Fornite Channels User Base to Take on Apple and Google

As part of a public fight against Apple and Google, who monopolize phone app sales, Fornite–the super popular battle-royale-style mutli-player game–has created a tournament called the #FreeFortnite Cup. The tournament includes prizes and a new character ‘tart tycoon’, all designed to put pressure on Apple by to change it App store policies.

Apple's Fortnite feud and Microsoft xCloud ban have put the future of  iPhone gaming in jeopardy - The Verge

Why it’s hot: 

Increasing recognition that tech giants have monopolistic power over those who use their platform is not new. But these battles usually play out in court. Epic is making use of a new strategy–leveraging the considerable enthusiasm of its users through marketing and in-game experience to influence the actions of another corporation.

What won’t Amazon know about us…?

Amazon Announces a New Fitness Tracker

Amazon’s new fitness band adds body fat, movement, sleep and mood to the mountain of data Amazon is amassing. Whether streaming on Amazon Prime, shopping on Amazon.com, buying groceries at Whole Foods, Amazon is ready to…errrr…help?

Why it’s Hot – The increasing convergence of our digital and analog lives is brining the questions of privacy and data sovereignty to the forefront, while also creating new potential opportunities for marketers (just think about what a partnership between Microsoft and Walmart to buy TikTok could mean).

From The Verge:

mazonAmazon is getting into the health gadget market with a new fitness band and subscription service called Halo. Unlike the Apple Watch or even most basic Fitbits, the Amazon Halo band doesn’t have a screen. The app that goes along with it comes with the usual set of fitness tracking features along with two innovative — and potentially troubling — ideas: using your camera to create 3D scans for body fat and listening for the emotion in your voice.

The Halo band will cost $99.99 and the service (which is required for Halo’s more advanced features) costs $3.99 per month. Amazon is launching it as an invite-only early access program today with an introductory price of $64.99 that includes six months of the service for free. The Halo service is a separate product that isn’t part of Amazon Prime.

The lack of a screen on the Halo band is the first indicator that Amazon is trying to carve out a niche for itself that’s focused a little less on sports and exercise and a little more on lifestyle changes. Alongside cardio, sleep, body fat, and voice tone tracking, a Halo subscription will offer a suite of “labs” developed by partners. They’re short challenges designed to improve your health habits — like meditation, improving your sleep habits, or starting up basic exercise routines.

The Halo band “is not a medical device,” Amazon tells me. As such, it hasn’t submitted the device to the FDA for any sort of approval, including the lighter-touch “FDA clearance” that so many other fitness bands have used.

The Amazon Halo intro video | Source: Amazon

THE HALO BAND HARDWARE

TheThe Halo Band consists of a sensor module and a band that clicks into it on top. It’s a simple concept and one we’ve seen before. The lack of a display means that if you want to check your steps or the time, you’ll need to strap something else to your wrist or just check your phone.

The three color options for the Halo Band
The three color options for the Halo Band
 Amazon
Amazon will sell lots of different band styles and colors
Amazon will sell lots of different band styles and colors
 Amazon

The band lacks increasingly standard options like GPS, Wi-Fi, or a cellular radio, another sign that it’s meant to be a more laid-back kind of tracker. It has an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphones on or off. The microphones are not for speaking to Alexa, by the way, they’re there for the voice tone feature. There is explicitly no Alexa integration.

It communicates with your phone via Bluetooth, and it should work equally well with both iPhones and Android phones. The three main band colors that will be sold are onyx (black), mineral (light blue), and rose gold (pink-ish).

There will of course be a series of optional bands so you can choose one to match your style — and all of them bear no small resemblance to popular Apple Watch bands. The fabric bands will cost $19.99 and the sport bands will be $15.99.

Amazon intends for users to leave the Halo Band on all the time: the battery should last a full week and the sensor is water resistant up to 5ATM. Amazon calls it “swimproof.”

But where the Halo service really differentiates itself is in two new features, called Body and Tone. The former uses your smartphone camera to capture a 3D scan of your body and then calculate your body fat, and the latter uses a microphone on the Halo Band to listen to the tone of your voice and report back on your emotional state throughout the day.

Halo’s body scanning feature, which calculates body fat percentage.
Halo’s body scanning feature, which calculates body fat percentage.
 Amazon

BODY SCANS

BodyBody scans work with just your smartphone’s camera. The app instructs you to wear tight-fitting clothing (ideally just your underwear) and then stand back six feet or so from your camera. Then it takes four photos (front, back, and both sides) and uploads them to Amazon’s servers where they’re combined into a 3D scan of your body that’s sent back to your phone. The data is then deleted from Amazon’s servers.

