Is White Claw Really the Best Hard Seltzer?

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer launched a campaign to promote a taste test challenge of competitors’ beverages. The Anheuser-Busch brand asked consumers to take a polygraph about which hard seltzer they prefer, with the chance to win $1,000.

Fifty people aged 25-39 took the polygraph test, and 46 participants said they prefer Bon & Viv’s Classic beverage over rival White Claw Pure, or said they like White Claw better and failed the polygraph. Just four people that said they prefer White Claw Pure passed the polygraph.

Why It’s Hot

White Claw might be driving market sales, but Bon & Viv is taking them on in a playful way to get hard seltzer drinkers to reconsider.

Source

Amble, a crowd-funded start-up, organizes monthlong retreats that pair creative professionals with budget-strapped national park conservancies.

Two-thirds of all full-time employees in the United States are currently experiencing job burnout, according to a recent Gallup study. While we aren’t great at taking advantage of earned time off — a whopping 768 million vacation days go to waste every year — a survey by the American Psychological Association last year found that even a two-week getaway is merely a stopgap as work-related stress returns before our tans have faded.

Yet a growing number of people are finding new ways to cultivate stability and avoid or overcome burnout. Three years ago, after nearly a decade at design agencies, Ilyssa Kyu, 30, quit her job to catch her breath and spend more time with her newborn daughter.

“I took a leap of faith and did my own sabbatical,” said Mrs. Kyu, who went on to not only bond with her daughter but also explore the trails and tribulations of national parks over five months. The results? A book, “Campfire Stories: Tales from America’s National Parks,” and the creation of a crowd-funded start-up, Amble. The company’s monthlong retreats pair creative professionals with budget-strapped park conservancies that support National Park Service projects, such as wildlife protection and trail rehabilitation.

For $1,400, which includes lodging, program benefits and some meals, these “Amble Creatives” devote 18 hours per week working on small yet transformative projects, be it redesigning a website or increasing audience engagement. The nonprofits return the favor with guided national park hikes, exclusive conservancy engagements and an America the Beautiful annual park pass.

Following sold-out retreats in Yosemite and the Sierra Foothills, Amble will host its third program from Oct. 7 to Nov. 10 in Glacier National Park, in partnership with the Glacier National Park Conservancy and Parks Project. Ten to 12 people are invited to join each program, and family-friendly accommodations have ranged from a 340-acre ranch in Mariposa, Calif., to a contemporary house on the Flathead River in Hungry Horse, Mont.

The participants range widely from web developers to marketing experts and craft makers; the latest Glacier National Park retreat accepted an artifact photographer from a science museum in San Francisco, as well as a Second City comedian-turned-social media strategist.

Source: NYTimes

Why It’s Hot

I’ve been re-targeted for this and other services like it all over the place. Is it a sign? Probably. A trend to watch? yep

IKEA and National Geographic take on “Bedroom Habits”

National Geographic and IKEA® come together to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats the world has ever seen — the bedroom. 
Ikea isn’t just about meatballs and couches. With its latest campaign, the Swedish retailer wants to be known as sleep experts, so it partnered with National Geographic on a series of films called ‘Bedroom Habitats.’

The faux-nature series looks to capture and document the human species in one of the most challenging habitats — the bedroom. The films cover everything from a comically small mattress to the unrelenting threat of clutter.

 Created by National Geographic with Wavemaker, the four videos in the series will highlight different consumers with varying sleep challenges. The first, ‘Small Bed Battle,’ shows a couple fighting for space in their tiny bed as a narrator gives a documentary style blow-by-blow of the epic struggle. A positive outcome surfaces after the couple goes to Ikea and gets a reasonably-sized bed.

The series will be hosted on a dedicated National Geographic Bedroom Habitats microsite, along with sleep challenges and shoppable solutions, and on National Geographic Instagram stories and its Facebook page. The series will also be supported with paid social and display units.

A complimentary campaign titled ‘Save Our Sleep,’ features the same nature documentary style, highlighting the issue that one-in-three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep, with Ikea offered up as the sleep hero.

Produced by Ogilvy, the ‘Planet Sleep’ television spot showcases how a comfortable bedroom sanctuary can help save endangered sleep through the implementation of simple and affordable sleep solutions, like new lower priced mattresses and ergonomic pillows. It starts by showing tired people in stressed out urban lifestyles. They only become happy as they realize that Ikea is the solution to their sleep problems.

