ITV replaces Love Island ads with Samaritans support line in Caroline Flack tribute- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

ITV2 has replaced Love Island’s usual ads with idents directing viewers to the Samaritans mental health support line in tribute to the show’s former host Caroline Flack, who took her own life on Saturday (15 February).
The broadcaster and charity worked with headline sponsor Just Eat to update the ads, which also implored viewers to ‘Be Kind’.
Explaining the decision in a joint statement Love Island and Just Eat said: “In light of this weekend’s tragic events, Just Eat and ITV have worked with Samaritans to replace the idents for this evening’s episode of Love Island so that anyone affected by Caroline’s death can access support.”
The ads were aired around a sombre episode of the reality show on Monday (17 February), in which narrator Iain Stirling paid an emotional tribute to his friend “Caz”.
Weekend editions of Love Island had been pulled from air on Saturday and Sunday in light of the news.
40-year-old Flack took her own life over the weekend as she awaited trial for an alleged assault of her boyfriend. She had stepped aside from presenting Love Island after the incident in December and was replaced by Laura Whitmore.
Social media, ITV, the British tabloids and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have all faced criticism over their treatment of the star in the weeks leading up to her death; with petitions calling for a reform in showbiz reporting to prevent another tragedy also gaining traction online.
In a message praising Flack’s contribution to the show, ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo said: “Everyone at ITV is absolutely devastated and still trying to process this tragic news. Caroline was part of Love Island from the very beginning and her passion, dedication and boundless energy contributed to the show’s success.
“After Caroline stepped down from the show ITV made it clear that the door was left open for her to return and the Love Island production team remained in regular contact with her and continued to offer support over the last few months.”
Just Eat began a two-year partnership with ITV to sponsor the Love Island format early this year.

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ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. We operate the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and deliver our con…
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L’Amour – The Love for Tempemail Helix Platform is Off the Charts- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

By Michel Genard

Ahh… to be French during Valentine’s day.  What a wonderful for time for love.  If only you could hear my thick French accent, this blog would be so much more fun to read.
Who doesn’t love to be loved?  Well, I love that our customers are loving Tempemail Helix Virtualization Platform.  Even some of our competitors are getting in on this action.
So what is all this commotion with Helix Platform about? From what our customers say, it has everything to do with having a virtualization platform that delivers the best of all worlds.  It is a platform that uses VxWorks, Tempemail Linux, and Tempemail Simics, all on the foundation of a type 1 hypervisor.  It enables application consolidation for embedded use cases that require mixed criticality and certifiability.  Imagine using the world’s leading real-time operating system alongside the industry’s number one commercial embedded Linux offering, while also allowing other guest operating systems to join in. Now wrap it with the ability to do hardware and system simulation of complex functions, and it becomes a very powerful software platform to build innovative applications for today and tomorrow.
But don’t just take my word for it, here are the 10 things our customers love about Helix:

The ability to run legacy applications alongside the new, enabling artificial intelligence and machine learning applications in the system without recertification

Helix Platform can be used to build a secure gateway for our autonomous vehicle design

Using VxWorks as a control application and leveraging Linux for other non-safety functions provides best-of-both worlds design flexibility

Security has been designed in, not bolted on as an afterthought

Enables safe and reliable industrial solutions for increased productivity, such as factory floor robots working together with people

It future-proofs and reduces total cost of ownership of a system’s lifetime but can easily accommodate future applications

Helix Platform supports ARM and Intel architectures

System simulations can test applications and enable state-of-the-art security protections without having the physical hardware

Helix Platform is developed to meet the highest safety levels of the key industry standards like DO-178C, IEC 61508, ISO 26262, backed by certification evidence and warranty

Helix Platform is fully supported by the world’s leading software provider for the Intelligent Edge

Find out if Helix Platform is right for you.

