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Future of Media: Gaming resurrection, Duck Floc talk, 3D audio ads

The Drum's senior reporter and media correspondent John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends and developments. Also available in your inbox every Thursday as The Drum's Future of Media email briefing. Sign up here.

First, some news, prepare yourself for our Gaming deep dive next week. It'll be like our Future of TV one last month, but with fewer existential questions about CTV and more colorful fun stuff. Now, to our stories.

No FLoCing way

Kendra Clark detailed browsers fighting back against Google's FLoC plans (its 'privacy-friendly' tracking system grouping people into anonymous interest groups).

DuckDuckGo is quacking some of the loudest dissent after introducing a tool to block the ad solution. Said Peter Dolanjski, director of product at DuckDuckGo: "We think that these proposals to replace some of the underlying tracking technologies with other tracking technologies – even though it might be slightly more private in the way in which they operate – are going to lead back to the same scenario that we're in today."

Give an inch and they'll take a mile, as the old mantra goes, is he correct? Catch up with it here.

Sound investment?

Popchips and Starcom are running 3D binaural ads in podcasts to help drive a greater impact with listeners. This particular execution crunches crisps around the (headphone-wearing) listener to immerse them in a world of popchippy positivity. I had an ear-opening chat with Acast, Popchips and Starcom on this.

With so much money funneling into the digital audio space, can 3D audio give brands an edge? Can a bit of nifty tech beat a really well-targeted and executed sponsorship, or do they work hand-in-hand? Either way, brace yourself – the marketers are considering how to make noises you'll pay attention to in this intimate medium.

Read my explainer here.

A revelatory media first

Fifa 18 broke new ground when it integrated fictional footballing protagonist Alex Hunter into real-world marketing campaigns from Adidas and Coca-Cola. You hear the word metaverse a lot, and this was a very early version of that.

But if that was not remarkable enough, the latest campaign from Engine and Fifa saw a young star who was murdered 15 years ago – Kiyan Prince – aged up and granted a starring role at QPR. This touching campaign not only showcased the talent that was stolen from the world but also afforded him the limelight and fame he may have achieved.

This isn't just a marketing campaign with a gaming flavor, this campaign lives and dies on the gaming element. Fifa serves as the lightning rod for the rest of the work. You know its big when you see the US trades try to explain just what Fifa and QPR are. This is an exciting development for the future of the media mix and I expect it'll be suctioning up as many awards as it could ever need in this coming year.

Here's our making of.

Other Stuff

That's you all caught up. If you missed the last installment, read it here. You can subscribe to our other briefings here. And if you want to talk to me, I'm on Twitter, Linkedin and email.