Hard-workers is a digital community for working class Americans to express their professional selves, learn from each other and most importantly take full pride in the hard work they do.
Through the app, people can: – Easily post your work related photos, videos and texts – Join your professional community and discuss relevant topics
– Ask for advice and get advice when needed
– Check out what is happening in adjacent occupations
– Interviews with real people a.k.a. other hardworkers
– News about things that impact hardworkers
– Advice on relevant questions such as: how to save money, how to find a side gig, how to prepare for a new job, where to go for education, etc.
“Scandinavian clothing brand Carlings has created an augmented reality T-shirt designed to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion.
People can buy the T-shirt – which is white aside from a graphical logo at the top – from Carlings’ website for €39.90 ($44). The T-shirt is then mailed directly to the customer.
Upon delivery of the item, customers can visit Carlings’ dedicated Instagram account, select the filter icon and choose from a variety of designs, before pointing a phone camera at the T-shirt’s graphical logo. This will digitally superimpose the selected design onto the T-shirt.
The designs are emblazoned with environmentally conscious messages such as ‘Stop Denying Our Planet is Dying’ and ‘I’m Sure The Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time Too.’” (Contagious)
Why it’s hot
1. Designs that can be changed to match new causes extends the shirts timescale of relevance, combating fast-fashion disposability.
2. The shirt comes to life where it can have the most impact: on social media. Also gets folks going to the brand’s IG and creating lots of UGC.
3. Interesting how the 4th digital dimension is being employed to push social issues, in a cool, shareable, and potentially viral way.
4. Also, profits from the line go to a water charity, so seems like another fashion brand hoping their good works will turn into net profits.
This holiday season, Smirnoff rolled out the perfect joke gift. They created a fake luxury home brand, Cremisiffino, with boxes that display a range of products from hand-held mixers to ironing boards. But in reality, the only item inside is a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.
They’re playing off the trend of “icing” that’s been around for years now–where someone hides a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, and the unsuspecting recipient who finds it is supposed to kneel and chug the bottle.
While the official Cremisiffino box was set at a pretty steep price, $10 for an empty box and $20 for a box including one bottle, Smirnoff announced on Twitter that they sold out within 2 days.
Why It’s Hot
While the boxes are simple, the idea of combining white elephant prank gifts with the icing prank is a smart way to keep Smirnoff top of mind and in social feeds for the holidays.
In short, comfort. Whether it’s the grueling polarizing political climate, the endless buzz of tech always pressing for our attention or our own personal life commitments tugging at us in all directions, we seem to be increasingly living in a constant state of anxiety and it’s only natural that we’re craving comfort.
According to Google Search data for 2019, Americans were more likely to be cooking up a Shepherd’s pie or indulging their sweet tooth with a homey snickerdoodle cookie rather than the Instagram-famous Unicorn cake which topped last year’s trending search spot. Speaking of comfort foods, after selling out in just two weeks, Popeye’s now famous chicken sandwich was brought back in the Fall to amazing success.
Why the bend toward comfort foods in 2019? It’s possible that these trending searches for folksy foods are driven by a culture increasingly hungry for an anxiety antidote, a bite of hygge, if you will.
The Pantone Color Institute would agree. They announced recently that the color for 2020 is the classic blue. You don’t need to know much about color theory to know blue = comfort. Pantone settled on a shade that offers “reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global miliu.”
Specially in uncertain times when it feels like things are always changing and nothing is ever certain, how can we offer our consumers more comfort?
How can brands balance the need to provide new and exciting experiences/innovation while also making them feel comforting and familiar?
Consumers are demanding faster shipping so carriers are scrambling to make next-day deliveries and don’t pack trucks as efficiently aka delivery trucks make their rounds with extra space in the back making each package have a higher carbon footprint than if the truck was packed efficiently.
