Issue No. 40
— February 2018



Digital trend publication
blending a mix of culture,
insights and data.

A trend product by





The Audience Issue is always one of my favorites. The topic is so broad and at the end of the day marketing is about connecting with an audience (so really everything we do fits neatly in here).


But as with all good things, it is time for a change. In the past we focused mostly on the "who" that was being communicated to. Where is your audience and in what way are you talking to them. That is only one side of the coin though. The reverse is the tools that you are using to communicate, and when to use each one. Like the tools in your garage, each is best at one specific thing (even though you could technically use a screwdriver as a hammer). The same goes for all of the tools in marketing. From social to email, campaign films and beyond - each is a tool that reaching audience in one effective way. 


When reading this issue - don't just think about the voice of the brand and who they are speaking with. Consider the method of delivery and think for your own brand which tool is going to be most effective for you. 



micah heykoop

Contributing Editor




Editor's Letter


"Build a lifestyle around your brand, and the Audience will follow."

—Eva chen




Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below.



Technology and the ever changing desires of consumers

With advances in technology comes changes in consumer behavior, including the way they interact with and purchase from a brand. This article looks at the trend of virtual reality in physical retail spaces and how brands can prepare for this new wave in audience interaction.


 — Abi Buller, Trends Analyst



Sunday Goods: Arizona's feel good brand

Dreamiest job? We just might have found it. How does working within a company that's mission is to make people feel good with a cannabis experience that’s just right sound? Sunday Goods believes that everyone should have access to the magic of cannabis. To achieve this, they're growing all-natural, top-quality flower that produces specific effects through high-integrity growing. SSR sits down with Chris Sung to talk about the SG culture and where the team see's their brand heading in 2018.


— Chris Sung, Sunday Goods










Benjamin Ewing

Like the images you've seen throughout The Audience Issue? It's all credited to Benjamin Ewing, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Portland, Oregon. We spoke with him about how he got his start, his agency Aesthetic Design, and what he has in store as an artist.




Everyone is a salesperson (business people, pilates instructors, and daters alike) and every interaction you have is a sale. 

You want to learn how to excel at life? Learn how to sell. Yourself. Your brand. Your products. Your ideas.


Read this article.

— Gaelan Simpson, Managing Editor







The Riff 013: A Couple of MailChimp Hacks

What's happening in your inbox, or rather, the inboxes of your audience? On this episode of The Riff, our Director of Operations breaks down 2 simple MailChimp hacks that will put the email odds in your favor.





"All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it."

- David Bowie


See what the Shape Shift Report team dug up this month!




The Modern Uniform of a Soundcloud Rapper

We're starting to see them more often than not, often on up-and-coming Soundcloud artists who are emerging from behind their laptops. Not quite an accessory but something more permanent, seemingly infused with meaning. Yep, I'm talking about face tattoos.


In one of The Outline's latest, the publication presents a few brief yet telling examples of these face tattoos having different meanings - not only by the nature of their design, but by the body of the person who is adorning them. The slideshow + article hybrid succinctly runs through the history of face tattoos - what they have signified on black and brown bodies in the early 2000s - and juxtaposes these signifiers with more recent rappers who have committed to the ink.


In the end, The Outline turns an eye on this cultural shift - another instance of commodifying a signifier of black and brown culture to become "cool" - and wonder just how it will spread to other genres in due time.



— Aria Davis, Integrated Marketing Manager at Matte Black

Photo courtesy of  The Outline

Photo courtesy of The Outline




Yes, It's Advertising, but It's Also Charitable work


Adobe is doing some really cool stuff down in Texas. Hurricane Harvey devastated countless people in the Houston area, and many people lost priceless family photos in the flood. Adobe is using their resources, and their technology, to help restore these family photos. Through their student program, they are teaching teenagers how to use the Adobe Suite while doing invaluable work for the city of Houston as well.


Are you good at photoshop and want to help with restoring priceless family photos? Learn more about it here. Hone your skills while doing good for others! 


— Jonathan Godinho, Project Manager at Matte Black

Photo courtesy of  AdWeek

Photo courtesy of AdWeek




Tide cleaned up at the super bowl

The annual performance of ad agencies and brands putting their most creative foot forward was this past Sunday, also known as the Super Bowl. Yay sports - and hooray for brands utilizing humor and multiple ad spots to bring joy to millions of Pats fans who may have been feeling a little low. 


