Why it’s hot: As our daily lives become increasingly more busy, and with more platforms than ever competing for our attention, Quibi is taking a huge gamble on the future of TV and the future of wholly-owned short-form video content. With our limited attention spans and on-the-go lifestyles, there’s a growing need for platforms to adapt and change to how we digest content throughout the day.
Just in time for International Women’s Day, Budweiser is releasing reimagined ads from the 50’s and 60’s for today’s audience. Understanding that sexist ads that objectify women no longer fly with consumers who expect brands to be more progressive, Budweiser is re-releasing the ads to nod to their past heritage, but make a point about its future.
The campaign, released today in conjunction with International Women’s Day, features full-page color ads in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times that juxtapose sexist Bud print ads from the 1950s and 60s with updated versions portraying women in empowered roles.
Women now comprise more than 80% of the brand’s marketing team, so it’s refreshing to see that for them it’s about using their past to serve as a launching pad to show women in a more balanced way.
Why it’s hot:
Rather than hide their sexist past, the brand is showing how they can evolve in their thinking, especially in these times of extreme divisiveness.
New Zealand life insurance comparison website LifeDirect killed off its mascot in a TV ad to persuade viewers to plan for their own deaths. The TV ad showed LifeDirect’s mascot of almost 10 years, Simon the sloth, on a hike to celebrate buying life insurance before tumbling off a cliff to his death.
The spot was shown simultaneously across 25 different channels during prime time but aired only once. The following day, LifeDirect continued the story by placing a print ad in New Zealand newspapers. The ad was in the style of an obituary and described how Simon had failed to identify the beneficiaries of his policy, inviting readers to stake their claim to a portion of the NZ$10,000.
Participants could enter the competition by inventing stories about how they knew Simon and why he would want them to have his money. Entries could be made by completing a template form on a dedicated website, or by submitting their own entries and adding photoshopped images, etc.
Why it’s hot?
Gamification of death
Fitness trackers and other electronic devices already monitor our physical activity, and scientists say similar technology can be used to track our psychological health in ways never before possible. New apps and wearables could soon help preserve our mental well-being by spotting early signs of emotional distress.
Psychiatrists rely on patients to tell doctors how they feel as the main input for their decisions. Mood forecasting technology could give doctors more reliable information.
Research shows that changes in our mental state, including sadness or anxiety, affects our bodies in discernible ways. Mood forecasting exploits the connection between the mind and the body. Heart rate, pulse, perspiration and skin temperature are all affected by emotional arousal. Additionally, the pace at which we text, call and post on social media all change with our moods.
Academic researchers and private companies are working to develop devices and programs that not only detect and interpret our biomarkers but also respond with helpful advice. For example, a mood-forecasting device or app might urge someone to call a friend when they have cut back on texting, or take a walk when the device hasn’t registered motion for several hours. Alternatively, shifting biomarkers or digital behavior could be communicated directly to an individual’s doctor, who could then intervene as necessary.
Why it’s hot: Mood forecasting could prevent bad moods, emotional suffering and potentially dangerous situations before they occur. Although there is some apprehension around the idea of collecting and transmitting such intimate personal data, the positive effects of such technology could be monumental.
Toyota is making it easier for car shoppers to learn about the features, specs and inner workings of the cars on the showroom floor. This augmented reality experience gives people an x-ray vision superpower, so they can see through the exterior of the cars they’re looking at, and see the inner workings – without having to thumb through a catalog, or chat with a pushy salesperson. The app can also deliver information on the components, and show the technologies in action – a cool way for people to understand complex tech, like Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain.
Why it’s Hot: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
The ubiquity of smart phones and digitally agile consumers provide marketers with highly engaging ways of not only delivering product information, but also demonstrating benefits and performance.
Why it’s Saucy: Show me the money.
A tool with the potential to accelerate the customer decision journey.
Onward, the newly launched “post-breakup concierge service” that handles all your packing, housing, and self-care needs. A one-stop shop for moving out and moving on.
Not everyone has a nearby network of family or friends to assist on short notice. In fact, the company’s early research found that many people stay in relationships longer than necessary because they’re intimidated by the undertaking.