This is where Sendle comes in. It’s a new (and fast) shipping service that leverages unused space on other carriers’ trucks. They take advantage of the inefficiencies caused by one-day shipping by cheaply booking the extra space in trucks that are going out anyway. Using this method they aren’t producing any additional emissions and lowering the carbon offsetof each package, making it the first 100% carbon-neutral national delivery service in the country. The company’s use of extra space means that it can offer the service affordably.”It doesn’t have to be a choice between carbon-neutral and saving money,” says Sendle CEO and cofounder James Chin Moody. “You can actually do both.”
The startup, a certified B Corp, grew out of another platform that the founders launched to help people donate old goods. Not finding a shipping service that was reliable and affordable enough, they ended up developing a new option for delivery themselves. It was so popular that they began offering it to others—focusing on sellers with small businesses on Etsy, eBay, and other platforms. Those customers, Moody says, are looking for “the right mix of speed and cost” and don’t necessarily need an option for next-day shipping; Sendle focuses on 2-day and 3-day shipping. In the U.S., the company will first pay for the extra space available on USPS trucks (Amazon recently cut back its use of the postal service, freeing up more room), so the packages will be delivered by your postal carrier. In the future, it could work with other carriers, like UPS and FedEx, as well.
In Australia, it works with a variety of carriers. “We basically said, ‘Look, if we can help you fill your trucks, we can improve your density, which again, improves the efficiency of the system,’” he says. The startup is also working with carriers to help them explore other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping, such as shifting to new types of vehicles. It also helps customers further improve their environmental performance through offering options like a shipping pouch that can be composted in the recipient’s backyard.
Why It’s Hot
I wonder if there is a partnership or learning opportunity for USPS (potentially 250?) here since they tend to use USPS trucks more than others given the Amazon loss.
When guests arrive at the hotel, they will find a variety of outfits tailored to the weather and location. No packing and no baggage required!
After booking the room, guests will be able to choose from four rental styles to outfit themselves during their stay from Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Closet for only $69 USD. Guests have access to the entire Unlimited Closet in addition to being able to select from a destination-ready assortment tailored to each unique W hotel location incorporating Rent the Runway’s proprietary data on trending colors, designers, silhouettes and the climate of each location. To return, guests simply drop-off the items at the Welcome Desk at check-out.
Why It’s Hot: Brand collaborations with a purpose are the best! Anything that eases the burden of travel is bound to take off.
“For example, the Wendy’s ad asks listeners if they’re hungry, and if they say “yes” the ad continues by offering a recommendation about what to eat. The DiGiorno’s pizza ad asks listeners to say “yes” to hear the punchline of a pizza-themed joke. The Ashely HomeStores ad engages listeners by offering tips on getting a better night’s sleep. And so on.
“The company believes these types of ads will be more meaningful as they force listeners to pay attention. For the brand advertisers, voice ads offer a way to more directly measure how many people an ad reached — something that’s not possible with traditional audio ads, which by their nature aren’t clickable.”
Why it’s hot: With loads of fraud in the digital media landscape, it’s interesting to see Pandora developing a new way of ensuring eyeballs and ears. I also think it opens the door for interesting ways to serve and target consumers.
Facebook’s AI division has been ethically producing deepfakes (manipulated videos or face swaps). The videos are part of a training data set that Facebook assembled for a competition called the Deepfake Detection Challenge that was launched yesterday. In this competition—produced in cooperation with Amazon, Microsoft, the nonprofit Partnership on AI, and academics from eight universities—researchers around the world are vying to create automated tools that can spot fraudulent media. Facebook has dedicated more than US $10 million for awards and grants.
The U.S. presidential elections in 2020 are an added incentive to get ahead of the problem, says Canton Ferrer (Facebook AI Red Team). He believes that media manipulation will become much more common over the coming year, and that the deepfakes will get much more sophisticated and believable. “We’re thinking about what will be happening a year from now,” he says. “It’s a cat-and-mouse approach.” Canton Ferrer’s team aims to give the cat a head start, so it will be ready to pounce.
