That’s the number of ACM newsletter dispatches we’ve dropkicked towards your desk this year (…so far). It’s also the number of times we’ve absolutely decimated our self-imposed word limit, and gone overboard with references to thrash metal, the phrase “wafty jargon”, rambling metaphors, subtle digs at marketing cliches and stagnant agencies, and overly excited intro paragraphs.
We won’t fall into that trap this time.
But what we will bulk this intro out with is: damn, 2023 was fun. Busy, at times even hectic, but never not brilliant fun. Hopefully this roundup of our eight standout newsletters from the biggest year in ACM history goes some way towards proving it, too.
Behold, a handpicked bunch of our inbox interjections that we, you, and they, fanned out over the most.
What a riot. Thanks for reading. X
(PS Same again next year, yeah?)
This goes out to the chap who took this newsletter WAY too personally and came after ACM co-founder Matt with some nice ’n’ spicy comments.
Thousands of readers tucked into our frank and frustrated industry-wide takedown back in June, and almost – almost – every single one of you felt the same way we do: the lack of creativity in our industry proper stinks.
Big thanks to publishing heavyweights Joe Mackertich (Time Out mag’s “big dawg”) and Nick Pope (Esquire.co.uk editor extraordinaire and Paul Rudd doppelganger) for chiming in and agreeing that the best way to speak to people is to speak to them like… people. Bombshell.
Read this today if: an email with “I hope this finds you well” has landed in your inbox in the last 24 hours.
Fact: a big portion of the ACM team has worked in mainstream editorial magazines in past lives. Fact: this big slice of editorial (with almost as many likes as the 99 Problems email we’ve just mentioned) kinda proves it.
From filmmakers to photographers to web masters to graphic designers to prop builders, we couldn’t have made it through 2023 – and our hundreds of creative projects – without the help of our vast network of freelance talent. Substack may have allowed us the space to only high-five nine of them before hitting the “You’re outta email space!!” panic button, but this is one big love letter to all of the creatives that we turn to time and time again.
Read this today if: you’ve ever strategically placed a possession behind you to make you look more interesting on a Zoom call.
Yep, very proud of this one. Yep, still working on how we’re gonna top it in 2024.
Read this today if: you think gender inequality exists in your workplace.
Somewhere along the wild ride that was 2023, we managed to launch a new website. It’s very good. Like, very good. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it worth it? We reckon it bloody well was. Have a look for yourself (and enjoy the side-scroll function that became the most divisive thing on the internet this year).
Read this today if: you enjoy spending time on “the world wide web”.
We’ll level with you: our biweekly Distraction In Action email started out as a filler dispatch to bulk out our frequency, and give our creative team a bit of a break in the cycle. Just a bunch of links that’ve got us yapping, a line or two of copy, a creative flourish to make it distinctly us, and a tick in one of the biggest boxes in the Rake In The Followers rulebook.
It didn’t stay that way for long, though. These beloved digital nuggets have become a vent for our most overly caffeinated creativity, as the birthday party ramble buried inside this issue proves.
And no, our copywriter’s mum is not a newsletter subscriber, you’ll be pleased to hear.
Read this today if: you too enter another dimension after three pre-lunch coffees.
We knew the boxouts in our Outsider Insider series were going to be good. But we didn’t think they’d be this good.
Our OI hall of fame – a stringently curated VIP list of the most important names and voices in our action sports and adventure communities – has taken us to some unexpected places. Mostly, thanks to the CV section at the bottom of each interview. We’ve been to yoghurt factories, department store lingerie sections, Costa Coffee, and, most memorably, Tom Kay’s chilly Christmas turkey farm.
A quick spin around the ACM team also discovered who’d had the weirdest former job, and the winner, by a country lightyear, was our Stu Duggal. Who knew Challenge 25 Mystery Shopper was a job title:
“Honestly, it was the best job ever. I got paid to go to shops, buy booze, and then just answer a questionnaire about whether I got ID’d. They paid me, gave me some money for the booze, a handed over a ridiculously good mileage fee.”
Read this today if: you’ve strategically left a past job off your LinkedIn.
Nah, not even sorry. We got a lot of fair questions asking us to explain why we chose to work with H&M Move, and getting the answers out there to as many people as we could was dead important for us. Using the darkest of (copywriting) dark arts to lure your eyeballs our way? We’re okay with it!
Read this today if: you want to revisit the good times, the simpler times, of the BuzzFeed era.
A guy called Snake? 2/10 weird. Wearing science goggles? 3/10 weird. Walking through a Shoreditch carwash in a head-to-toe Palace outfit for one of the world’s most respected editorial outlets? 11/10 weird.
The only thing weirder than this back in August was the email we sent to get him and 49 other major-league journalists and writers to walk through our GORE-TEX Wash & Go experience.
Read this today if: it has rained, is raining, or is going to rain.