Halo scans your body with four photos
Halo scans your body with four photos
 Amazon video

Once you have the 3D scan, Amazon uses machine learning to analyze it and calculate your body fat percentage. Amazon argues that body fat percentage is a more reliable indicator of health than either weight or body mass index. Amazon also claims that smart scales that try to measure body fat using bioelectrical impedance are not as accurate as its scan. Amazon says it did an internal study to back up those claims and may begin submitting papers to peer-reviewed medical journals in the future.

Finally, once you have your scan, the app will give you a little slider you can drag your finger on to have it show what you would look like with more or less body fat.

Halo uses AI in Amazon’s cloud to create the 3D scan and calculate body fat percentage
Halo uses AI in Amazon’s cloud to create the 3D scan and calculate body fat percentage
 Amazon video

That feature is meant to be educational and motivational, but it could also be literally dangerous for people with body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia, or other self-image issues. I asked Amazon about this directly and the company says that it has put in what it hopes are a few safeguards: the app recommends you only scan yourself every two weeks, it won’t allow the slider to show dangerously low levels of body fat, and it has information about how low body fat can increase your risk for certain health problems. Finally, although anybody 13 years of age and up can use the Halo Band, the body scan feature will only be allowed for people 18 or older.

Halo listens to your voice and guesses at your emotional state
Halo listens to your voice and guesses at your emotional state
 Amazon video

TRACKING THE TONE OF YOUR VOICE

TheThe microphone on the Amazon Halo band isn’t meant for voice commands; instead it listens to your voice and reports back on what it believes your emotional state was throughout the day. If you don’t opt in, the microphone on the Band doesn’t do anything at all.

Once you opt in, the Halo app will have you read some text back to it so that it can train a model on your voice, allowing the Halo band to only key in on your tone and not those around you. After that, the band will intermittently listen to your voice and judge it on metrics like positivity and energy.

It’s a passive and intermittent system, meaning that you can’t actively ask it to read your tone, and it’s not listening all of the time. You can also mute the mic at any time by pressing the button until a red blinking LED briefly appears to show you it’s muted.

Amazon is quick to note that your voice is never uploaded to any servers and never heard by any humans. Instead, the band sends its audio snippets to your phone via Bluetooth, and it’s analyzed there. Amazon says that the Halo app immediately deletes the voice samples after it analyzes it for your emotional state.

It picks up on the pitch, intensity, rhythm, and tempo of your voice and then categorizes them into “notable moments” that you can go back and review throughout the day. Some of the emotional states include words like hopeful, elated, hesitant, bored, apologetic, happy, worried, confused, and affectionate.

We asked Amazon whether this Tone feature was tested across differing accents, gender, and cultures. A spokesperson says that it “has been a top priority for our team” but that “if you have an accent you can use Tone but your results will likely be less accurate. Tone was modeled on American English but it’s only day one and Tone will continue to improve.”

The Halo app’s main screen
The Halo app’s main screen
 Amazon

DATA PRIVACY

BothBoth the Body and Tone features are innovative uses of applied AI, but they are likely to set off any number of privacy alarm bells. Amazon says that it is being incredibly careful with user data. The company will post a document detailing every type of data, where it’s stored, and how to delete it.

Every feature is opt-in, easy to turn off, and it’s easy to delete data. For example, there’s no requirement you create a body scan and even if you do, human reviewers will never see those images. Amazon says the most sensitive data like body scans and Tone data are only stored locally (though photos do need to temporarily be uploaded so Amazon’s servers can build the 3D model). Amazon isn’t even allowing Halo to integrate with other fitness apps like Apple Health at launch.

Some of the key points include:

  • Your Halo profile is distinct from your Amazon account — and will need to be individually activated with a second factor like a text message so that anybody else that might share your Amazon Prime can’t get to it.
  • You can download and delete any data that’s stored in the cloud at any time, or reset your account to zero.
  • Body scans and tone data can be individually deleted separately from the rest of your health data.
  • Body scans are only briefly uploaded to Amazon’s servers then deleted “within 12 hours” and scan images are never shared to other apps like the photo gallery unless you explicitly export an image.
  • Voice recordings are analyzed locally on your phone and then deleted. “Speech samples are processed locally and never sent to the cloud,” Amazon says, adding that “Tone data won’t be used for training purposes.”
  • Data can be shared with third parties, including some partners like WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Data generated by the “labs” feature is only shared as anonymous aggregate info.
Halo’s activity tracker does more than count steps
Halo’s activity tracker does more than count steps
 Amazon

ACTIVITY AND SLEEP TRACKING

TheThe body scanning and tone features might be the most flashy (or, depending on your perspective, most creepy) parts of Halo, but the thing you’ll likely spend the most time watching is your activity score.