It may seem odd that the data set compiled for Facebook’s competition is filled with unknown people doing unremarkable things. But a deepfake detector that works on those mundane videos should work equally well for videos featuring politicians. To make the Facebook challenge as realistic as possible, Canton Ferrer says his team used the most common open-source techniques to alter the videos—but he won’t name the methods, to avoid tipping off contestants. “In real life, they will not be able to ask the bad actors, ‘Can you tell me what method you used to make this deepfake?’” he says.
Why its hot: It’s interesting that Facebook is working to create this tech right after the infamous AOC versus MZ roast. Does this make up for the fact that they people make fake ads/is it going to be implemented on Facebook?
Disney took their media takeover full throttle last week and launched a new sticker and reaction line on Facebook messenger dedicated to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The changes include “a new Star Wars theme for its Messenger app, which gives it a starry background, a new set of SW-related stickers and special effects that will let you jump into hyperspace or turn you into a rebel fighter, among others.”
The only catch is it’s only available for some not all!
Several years ago, Twitter snubbed developers by limiting features they could use when using the Twitter API to create their own interoperable products. Today, they are trying to right that wrong. In essence, the company will be adding a layer above twitter that will decentralize the service much like email, where yahoo users and Gmail users can email between one another making it platform agnostic.
Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.
Although years away, the Bluesky team will eventually be building social media protocols that will allow the company to prove the viability of decentralized social media. Some are criticizing the move saying it will reduce Twitter’s liabilities regarding the types of content that have gotten the company in trouble in the past. Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, argues that Twitter’s value lies in its ability to direct attention towards valuable tweets – not hosting all the content.
“Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there,” Jack Dorsey
What this looks like:
Centralized platforms have a lot of control over what data is seen, with algorithms deciding which content gets exposed. It promotes one type of content over another.
With decentralized social media, there would be no central control, no team of people who decide what content is shown to whom.
Personal data would go back to the hands of the user who would give complete control and could decide who to share it with.
Why it’s hot:
Although still a pipe dream with a long road ahead, decentralization of social media may become the way of Web 3.0 – reducing platforms liabilities for UGC and democratizing content discovery – but what will become of brands that use these platforms?
28-year-old architect Nashin Mahtani’s website, PetaBencana.id, uses artificial intelligence and chat-bots to monitor and respond to social posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram by communities in Indonesia hit by floods. The information is then displayed on a real-time map that is monitored by emergency services.
“Jakarta is the Twitter capital of the world, generating 2% of the world’s tweets, and our team noticed that during a flood, people were tweeting in real-time with an incredible frequency, even while standing in flood waters,” said Mahtani, a graduate of Canada’s University of Waterloo. Jakarta residents often share information with each other online about road blockages, rising waters and infrastructure failures.
Unlike other relief systems that mine data on social media, PetaBencana.id adopts AI-assisted “humanitarian chat-bots” to engage in conversations with residents and confirm flooding incidents. “This allows us to gather confirmed situational updates from street level, in a manner that removes the need for expensive and time-consuming data processing,” Mahtani said.
In early 2020, the project will go nationwide to serve 250 million people and include additional disasters such as forest fires, haze, earthquakes and volcanoes.
Why It’s Hot
Aggregating social data in real-time on a map allows for easy flow of information between residents in need and emergency services who can help them. In a situation when every second counts to help as many people as possible, this use of technology is truly life-saving.
Back Market, an online marketplace that sells refurbished and discounted electronic goods like smartphones, wanted to launch its service in the US.
However, Back Market had to find a way to promote its refurbished products in a country that is more interested in new technology than old, without a media budget to afford high profile influencers.
Back Market realized that all of the second-hand products that it currently sells have already been promoted by celebrities on social platform Twitter, back when they were originally released.
Back Market analyzed hundreds of the most well-known US celebrities’ Twitter accounts to find old Tweets about products now available on its site, replied to them and re-posted them as if they had just been published.
In total, Back Market ‘refurbished’ the Tweets of 311 celebrities, including Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian and 50 Cent. The online marketplace also sent 187 celebrities the smartphones that they had wanted years before.
