Welcome to “Around the Web with WhatTheyThink, a miscellany of random news items that caught the attention of our editors and contributors this week. Most of us were on the road and living in meat-space this week, but here are a few items that caught our attention as we checked our phones while we waited for planes, trains, and Ubers.

Changing Views on Print?

Procter & Gamble has often been a leader in adopting new ways of reaching its markets. At one point, like most major brands, it swung its spend heavily toward digital channels, but maybe the pendulum is swinging back. Not that anyone is going to put a “print only” advertising/customer communications strategy in place, ever again.

But marketers are beginning to think about print a little differently in terms of the role it can play in their marketing efforts. P&G is once again leading the pack. You have to go pretty deep in this article to get to print, and it mostly has to do with ads in magazines, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it sounds like television ads might be the biggest losers. P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard says, “People are looking for trusted sources and some of these titles have become a trusted source.” Especially in today’s climate, perhaps print becomes the trusted source of information, as people lose trust in other channels.

Ad Nauseam

IAB has released its IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report (view slides of the highlights here). Reports like this are required reading for anyone involved in marketing and communications, as it explicitly demonstrates where marketers and advertisers are spending most of their money. (Spoiler alert: it’s not print.)

A sample:

Search (46% of all digital ad revenue): Total search ad revenue (mobile + desktop) is up 18% to $40.6 billion
Banner* (31%): Total banner advertising (mobile + desktop) is up 23% to $27.5 billion
Video (14%): Total video ad revenue (mobile + desktop) is up 33% to $11.9 billion
Audio (2%): Total audio ad revenue (mobile + desktop) is up 39% to $1.6 billion

*Includes banners, rich media and sponsorships. (That is, not printed banners. —Ed.)

Threading the Needle

Here’s one hoisted from our own newsfeed:

Swedish innovative company Coloreel has entered a long-term partnership with the global electronics company Ricoh. Together they will create a groundbreaking thread coloring unit for the textile industry. Ricoh will develop and build one of the major sub-systems in the unit, based on Ricoh's inkjet printing technology and Coloreel’s technology for colorization.

How does this work?

The Coloreel technology enables high-quality instant coloring of textile thread while it is in the textile production. The first product to be launched based on this technology is a groundbreaking thread coloring unit that works with any existing industrial embroidery machine. By instantly coloring a white base thread during the embroidery production, Coloreel enables complete freedom to create unique embroideries without any limitations in the use of colors.

The Internet of Things: Our Looming Dystopia (Part the Second):

From Ars Technica:

Cardiac pacemakers are small devices that are implanted in a patient's upper chest to correct abnormal or irregular heart rhythms. Pacemakers are generally outfitted with small radio-frequency equipment so the devices can be maintained remotely. That way, new surgeries aren't required after they're implanted. Like many wireless devices, pacemakers from Abbott Laboratories contain critical flaws that allow hijackers within radio range to seize control while the pacemakers are running.

Never has the phrase “you stole my heart” been more apt.


Here’s a useful new acronym, via a blogpost at the Center for the Digital Future: OOOIO, or “opting out of information overload.” And if you’re like us—and we know we are—you are addicted to digital media, mobile devices, and social media. Even as we complain that we are inundated with media, we still keep inflicting it on ourselves. And, of course, the solution is...digital content:

A service called Freedom purports to help people become more productive by blocking distracting sites and services across all their devices. To use it, one must subscribe to the service for $6.99 per month (or get a whopping discount at $29 per year) and then install the software in every device that provides acute distraction.

This is the digital equivalent of, if you’re trying to lose weight, hiring someone to come into your home and physically prevent you from eating.

Digital Dash

This wasn’t seen on the web, but for all the opportunities we have been writing about vis-à-vis industrial printing (printing customized dashboards for BMW, e.g.), while in Berlin for FESPA this week, our intrepid WhatTheyThink correspondent was given a ride in a brand-new, top-of-the-line Mercedes (nice work if you can get it) which featured a 100% dynamic digital dashboard. So it goes.