Celebrating the Public Sector is now in fashion

What does tie-dye, the National Parks and an election have in common? They have inspired a whole new crop of exciting and coveted cause-oriented merch.

From USPS’ sold-out crop top (never thought I’d type these words) to the vintage-inspired Parks Project hoodies to Jason-Wu-designed-Biden sweaters, the popularity of cause-oriented merch keeps on booming. This is not just in the US either. In the UK, celebrating the lifesaving efforts of the National Health Services (NHS) is now fashionable – its coveted t-shirts and sweaters designed by Jonny Banger are ubiquitous with cool Londoners on Instagram.

The popularity of such statement pieces (which can financially support the causes they espouse) coincides with this year’s massive work-from-home shift, as consumers are more inclined to choose comfortable clothing over business wear anyway.

A recent article on the New York Times declared that “politics are back in fashion” and it focuses more on the US election and the fashion industry unifying to get the vote out. In a time when the fashion industry itself is going through such turmoil and so many brands are going bankrupt and so many Americans have lost their job, it’s refreshing to see that high fashion is having a bit of a ‘meaningful’ makeover.

“This new wave of merch doesn’t feel exclusionary in the way that a designer logo might. When so many are reeling from economic devastation and grappling with health issues, rocking a huge brand name could feel tone-deaf—unless, of course, it’s one that’s literally saving lives, conserving land, or enabling us to, you know, send mail.”

The fashion industry’s goal is to reframe voting and turn voting day into the event of the year.

“ the goal is …for Election Day, and going to the polls to be the shared experience of the year, the way the Met Gala and the Oscars have been in the past. To make it about dress as celebration of democracy, taking an abstract ideal and rendering it easy to access and to put into action”

“Turn up for the turn out!” Ms. Erwiah said. “Everyone is sitting at home in sweatpants. Why not get dressed up for voting? Watch the election like we watch the Oscars. This date could be like the Grammys.”

Ms. Dawson said: “We want people to think: Oh my God, what am I going to wear to the polls?”

Ms. Erwiah added: “There’s no prom, no homecoming, but you can vote!”

2020 really is the year we realize all the essential things we took for granted – democracy, our health, the post office – are actually pretty cool (and fashion-forward).

Sources:

https://www.elle.com/fashion/a33577438/public-sector-merch-trend/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/style/politics-is-back-in-fashion.html

https://footwearnews.com/2020/business/retail/american-eagle-vote-election-2020-1203052964/

The Cassandra Report

 

Drive Through… Fine Dining?

The restaurant industry has been pummeled by the pandemic, prompting a wave of creative new dining ideas across the country, from bars offering carry-0ut cocktail mixes to pizzerias transforming into produce stands. Now, 10 well-known Los Angeles chefs are joining forces in an ambitious new experiment.

On October 15 and 16, restaurant tech platform Resy is hosting a 10-course drive-through dinner at the Hollywood Palladium catered by these chefs that could be a model for bringing high-end restaurants back to life.

The event, called the Resy Drive Thru, is sponsored by American Express. Diners will stay in their cars and move through a track made up of 10 stations, where they’ll be served one course prepared by each of the 10 restaurants.

Guests will be served food in single-use containers and given a tray to eat on, which is theirs to keep. Each car will have its own designated waiter who will guide them through the process. (All event personnel will wear gloves, masks, and face shields; they’ll also be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive at the event, and will have their temperature taken at the door.) The entire experience costs $95 per person, and can be purchased in groups of up to four in a single vehicle. There is room for 600 guests over two nights.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/90553394/why-this-drive-through-restaurant-could-be-the-future-of-fine-dining

You’re Not Hardcore Unless You’re Bicyclecore

From Repeller’s Edith Young: “At the intersection of necessary cultural adaptation and late summer style lies bicyclecore.”

For many, gearing up for a ride isn’t a revelatory element of getting dressed but then there’s apparently a whole other group emerging these days where bike-adjacent gadgetry and style is top of mind.

Bike sales surged this summer so it may not be a surprised that bike-adjacent categories are popping up. In June, bike sales grew 63% year-over-year, according to market research firm NPD Group. Sales of sports performance road bikes grew 87%, gravel bikes were up 144% and e-bikes jumped 190%.

And brands are starting to take notice too. Outdoor Voices recently collaborated with global cycle clothing brand Rapha. State Bicycle Co. released a Notorious B.I.G “Ready To Die” bike. Who do we think is jumping into the bike game next?