Amazon’s Halo app tracks your cardio fitness on a weekly basis instead of daily — allowing for rest days. It does count steps, but on a top level what you get is an abstracted score (and, of course, a ring to complete) that’s more holistic. Just as Google did in 2018, Amazon has worked with the American Heart Association to develop the abstracted Activity score.

The Halo band uses its heart monitor to distinguish between intense, moderate, and light activity. The app combines those to ensure you’re hitting a weekly target. Instead of the Apple Watch’s hourly “stand” prompts, the Halo app tracks how long you have been “sedentary.” If you go for more than 8 hours without doing much (not counting sleep), the app will begin to deduct from your weekly activity score.

Halo’s sleep tracking feature
Halo’s sleep tracking feature
 Amazon

The Halo band can automatically detect activities like walking and running, but literally every other type of exercise will need to be manually entered into the app. The whole system feels less designed for workout min-maxers and more for people who just want to start being more active in the first place.

Speaking of heart tracking, the Halo band doesn’t proactively alert you to heart conditions like a-fib, nor does it do fall detection.

The Halo band’s sleep tracking similarly tries to create an abstracted score, though you can dig in and view details on your REM sleep and other metrics. One small innovation that the Halo band shares with the new Fitbit is temperature monitoring. It uses a three-day baseline when you are sleeping and from there can show a chart of your average body temperature when you wake up.

The Halo Band’s sensor array
The Halo Band’s sensor array
 Amazon

HALO LABS, PARTNERSHIPS, AND THE SUBSCRIPTION

Finally,Finally, Amazon has partnered with several third parties to create services and studies to go along with the Halo service. For example, if your health care provider’s system is compatible with Cerner, you can choose to share your body fat percentage with your provider’s electronic medical records system. Amazon says it will also be a fully subsidized option for the John Hancock Vitality wellness program.

The flagship partnership is with WW, which syncs up data from Halo into WW’s own FitPoints system. WW will also be promoting the Halo Band itself to people who sign up for its service.

There are dozens of lower-profile partnerships, which will surface in the Halo app as “Labs.” Many of the labs will surface as four-week “challenges” designed to get you to change your health habits. Partners creating Labs range from Mayo Clinic, Exhale, Aaptiv, Lifesum, Headspace, and more. So there might be a lab encouraging you to give yoga a try, or a set of advice on sleeping better like kicking your pet out of your bedroom.

Amazon says each Lab needs to be developed with “scientific evidence” of its effectiveness and Amazon will audit them. Data crated from these challenges will be shared with those partners, but only in an aggregated, anonymous way.

Virtually all the features discussed here are part of the $3.99/month Halo subscription. If you choose to let it lapse, the Halo band will still do basic activity and sleep tracking.

In charging a monthly subscription, Amazon is out on a limb compared to most of its competitors. Companies like Fitbit and Withings offer some of the same features you can get out of the Halo system, including sleep tracking and suggestions for improving your fitness. They also have more full-featured bands with displays and other functionality. And of course there’s the Apple Watch, which will have deeper and better integrations with the iPhone than will ever be possible for the Halo band.

Overall, Halo is a curious mix. Its hardware is intentionally less intrusive and less feature-rich than competitors, and its pricing strategy puts Amazon on the hook for creating new, regular content to keep people subscribed (exercise videos seem like a natural next step). Meanwhile, the body scanning feature goes much further than other apps in directly digitizing your self-image — which is either appealing or disturbing depending on your relationship to your self image. And the emotion tracking with Tone is completely new and more than a little weird.

The mix is so eclectic that I can’t possibly guess who it might appeal to. People who are more serious about exercise and fitness will surely want more than what’s on offer in the hardware itself, and people who just sort of want to be a little more active may balk at the subscription price. And since the Halo band doesn’t offer the same health alerts like fall detection or abnormal heart rate detection, using it as a more passive health monitor isn’t really an option either.

That doesn’t mean the Halo system can’t succeed. Amazon’s vision of a more holistic health gadget is appealing, and some of its choices in how it aggregates and presents health data is genuinely better than simple step counting or ring completion.

We won’t really know how well the Halo system does for some time, either. Amazon’s opening it up as an early access program for now, which means you need to request to join rather than just signing up and buying it.