The Refurbished Tweets campaign was promoted with a comical video explaining how the French company took over the Twitter feeds of US celebrities.
According to the case study video, more than 26,000 orders were placed for refurbished products within 48 hours of the campaign launch and visits to Back Market’s US website increased by 457% within one month, with no media investment.
Why it’s hot: Entering a new market is challenging, especially without a media budget. Back Market’s creative approach to “refurbishing” old tweets from famous celebrities and influencers was clever way of leveraging existing tweets as their own.
Unlike some other social platforms (*cough* Facebook *cough*), YouTube continues to actively combat misinformation.
This has been a key focus for the platform in recent times – as explained by YouTube in a new update this week:
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working to raise authoritative voices on YouTube and reduce the spread of borderline content and harmful misinformation. And we are already seeing great progress. Authoritative news is thriving on our site. And since January 2019, we’ve launched over 30 different changes to reduce recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation. The result is a 70% average drop in watch time of this content coming from non-subscribed recommendations in the U.S.”
Definitely, those results are promising, and YouTube continues to add in new measures to reduce the spread of misinformation, or dispell concerning trends that are not grounded in fact.
For example, YouTube now also shows information panels on content ‘prone to misinformation’, which provides links to relevant resources for more insight.
YouTube’s also working to address concerns with borderline videos – content that “comes close to, but doesn’t quite cross the line of” violating its Community Guidelines. YouTube says that such videos make up a tiny proportion of its overall viewership, but it’s now expanding its program of reducing recommendations of borderline content “or videos that could misinform users in harmful ways” into more regions.
Why its hot
As noted, this is an important area for YouTube, because an increasing amount of people now come to the platform for information, and can be lead down concerning rabbit holes by the content recommended to them, relative to their search requests.
It’s the holiday ad that caught fire for all the wrong reasons: A young woman is gifted a Peloton bike and proceeds to vlog her fitness journey over the course of a year. The ad went viral almost immediately, sparking criticism about Peloton’s unhealthy depictions of body image and marriage.
Naturally, Twitter users couldn’t contain themselves, dragging the cringe-worthy campaign with labels like sexist, elitist, and entirely unrealistic. But as Twitter users were flaming the ad, Ryan Reynolds and his Gin-owned company, Aviation, were putting together one of the most genius spots of the year. The ad cast the same actress from the Peloton ad in a sequel that tells the story of where the Peloton Woman is now.
Why it’s hot: In a play that combined timeliness, meme culture, and a simple product message, Aviation managed to capitalize on another brand’s moment of infamy with big success. Maybe the biggest win was how fast the spot came to fruition – only 15 days elapsed between the Peloton ad and Aviation Gin’s commercial.
TikTok pulled a very Scumbag-Steve move recently, admitting that in an effort to curb bullying on its platform, it had asked moderators to flag accounts from people who “looked like the type of person others might want to bully” and then suppressed those accounts. #victimshaming
Via Slate: “TikTok, a social network video app with more than 1 billion downloads globally, admitted Tuesday to a set of policies that had suppressed the reach of content created by users assumed to be “vulnerable to cyberbullying.” As examples of users “susceptible to bullying or harassment,” the policy listed people with facial disfigurement, autism, Down syndrome, and “Disabled people or people with some facial problems such as birthmark, slight squint and etc.”
The admission came after the German site Netzpolitik reported that TikTok asked moderators to watch 15-second videos and decide if the creator looked like the type of person others might want to bully. If so, moderators were instructed to add flags to the accounts of these “vulnerable” users. These flags would stop their videos from being shown to audiences outside their home countries and, in some cases, would even prevent their videos from appearing in other users’ feeds. A list of flagged users obtained by Netzpolitik included people with and without disabilities, whose bios included hashtags like #fatwoman and #disabled or had rainbow flags and other LGBTQ identifiers.”
Why it’s hot:
Loss of trust: Social media plays a roll in both exacerbating and alleviating many social problems, including the bullying epidemic, but when those at the helm display their ignorance coupled with a reluctance to curb abusive users, trust is diminished.