Company founders, childhood friends the since fourth grade, founded Onward after both suffered breakups within a six-month span. They struggled to pack up their belongings, quickly find a new apartment, and then furnish the space. “We realized that if we were going through this, that means other people are going through this, and there was no service that helps people deal with this nightmare amidst major emotional turmoil.”
Clients can easily book the remote services via the company website, and if they prefer, request a representative to meet them onsite for emotional support. Onward’s customized packages start at $99 for 10-day assistance, which includes housing placement, moving/packing, storage, as well as “strategies and discounts for self-care.” The latter constitutes matching clients with therapists, counselors, or mediators. Onward discovered that the newly single view finding and scheduling a therapist–one who takes their insurance–to be equally as daunting.
Pricier packages involve weekly scheduled check-ins and personalized neighborhood guides with recommendations on restaurants, bars, gyms, health studios, even meet-ups. As for housing, the service brokered strategic partnerships with various residence options, including a number of coliving spaces and furnished short-term rentals–and all the utilities and paperwork are taken care of. “You simply show up, like you would an Airbnb,” says Meck. “It’s an option for someone who needs something fast and furious.”
The company’s name reinforces the idea that a breakup can actually serve as an amazing opportunity to “really assert a new phase of your life,” Meck says, adding that many people start companies after a breakup. “It really can be a huge moment for professional and personal development.”
The company launched on Valentine’s Day with a social media campaign. To get the word out, Onward partnered with female organizations, yoga and meditation studios, as well women-focused spaces such as The Wing. The company already received “a lot” of referrals by people who recommend it to friends who need extra support. (Onward helps both men and women, but so far, marketing materials seem to skew more female.)
Why it’s hot: While it might sound silly at first, this new business is filling an unmet need – (an admirable one) – amongst NYC singles.
What’s the Story?
First off, did you know that state legislatures have been in the process of proposing and voting on bills to allow electronic displays on cars? In fact, at the end of 2018, Michigan became the first state to approve the use of electronic license plates.
But Silicon Valley startup, Reviver Auto, had already seen the market for digital license plates. You might be wondering why you would need a digital license plate, but Reviver points out these plates could serve more functionality other than an electronic display of the numbers and letters that make up a license plate.
For example, states could tie a fully frictionless digital experience to renewing registrations through the plates, saving time at the DMV. The plates could also double as an EZ-Pass, or other RFID toll paying system. Or they could be used to send out messages like Amber alerts or a notification to alert authorities if the car is stolen.
Why It’s Hot
We’re increasingly seeing digital experiences that are useful and provide value (rather than being a shiny object). Sometimes these take the shape of transforming a physical entity and enhancing it to offer more features and less friction for consumers. And that is precisely the case here.
Last week, while perusing my LinkedIn feed at breakfast, this post from NYC ad agency DeVito/Verdi caught my attention:
“Last night, it seems that 3 carts full of advertising awards were stolen from our NYC office. We have it on security cam. Dozens of trophies — One Show pencils, Cannes, 4A’s Best Creative Agency (6 of them), Andy’s, Addys, Art Directors. Many clients (#CarMax, #Macys, #Sony, #herbchambers, #greygoose, #Gildan, #meijer, #mountsinai, #duanereade, #legalseafoods, #OfficeDepot, #steinmart, #solgar). We can only imagine which agency stole them. Who else would want these? Help us find #DVCulprits”
It was posted by their president, Ellis Verdi, and accompanied by this video:
Why It’s Hot
Unlike lots of other self-promotional content, this approach really caught my attention, and I was not alone. There were plenty of comments (some of whom obviously missed the point and were organizing vigilante squads) and the underlying message, that this agency has won 3 shopping carts full of awards, is now inescapably branded into my awareness.
This illustrates how activating emotion can be done in a variety of ways, some very unorthodox and highly effective.
Although you pay for health care every month, there are gaps in the system that are not always covered. A wave of medical start-ups want to fill in those gaps. According to Forbes, more than $2.8 billion worth of venture capital was invested in health care start-ups in September 2018 alone. An increase of 70 percent over the previous year. It’s not hard to understand why. Especially in the United States, the health care you get from your insurance provider is hardly as comprehensive as it could be. Especially when it comes to day-to-day health problems.