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Why love isn’t enough for brands this Valentine’s Day- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Valentine’s Day; it’s a time for love, loyalty, a vague sense of guilt, and the hope that small gestures will inject a spark into a long-term partnership.
Now now, I’m not talking about your significant other. I’m talking about brands.
Mid February is peak season for cringe-inducing emails from companies with whom you once did business. But it’s no good trying to woo customers (or your other half) on just one day of the year. Getting your customers to love you – and translating that into sales – is an all-year-round task.
The death of Mothercare came in 2019 and with it, decades of high street history came to an end. Beales the department store chain has been the first victim of 2020, collapsing into administration, closing stores and threatening jobs.
The way we shop is changing. Direct to consumer brands are increasing in popularity and more people are using subscription services for everyday goods. The most convenient option (convenience being one of the biggest drivers of loyalty) is often no longer the high street, big name, widely known brands. For better or worse, Amazon has a role in this deprioritisation of big name goods – even venturing into manufacturing its own, lightly branded products.
According to Foresight Factory research, 17% of consumers would be happy for a smart home assistant to automatically make basic household purchases for them. They also predict that by 2025, 11% of global consumers will rely on algorithms to automatically choose and switch financial products on their behalf.
It’s clearly time for everyone to up their game. So let’s look at the methods that are working for brands in 2020.
1. Managed scarcity
Limited editions, invitation-only access and even the famous ‘middle aisle’ at Lidl. These are all ways of generating ‘managed scarcity’, where customers have to get in quick, or miss out.
Whether you want the latest Nikes or a half price pressure washer, this strategy means you’re offering something unique and of democratic value to your customers.
This strategy can be great for creating buzz and positive PR. Kim Kardashian’s SKIM’s is a great example – limited runs, small amounts of stock released at a time, calendar specific releases (like the imminent ‘pink’ Valentine’s collection) all lead to fans clamouring to get their hands on products.
2. Latchkey loyalty
AKA loyalty for the fickle. ‘Latchkey loyalty’ – another level up from the mass exclusivity membership system of yesteryear – asks customers to subscribe to something and offers benefits for doing so. But crucially, doesn’t tie them in.
Subscription models of this type now allow much greater flexibility, allowing customers to skip, cancel and amend their choices with freedom. Though it might seem counterintuitive to offer customers an easy ‘out’, it’s crucial that loyalty feels like a choice for modern subscription models to work.
Take Bulb, an energy company taking on the big six that lets customers come and go as they please. As an added bonus, they pay exit fees to lenders who aren’t nearly so forthcoming with letting customers switch out of a deal that’s over the odds.
Consumers also appear happy to relinquish ownership over possessions in favour of services that enable short-term renting. According to Foresight Factory, in 2019 51% of adults claimed to have used, or be interested in using an app that enables them to rent a car from a nearby location at short notice and for a short period of time.
3. Peer Power
Moving past the ‘mass exclusivity’ trend of 2018/19, just building a membership platform isn’t enough. Instead of focusing purely on the tangible rewards you can offer to loyal customers, think about emotional benefits too.
Fans want peer-to-peer interaction where they can connect with like-minded people in a safe space. Brands should work hard to build a solid community where their consumers can talk to one another, strengthening their loyalty and appreciation of the brand. This works particularly well when the brand plays an active role in the community it has built, keeping in regular dialogue with fans, offering responses, collating feedback and reporting back with updates. It breaks down barriers, moving the conversation on from ‘us and them’ to ‘we’.
Sephora make customers feel connected with their online community Beauty Talk – a forum where users can ask questions, share ideas, and have their beauty questions solved by other makeup enthusiasts. Their Beauty Board offers a unique way to engage with the products and the community. Users can upload pictures of themselves wearing Sephora products and the photos then link to the product pages of all the items used, creating a full purchase cycle without having to leave the platform. Sephora have cracked the code when it comes to fulfilling the needs of their passionate fans, and other brands would be wise to follow suit.
The question of how many consumers truly ‘love’ brands is one for another day – is love just nostalgia or convenience wrapped up with a bow on it? But what brands really need is to find new ways to make their customers’ lives happier, easier, more exciting and surprising all year round. In the end, that’s what all good relationships are built on.
Tom Poynter, CEO at Southpaw.

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Rekindling our love affair with Valentine’s Day- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It’s official: the UK has fallen out of love with Valentine’s Day. New research from Walnut Unlimited shows that 58% of the UK population, and even 47% of UK couples, do not plan to mark the occasion this year. When asked why they were giving the day the cold shoulder, the main response from couples with no plans was that Valentine’s Day is “a commercialised money-maker”. For the 58% of Brits choosing not to mark the occasion, 37% agreed the day has become too commercialised.
Why should we care?
Despite the high number of Brits choosing not to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, it remains a major economic opportunity; according to Statista sales related to the day rose from £620m in 2017 to £650m in 2018. Given the lukewarm feelings that many couples have around Valentine’s Day, it may not be reasonable to expect these figures to continue to rise year on year. The ‘romance industry’ needs to up its game if it’s to continue to capitalise on the opportunity.
There are several reasons why Valentine’s Day is no longer what it used to be.
First and foremost, the challenging economic climate is a major contributor. Today’s consumers are savvy shoppers. They know where to go for a good deal. They know which voucher codes to use to make their night out as cost effective as possible. Romance is not dead. It just has a healthy dose of new decade pragmatism and common-sense mixed in.
However, it’s not just the economy. Participation in Valentine’s Day has been impacted by the fact that the way we feel about relationships, about celebrations and traditions, and about health and eating out has changed markedly over recent years:

Relationships: relationships today originate, are maintained, and end, within a much more fluid context than they did in the past, so there’s less pressure to mark romantic milestones in quite the same way that previous generations have.
Celebrations and traditions: millennials and Gen Z care very little for automatically perpetuating the traditions of their parents and grandparents.
Eating out: signifiers of quality in the eating out space are in flux. What passed as “indulgent” or “romantic” in the past may not do so nowadays, where the Instagrammability of the venue and food, and the theatricality of the evening, may be as important as the quality of the food or the vintage of the wine, if not more so.
Health: the go-to Valentine’s gift of a big box of chocs or an indulgent blowout meal may be less well received nowadays, with our heightened sense of healthy eating and mindful consumption and following on so closely from Veganuary, Dry January or those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions.