Lack of control (or willingness): One more chapter in social media’s terrible track record of encouraging the worst parts of humanity and then exposing just how inept they are at controlling malicious activity on their platforms.
Last Friday, Aviation Gin and its celebrity owner Ryan Reynolds got the ad world excited after hiring the actor from the much-maligned Peloton ad to star in a fun sequel spot. The booze brand and Reynolds were deservedly celebrated across social and major media for both the quality of the spot and the speed and agility with which it was executed, soon enough to ride the wave of Peloton-bashing and land an incredibly good comeback. “If you’re going to do something like this,” Reynolds told The New York Times, “you have to jump on the zeitgeist-y moment as it happens.”
Around this same time, at Art Basel in Miami artist Maurizio Cattelan was attracting headlines when his piece called “Comedian”—a banana duct-taped to the wall—sold for $120,000. The subsequent outrage and amusement of course quickly caught the eye of the world’s social-media marketers, sparking a rush of brands scrambling to make their own witty version.
Between Peloton and “Comedian,” last week presented two moments seemingly perfect for the kind of participation that brands crave on social media, and yet each also illustrates the level of difficulty in actually pulling off something that is a) actually any good, and b) able to grab people’s attention.
Why it’s hot:
It’s interesting to see which brands jump on this meme-culture train and makes me wonder if it’s overdone.
Brands on social media are often seen as competitors. Users on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram will only see a limited number of branded posts per visit, so social media managers battle to be one of them, paying or using owned channels to grab as much attention as possible.
On Dec 5, Netflix proved that cooperation can beat competition. Speaking directly to brand account managers on Twitter, it encouraged brands to push the boundaries of social acceptability by asking what can be said during sex and for a brand on Twitter.
The post generated over 100,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes.
Brands of all kinds jumped on board, even competitors. (e.g. Direct TV, not shown here.)
Why it’s hot:
In NYC, merchants realized that they could make more money by surrounding themselves with their direct competitors in districts that attracted more customers overall (e.g. the garment district, flower district, diamond district). Perhaps we are entering an era where brands will increasingly band together on social media to generate the type of attention they could not garner alone.
VSCO is a new photo editing app, popular with Gen-Z girls that has had rapid growth in 2019. Over the summer a VSCO girl meme took off and became a thing from the starter pack pictured above to some stereotypical mocking..
VSCO girls were always sort of a joke. Way back in January, YouTuber Greer Jones delivered a deadpan introduction to a video called “becoming the ultimate VSCO girl”: “Today I’m going to be trying to become a VSCO girl, because that’s my life goal, you know, I’m not focusing on college, not focusing on my grades, because that’s irrelevant,” she says sarcastically. “I really look up to the girls on VSCO.”
WHY ITS HOT:
VSCO is on pace to surpass 4 million payingusers in 2020, up from 2 million paying users in late 2018, the company said. Approaching $80 million in annual revenue, VSCO charges an annual subscription fee of $19.99 for access to a full-suite of mobile photo-editing tools, exclusive photo filters, tutorials and more. For no cost, users can access a handful of basic VSCO filters, standard editing tools and loads of content published by other users in VSCO’s photo feed.
75% of VSCO’s registered users and 55% of its paying subscribers are younger than 25, giving the company a small foothold into the most coveted demographic. On top of that, the hashtag #VSCO has been viewed 4 billion times on the immensely popular video sharing app Tik Tok, again according to the company’s own statistics, and another 450 million times on Instagram.
Rent the Runway is taking their clothing rentals to W Hotels with a new “Closet Concierge” service. Upon booking a room, guests will be able to choose four styles to rent for $69 and have those items waiting for them in their hotel rooms. Guests can then drop off items at their location’s welcome desk when checking out.
The RTR Closet Concierge service is launching at W Aspen, W South Beach, W Washington, D.C. and W Hollywood.