For example, in the United States, hearing aids are rarely covered by health insurance. While 48 million people in the country suffer from some form of hearing loss, insurance providers do not consider it a vital issue unless it occurs at a young age. If you do decide to get one, you also have to go through a lengthy process of seeing your general practitioner, a specialist, etc. Then, once prescribed, the average cost for a pair of hearing aids is $4,700, or about $2,350 per ear.
Eargo, a new company that walks the line between medical firm and tech start-up, wants to make the process easier. Eargo sells a pair of hearing aids for $1,450. You can buy them directly from the company’s website and they offer a 45-day trial period to see if Eargo works for you. Unlike other over-the-counter personal sound amplifiers — which legally can’t be labeled hearing aids — the Eargo models are certified as Class 1 medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of light to moderate hearing loss.
Modern Fertility is another company aiming to fill in a crack in our modern health care system. For $159, the company offers a fertility test that can help women who are trying to get pregnant, or may want to in the future, find out more about their fertility and plan ahead. After your test is analyzed, Modern Fertility will pair you with an infertility nurse for a one-on-one consultation that the company employs, as part of its package so you can get a breakdown of what your test means.
Why it’s hot: the gaps in the American healthcare system has provided ample opportunity for medical technology entrepreneurs to address and solve. Although not ideal, these tech companies aim to fill the gaps between you, your doctor and your health insurance.
Who doesn’t love Dorito’s? Nacho, Cool Ranch, Flamin’ Hot, whatever you fancy, they’re a classic and delicious snack. But for as long as they have existed, eating them has come at a price – Dorito’s fingers, the unshakeable film of Dorito’s dust that ends up all over everything you touch unless you clean your hands after each chip.
But your clothes, furniture, pets, and gaming controllers no longer have to live in fear, for the Dorito’s Towel Bag is here, giving Dorito’s lovers a way to clean their hands while eating their favorite snack.
Why it’s hot
It’s a beautiful example of a brand embracing its essence, while improving its experience. Dorito’s dust is part of what makes Dorito’s the chip they are. But instead of eliminating it and changing the product, they created a new one to embrace their product’s dark side.
When you’re waiting for a flight at the airport, you’ve usually got some time to kill. Some people watch Netflix on their phones, some have a drink at the bar, but KLM has come up with another constructive way to capitalize on these moments.
They’ve developed a “bar” currently at airports in Amsterdam, Oslo, and Rio de Janeiro where people can connect with others in the country they’re off to visit to gather tips on local customs, culture, and sights.
Dubbed “Take Off Tips”, here’s how it works:
“KLM is matching travelers up with people at the destination they’re flying to. For example, someone at Schiphol Airport who is about to fly to Norway will be connected with someone at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport who is waiting to board a plane to Amsterdam. To connect the people on opposite sites of the world, the bar is equipped with hologram technology so it can project a real-time virtual image of the traveler at the other airport.”
Why It’s Hot:
From a brand perspective, it’s a great new example of KLM “social airline” experience – connecting people to enhance their otherwise impersonal flying experience (see “Layover with a Local” and “Meet&Seat”.
From an experience perspective, it’s a brilliant solution to a common problem – our current main recourse to get the same tips would be Googling, dredging Trip Advisor, etc. – secondary resources to gain a first-person perspective. Plus, it removes quite a bit of work involved in that process.
From a cultural perspective, it’s getting us off our screens and in touch with each other. Increasingly, the promise of technology is not going to be “there’s an app for that”. As digital infiltrates the physical world, technology is facilitating more human-friendly interactions, such as sitting down at a booth and being projected holographically so that it’s just a face-to-face meeting, no devices needed.
An estimated 100m face paint-wearing, chest-pounding football fans chowed down on chicken wings and chugged beers yesterday as they watched the Super Bowl.
But today, 17.2m of those same fanatics are taking sick days from work, according to research reported by The Washington Post.
The Rams aren’t the only losers this morning: The total amount of lost productivity on ‘Super Sick Monday’ is expected to exceed $4B.