How should marketers respond?
Google ‘Future of Valentine’s Day’ and you’ll find a raft of thought-pieces speculating on the long-term future of Valentine’s Day. They often feature the likes of augmented reality products, virtual reality devices and apps, and even robotic companions. In truth, though, most of these perspectives focus on the future of sex, emotional intimacy and relationships as much as Valentine’s Day itself.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day in particular, here are some light-hearted ideas for more short-term (and less high-tech focused) ways to revive interest:

Valentine’s Day comparison app: fear of overpaying for an average experience just in order to be part of the day underpins much of the rejection of Valentine’s Day. In the same way that price comparison apps allow consumers to compare the offers of various supermarkets, utilities or financial services providers, it seems likely that they’d also like to see the figures behind Valentine’s Day offerings. Just how much of a premium is that restaurant charging on Feb 14th as opposed to Feb 15th? How much do its service ratings take a dip on the busiest night of the year?
Themed Valentine’s Day experiences: with the appetite for experiences, surely there is scope for romantic, immersive experiences? How about an escape room themed around romantic movie couples, featuring the likes of Titanic’s Jack and Rose, Dirty Dancing’s Baby and Johnny or Brokeback Mountains Ennis and Jack? If not an escape room, then look to add a romantic component to whatever events you run – like South Africa’s Epic Hikes who are inviting people to “bring your +1 to our upcoming Valentine’s Day Hike. We’ll be having scintillating conversations and creating new memories”.
Anti-Valentine’s Day: in the same way that we’ve seen anti-Black Friday movements, brands could take a stand against the excess, the contrivance, the artificiality and the exploitation of the day. Participating brands could undertake to offer an upgraded experience but without the upgraded price.
Apply human understanding to your campaigns: whatever you land on, think of the ways your Valentine’s Day marketing can tap into your customers’ emotions. Our Human Understanding Lab at Unlimited does just this; we apply neuroscience techniques so you can truly understand emotional reactions to your messaging and drive action.

A large proportion of the population are not celebrating Valentine’s Day because they feel it’s too commercial, but also because it seems less relevant to today’s concerns and preferences. Our advice to marketers is to throw out the old playbook and start from scratch. Treat Valentine’s Day as a new product launch and ask, not what you can provide, but what your customers might actually want.
Nick Chiarelli, head of trends, Unlimited Group