“Trends show that a good night’s sleep might very well be going extinct. Globally, the average number of hours slept has fallen significantly in the past 50 years from eight hours to just a little over six,” said Joy Kelly, US media manager at Ikea. “Having conducted years of extensive research into how people live (and sleep) at home – and implementing those learnings to create a better everyday life – we know Ikea has the complete quality bedroom solutions that can help everyone achieve a good night’s sleep, so we wanted to be sure to showcase that.”

These quirky films mark the start of a larger, year-long campaign by Ikea to combat decreasing sleep levels in today’s society, positioning the retailer as one that is creating hope for the future of sleep.

“With the year-long ‘Save Our Sleep’ campaign, we hope to inspire consumers with simple, affordable bedroom solutions that will go a long way towards a better night sleep,” added Kelly. “Sleep-deprived consumers can be rest assured that Ikea is committed to saving our sleep in 2019 and beyond.”

ICYMI: Facebook has a dating app now

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(Sex) Dating apps are a big business – take Tinder for example:
– 5.2 million average subscribers in the Q2 2019, 1.5 million more than last year.
– Revenue for the three months ended June 30 rose about 18% to $498 million, above expectations of $489 million.

So what does one need for a successful dating app?
A unique take on dating (JSwipe, Hinge, Happn, Feeld), decent user experience and above all – liquidity (like any social network).

Initial twitter reaction is roasting Facebook, but that’s typical.

Why it’s hot: 
Similar to AirBnB expanding into experiences (for example) – this feels like a great example of a company making really smart use of it’s existing infrastructure and making a really smart service expansion.

Google search is getting personalized TV and movie recommendations

Google is adding personalized TV and movie recommendations to search, in hopes of solving the age old question: what do you actually want to watch?

Now, when you search Google for things like “good shows to watch” or “what to watch,” there’ll be a new carousel-style menu with TV shows and movies that you can swipe left and right on, similar to a dating app. Google says that it’ll be able to curate those suggestions based on what you search: ask for “horror movies from the ‘80s,” for example, and you’ll get recommendations specifically for that.

Why it’s hot: As more and more streaming services become available and more content is developed, there’ll be more of a need to sort through the shows and films.

Walmart and Nordstrom are opening stores that don’t sell anything

Both Walmart and Nordstrom are building physical stores where you can’t actually buy anything. These new types of stores are being built purely for shoppers to collect their online orders.

Walmart opened Walmart Pickup Point, a 40,000 square-foot prototype store outside of Chicago in Lincolnwood, Illinois, to cater to customers’ online pickups and deliveries. Customers drive up to the site to designated parking spots, and a Walmart worker will load up their trunk with their order. Customers are not allowed to go inside.

Nordstrom has been operating similar stores longer than Walmart. Nordstrom Local gives customers a place to make pickups and returns and take advantage of Nordstrom’s alteration and tailoring services. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Nordstrom Local in Melrose doesn't carry inventory. Nordstrom has three Local stores in Los Angeles and is slated to open its first two in New York City in September.

Walmart's online grocery pickup location in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Why it’s hot: Even though, Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019, these stores are designed for shoppers who want to grab their stuff and go without waiting in checkout lines or interacting with sales workers on the floor. Picking up orders from stores can also be faster than home delivery.

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Facebook’s New Facial Recognition Update + Facial Recognition Blocking Tech

Facebook’s is updating how users can opt in and out of facial recognition. This has been a hot topic online for a few years and Facebook facing a multi million dollar lawsuit about its facial recognition practices is the reason for the change.

Mashable notes “The lawsuit dates back to 2015, but has been slowly progressing — and so far not in Facebook’s favor. The company recently lost an appeal in which it attempted to have the suit dismissed.”

Consumers were allowed to opt in and out of “tagging suggestions” in 2017 but were not told that that came with facial recognition. Facial recognition is being used to target protesters in Hong Kong (and protesters have been attacking facial recognition cameras).

So what do you do in a world where facial recognition is no longer opt-in?

THESE SUPER COOL SHADES

The “phantom” shades reflect light back from infrared cameras but not normal visible light. Fom Mashable: “The frames are specifically designed to defeat 3D dot matrix face-mapping systems, which is basically what makes Apple’s Face ID work. They bounce infrared light back at its source, with the goal of preventing IR video cameras from getting a good image of your face — or potentially even registering your face as a face at all.”