KFC censors its slogan in attempt at relevance during Covid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Markeitng Week:

KFC is temporarily dropping the ‘It’s finger lickin’ good’ slogan it has used in its advertising for 64 years and launching its first global campaign in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A campaign launching today (24 August), created by agency Mother, shows various images of KFC– including an outdoor ad and a number of shots of its infamous bucket of chicken – with the ‘finger lickin’’ part of its slogan pixelated out. It ends with the line: “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”

The campaign will run across TV, press, social media and digital. Outdoor ads will feature KFC buckets with disclaimers, saying things like: “Lick fingers at own risk.”

KFC UK and Ireland’s head of retail and advertising, Kate Wall, tells Marketing Week: “We’ve been using that slogan for over 64 years and it’s arguably one of the most famous in the world – for a reason, we know our guests always lick the crumbs off their fingers because the chicken is so delicious.

“This year has thrown everyone – all brands – and we took a bit of a global stance that actually right now our slogan is probably the most inappropriate slogan out there, so we need to stop saying it.”

The decision to both drop the slogan and run a global campaign was prompted by the insight that encouraging finger licking was “inappriopriate” in the middle of a pandemic.

Why it’s (not) hot

Not This premise is a bit of a stretch considering licking your fingers is not a vector of transmission, and it’s a little condescending to the public, as in, did anyone really need this message from KFC? Brands want credit for seeming to care about the world and its people, and sometimes the ways they go about eliciting this credit is tone deaf or just off the mark.

Hot Removing part of the tagline does encourage the million+ viewers on Youtube alone to try to remember it, which further instills their slogan in their minds, so that part is clever.

Source: Marketing Week

Burger King angers Twitch streamers with stunt campaign

Burger King has been known for creating campaigns that tap into new technology to create PR, sometimes risking backlash (remember their tv spot that purposefully activated Google Home smart speaker in people’s homes?). Well, this time Burger King angered Twitch streamers by exploiting a donation feature that lets streamers collect donations from fans.

The donation feature in Twitch was designed to incentivize streamers to continue creating content that their audience appreciate by tipping them. The way it works is that a viewer can have a typed message read out aloud by a computer whenever they donate money to a streamer. In this case, Burger King targeted some of the most popular streamers and used a bot to donate $5 (a BK value meal) to have its message (unsolicited by both the streamer and the viewer) read out loud to everyone watching.

There’s been huge backlash and the campaign merely lasted a few hours on Twitch. Researches show gamers tend to be more open to advertising than the average person but not when done in such a scummy way that disrupts the experience to everyone involved and takes advantage of talent/influencers who have worked hard to build their audiences.

“Unlike other audiences, consumers in the video game arena are very discerning, protective and don’t appreciate marketing stunts that disrupt their experiences or minimize the work of their favorite streamers”

“Seeing a giant brand like Burger King coming into the space and marginalizing both the audience and the talent certainly doesn’t land well with the people they are trying to market to,” says Chris Erb, CEO of gaming-focused agency Tripleclix.

 

Sometimes, there’s a (not so) fine line between being a savvy and a scummy marketer. For brands to have success with these consumers they need to actually build relationships with gamers and their influencers, and not market to them.

Lego’s Collab with IKEA Makes Parents and Kids Happy

Kids of love Lego. Parents? Maybe not so much. Lego can make a big mess and they hurt to step on.

To provide a creative solution to this problem, Lego partnered with Ikea to create a storage system that doubles as a play structure. The new storage solution, called Bygglek, is deceptively simple. The white boxes come in four sizes and are designed to store hundreds of bricks. The ingenious part is that their tops and interiors are covered in Lego studs, so they can easily be stacked or built upon. (It also makes it easy to move the entire structure.)

The two big boxes will come in a traditional Ikea flat pack, but it’s designed to be so simple to assemble that 5-year-olds will be able to do it. The new line will be available in the U.S. in October; prices start at $9.99 for a set of three small boxes, and go to $14.99 for the largest box.As part of this line, Ikea will also sell a 201-piece Lego brick set for $14.99. When curating the bricks for this set, the designers deliberately choose less complex Lego elements to ensure that even the youngest child could use them. They didn’t include building instructions—these pieces and the boxes they come in are designed to spur a child’s imagination.

Why its hot

Storage devices for Lego aren’t really new. Most kids have had something to put them all in, but not all storage is an actual playset. It solves a unique problem – give kids something to store their Lego in and play with at the same time.

The DNC’s Role Call Goes Viral

Rhode Island’s Calamari is having a moment!

https://twitter.com/business/status/1295926733921820678

The DNC goes digital in our Coronavirus/zoom marathon era. Instead of what is usually groups of delegates gathered in an arena with their respective state name, we got a demonstration of the diversity of humanity and geography that is the USA. This was a breath of fresh air to those who have been feeling fed up with politics.