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Does Ryanair’s next CMO need to garner some brand love for the no-frills airline?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Earlier this week, Ryanair’s longtime chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs decided to step down to “pursue other challenges”. The architect of the airline’s ‘Always Getting Better’ strategy has transformed its online presence and customer service, but whoever steps into his shoes will face a fresh challenge: cumulating brand love in a market where being cheap is no longer a compelling selling point.
In his six years overseeing Ryanair’s marketing, Jacobs effectively served as number two to its unpredictable and unapologetic chief executive Michael O’Leary – who had cemented it as the antimatter of brands with his off-the-cuff responses to any criticism (including but not limited to “all flights are fuelled with Leprechaun wee and my bullshit”).
Jacobs’ remit quickly expanded well beyond the traditional expectations of a senior marketer and he would frequently find himself the spokesman for corporate issues like airline strikes and Brexit. When Ryanair’s reputation lay in tatters after a decision to cancel hundreds of flights in late 2017, a lot of the responsibility to rebuild it “fell into his lap”.
Until now, Ryanair has revelled in its low-frills, low-fares proposition, focusing on making it extremely easy for customers to book online or via its app and upping the number of destinations it flies to in Europe, rather than building brand equity.
However, with increasing competition coming from rail operators in Europe, the uncertainty of what Brexit will mean for flight costs and higher expectations from customers around purpose and experience, Ryanair’s next chief marketing officer may have to consider a fresh approach.
“If we’re really honest, no one wants to spend a second longer than they need to on a Ryanair flight,” argues Chris Tyas, chief strategy officer for clients like 7up and Primark at creative agency Impero.
“It will be important for Ryanair to provide little luxuries to experience-seeking consumers that won’t mind paying if they are of real value. The brand needs to move on from the base-line of reserving a seat and little extra luggage.
“With real competition it will soon face with high-speed rail across Europe opening up and consumers awareness to reduce carbon footprint, Ryanair needs to up its game.”
Always getting better?
Former MoneySupermarket exec Jacobs has helped Ryanair double in size and move away from its aggressive stance on customers service, marketing and PR. The first ever marketing officer to take reigns of the Irish airline, he set about the role with vigour and made it his own with the launch of its ‘Always Getting Better’ initiative in 2014.
Digital has been a huge part of this strategy. Jacobs’ first move was to overhaul Ryanair’s website to adapt to individual customer preferences, reducing the number of clicks required to make a booking from 17 to five. In the process he boosted the proportion of its revenue earned from optional extras such like assigned seating and additional baggage from just over 20% to just over 30%.
On the branding front, he communicated improvements to customer experience first by working with London-based Dare. He then brought in Oliver to assist in building an in-house agency out of Ryanair’s Dublin HQ, but activations remained primarily focused on email and digital rather than big-budget TV ads. Price, has also remained its USP.
Until now, its an approach that has worked. Ryanair’s profits have consistently improved under Jacobs’ watch and In 2019, traffic grew 9% to 142 million passengers, while revenues rose 6% and revenue per customer by 11%.
Though the product is moving, its name is no good.
Ryanair is a constant feature on UK consumers’ ‘most hated’ brand lists. For customer service, Europe’s biggest airline was recently rated the lowest out of 100 leading companies in a poll by consumer champion Which. Its YouGov BrandIndex score (which ranks whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the past two weeks) has been in the minus since 2014. At its lowest ebb during the mass cancellations of 2017 following an error in its pilot rota system its score dropped to -70, its since recovered to around -10; but still in the red.
Purpose or price?
Yes the brand is known for fast, cheap, no-frills travel, and for creating publicity through controversy – and ultimately for being reliable. “But what if it thought beyond that?,” asks Laurent Simon, chief creative officer at VMLY&R UK.
Tyas agrees: “Like many brands, Ryanair has pursued a strategy of uberisation. The practice of improving the customer experience and removing unnecessary friction while improving profit. And there is clearly a need in travel to make flying a pleasant experience.
“Jacobs has achieved this and raised profits so clearly understands this dynamic. However, there is also a long way to go to get to a frictionless point-to-point travel experience that people will not just pay for, but enjoy, that would give the brand a greater purpose.”
As for what this purpose could look like, Simon says the airline should see the reshuffle as an opportunity to attach itself to one of the biggest issues facing airlines right now.
“The world increasingly wants and expects brands to behave like activists – Ryanair could push towards doing good and helping customers do good in the world,” he adds, arguing that the next chief marketer could leverage Ryanair’s influence to enact social and environmental change within an industry he says faces “continued disruption – if not total extinction”.
Simon suggests Ryanair could democratise its processes around carbon offsetting and make it possible for customers to round up the price of their flight to contribute to making a change.
Jacobs had long been a pioneer of creating a frictionless experience for customers instead of engaging in CSR “nonsense”.
“Customers don’t want us to be lovely guys, they want to trust us to give them what we promise,” he once argued. However in a world where air travel’s contribution to the climate crisis is under increasing scrutiny it’s something his replacement will no doubt have to tackle.
Indeed, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) only last week banned a series of Ryanair ads for falsely claiming that the Irish airline has the lowest emissions in Europe; showing it needs to fine-tune its eco-credentials.
For Will Lion, managing partner of strategy at BBH, Ryanair shouldn’t pivot from Jacobs’ well-laid plans, instead it should embrace its reputation – because that, after all, is what has made it the success it is today.
“Some have accused Ryanair of not investing in its brand but it does, just not with the nice stuff we all like to spend our days investing brands with – emotional ads about positive things. It invests it with cheapness.
“Those ‘stories you read about how it’s going to start charging for oxygen on the planes, the stories that never happen – those are the ads. That is the brand.
“Keep reinforcing the cheapness of the brand and set your price 10% above the nearest competitor and win. Just like Foxtons have with ‘Movers need shakers’, they should embrace the negative in their brand. It’s Ryanair’s difference. It may be hated but it works. Until that stops, keep going.”
However, he recognises that the firm’s move towards a group structure, which will see a senior management team oversee the four airline subsidiaries – Ryanair, Laudamotion, Ryanair Sun and Ryanair UK – presents a unique opportunity for any new marketer.
“That’s an insurance policy,” Lion explains. “In TV series The Wire the drugs kingpin Stringer Bell attends a class on macroeconomics and gets some advice on what to do when your brand name ‘ain’t no good’. He is advised to change the name and the colour of his caps from red to blue. Ryanair is already doing this with Lauda, Buzz and Malta Air.
“They are Ryanair planes with different paint. What it could do next is build individual brands around these carriers, something more local, more authentic and wrapped in service design that properly loves its destinations and helps passengers get the most out of those places. It could even go full Microsoft and go Carbon Negative as an add on.
“This way the brand overall can continue its growth streak and to stand for the lowest price in the market, even if it isn’t, right up until passengers have had enough, if they ever do.
“And if it all falls over, they’ll have Europe’s biggest fleet of local carriers to keep flying people about, just with a little more love.”

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Just Eat unveils Love Island-themed AR Snapchat lens- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Just Eat is capitalizing on the Love Island craze with the release of a themed augmented reality Snapchat lens to pair up fans’ with their perfect islander.
Developed by Byte-London the roulette-style app dovetails with the home delivery firm’s sponsorship of ITV2’s flagship format.
Which Islander Are You? also supports the wider Get Stuck In social media campaign which now includes a welter of new content such as interviews, gifs and a partnership with several contestants.
Matthew Bushby, Just Eat’s UK marketing director, said: “Love Island over-indexes with our young urban audience and this campaign gives them a valuable social currency, making them feel part of something bigger. The highly sharable AR lens is a great way to resonate with younger people without intruding on fans’ enjoyment of the show.”
Alex Miller, Byte’s founding partner, added: “Which character are you? lenses have become a big AR trend amongst audiences on Snapchat. Just Eat’s sponsorship of Love Island provides the perfect platform from which to jump on this trend and create something that young urban audiences can engage with. We’ve created more than 30 AR brand experiences over the last 12 months and Which islander Are You? could be the most popular so far.”
Just Eat launched its Love Island sponsorship last month with an average Joe delivery driver causing a stir on set.