Why It’s Hot?

We are living in a facial recognition world and you are automatically opted into being a facial recognition girl… We’re seeing how facial recognition can be used maliciously in other countries and we are, as a matter of course of being online and on the streets, opted into a system that we did not agree to. The glasses tech is cool but does not speak to the greater issue of what is going on around us and how AI technology might affect us in the coming years.

Skyscrapers Are Solving All Of Our Problems

Vertical landfills and DNA storage towers: 6 wild concepts for tomorrow’s skyscrapers

Design journal eVolo has a yearly competition on skyscrapers for the most insane, innovative concepts that are aimed at solving today’s most pressing issues (climate change, refugees, data storage, trash etc.) However unrealistic, they are ambitious visions for how skyscrapers could be redesigned to do more and be better for the communities/world around them.

Methanescraper: A vertical landfill systems

Creature Ark: Biosphere Skyscraper: A home for endangered species that simulated their natural habitat

Borderland Skyscraper: A space for refugees to live and work, hoping to change their roles from guest to host, without feeling under the responsibility of any state authority or having to live under the daily-life rules imposed by any formal organisation.

2100 Singapore: Gene Storage Skyscraper: a skyscraper that stores data, formed from intertwined fiber optic cables that form a twisting, leaf-like building, the structure changes color based on how much data is being uploaded.

No Fun Allowed in Ikea

Ikea has repeatedly asked people not to play hide-and-seek in its stores. And yet people keep organizing massive, thousand-person games at Ikea.

 In 2014, a Belgian blogger named Elise De Rijck coordinated a hide-and-seek meet-up at her local Wilrijk store to celebrate her 30th birthday. She created a Facebook group and invited her friends—but soon, thousands of people had joined the group. Ikea Belgium got wind of the plan and instead of squashing it, offered Ikea’s full support, including extra staff and security to host the event. From the photos that still circulate online, the event was a riot, replete with people hiding under bins and beds all over the store.

Evidently, it was not a one-off thing for the people playing. Thanks to the organizational power of Facebook, Ikea hide-and-seekers have kept organizing—especially in the Netherlands it seems. By early 2015, 32,000 people had signed up on Facebook to play in Ikea’s Eindhoven store. Nineteen thousand people signed up for a game in Amsterdam, while 12,000 signed up for a game in Utrecht. While it’s unclear how many of these games actually occurred, Ikea hide-and-seek has become a *thing*, as evidenced by countless YouTube videos where “adults” are sneaking around to play unofficially.

Just this week, authorities in Glasgow foiled a new plan for a 3,000-person game in the Scottish city’s Ikea store. Employees at the local Ikea spotted the plan on Facebook and called the police, who turned away the would-be gamesters. An Ikea spokesperson told The Scotsman, “We need to make sure people are safe, and that’s hard if we don’t know where they are.

Why Its Hot

Ikea’s crackdown on hide-and-seek makes sense. But at the same time, it’s hard not to see the phenomenon as a potential opportunity for the company, which has been working desperately to reinvent itself, rethinking its store designs and opening smaller urban stores that are really just a showroom for digital orders. No, it probably truly isn’t safe to play guerilla-style games at a store that sells heavy furniture. Then again, Ikea has thousands of people excited about driving to the very suburban box stores it wants people to visit. Isn’t that a potential opportunity, rather than a problem?

Don’t know what to binge? Try Google

On Sept 5, Google announced a new feature in search: personalized TV and movie recommendations.

This feature will appear for general queries (e.g. “good shows to watch”) as opposed to specific ones (e.g. “Avengers”) and the results will be customizable depending on current subscriptions (i.e. Google will list top choices for the streaming services users have access to). To build their profile, users will be asked to Tinder swipe left and right on a series of movies and shows (see image below).

Why it’s hot: 

By utilizing its superior search and AI capabilities, Google threatens to become a powerful gatekeeper to streaming services. It is also poised to finally solve that perennial mystery: what should I watch?

 

Part t-shirt, part worm food.