Why it’s hot?

What could have been very technically tricky was considered a huge success. A typically very skeptical Twitter agees. It made a really stagnant tradition into an uplifting moment.

 

 

 

A New Frontier for Beauty Brands and Inclusion

With “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” capturing so much time and attention during lockdown, beauty and fashion brands have discovered a unique integration opportunity. Following the lead of skincare brands Glossier and Tatcha who have added products to the game, and fashion brands like Marc Jacobs and Coach who have created virtual looks, Procter & Gamble’s Gillette Venus razor brand is entering the scene.

Venus noticed the lack of customizations available for player avatars and decided to design new skin-inclusive options. They created eight skin tones and 19 skin types that can be combined in more than 250 ways, showing freckles, acne, hair, cellulite, scars and stretch marks, along with vitiligo, tattoos, psoriasis and differently abled bodies.

To further engage with their audience, Venus will host an event hosted by a surprise celebrity on the virtual beaches of Animal Crossing on August 31st.

Why It’s Hot

Venus is making a powerful statement that shows how far they’ve pushed their brand from their original commercials featuring “perfect” models with no body hair in sight. Capitalizing on the video gaming and virtual live event trends is a nice way to round out their new campaign and continue to make real connections with their customers.

Source

Google Maps tracks forest fires in near-real-time

The Verge:

Type in the name of an ongoing wildfire into Google search, and the site will now bring up a map featuring a near-real-time boundary of the fire. Google revealed the feature today, which was piloted in California last year and will now be available across the US.

Google Maps will also update users with road closures and provide them with directions that help them avoid danger and roadblocks. If someone is looking at an area near a blaze on Google Maps, they’ll get an alert.

Getting accurate information to people near a wildfire can save lives. It’s also a constant challenge for emergency responders because the situation can change rapidly, while hearsay online can quickly drown out reputable sources. Google developed the new mapping feature with input from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) as part of an effort to make important updates easier to find.

The problem came to the attention of Yossi Matias, vice president of engineering at Google, in 2010 during the Mount Carmel fire near Haifa, Israel. Matias was working in Google’s Haifa office when his team saw billowing smoke outside. A Google search failed to turn up anything more helpful than what they could already assess from their windows. “While we did find some details confirming what we already knew—a large fire was taking place outside of our door—we experienced a potentially life-impacting information gap,” Matias wrote in a blog post announcing the new mapping feature today.

Now, the same Google search would result in more curated content. The scare Matias and his team experienced led to the development of Google’s SOS Alerts in 2017. Beneath a red banner labeled “SOS Alert,” the search results offer top stories, followed by official updates for emergency situations. Starting today, searches for wildfires will also include a more detailed map showing the boundaries of an active blaze.

Why it’s hot:

As the climate crisis worsens, how much more will we rely on information services such as this? And what forms will that information take with regards to mass migration, air pollution, heat waves, droughts, floods, etc?

Will our phones help us survive? No doubt those with access to such services will be advantaged.

The BA Test Kitchen Loses Their Viral Video Talent over Pay Equality

Bon Appétit has not released a video on its beloved Test Kitchen channel since June 5, amid a reckoning of how the food brand treats and compensates its employees of color.

And once the video brand returns, it will look much different than what its six million YouTube subscribers were accustomed to.

Six members of Bon Appétit’s 13 on-camera talent have announced that they will no longer appear in videos with the food magazine’s Test Kitchen brand: Rick Martinez, Sohla El-Waylly, Priya Krishna, Gaby Melian, Molly Baz, and Carla Lalli Music.

Martinez, El-Waylly, Krishna, and Melian said in statements that Condé Nast’s lack of commitment to diversity and inclusion led to their departure. Baz and Music said they will leave out of solidarity with their peers.”

https://twitter.com/lallimusic/status/1293566520476471296

Which bears the question: Why not just make pay equity happen? And fast?

Gizmodo theorizes that Conde Nast higher ups don’t understand the work and detail that go into videos, as well as the heart. They were data driven in these decisions but video is mostly art.

Why It’s Hot?

Inflexible corporations need to not only put their money where their mouth is, but to do it fast. There is a price to pay for not flexing with culture, and minority groups are going to be more vocal about workplace inequity. There is a lot of humanity in the BA test kitchen, and sadly the data driven decision-making has soured BA’s audience on their content network.