Most managers get it: 62% of execs “think it’s funny” when their employees call out sick the day after the big game, according to a recent survey.
But the hangovers also seem to be getting worse: Research shows that the number of workers who surrender to sleeping in on the day after the Bowl has been rising since 2005.
The amount of productivity lost in the aftermath of the Super Bowl is so consistent year after year that some managers want to throw in the towel and make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday and, according to research, 72% of HR managers agree.
Why It’s Hot:
A National Hangover Day sounds like a nice idea especially if your team lost the big game. The chances of this happening are slim to none: the last new holiday that was created was MLK day in 1983.
New technologies are transforming the ways video content can be captured and experienced, making it possible to experience a scene from multiple angles, and feel as if the viewer is walking through the action. There have been a few recent developments on this front, along with some related activity in the AR space, but here are a couple of quick examples:
Why it’s hot:
A great emerging opportunity to create more engaging content for marketing programs, generally. Also a potential way of enabling audiences to have a more visceral experience of a product or service in (simulated) action.
Recycling company TerraCycle has partnered with global FMCG brands to create Loop: a platform that offers customers everyday items in reusable packages.
Loop provides customers with branded FMCG goods, such as Häagen-Dazs ice-cream, Crest mouthwash and Tide detergent, in sturdy containers. When the customer is finished with the product, they return the packaging to the company, which then sterilises and re-uses it, creating a zero-waste cycle.
Loop aims to replace single-use plastics in the home by giving households the option to reduce the amount they have to recycle. In an interview with Bloomberg, founder Tom Szaky said, of the risk to the planet caused by pollution: ‘We can’t recycle or clean our way out of this. We have to stop the waste from entering the system to begin with.’
Loop was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019. So far, 24 global FMCG brands have signed up to support the program, including Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola and Danone.
Loop will begin a pilot in Spring 2019 in Paris, where customers will be able to purchase its products online through supermarket Carrefour’s website. and in New York.
TerraCycle will also distribute products through Tesco in the UK later in the year and is looking to reach Tokyo by 2020.
Around 300 products will be available through Loop, ranging from shampoo to washing powder. Each brand has worked with packaging designers to develop the re-usable containers. Häagen-Dazs ice cream, for example, has designed a double-walled stainless-steel container that keeps the contents cold throughout an entire evening, while Oral-B’s new click toothbrush design allows a user to detach the head from the handle, reducing waste by 60%.
Why its hot?
Research has also shown that one of the most common barriers to recycling is consumers feeling uncertain about which plastics can be recycled. With Loop, consumers wouldn’t need to worry about which products are or are not recyclable. The initiative unloads any supposed hassle that comes with the current recycling model in a simplistic way.
Calm announced it raised $88m in a Series B funding round at a $1B valuation. The sleep, meditation, and relaxation app has grown rapidly to over 40m downloads worldwide, which equates to a new user joining every second.
US meditation has more than tripled from 2012 to 2017, according to the CDC. Companies like Calm and Headspace have become major players in the $4T health and wellness industry. When Calm was created 7 years ago, the company struggled to see adoption until about 18 months ago as people were finally becoming more open about mental health. By the end of 2017, Calm relaxed into a comfortable lead, increasing revenue 4x in 2018 and becoming the largest mindfulness app on the market.
What sets Calm apart from the deluge of mindfulness apps is primarily their beautiful design as well as their variety of bonus features in addition to meditation. They offer Sleep Stories, Music for focus, relaxation and sleep plus the options to meditate with just nature sounds for a set time period. They also have lectures by experts in the areas of emotions and meditations etc.
Why it’s hot: the company has its sights set on becoming the “Nike of the health and wellness industry” which will without doubt introduce a huge influx of similar apps and services to address health and wellness.
Facebook is finally is using the strength of it’s network for a good cause! They’re getting ready to launch a tool that will notify users to donate blood when there is a shortage. T
The blood donation feature is the first tool built by Facebook’s four-year-old Social Good team, which also created the company’s disaster response tool — the feature that lets you mark yourself “safe” during a crisis.
The initiative began in Bangladesh and has spread to Brazil and Pakistan before launching in the US.