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Just Eat is an online food delivery service headquartered in the United Kingdom, allowing customers to browse for local takeout restaurants and place orders online.
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Kentucky Route Zero review – love and magic in the mundane | Games – Blog – 10 minute

Six years in the telling, Kentucky Route Zero’s story is unusually low stakes, especially for a video game, a medium that typically operates in the twin registers of hyperbole and hysteria. You play, mostly, as Conway, a delivery man working for the owner of an antique shop on the brink of closure, tasked with making the business’s final delivery. Split into five chapters, the first of which was released in 2013, and the last arriving now alongside a box-set edition that brings the story into a unified release, the game sends Conway on a winding journey across the state of Kentucky, an item of furniture snugly secured in the back of his truck. By the start of this final chapter, while Conway has withdrawn somewhat from the foreground, his task remains overarchingly urgent: find that house and make the ultimate delivery.
To state the game’s goal in such straightforward terms is to do the expedition on which the game takes its players a disservice. Described by its three-man, art-minded development team as a “magical realist adventure game”, Kentucky Route Zero is as elegiac as it is prosaic. It combines the mundane and the mystical to create an atmosphere that sits somewhere along the wispy continuum between a Samuel Beckett play and a David Lynch mini-series. You start chapter five, for example, in the role of an eavesdropping cat, listening in on conversations between residents of a recently flooded town as they discuss everything from the death of small businesses, to the appropriate depth of hole one should dig in order to bury a recently drowned horse.
The game’s substance consists of exploring a series of scenes, overhearing conversations between locals, and stopping to examine points of interest in a sedate search for the narrative thread that leads to the next spool of story. The tone and tempo of your exploration is directed by Ben Babbitt’s score, which alternates between great tidal swells of synth pads, fluttering flutes, and periods of expectant silence broken only by birdsong. The spell being cast here uses few of the traditional conventions of game design; there are no puzzles to solve, no tests of dexterity, timing or persistence. It is, rather, an almost frictionless ride, a gentle drawing together of people and stories in which you may, occasionally, nudge the narrative in one direction of another.

Watch a trailer for Kentucky Route Zero.
The mechanics of conversation are unusual, too. You can choose which member of your slowly expanding party responds – and how, by selecting from a few dialogue options. In this way you become something of an omniscient onlooker, able to read the thoughts of individual conversationalists while choosing which of those thoughts is expressed out loud in order to direct the flow of discussion.
Kentucky Route Zero’s story is softly and opaquely told, often leaving the player to discern fine pattern and meaning, but unquestionably the game examines the lives and prospects of American workers forced to watch forlornly as their jobs are made obsolete in a changing world.
This is a powerful treatise on the slow-motion plummet toward hardship experienced by those either unwilling or unable to adapt to the tectonic shifts of capitalism. Corporate greed, the erosion of worker’s rights, and the ways in which privatised healthcare disproportionately penalises those least able to afford it act as thematic scenery. This is the backdrop against which the story unfolds.
The result is, inevitably, a tragedy. But within the final wreckage there are a few redemptive jewels to be found – moments of valuable togetherness, of community and, therein, of love. “When we met we were nothing, just these little grey shadows,” says one character. “And we grew, and filled in, and… we did all that together.” Unorthodox and plaintive, Kentucky Route Zero rewards repeat play, and will sustain repeat consideration.
Also recommended

Zagreus, the hero of Hades. Photograph: Supergiant Games
Hades(Supergiant Games, PC, Early Access)
For those who have spent hundreds of hours touring the underworld in the evergreen (ever-crimson?) Diablo series, the appeal of mindlessly hacking away at ghoulies in the hope that one will drop an incrementally more powerful sword is obvious and enduring. Hades transposes Diablo’s template to the realm of Greco-Roman myth, repainting it with a style and elegance that have become the trademark of its developer, Supergiant Games.
You assume the role of Zagreus, fleeing both the tedium of the underworld and his aloof father, Hades, as he makes his bloody way to Mount Olympus. Stories of Olympia have always been as much soap opera as Marvel-esque action potboiler, and Hades is as enthralling for its domestic, familial drama as it is for its other, more obvious video game-y charms. Understated, intricate and endlessly playable.

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The Sims at 20: two decades of life, love and reorganising the kitchen | Games – Blog – 10 minute

Like many girls of my generation, I first played The Sims at a sleepover. It was at my friend Hannah’s house; three 11-year-olds huddled in front of her dad’s bulky old computer monitor at midnight, gazing into a miniature house populated by tiny people going about their inexplicably compelling daily business. We took turns sending them to work, changing the wallpaper, and ordering them to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them to gather flies. We bought them a little telly, a nice couch, a blender, paging covetously through the game’s furniture catalogue. With a thrill, we discovered we could make Sims “smooch” (though we were disappointed to learn that they couldn’t actually bone down – that wouldn’t happen until The Sims 2). Before we knew it, it was 3am.
Almost everyone has played The Sims. With four main instalments, countless add-ons and spin-offs, and more than 200m sales worldwide, equalled perhaps only by Tetris in its universality. One thing creator Will Wright realised very early on was that the game was appealing to a large female audience. Whereas in the past “a large female audience” meant maybe 5% of the user base, with The Sims, women were the majority. A friend’s mother played so much Sims that she forgot to clean the actual house for weeks.

