Even here at Goodstuff HQ, the impending Blue Monday feeling can sometimes eat into our otherwise steadfast optimism. Fortunately, seasonal variations of mood do not permeate our Friday Reading, so we hope this week’s is a small beacon of inspiration and cheer as Dry January/Veganauary/Self Flagellationanuary begin to bite.

Some good stuff we’ve found this week:

Good PR? Bad PR? Sticking to your corporate values or sticking it to free speech? Answers on a postcard (via email is fine, honestly) please. Whatever your viewpoint, it’s clear that Virgin Trains have caused a splash this week by refusing to carry the Daily Mail on all services. Clearly, 2018 won’t be the year that the increasing politicisation of brands and their values slows down.

Sticking with the news theme, or absence of it, fake news continues to pose issues for Facebook, with some US based stories gaining over a million hits alone. It seems the ongoing issue is eroding consumer trust in Facebook in the US and, if the trend is replicated across the pond this may pose questions for advertisers.

Of course, faking it isn’t always sinister, sometimes it’s cool too! See here for some nostalgia drenched (photoshopped) images of photographer Conor Nickerson hanging out with himself as a child.

Speaking of things that tread a fine line between cool and sinister, In Sweden, Ikea are inviting pregnant women to wee on their latest print adverts [insert own urine based pun here].

Elsewhere, Coca Cola’s 2 year consultation on Diet Coke has borne fruit (flavoured varieties of the soft drink). This runs alongside a re-brand to move away move away from traditional gender based marketing, a major shift for the brand and applauded here at Goodstuff HQ.

Sticking with food and drink, and fulfilling the mandatory condition for any ‘cool stuff’ blog to discuss blockchain, see here for how the technology is being applied to add greater transparency to food production. Whatever the fate of cryptocurrency, there’s no doubt that blockchain is here to stay, with a wide and welcome range of practical appliances.

Finally, in this season of both personal reflection and widespread depression, this piece on what JK Rowling can teach us about how to learn from failure is both instructive and inspiring.