Why it’s hot:
Changing behavioral habits will no doubt give way to new opportunities. By default, we gravitate towards the digital transformations that are taking place but it’ll also be interesting to see the category-adjacent transformations that happen too.

LA star chefs re-imagine the drive-thru for the fine-dining set

Ten of L.A.’s most beloved restaurants will come together to serve diners—in a way that you’ve never experienced them before, designed with COVID precautions in mind.

In partnership with American Express® Gold Card, Resy is transforming the exterior of the Hollywood Palladium into a whimsical labyrinth, which you’ll drive through to visit each restaurant pop-up. Don’t worry about leaving your car; each dish will be handed to you at each local restaurant’s pit stop. -Resy

Restaurants have had to reinvent themselves during Covid, with fine dining hit particularly hard since its value prop comes largely from the atmosphere and experience it creates, which is very difficult to replicate under covid restrictions.

From Fast Company:

The restaurant industry has been pummeled by the pandemic, prompting a wave of creative new dining ideas across the country, from bars offering carry-0ut cocktail mixes to pizzerias transforming into produce stands. Now, 10 well-known Los Angeles chefs are joining forces in an ambitious new experiment.

On October 15 and 16, restaurant tech platform Resy is hosting a 10-course drive-through dinner at the Hollywood Palladium catered by these chefs that could be a model for bringing high-end restaurants back to life. “This could be done in any city,” says Mei Lin, chef and owner of Nightshade. “It would require organization and logistics, but it’s possible.”

The event, called the Resy Drive Thru, is sponsored by American Express. Diners will stay in their cars and move through a track made up of 10 stations, where they’ll be served one course prepared by each of the 10 restaurants.

Guests will be served food in single-use containers and given a tray to eat on, which is theirs to keep. Each car will have its own designated waiter who will guide them through the process. (All event personnel will wear gloves, masks, and face shields; they’ll also be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive at the event, and will have their temperature taken at the door.) The entire experience costs $95 per person, and can be purchased in groups of up to four in a single vehicle. There is room for 600 guests over two nights.

It was obvious from the start that it wasn’t possible to mimic the charm or elegance of a dining room, but this project prompts chefs to think outside the box.ng

The dining industry is currently being devastated by COVID-19, particularly restaurants that don’t have pandemic-friendly options, like outdoor seating or take-out and delivery. The sector has already lost $120 billion and is expected to reach $240 billion by the end of the year. More than six million jobs have been permanently cut.

Why it’s hot: Fine dining is all about having a special experience that rises above the typical and the common. It’s interesting to see how these fine dining restaurants are trying to achieve that proposition during covid, and how they make — and sell — a unique experience to potential guests.

Source: Fast Company

How does Walmart+ compare to Amazon Prime?

Can Walmart+ compete with Amazon Prime?

For what you get, Walmart+ is a great value. For either $13 a month or $98 a year, you get unlimited free delivery right to your door—arriving the same day you place your order, provided you’re near one of 2,700 participating locations. Not to mention streamlined, contact-free service in stores and member pricing on fuel at nearly 2,000 gas stations nationwide.

With Amazon, same-day delivery is only available to folks living in major metropolitan areas, so that’s something to weigh against Walmart’s thousands of same-day stores in the U.S. But it’s important to note that Walmart+ cannot offer free delivery to cities outside its participating stores, which, at the time of publication, is most major cities.

Prime’s got a ton of other benefits that Walmart+ does not: Alexa integration for voice-command shopping; clothing on a “try-before-you-buy” basis; a discount at Whole Foods; 20% off baby food and diapers; thousands of movies and TV shows courtesy of Prime Video; ad-free music; free audiobooks, comics, Kindle ebooks, and magazines; and free video games and in-game perks.

Walmart+ requires a $35 minimum purchase to qualify for free delivery, while with Prime, any Prime-eligible product can be shipped for free. But there’s also the matter of coverage.

With Walmart’s existing infrastructure, the retailer’s able to offer free same-day delivery from 2,700 Walmart locations throughout the U.S. These are scheduled within one-hour time slots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., generally speaking. You can get same-day delivery on more than 160,000 items from the pickup-and-delivery section of Walmart’s website, but only if you live within an area optimized for Walmart+. You can check your zip-code on the site before signing up.

Why it’s hot: Amazon has some real competition this time and we’ll have to wait and watch if Walmart+ can compete with Amazon across America’s vast and diverse marketplace.