Creator Will Wright … the project started as an architectural simulation, until the development team realised testers were having more fun manipulating the onscreen people. Photograph: Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images
Mortifyingly, some teen pals and I used The Sims 2 to insert ourselves into elaborate Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction. A university classmate created the cast of Friends, and used them to play out a drama that was definitely better than the final season of the show. My own personal obsession with The Sims was so all-consuming that when The Sims 3 arrived in 2009, I had to cut myself off in case I failed my degree. One of my lecturers, spotting The Sims open on my laptop in class, admitted to the worryingly common virtual crime of drowning his Sims in their own pool by deleting the ladders.

The Sims is more than a dolls’ house for the digital generation. There is no racial prejudice, no gender pay gap

Part of the appeal of video games is control – not just the act of controlling a character’s actions, but the greater control of understanding a set of rules and systems and bending them to your will. The Sims is so enormously compelling because it offers the fantasy of control over life itself, including all the things that are so maddeningly unpredictable in the real world – relationships, careers, family, house renovations. The rules of The Sims essentially state that if you work hard and do everything you’re supposed to do – get a job, buy a house, progress through the ranks to earn more money and buy more stuff – happiness will follow. It’s a beguiling capitalist fantasy – and even if things aren’t going well, you can always type in the “motherlode” cheat code to shower yourself in riches.
In the 20 years since the original Sims arrived to distract us all from homework and housework (with virtual homework and housework), the series has evolved and expanded, its underlying artificial intelligence code becoming ever more sophisticated. Where originally Sims were miniature automatons, later they developed personalities, aspirations and foibles alongside their basic needs for food, money and toilet facilities. They even developed free will: from The Sims 2 onwards you could flip a switch and the simulation would play out without your input, the Sims making decisions about whom to hook up with and how long to spend in the bath, according to their own virtual whims.

Part dolls house, part reality TV show … The Sims simulates relationships between housemates, families and lovers. Photograph: EA Games
Some of my favourite times with The Sims have come when the little people are operating independently of me, sometimes so uncannily that it freaked me out. Once, as a teen, I created a replica of my real-life home to see what would happen, and it generated such an accurate facsimile of our family dynamic – dad yelling at my slobby brother to get off the couch, me arguing with my mum in the kitchen, me writing furiously in a diary late into the night – that I started to wonder if we weren’t all in a video game all of the time. And I wasn’t even a fan of the Simulation Hypothesis. Or high.
New games have sent Sims off to college, seen them celebrate birthdays and engagements and new year parties, introduced pets and tiny houses and mermaids. And have you seen what Sims fans are doing nowadays? A vast, dedicated community of crafters has made hundreds of thousands of new things to adorn Sim dwellings. Some make an actual living building perfect houses or directing Sims soap operas on YouTube. And of course, they’ve made countless explicit sex mods.

The Sims Mobile … the 2018 release allowed players to take the game with them everywhere, creating stories with other players while on the go. Photograph: Electronic Arts
The Sims is more than a dolls’ house for the digital generation. In many respects it is a post-literate utopia, powered by love and money. There is no racial prejudice, no gender pay gap. Gay marriage arrived in The Sims years before it did in real life. And as its simulation has become ever more clever, it has let players experiment not simply with home decor and fashions, but with human nature and motivation. Players have used The Sims to explore everything from their own gender identity, to complicated family dynamics, to what would happen if you put all the Greek gods in a house and made them have sex.
I sometimes wonder what The Sims would be like if it were closer to how real life actually worked – if it saddled you with crippling university debt, made you pay extortionate rent on a tiny flat instead of letting you build your dream home, had you chasing after people who’ll never love you back and working for years without earning the promotion you deserve. But a more realistic Sims would be depressing to play, because really, the point of The Sims is to make life’s everyday trials, labours and rituals seem fun and full of possibilities. Has a video game ever had a more valuable and worthwhile aim?

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Spread the Love with Valentine’s Day Emails 2020 Edition – Blog – 10 minute