Our front runner is unequivocally Tide, starring Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour), who managed to turn every Super Bowl ad into a Tide ad. From the stereotypical car, beer, soda, and even Old Spice ads, Sheriff Hopper pointed out that each ad sported clean clothes, thus, a Tide ad. “The idea itself was really informed by the brand Tide being such an icon, that so many people use it,” said Paul Bichler, Saatchi & Saatchi’s executive creative director. “So it lends itself to this idea—of the people you surround yourself with, half of them are essentially Tide ads.”


You can watch the Tide Ads here.


— Chase Colman, Integrated Marketing Manager at Matte Black

Photo courtesy of  CinemaBlend

Photo courtesy of CinemaBlend


More super bowl stuff

Ad Conundrum

There's a question I'm confronted with every Super Bowl Sunday. I know not everyone has this problem, but this game always presents a conundrum of sorts. As one who enjoys the game, the commercials, and the wing / pizza / snack spread that this day affords, I never know when is the best time to get up and refill my plate (or my beer). 

Do I go during the commercials or do I go during the game? 


Either way, I'm missing out on something I especially enjoy. Any advice for future Nolan would be quite helpful. 


Turning to the ads, this year's ads offered the typical "dilly-dilly" riff raff and laughs (Bud Light, Doritos) coupled with the more poignant fare, from the likes of Toyota and Budweiser. While all these ads saw high marks, it seems the consensus winner was Amazon's star-studded "Alexa Loses Her Voice" and the NFL's own Dirty Dancing send-up, starring the New York Football Giants. 


Check out the top ads from USA Today's Super Bowl Ad Meter


- Nolan Goff, Content Director at Matte Black

Image courtesy of  Mashable

Image courtesy of Mashable


“Technology and social media have brought power back to the people.”  

—Mark McKinnon




Chelsea Matthews


Managing Editor
Gaelan Simpson


Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop


Aria Davis


Creative Director

Nolan Goff




Benjamin Ewing







Abi Buller

Abi Buller is a recent graduate from London College of Fashion. As both a visual communicator and freelance writer, her research interests center around innovative and future-facing approaches to fashion communication. Her previous writing has allowed her to critique a number of cultural topics including photography, dance, exhibitions and retail spaces.


Last show you binge-watched: I don’t often watch tv shows, but I did go through a phase of being really into Vice’s political fashion documentaries, States of Undress

Most used app: Instagram

Author to read: Sarah Bakewell

How do you take your coffee? Varies depending on what mood I’m in

Something to check off your bucket list: I'd really love to write a book one day!


Benjamin Ewing

Benjamin Ewing is a multidisciplinary artist working in paint, photography, graphics & print design. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.


Victory song: Can’t Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West

Last movie watched: A Ghost Story

Night in or night out: Night in. 100%

Doppelgänger: People tell me James Dean & James Franco.

City to escape to: Milan

Profile Photo 2.jpg

Chris Sung

Before stepping into the world of Cannabis, Chris spent over 10 years in Apparel and Consumer Products running E-Commerce and Brick and Mortar businesses for Amazon, Dreamworks Animation, Lucky Brand Denim, and Pacific Sunwear.  He's a major foodie (perpetually on a search for the best noodles in town), and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, so he loves anything outdoors and has always had a close connection to cannabis.  


Favorite throwback song: Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson

Sweet or spicy? Depends on the day

Quote to live by:  "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Dream dinner guest: Toss Up: Shep Gordon or Tony Robbins

Stress reliever: Too Easy: the Sunday Goods Sativa Pen

Gaelan Simpson JPEG BW.jpeg

Gaelan Simpson

Managing Editor of the SSR, also specializes in Integrated Marketing at Matte Black. Truly thrilled to be in your inbox. Look for me 👀


Guilty pleasure: Onion dip

Fun fact: I was on the wrestling team in high school

Idol: Oprah Winfrey

Drink of choice? Rosé or tequila

Pet fish or pet pig? PIG! Oh my god! Legendary question.