 

 

Creating an Index for Dynamic Pricing

Lifestyle, the sexual wellness brand has found a new pricing model. Offering discounts on the brand’s products based on Australian’s search data for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) on Publicly Traded. The STI index, which tracks real-time searches for six STI’s serves to automatically adjusts the price of condoms: the higher the index, the lower the price. Conversely, when searches go down, the prices go up (but not above retail value). Customers can either purchase condoms through the index or sign up for price alerts via email or SMS.

The initiative is educational in nature – hoping people will nurture their sexual wellbeing in the same way they nurture their finances.

Taking cues from the stock market model, the LifeStyles Publicly Traded Campaign hopes to boost education and incentivise safe sex at the very same time. It works by correlating condom price fluctuations with real-time Google search data in relation to STIs.

Source: Man of Many

Why it’s hot: Although dynamic pricing is not a new marketing technique (Alaska Airlines and Bose have both done it), this is a great interactive way of engaging and educating your customer base.

Earth Speakr Gets Kids Involved in Advocacy

Artist Olafur Eliasson, in collaboration with digital agency AKQA, created an app called Earth Speakr that kids can use to articulate their feelings about the state of the planet, and the associate climate crisis that older generations have placed on their shoulders. The app uses AR to mirror the kids’ expressions, from a video they record, with a cartoon face that can be placed on anything, from a sewage drain to a tree to a hot dog.

As Elliason describes the app, “It’s about giving the planet a voice through the people who are going to inherit it.”

After kids record a message, the parent can place the “message,” which appears as a glass sphere, anywhere they feel it should be heard on a map of the world (also available on the corresponding site). Users can then click on different messages and share them. The messages on the map vary from the silly (one video asks, “Hello, who are you? Why??”) to the earnest to some that are not super audible.

RZA of Wu-Tang puts the ‘good’ in Good Humor with new inclusive ice cream truck jingle

The well-known ice cream truck jingle has a racist past so Good Humor partnered with RZA to create a more inclusive jingle as a free alternative to the problematic tune “Turkey in the Straw.”

‘Turkey in the Straw’s’ melody originated from British and Irish folk songs, which had no racial connotations. But the song itself was first performed (and gained popularity) in American minstrel shows in the 1800s. Some songs using its same melody contained highly offensive, racist lyrics,” Good Humor explains.

While Good Humor hasn’t owned food trucks since the 1970s and didn’t create this jingle, they wanted to “be part of the solution on this issue” and create a more inclusive tune that can “continue to spread joy to everyone for the next 100 years.”

Good Humor will provide educational programming to teach drivers how to update the soundtrack on their trucks but also explain the importance of doing so. They’ll also be working with the company that makes ice-cream truck music boxes, to pre-install the new option.

Good Humor x RZA: a new jingle for a new era

In a behind-the-scenes clip, the RZA spoke about his new jingle, saying, “We wanted to make a melody that includes all community, that’s good for every driver, that’s good for every kid. And I’m proud to say, for the first time in a long time, a new ice cream jingle will be made available to trucks all across the country, in perpetuity. That mean’s forever — like Wu-Tang’s forever. And I can assure you, this one is made with love.

RZA’s new jingle “drew inspiration from his childhood memories of chasing after ice cream trucks on Staten Island — blending traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements.”

Outside of taking a stand to be on the right side of history and our culture, this is also a smart move by Good Humor since it partnered with such an iconic and hugely influential musician, helping to modernize the brand.

Why it’s hot: The best advertising doesn’t just sell, it becomes part of the culture.

Sources: Rolling Stones, LA Times

Adidas celebrates Damian Lillard’s 61 Points

Adidas is celebrating its latest superstar’s success with a surprise markdown on his entire line of sneakers. Adidas ambassador Damian Lillard dropped 61 points in his NBA game last night, leading his Portland Trail Blazers to a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The 61 points tied Lillard’s career-best performance, and marked the third 60-point game for the point guard this season.

To celebrate Lillard’s big accomplishment, Adidas has made his Dame 6 sneakers available for just $61 for a limited time. The shoe, which normally retails for $110+, is on-sale across the Adidas site, with multiple sizes, styles and colorways available at the $61 price point.

Why it’s hot:

  • Demonstrates genuine support Adidas has for it’s ambassadors. Brands these days are all trying to creating meaningful relationships with influencers, celebrities, athletes, but it often comes off forced or only during product launch moments.
  • Ability to put something in market in real-time. This deal went live soon after the game finished and was only available for the 24 hours following. It shows how Adidas is paying attention and willing to move quickly.
  • It’s a fun celebration! Everything feels very serious and heavy in the world today, but with the NBA season back in session this is a fun way to celebrate an achievement for DL and the Trail Blazers.