Valentine’s day sparks a lot of debate every year. Some people consider it a commercial holiday that merely exists to get people to spend money. Others find it an excellent opportunity to cherish their loved ones.I have never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, to be honest.
However, as I embark in my late twenties, I am starting to warm up to the idea of having a whole day to celebrate love. With all the negativity surrounding us and with the unfortunate events happening all over the world, I like the idea of having one day a year that is specifically dedicated to love. Life is short, and we should appreciate every moment that we share with our family and friends. And if that comes in the form of a cheesy holiday, then I am ready to take the plunge.
I have to admit, this is no what I was expecting to be writing when I thought of sharing my favorite Valentine’s Day email campaigns.
All feelings aside, in this blog post, you’ll find some quick inspiration to guide your next Valentine’s Day email campaign, from email subject line examples to free Valentine’s Day email templates that you can edit and send right away. You’ll even get a sneak peek of 2020 Valentine’s Day emails sent our by brands just a few days ago.
2020 Valentine’s Day Tempemail Campaigns
A few weeks only seperate is from this year’s Valentine’s Day. And, already, brands are rolling out their Valentine’s Day email campaigns.
Check out what the competition is sending and get some Valentine’s Day email ideas.
Valentine’s Day Jewelry Emails
When designing your HTML email template for your jewelry business, make sure to keep it as simple and elegant as possible. Jewelry is a symbol of wealth, classiness, and delicacy, and your email design should reflect that as well.
Keep your email colors faded and neutral. If you want to want to adventure with some popping colors, make sure to choose jewelry products that translate the same message. Take for example the last email example from our selection down below. The company chose hot pink for their Valentine’s Day template but promoted its jewelry line targeted towards younger audiences.
(Click on the email template to browse through the examples)

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Love, loss and virtual memorials: my brother’s digital legacy | Society- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

When my phone used to light up with my younger brother’s name, I always knew I could safely ignore it if I wanted to – whether it be a self-indulgent video of his latest attempt at Z-list fame or a harsh tweet about a celebrity I’d never heard of. Whatever. I even coined a sarcastic hashtag when replying to him: #nobodycaresmartyn.
But then one nondescript morning in May 2017, my phone lit up with his name on all the notifications – hundreds of them – and there was no way I could ignore any of them.
My brother was one of the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terror attack. He was 29. Losing him in this way meant I instantly went from an almost complete inexperience of grief to having to endure the most unexpectedly public form of loss imaginable.

Is losing him made easier by the rectangle of glass in my pocket?

In an ideal world – relatively speaking – you get your affairs in order when you are facing your own mortality, at least when you have the time to think about it. A person knowingly approaching their end writes a will, ties up loose ends and makes their peace. I’m not sure what I’d do – and I strongly suspect Martyn didn’t know either (although, curiously, his dramatic funeral was arranged in perfect accordance with his wishes, as discussed jokingly over many drinks with friends. Be careful what you morbidly joke about, because when your number is up those hazy musings quickly become event directions). The point is that part of making your mortal exit is drawing a line under your existence and leaving your legacy behind. Planting your flag and communicating to future observers: “I was here. I existed.”
But sometimes the universe doesn’t extend you the courtesy of allowing you to shuffle your paperwork and settle your affairs in your own time. Despite this, even though he checked out quite ahead of schedule, in a strange way Martyn had already done some of the work himself, without realising it. Like the rest of my generation, my brother’s existence was eternally self-documented in detail across social media. It is an archive of self that he accidentally left behind and an example of what makes losing someone in the modern world an experience that’s unique to our time.
It’s been bittersweet so far. Although the manner in which he died meant that there wasn’t any time to prepare, he left behind an unfathomably rich web of content – endless tendrils of his digital self, captured in imagery, video, music, writing and a truly breathtaking number of tweets. Although he was impressively prolific, it wasn’t ever completely raw – he carefully curated his online presence as it unfolded (photos taken from his good side strongly preferred, please, and don’t post them online without his sign-off, thank you). The abrupt end to this constant barrage of self-directed content means his online legacy has a stark truth about it that’s more powerful than anything he could have intentionally put together.

‘His final tweets are still replied to by hundreds of other users, years after his death.’ Photograph: Martyn Hett
The digital mixed-media self-portrait he created in these spaces is, in many ways, the real him, rather than whatever planned content I’m sure he’d have put together had he had the luxury of a little time to work on his media strategy (and believe me, he would have).
That technology underpinned the entire experience wasn’t just in his use of it – it was in our use of it, too. Family, community, press, police, rubberneckers. It was my smartphone that lit up when the attack happened; social media where we put the word out about him being missing and circulated his photograph, and online platforms that ultimately let people know when we’d found out what happened to him.
It was, of course, also social media that worked as an easy vector for fairly hostile press intrusion, something that began literally after the attack and in many ways continues to this day. More importantly, though, social media still plays a critical role in the story: it allows me, my family, his friends and anyone else to explore the digital legacy that he’s built. His social feeds still exist, but the channels are paused – he was writing and broadcasting until the very last moment; his final transmission being a tweet complaining about the toilet queues in the arena. His broadcast stopped there.
He did what many of us do most days – built a digital footprint, filled with imagery and notes and videos and a million other captured moments, fragments, pieces of the trail that make up you as a person (or at least, the version of your online self you’ve chosen to present to the world, be that accurate or not). These fragments of digital ephemera have now become intangible virtual memorials. Some are improvised, like his final tweets that are still replied to by hundreds of other users, years after his death. Others are more planned – Martyn’s personal Facebook page was quickly and officially “memorialised” in a surprisingly sensitive way by Facebook, but (as I’m sure he’d howl laughing at) this contrasts wildly with the wholly inappropriate header image and scathing posts underneath. He was here and then he wasn’t, but everything he’s created remains exactly how he left it, as it will when you or I check out – expected or not.
My brother and I sit squarely in that curious generational overlap where we existed as children without digital technology or the internet, but suddenly had it bestowed upon us as teenagers. This abrupt connection totally re-wired how we existed as young people and, subsequently, as adults. Put another way, I’m old enough to remember nervously calling the house phone of a girlfriend and praying her father didn’t pick up, but at the same time I’m young enough that my angsty teenage diary entries were posted to early online journalling sites, and not scrawled into the traditional hidden notebook. This contrast, this rapid-onset unveiling of our digital selves, has been a huge factor in how and why my generation has taken to social media, and why my brother and I both went full tilt with it from the minute it was something we could use to broadcast with.
Now, in 2020, this progress has had a human impact in ways I didn’t expect. In my pocket is a tiny miracle of engineering that allows me to access the sum of human knowledge, reach out to almost anyone on the planet, and indeed call up a perfect video recording of my departed brother.

