’s humble, $5-and-under Believe Beauty cosmetics line is available at the chain’s 15,000 locations nationwide—and it has gone viral, thanks to the raves of social media beauty bloggers.

According to a report by CNN, Dollar General partnered with a beauty manufacturer on the private-label line of lipsticks, eye shadows, foundations, nail polishes, and skin care essentials; and is giving it prime real estate at stores: It’s displaying the 150-product collection in dedicated sections at the end of store aisles, making it easy for customers to find.

The aspirational brand is “an important part of our strategy,” CEO Todd Vasos told the network news outlet.

Dollar General executives say they developed the brand to bolster the company’s hold on existing customers and improve its thin profit margins. Dollar General also hopes to draw Millennials with the brand. Millennials probably won’t post online about snacks or a new mop they bought at Dollar General, but they love showing off their new makeup online, CNN notes.

Dozens of Believe reviews on by beauty vloggers on YouTube already have racked up hundreds of thousands of page views. One 16-minute YouTube review from a beauty vlogger has 125,000 views. Instagram is flooded with more than 3,000 posts using “#believebeauty.”

All that social media attention means free advertising for Dollar General. It boosts the company’s image with younger shoppers and is helping lift the dollar-store empire.

“People like those kind of videos because it’s something different,” Taylor Horn, a blogger who reviewed Believe on her YouTube channel, told CNN Business. Her channel has more than 750,000 followers.

“It’s cool when lines like Believe Beauty launch, where it’s accessible,” she said. “I think it’s more achievable and the things that your everyday consumer can afford.”

Dollar General is following a similar strategy to Walgreens, Target, Zara, Forever 21 and even 7-Eleven, CNN points out. These companies have all added their own in-house cosmetics lines in recent years.

Research contact: @CNN

No selfie-confidence? Study finds that people who often post selfies are viewed as less likeable

August 29, 2019

Let’s face it: If a friend is posting selfies nearly every day, many of us tire of seeing them. After all, why are they taking pictures of themselves so frequently? We know what they look like.

But the problem actually is worse than a simple case of over-exposure.

A recent study of Instagram feeds conducted at the Washington State University found that “Individuals who post a lot of selfies are almost uniformly viewed as less likeable, less successful, more insecure, and less open to new experiences than individuals who share a greater number of posed photos taken by someone else. Basically, selfie versus posie.”

“Even when two feeds had similar content, such as depictions of achievement or travel, feelings about the person who posted [the] selfies were negative and feelings about the person who posted posies were positive,” said Chris Barry, WSU professor of Psychology and lead author of the study. “It shows there are certain visual cues, independent of context, that elicit either a positive or negative response on social media.”

Barry, along with WSU psychology students and collaborators from The University of Southern Mississippi analyzed data from two groups of students for the study. The first group comprised 30 undergraduates from a public university in the southern United States.

The participants were asked to complete a personality questionnaire and agreed to let the researchers use their 30 most recent Instagram posts for the experiment.

The posts were coded based on whether they were selfies or posies as well as what was depicted in each image, such as physical appearance, affiliation with others, events, activities or accomplishments.

The second group of students comprised 119 undergraduates from a university in the northwestern United States. This group was asked to rate the Instagram profiles of the first group on 13 attributes such as self‑absorption, low self‑esteem, extraversion and success using only the images from those profiles.

Barry’s team then analyzed the data to determine if there were visual cues in the first group of students’ photos that elicited consistent personality ratings from the second group.

They found that the students who posted more posies were viewed as being relatively higher in self‑esteem, more adventurous, less lonely, more outgoing, more dependable, more successful, and having the potential for being a good friend while the reverse was true for students with a greater number of selfies on their feed.

Personality ratings for selfies with a physical appearance theme, such as flexing in the mirror, were particularly negative, the researchers found.

 Other interesting findings from the study included that students in the first group who were rated by the second group as highly self‑absorbed tended to have more Instagram followers and followed more users.

The researchers also found the older the study participants in the second group were, the more they tended to rate profiles negatively in terms of success, consideration of others, openness to trying new things and likeability.

“One of the noteworthy things about this study is that none of these students knew each other or were aware of the Instagram patterns or number of followers of the people they were viewing,” Barry said.

The researchers have several theories to explain their results: The generally positive reactions to posies may be due to the fact that the photos appear more natural, similar to how the observer would see the poster in real life.

Another explanation is that selfies were far less frequently posted than posies and seeing one could signal something strange or unusual about the poster.

“While there may be a variety of motives behind why people post self‑images to Instagram, how those photos are perceived appears to follow a more consistent pattern,” Barry said. “While the findings of this study are just a small piece of the puzzle, they may be important to keep in mind before you make that next post.”

And lots of people should be thinking about this: A recent survey from Luster Premium White, a teeth whitening brand based in Boston, calculated that the average Millennial could take up to about 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime.

Company CEO  Damon Brown, said in a news release. “If you don’t take a selfie during your vacation or while celebrating a special day, it is almost as if it never happened.”

Respondents to the Luster survey said they took an average of nine selfies a week and put the average amount of time needed at seven minutes. That adds up to about 54 hours a year of taking selfies, according to the survey, which included responses from 1,000 young adults.

That may sound shocking, but high numbers like those aren’t unheard of. The average 16- to 25-year-old woman spent 16 minutes taking an average of three selfies per day, or five hours a week, according to beauty site FeelUnique, which commissioned a study earlier this year, Refinery29 reported.

Despite these figures, only 10% of respondents told Luster they were addicted to taking selfies.

Research contact: @wsu