Source: Rolling Stone

Burger King Face Masks Communicate Customers’ Orders

Consumers who place their orders in advance on Burger King Belgium’s Facebook or Instagram via Burger King’s “Safe Order” service receive a custom-printed version of their order written on a face mask. When they go to pick up their order, they don’t need to speak at all.

Why it’s Hot:

While only available for a limited time, the masks are a fun way to bring awareness to a real problem (talking expels droplets, so wearing a mask and limiting talking makes their restaurants safer) while building affinity for the brand. Plus, having people wear these outside of the Burger King ordering occasion is free advertising for them.

“Reclaim Her Name” gives women authors the credit they deserve

Mary Ann Evans and Amantine Aurore Dupin probably don’t ring much of a bell for most people, even those who are avid readers of literature. Definitely not as much as these women’s exalted noms de plume “George Eliot” and “George Sand”, pseudonyms these brilliant women took on in order to get their work published and read in a world that overwhelmingly ignored or disdained the expression of women. Some smart folks at VMLY&R decided to help change that, and to honor women authors, by publishing their work in their true names in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK.

From Campaign:

Baileys has partnered The Women’s Prize for Fiction to create a collection of novels that were written by women but originally published under male pseudonyms.

Over the centuries, many female writers have felt compelled to publish work under a male name to be taken seriously. To highlight this, the Baileys’ collection celebrates the work of  writers including Mary Ann Evans, Ann Petry and Amantine Aurore Dupin (pen names George Eliot, Arnold Petri and George Sand, respectively) to mark 25 years of The Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Last year, the Irish liqueur brand launched a series of events around the Women’s Prize for Fiction, including a “Baileys book bar” pop-up at Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road, London.

From Creative Brief.com:

The campaign honours and celebrates female authors and will include the first ever publication of Middlemarch under George Elliot’s real name, Mary Ann Evans.

Each of the 25 books in the library features newly commissioned cover artwork which was created by female designers and the full collection will be available to download as free e-books. The team carefully selected each of the 25 books, searching archives, online and university resources to identify female writers who disguised their gender with pseudonyms. The collection includes A Phantom Lover by Violet Paget (pen name Vernon Lee) and Marie of the Cabin Club by Ann Petry (pen name Arnold Petri).

Liz Petry, daughter of Anne Petry, explained her pride at her mother’s inclusion under her own name. She says: “When I was asked if my mother’s work could be included within such a worthy collection of books along with other impressive female writers, I was honoured. I’m incredibly proud of my mother’s work and it excites me that her writing has been introduced to a new audience through this collection. I know she would be thrilled to be a part of this as it’s an incredible conversation starter for such an important cause. My mother always believed in a world with shared humanity and I think this project encapsulates that.”

Tamryn Kerr, Creative Director, VMLY&R added: “Many of the authors we selected were suffragettes and staunch feminists. I’d like to think of this project as our way of thanking them for what they did for us, and of supporting a new generation of artists through the new cover art that 13 inspiring female illustrators, from all over the world, created for the Reclaim Her Name collection.”

What happens when you google Middlemarch…

THIS…

TO THIS…

Check out all the other titles being published

Why it’s hot:

1. Middlemarch, first published in 1871, will be published under the author’s real name for the first time.

2. This gives other publishers more permission to publish these titles with the authors’ true names. And on the flip side, in this day and age, would a publisher be bold enough stupid enough to continue to publish Middlemarch under the name George Eliot? In 50 years, will Mary Ann Evans be more well known than George Eliot?

3. Baileys seems like an odd pairing, but it’s smart of them to attach themselves to an undeniably positive movement in the literary world.

Source: Creative Brief

Science Twitter Goes Bananas

Following Science Twitter in the time of the pandemic has been a personal treat (anyone else following Andy Slavitt?) This is the best way to get new COVID info fast.

https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/1291146820320714752

Recently there has been MAJOR drama within the science Twitter world. My friend (a research scientist) summarized it well for me “Science Twitter has been insane recently. This is a professor named BethAnn who started a movement called MeTooSTEM to try to bring to light sexual harassment in academia, especially among a protected class of tenured professors. She was briefly [at the center of this discussion] as she did not get tenure after fighting against a prof at her university accused of sexual harassment. But, BethAnn has been accused for a long time of being anti-POC… Lots of people dropped out of the movement.”

Per the NYTimes, an “anonymous [Twitter] account, @Sciencing_Bi, was an active participant in the corner of Science Twitter that frequently discusses issues of sexual misconduct in the sciences. It claimed on at least one occasion to have grown up in Alabama, to have “fled the south because of their oppression of queer folk,” and to have attended Catholic school. The account began to pointedly make reference to being Native American and, earlier this year, began to identify as Hopi.