‘Martyn carefully curated his online presence.’ Photograph: Martyn Hett
The really big companies that shepherd our online existences are incredibly good at what they do, but Martyn’s death has shown me that many digital entities handle tricky things like death and difficult human “stuff” really badly.
I build things with technology for a living, and in my job we sometimes call these things “squishy” problems – awkward human problems that can’t be solved easily with data points and algorithms, and need a human hand (and human empathy) to correct. This is a phenomenon that will affect us more and more as AI and machine-learning technologies take over more of our computational heavy lifting. But it still feels like we’re a long way off knowing how to deal with it.
I found this out in the blackest of ways while standing at the site of the bomb blast in the arena a few weeks later, speechless at the damage. He’d laugh, I’m sure, at the notion of Facebook helpfully asking me to “check in” to let my friends know how much fun I was having…
More broadly, the digital behemoths of social media are beginning to reach a tipping point where the demand for usernames is outstripping supply. Twitter recently announced (and then hastily retracted) a proposed cull of what they deem to be inactive accounts. It’s quite a loaded word though – inactive – isn’t it? The accounts of the lost are certainly inactive in a literal sense, but they still have a reason to be there: they have meaning to people, and that’s what makes them active for so many.

‘The accounts of the lost are inactive in a literal sense but they still have meaning to people’: Martyn and Dan Hett, as children. Photograph: Family Picture
The data can be downloaded and saved, but the notion that one of these inadvertent crystallisations of my brother’s digital self could arbitrarily disappear is a challenging one, not least because there could feasibly be a day where the account is gone and someone else takes the name.
When streams of online activity abruptly cease broadcasting, they don’t disappear, they become vital archives that are, for now, permanent. We’re only a decade or two away from reaching that macabre milestone on long-standing platforms such as Facebook where accounts belonging to dead users outnumber the accounts of the living.
Martyn’s digital legacy continues to inspire and be built upon, even within my own work. Understandably, my creative output effectively ceased when Martyn died. Over time, as we rebuilt, I found my work changing direction, too. For the past few years I’ve been engaged in creating introspective experimental video games and digital artworks that explore grief, loss and, increasingly, the nature of going through this process in a world powered by technology that is in a constant state of flux. I’m now creating bigger and more ambitious work that examines radicalisation and extremism, and our fragmented existences within digital spaces. I’m using technology to not just look at the loss I experienced, but ask how we got here and why any of this happened. Not all of this work is about Martyn, but all of it is because of him – and quietly for him.
Living each moment as if it’s your last is a well-worn cliché, but in 2020 it might be more accurate to settle for updating your status as if it’s your last. Inevitably, without knowing, you’ll have inadvertently written the closing sentence of the terribly self-indulgent story you’ve spent your whole life creating. Was it the grand sign-off you wanted, or a throwaway tweet about the train being late? I wonder which of those would be more truthful, and whether or not this is important to those looking back at it from the future?
I wonder, too, whether those facing their mortality with a little more notice than my brother had may end up with more than the trail of annoying nonsense he left behind by accident. The nonsense is his truth, in a way. I often question whether losing someone is made more difficult, or easier, by the fact I have a rectangle of glass in my pocket that can find the sound of his voice, in seconds, at any time. I can sit with my two young children, watching Uncle Martyn’s idiot grin and hearing his ceaselessly irritating cackling, and when I see them smile back at it, I have my answer.

Mourners gather: partner Russell Hayward (centre) at Martyn’s funeral. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
As a society it feels as if we’re still adjusting to the effects of this constant digital capture, not least when it comes to thorny human problems, like losing someone. We’re rapidly traversing technological and ethical ground that nobody has covered before. For better or worse, we are currently part of the first generation in history to inhabit a world where the living, and increasingly the dead, are documented with such accuracy.
This shift has taken place incredibly quickly, and it’s easy to forget that, within living memory, the sum total of most people’s visual existence was contained in a handful of printed photographs. The rest was passed down as stories, retellings, memories. Over time the clarity faded, the person moved in and out of focus, became invisible. Our enormous advancements in technology (and our willingness to embrace them) mean that, for the first time, that image never blurs or fades, but lives on. The meaning of this is subtle, yet profound: the way we look at death itself has changed for ever. There are ghosts in our machines, and I’m glad we have them.

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