Plant and Algae T Shirt | Available at vollebak.com

Plant and Algae T Shirt | Available at vollebak.com

UK-based apparel brand Vollebak launched a Plant & Algae t-shirt, which will decompose once the wearer is finished with it. The shirt’s material is made from a combination of sustainably-certified wood pulp, while the 3D-printed ink is made from algae. The algae oxidizes as the shirt is worn, meaning the print on the front of the t-shirt naturally decolors over time. Customers can compost or bury the garment outside when they no longer want to wear it; if buried, the t-shirt will decompose in 12 weeks.

Why it’s hot: Textile waste makes up 7.6% of all landfill waste in the U.S., or over 10 million tons. Fashion shouldn’t be enjoyed at the expense of the environment.

Source + Source

a billboard you can plant…

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens (the UK “authority on plant science”), Herbal Essences recently created “billboards” featuring leaves you could pull off, that contained wildflower seeds you could plant at home. The idea was to grow more wildflowers to nurture London’s endangered butterfly community, since butterflies are “major pollinators”, like bees.

Why it’s hot:

It’s such a simple way to build meaningful relationships. Going beyond just being an ad, it gives something tangible to each person, with an end benefit that helps all Londoners (and really the world) at large. And it’s something anyone passing by can experience, giving it the kind of real-world effect few “ads” ever truly have.

[Source]

Hotelbnb

Hotel Honduras Maya was struggling as a result of Airbnb dominating the traveller market.
The hotel worked to reclaim a portion of the market by redesigning a handful of its rooms to resemble Airbnb properties and then listing them on Airbnb’s website. Each room was allocated to a member of Hotel Honduras Maya’s service staff, who posed as Airbnb hosts on the platform. Anger and shock turned to delight as unsuspecting guests arrived and found that they would be getting all the amenities and services of a hotel, for the price of a spare room.

Why it’s hot?
Delighted the customers by misleading them
The attention to detail paid to replicating the look and feel of Airbnb rooms served as a pleasant surprise to guests who possibly held negative perceptions of hotel rooms, and they shared this surprise on social media, producing plenty of user-generated content. There aren’t many instances in which it’s a good idea to mislead your customers, but by waiting to reveal the truth to its guests upon their arrival at the hotel, the brand showed that it could replicate the Airbnb experience and then offer so much more for the same price.

If you can’t beat them, join them
The problem the hotel was faced with is an industry-wide issue, one that reflects a cultural shift in how we travel and what we look for in holiday accommodation. Rather than hope for another change in culture that brought customers back to hotels, Honduras Maya went directly to the customers, positioning itself exactly where its target audience was already active.

 

Doctors are now prescribing houseplants to help treat anxiety and depression

The Cornbrook Medical Practice in Manchester, England, is one of the first to prescribe patients greenery to help treat anxiety and depression.

It’s based on the idea that being around nature—even something as simple as a single plant—can have health benefits. The office, which grows herbs like lemon balm and catmint on-site, also invites patients to later come back to garden with others. “There’s evidence that people who are socially isolated have worse health outcomes,” says Jon Ross, director of Sow the City, a local nonprofit that works with doctors and hospitals to add horticultural therapy. “We provide a kind of community project within the [doctor’s office] so that people can get together and do the food growing and the gardening together with other patients.”

While the idea of prescribing a plant is new, the nonprofit has been working with healthcare providers on gardening for a couple of years. At a hospital treating long-term patients with mental illness, for example, it helped establish a program called “Hospital Beds” that adds raised vegetable beds for patients on the hospital grounds so the patients have the benefit of spending time outside and socializing.

When setting up a new program at clinics, the nonprofit works with doctors and patients to decide what type of garden makes sense—a vegetable garden or just a place to relax—and then runs sessions to train patients on gardening. The herbs that doctor’s offices are prescribing are easy to care for. “We try and make it as easy as possible, and we set it up so that the plants are healthy to start with, and we train them on how to look after them,” he says.

Why it’s hot: It’s interesting (and inspiring) to see healthcare professionals continue to think beyond medication to treat mental health conditions.

Source: FastCo

32-Year-Old Raises $10 Million Series B To Lower Hospital Readmission Rates With Mobile Patient Management

“Chronic disease continues to drive up healthcare costs and is the leading cause of hospital readmissions. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is becoming a fundamental tool for decreasing readmissions, improving outcomes, and reducing the overall cost of care. Hoboken, N.J.-based HRS provides an RPM platform that allows health systems and home care agencies to reduce hospital readmission rates by up to 80% while improving patient and caregiver satisfaction.”