Since 2016, it has posted often about issues around social justice in the sciences, with a focus on activism and research about sexual harassment.”

“Then BethAnn McLaughlin, another Twitter connection, announced on July 31 that the anonymous professor had died from complications of the virus.”

“The same day, Gerardo Gonzalez, a spokesman for Arizona State University, where the anonymous Twitter user was supposedly a professor, described the anonymous account as a “hoax.”

The account had posted inaccurate information about the school, he said. “We also have had no one, such as a family member or friend, report a death to anyone at the university,” he added.”

As it turns out, this account was actually created (and killed off) by BethAnn herself.

BethAnn McLaughlin in late 2018.BethAnn McLaghlin

@Sciencing_Bi seemed to make BethAnn impenetrable to criticism. Now it’s clear that this person was a figment of her imagination, not a fully realized human, and a tool to shield BethAnn herself.

Why it’s hot?

Catfishing is real. This person was believed across the scientific universe. Her university had to disavow the person before it was realized. What does that mean when we are all getting our information from “experts online” in the pandemic?

Babe Wine & Bumble find a quarantine niche

What meaningful role can a dating app and a wine brand both play in the lives of those going through a Covid breakup? They can be those two dependable besties, one who pours you a drink and says they always hated your ex, while the other tells you you’re better off and helps you move your things. This seems to have been the insight behind the brand collaboration of Babe Wine and Bumble, who have offered people a chance to have their move-out costs covered (plus a Babe Wine gift-card and a free Bumble profile) by being tagged by a IRL friend — who thinks you really could us a pick-me-up during your covid-breakup woes — in the comments on Babe Wine’s Instagram.

 

From Mobile Marketer:

Babe Wine, the brand of sparkling canned wine owned by AB InBev, is working with women-first dating app Bumble on a social media campaign to cover the moving costs of people who are stuck living with an ex during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an announcement shared exclusively with Mobile Marketer.

To win a chance to have their moving costs covered by Babe and Bumble, users of photo-sharing app Instagram can tag themselves on the “moving on” post on Babe’s @drinkbabe account. The brand will choose five winners from the comments who appear to be “turning their breakup into a glow up,” per the announcement.

Babe and Bumble created a flyer showing a mock moving company named “B&B Movers” that touts its services, including moving furniture, removing all traces from an ex from a smartphone and tailoring a Bumble profile to get back into the dating scene.

The stunt is most likely to reach the 75% of U.S. consumers ages 18 to 24 and the 57% of people ages 25 to 29 who use Instagram, as measured by Pew Research Center. Those consumers helped to drive a 79% surge in off-premise sales of canned wine to $163 million for the 12-month period ended in June, per Nielsen data cited by Forbes. The growth in canned wine indicates how younger consumers are seeking convenience and value consistent with their easy-drinking style, Wine Spectator reported.

From Marketing Brew:

The dating app and AB InBev wine brand are offering to cover moving costs (and more) to turn five breakups into glow ups via an Instagram giveaway.

The prize? Not having to quarantine with your ex anymore, plus wine and a new Bumble profile.

Price of entry? Commenting on B&B’s Instagram post about the campaign.

Find a friend: Like any relationship, it’s important to make sure your partner isn’t your competitor. Bumble and Babe swiped right because they sell different things to similar audiences.

Go hard on cobranding: Bumble’s outline font, meet Babe Wine’s high-performing brand colors. Even B&B’s cobranded moving van now provides brand equity for both partners.

Provide more than cash: In addition to covering $600 worth of moving fees, Babe & Bumble promote their products by offering a $100 Babe gift card and a “hand tailored” Bumble profile as prizes.

Why it’s hot:

Right time, right product, right message. The lighthearted and encouraging copy is just what the recently heartbroken are looking for, as well as a moving company and some wine in a can to drown their sorrows.

Leveraging IRL friends. Asking friends to nominate someone who needs some “love” helps draw a connection from the brand into the sphere of someone’s actual friend. Psychologically, this feels a little like community, and that’s just what you’re desperate for when you’ve just broken up.

“Brand as friend” is strong with this one. Babe Wine is was built on social media, so a campaign on social that drives interaction has them very in their element, and every comment reply offers them an opportunity to reinforce their brand identity. Fun Fact: Babe Wine was co-founded by The Fat Jew, someone who knows a thing or two about social media marketing.

Source: Mobile Marketer, Marketing Brew