Source

Wearable Peace of Mind

Allergy Amulet makes it easier to dine out of home by detecting target ingredients within seconds while doubling as a fashion accessory

Allergy Amulet’s novel technology can improve the quality of life for the millions of people living with food allergies or intolerances by testing for common allergenic ingredients in seconds. The portable device is made to fit every lifestyle — it’s small enough to fit on a keychain, a necklace, or in a pocket.

Source: Hit Consultant

Allergy Amulet Nabs $3.3M To Launch World’s Smallest, Fastest Consumer Food Allergen Sensor

Why it’s hot: Food allergies affect 32 million Americans and between 220 to 520 million people globally—that’s one in 13 children and one in 10 adults. They can be fatal, so having certainty about the safety of the contents of your food in an instant and without having to rely on third parties opens up a whole culinary world.

Did you register?

Voting season is upon us. So first, did you register to vote yet?

It’s brought up in most conversations I’ve had recently, even at work. All over everywhere and with customers wanting brands to align with their beliefs or have more of a community mindset there has been some brands taking a stand and asking, imploring you to take a stand as well.

What these emails have: (And what I consider Do’s)

1.) A message that connects the brand to voting

  • As most of the emails I saw were mostly ecommerce and fashion brands, you have to remind your customer why this message is coming from you. (Jenna you said it best today) Everyone should want to be Nike as they really did it. (Pun Intended) “No more sitting on the sidelines. The 2020 election season is here, and we are playing for the future. It’s up to each and every one of us. Register to vote today.”

2.) Call to action to register

  • This is obvious but needed, it can’t be just a reminder to vote. Pairing the message with a next step, providing a pathway for the end user to uphold your rationale for interjecting in the conversation. Most emails have this, the question is where to place it if you have an offer included. Clare and Baggu Both had it after their offer but Nike because there was no offer had it in their email.

3.) A partnership with – “When We All Vote”

  • Adding credibility with an organization that is specialized in that.

4.) Merchandise that is linked to voting. 

  • Could be questionable. But I think most people want to commemorate the fact that they voted and also urge others to do so. Especially when paired with a give-back of some sort I think this authenticates the offer and the message. See Baggu, a handbag and accessory company gives 100% back to the sales from the collaboration of a SF Based artist to the Black Voters Matter Fund. And Clare giving a 10% from their When We All Vote collaboration back to the organization.

What some of these emails have that are questionable:

1.) A hashtag that connects the brand and voting. 

  • As I know most brands want to continue the conversation, and gauge impact on socials so a hashtag is a good way to see that. Voting on the other hand is both personal, communal and a heavier topic that when paired with a hashtag of a brand might cheapen the message to people that aren’t apart of the core ride or die audience for your brand. NYX Cosmetics has the #NYXCosmeticsVote.

2.) Pairing unrelated products with no give back.

  • Additionally, adding products that are unrelated with no giveback, or promoting “Friends&Family” sales that aren’t because of voting cheapens your message because these are two entirely separate actions. It comes of as disingenuous because of the incongruent of the message.

Why it’s hot:

A moment to think about in communications, it doesn’t come often but could potentially have an impact on your audience when you do it right.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

Stories: From Snapchat Teens to LinkedIn Execs

LinkedIn has announced that it will roll out its own version of Stories to all users after completing a trial period in Brazil, Netherlands, UAE, Australia, and France.

Stories–the popular and short lived photo narratives–were first rolled out by Snapchat in 2013. High engagement soon attracted the attention of Facebook, which copied communication tool and rolled it out on its own platforms (FB, IG).

Search Mobile Gif

Why it’s hot: 

In the last century, the U.S. has gone from a society where suits were necessary for office work to people wearing T-shirts on Zoom calls with pets in the background. Beyond creating a new medium for digital advertising, LinkedIn stories may signal the continued movement toward a more informal and personal work and recruitment culture.

A very good boy will administer your test now

There is a pilot project in Finland’s Helsinki airport to screen passengers for Covid-19. It doesn’t involve the use of AI, blockchain, drones, nano-tech or injecting bleach. Instead, researchers at the University of Helsinki have trained dogs, who have a hyper-sensitive sense of smell, to screen passengers for the virus. The program is voluntary.

Recently, German researchers found that Corona-sniffin’ dogs have a 94% accuracy rate. And they can “sniff out the virus in a person who is asymptomatic… They detected it at an earlier stage than a PCR test, the most widely used diagnostic tool for the new coronavirus.” [NYT]

Story in NYT

Why it’s Hot

This test would feel so much better than the up-the-nose swab. Better still, this method could serve as a more efficient screening method so we don’t use up Covid-19 tests that always seem to be scarce in the United States.