According to a press release, the goal of the Closet Concierge launch is a means of extending services so clients can “pack light, really light.” While guests will have access to Rent the Runway’s Unlimited Closet, selections also will be personalized to each hotel location based on silhouettes, trending colors and the area’s climate.
Why It’s Hot
Quick getaways or “micro-cations” are the most popular trips Americans are taking. So having four styles waiting in your hotel room might really mean you can leave your clothes at home when traveling. It also taps into a market of travel influencers who always want new outfits to feature on their social feeds. For those who have never used Rent the Runway before, it seems like a great way to try the service and get a sense of what clothing is available.
In Ukraine, a lack of people taking eye examinations combined with increasing mobile device usage has led to a national eyesight problem, so Luxoptica, a Ukranian optician, decided to leverage the problem device to get people to take eye exams, all on their own accord.
Luxoptica ophthalmologists created an eye test that sat within Instagram Stories. All users had to do to take the test was tap on the brand’s Instagram story and hold their smartphone at a distance, then text appeared on the screen. If they could see the letters clearly, they would be instructed to tap to the right, which took them to the next text – in smaller type.
As soon as users could no longer see the writing, they were instructed to swipe up. The result of the test then appeared on the screen with a prediction of their visual ability and a recommendation about what to do next.
If the vision score was below normal, Luxoptica recommended a visit to an ophthalmologist to prevent further reduction in vision and provided a direct link to book an appointment at any Luxoptica store.
Why it’s hot: Luxoptica was smart in its “show don’t tell” strategy by providing consumers with a free experience of an eye exam instead of lots of medical claims and reasons to go to your optometrist to get an exam. Its creative use of Instagram stories made their message easily accessible to their target audience, mobile phone users, giving them the freedom to experience the exam on their own time, ultimately driving 1 in 7 people to an optician for an eye exam, over 6,800 visits.
Reports ranging from Bloomberg News to the New York Times published articles this week analyzing a recent shift in the traditional buying patterns of American holiday shoppers. In short: the marketers keep moving the goalposts.
Black Friday, of course, has traditionally been a huge shopping day on the Friday after Thanksgiving at brick-n-mortar stores, and Cyber Monday being the analogous day for e-commerce the following Monday. But what happens when marketers start bombarding their customers with online Black Friday sales beginning shortly after Halloween? According to Bloomberg, shoppers have reversed the tradition of procrastinating until December 20-something and have begun to shop earlier.
Why It’s Hot
This has huge implications for marketers, consumers and shipping logistics. Shoppers are probably feeling less stress by doing their holiday shopping earlier, but at some point consumers will be annoyed at getting Black Friday emails months in advance (not as annoying as Christmas Music in October, but still…) On the other hand, earlier shopping means that shipping carriers and warehouse managers can spread out the annual pain of delivering millions of boxes and actually get the stuff to the destination on time!
In a clever move melding consumerism and charitable giving, American Eagle Outfitters (AE) has achieved WokeAF status by developing a clothing line with a multicultural council of GenZ activists, which both donates 100% of its sales to the clothing charity Delivering Good, and contains a conversation-starting QR code that allows others to donate as well by scanning said clothes.
This line was developed by the AExMeCouncil, a gaggle of GenZ movers and shakers, including Delaney Tarr, cofounder of March For Our Lives, who are being given some say in how AE operates. “We are treating these council members like board members,” says Chad Kessler, global brand president of American Eagle.
Other council members include Gabby Frost, who founded the Buddy Project to promote mental health and prevent suicide, and Joseph Touma, who created Bridge the Divide, which wants to create bridges across political lines.
Why it’s hot:
1. GenZ folks are cause-oriented shoppers, so this gimmick makes perfect sense from a brand and PR perspective (they were featured in Fast Company after all) and costs AE basically nothing.
2. Smart use of highly personal products to instigate conversations about social causes and create a real-time pathway to digital donations.
3. It’s probably a good thing when business interests and social good align, and it seems like that’s the case here. Better than when fast-fashion brands laughably try to align themselves with sustainability.