People walking into work this morning might have noticed something rather out of the ordinary looming large over Manchester’s commuters. Ever seen a ‘sunlight billboard’ before?
The clever idea drummed up by ad giants Saatchi & Saatchi, in partnership with supplement brand Solgar, is the latest effort to try and help people combat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Yes, it’s real.
Said to be at its worst on so-called ‘Blue Monday‘ – apparently the most depressing of the year – Saatchi and Solgar have teamed up to create these unique sunlight billboards, designed to help simulate the effects of sunshine on passers-by.
Given the time of year, the cold temperatures and customary Manc weather, it can be tough to feel your best self throughout the day, but hopefully, these specially constructed billboards can help.
These giant golden-hued screens do exactly what they say on the tin; as explained in the caption written in the middle of the signs, “basking in the light from this billboard can help boost your serotonin”.
Manchester isn’t the only place these sunny SAD screens are popping up either: there’s one in the capital’s Westfield Shopping Centre and several in Birmingham as well.
Made using Ocean Outdoor technology, who have digital advertisement boards all around the UK, most famously the iconic Piccadilly Lights in London, these screens are much more than your usual advertising space.
While many people speculate over how real Blue Monday is — there are plenty of other days in the winter that combine the post-Christmas lull with low light, rubbish weather, stretched finances and that overall back-to-work funk — seasonal affective disorder is very real.
Affecting around two million Brits every year, varying from mild in most cases to more severe among those suffering from depression and other mental health issues, the cyclical condition is also said to be four times more likely to occur in women.
With the way the country is right now, i.e. soaring energy bills and a cost of living crisis, you’d be forgiven for feeling down by default, so it’s good to see companies showcasing uplifting campaigns during this difficult time of year.
Moreover, it turns out us Mancunians could do with them more than most, as we’re reportedly already pretty low energy during the month of January, specifically.
All that being said, for today only, Monday 16 January (a.k.a. Blue Monday), you can make the most of these UV light-emitting billboards. Think of them as giant SAD lamps, like the ones you can buy for your home or the office — or, you know, a much smaller and squarer version of the sun.
Switching on at 4pm when it starts to get dark and lasting until 8pm, locals can stand in front of these sunlight billboards as they emit healthy levels of lux to boost their serotonin and, hopefully, lift their spirits. They’re absolutely free and probably one of the best uses of ad space we’ve ever seen.
We’re sure Blue Monday will brighten up for you in no time.
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
Lucky Ramen in Ancoats brunch menuLucky Ramen in Ancoats brunch menu
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.