Why it’s hot: 
At MRM we know full well the complicated nature of the healthcare industry, but huge opportunities lie in the intersection of technology and health (Duh).

I really like this product because while most RPM products are dependent on hardware, ‘Health Recovery Solutions’ is mostly focused on software that can run on most devices.

The Coke Challenge… Kind of

It’s a testament to the staying power of the Pepsi Challenge —first introduced in 1975—that random pedestrians aren’t freaked out by bubbly strangers asking them to eat unlabeled food. Instead, the offer evokes a giddiness at being selected for such an important task.

So the people chosen for a recent “Coke Challenge” were understandably intrigued, even excited at the prospect of learning a bit more about their own tastes. Instead, they got a brush with death.

The “coke” in this case was, of course, cocaine—one baggie filled with pure powder, and the other containing cocaine laced with enough fentanyl to kill anyone who snorted it. Cocaine is increasingly being cut with the synthetic opioid to increase its effects, but that is driving overdose deaths. In 2017, the CDC attributed more than 7,500 deaths to cocaine laced with fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

Fentanyl tampering can’t be detected by sight, smell, or taste, so recreational drug users take a risk every time. They’re also in more danger than regular drug users, because they typically have no tolerance to opioids.

Like the real Pepsi Challenge, though, the head-to-head comparison was a marketing tactic, created by DanceSafe, a U.S.-based non-profit that sells fentanyl test strips they say can detect the presence of the drug. The organization’s focus is on safety and education in the electronic dance community and is known for bringing adulterant screeners to raves that can check for unexpected tampering. DanceSafe is neither for or against drug use, so there’s no judgment in the campaign, just a bit of humor, evident in the tagline, “Know before you blow.”

Rather than taking a staunch anti-drug approach, the campaign focuses on reducing potential harm to people who choose to use recreational drugs. The video of the challenge was released in time for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

Why it’s Hot:

Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you just need to re-frame it (re-spoke it? re-mount it? cars, Idk). Part of what makes this execution so relevant is it takes something everybody knows (the Pepsi Challenge) and turns it on its head. Grounding something foreign (fentanyl) in a cultural known (taste testing) lends credibility and lightheartedness to a topic that can seem daunting.

Culturally, this product also fits into a new attitude surrounding drugs. With the opioid epidemic continuing to grow and fatalities rising, gone are the days of “just say no” and “this is your brain on drugs” (cue cracking eggs) – the priority with products like DanceSafe and Naloxone is trying to reduce overdoses when people use drugs. Question: Will this new mindset surrounding drugs have any halo effect on the medical field as a whole?

Source: AdAge

Tip your (non)local coffee-bean picker

We’re spoiled in the US. We get to drink premium coffee from the best farms in the world, and at a reasonable price. But many of the farm-workers involved in actually making that cortado a reality generally aren’t compensated equitably.

Some people would be willing to pay more for coffee if they knew that increase was going to support the workers who need and deserve it, but making that change through the traditional economy of producers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers is extremely difficult. Even direct-trade coffee partnerships are subject to the demands of the global coffee industry, which must feed a voracious worldwide caffeine habit.

Propina is trying to side-step the traditional model of farm-worker compensation by allowing people to support farm-workers by making a direct contribution to a farm-worker’s pension fund when they’re at the till of their favorite coffee shop. In-shop videos like the one above drive awareness while patrons wait in line to make their order. Additionally, similar to the Patreon model, patrons can become recurring contributors and get updates from the farm.

Why it’s hot

1. Using technology to bridge the gap from producer to consumer empowers money-havers to give to a cause they believe in.

2. Technology shrinking the world, making something global feel like more of a local connection.

3. We may see more of these “capitalism hacks” that attempt to use technology to circumvent systemic inequalities that otherwise seem insurmountable.

Why it’s not hot

1. Like the US server-tipping model, this idea could potentially drive down guaranteed wages for farm workers if employers see them gaining any amount of significant external compensation. In a sense, this idea only works well if it remains an insignificant portion of a farm workers livelihood.

2. This model relies on the generosity of the globally wealthy to “support” poor farm workers, instead of creating systems of equitable exchange that account for the needs of all stakeholders. Admittedly, the latter is a much more difficult challenge.

Source: Contagious