My Favorites of April: Coca-Cola in France, Cycling in Rwanda & Doctoral Fraud in Germany

Click to see more (Mashable)

Click to see more (Mashable)

In April, a lot of things happened. Most importantly 🙂 we released our Crowdsourcing Trend Report, which provides marketers some insights into the crowdsourcing industry for the first time since Forrester Research’s reports of 2011 and 2012. The report has had some fantastic traction and has generated coverage in Australia, France, the UK and beyond! But beside that, other highly interesting things happened, from Linkedin’s acquisition of Lynda to Quirky’s acquisition of Undercurrent.

But this post also shares some more light-hearted stories and links, like this Mashable story about Coca-Cola’s early marketing efforts in France, or a documentary about one of Rwanda’s young cycling talents. I hope you will be as inspired as I was in April, and invite you to follow me on Twitter, where I share much more than what’s below.


In 1950, Coca-Cola began a marketing campaign targeted to france, where the beverage had been available unofficially in France since 1919 and officially since 1933. But after the war, Coke decided to raise its profile and to capitalize on the proliferation of refrigerators in French homes. Vans toured the streets and salesmen distributed samples to adults and children. I suspect this article to be sponsored by Coke, but it doesn’t say so… Anyway, you’ll see some lovely photos.

After Tony the Tiger, Aflac duck, Geico gecko… meet GE’s Invention Donkey, an inch-tall talking donkey who grants invention wishes. Imagined by BBDO New York, the Donkey emanated from brainstorms to find something smart and fun that would get people thinking about GE in a fresh way, Fast Company explains. “We can show specific examples of things they’ve made of the last few years, but the pure essence of that place is teeming with inventors,” says BBDO’s creative director and copywriter Tim Roan. It’s a sweet animal; we’ll see how he grows up (if he does)!

On April 9th, LinkedIn announced the $1.5 billion acquisition of online education company, its largest acquisition ever by a wide margi (the company paid around $175 million for Bizo last summer). Interestingly, – which provides video courses to paying subscribers hoping to learn online – has been around for nearly 20 years. This article explains that the acquisition is painting a scenario in which you search for a job on Linkedin, see the skills required for that job, and then are directed to a course from that will train you in those skills. Something to keep in mind as we see Linkedin evolve in the next years.

This report from Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), a Washington, D.C. group, highlights some of US’s most famous brands that pay remarkably little to the government over the last five years – some of them even enjoyed a negative tax rate. The 15 giants highlighted by CTJ were chosen to represent a wide range of industries among Fortune 500 companies, including CBS, Mattel, Prudential, and the California utility PG&E. Together, they paid no federal income tax in 2014, despite profits totaling $23 billion.

I’m pretty sure I already shared this one in of my previous “favorites” posts, but I couldn’t find it. So here is another article about that same work, in which art historian Maximilian Schich and his colleagues mapped the births and deaths (blue dot light up each new birth, red dots represent each death) of more than 150,000 notable artists and cultural leaders. Their work, which appeared in Science, unexpectedly found that people don’t like to move too far from home, even in the 21st century: Despite the invention of trains, planes and cars, artists nowadays don’t venture much farther from their birthplaces then they did in the 14th century. That is some cool research!

AJ+, an arm of Al Jazeera, produced this short documentary about Samuel Mugisha, a talented young member of Team Rwanda. Samuel Mugisha, born in 1997, always dreamed of professional cycling as a way to support his family, and after he won a coveted spot on Team Rwanda, his dream grew. In a country still showing the scars of genocide, Samuel discovered that cycling for his country comes with important responsibilities. It’s a nice mix between a motivational video and a success story from a developping country, you should give it a watch.

As many Americans get their health advice not from their doctor, but from daytime TV shows. But how good are those recommendations? Time reports about BMJ research which analyzed two medical TV talk shows and found that only 46% of the recommendations on The Dr. Oz Show, and 63% on The Doctors, were supported by evidence. 15% of advice given on Oz and 14% of advice on The Doctors contradicted the available published evidence in journals. Pretty amazing.

This (French) article, shared by a French blogger who himself got inspired by a Belgian website, reports about doctoral fraud in Germany! In a country where the “Dr.” title is a career booster, many busy, ambitious (but not brilliant) minds are outsourcing their theses to agencies who employ ghost writers. It’s an interesting piece about intellectually curious ghostwriters who participate in an odd system, a system that crafts an elite of intellectually lazy “academics.” A great piece about academia, with the good and the bad of it.

That is just a nice moment, spent under the Parisian sun, that I have shared on Flickr. Yes I still used Flickr. And I hope they won’t shut it down as I have a bunch of visual memories on there.

This is a fascinating article on the seemingly successful, yet financially struggling, crowd company Quirky. “While Quirky’s overall revenue was growing, its losses were mounting as well,” the Verge’s Ben Popper writes. “And that’s because the business model at Quirky was, for many of its more ambitious products, fundamentally broken. […] While Quirky appeared more successful than ever, in reality the company’s finances were rapidly deteriorating.” The company has just announced a strategic shift that will make it more an innovation-focused crowdsourcing company which looks to work with FMCG brands. Quirky will probably loose much of its sexiness, but will also recover on the financial side.

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