In India, the problem was so dire that every week, thousands of users would flock to Facebook to ask their friends and family to give blood, according to Hema Budaraju, the company’s product director of health.
Inspired by those pleas, Budaraju and her team created an official Facebook blood donations tool that individuals and organizations in the country could turn to for help giving and receiving blood, introducing it in 2017. Since then, the tool has launched in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Brazil. More than 35 million Facebook users have signed up, Budaraju told Business Insider.
Why it’s hot?
It”s a perfect example of a brand playing a meaningful role in the world they live in and also shows how much power brands actually have to make the world a better place.
When you combine the Super Bowl with pure charm, you get a commercial starring Michael Buble. Personally, I’m a big fan of this spot. What do you think?
Why It’s Hot: It’s funny, it’s charming, and it’s Michael Buble.
Last weekend, AOC sounded the alarm about new research that found the facial recognition software Amazon is selling to law enforcement falls short on tests for accuracy and bias. According to the Washington Post’s reporting, researchers said Amazon’s algorithms misidentified the gender of darker-skinned women in about 30 percent of their tests. (Of course, Amazon promises that the facial recognition software in use is not the one tested by researchers.)
The problem stems from the sets of photos the algorithms were trained on — which skew heavily toward white men, the researchers said. And that caused AOC to sound the alarm on Twitter.
When you don’t address human bias, that bias gets automated.
Machines are reflections of their creators, which means they are flawed, & we should be mindful of that.
It’s one good reason why diversity isn’t just “nice,” it’s a safeguard against trends like this ⬇️ https://t.co/NcOivu5ejR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 27, 2019
And if you’re really behind on implicit bias, please visit Harvard’s Project Implicit to learn more.
Why It’s Hot:
- For possibly the first time, Congress has a credible authority on technology and she’s on the House Oversight Committee so tech companies might want to take notice.
- As AI becomes real, we need to make sure we’re designing for each.
Source: Washington Post
Health and fitness brands are enabling customized experiences and tailored lifestyle plans using customer information like DNA or gym habits to help them reach their personal goals. Here are examples of 4 brands taking a unique approach to the fitness space:
U.K. genetic testing service FitnessGenes analyzes customers’ DNA and provides a genetically tailored workout and nutrition plan, with the optimal number of calories and macronutrient content for their unique genetic makeup. Consumers have easy access to their DNA results as well as workout and nutrition plans through the Member’s Area in the company’s website or app.
Danish startup AthGene helps people improve their lifestyles and optimize their diets and fitness routines based on their DNA test results. Users collect their DNA with a mouth swab, and then receive easy-to-understand, actionable insights about their unique genetic makeup, such as their muscle fiber composition and sensitivity to carbohydrates, allowing them to tailor their nutrition and workout plans to their body’s needs.
Equinox trialed a bot embedded into its mobile app that learns from a user’s activities, goals and preferences to recommend personalized workouts. The “Digital Coach” uses data from in-gym beacons to detect where gym-goers prefer to spend their time and subsequently nudge them towards specific activities. The service has successfully motivated members to check in 40% more than non-users during a six-month pilot program.
Health startup Thorne sells at-home health tests that let users analyze various aspects of their health, such as cortisol levels, thyroid function and heavy metal levels, to help them address specific concerns, such as fatigue or fertility. Users provide a saliva or blood sample and receive a personalized health plan along with their test results.
Why it’s hot: These are hyper-targeted consumer experiences that are almost expected across many industries now – especially health and wellness.
As the D2C space continues to grow into an infinite amount of categories and brands, we can add men’s fertility to that list. Dadi, a new men’s health startup dedicated to fertility and sperm storage, believes the time is ripe for men to bypass the stuffy doctor’s office and deposit sperm into an FDA-licensed, yet patent pending, fertility and sperm storage kit from the comforts of their home.
According to a study in health journal Andrology, one in six couples has fertility issues, with little research or emphasis on how men factor into the equation. The CEO asserts that the industry hasn’t evolved in 30 to 40 years and neither has the way men approach reproductive health. They want to change that.
The founders at Dadi believe that infertility isn’t a women’s issue; it’s both a men’s and women’s issue. And they are hoping that this kit will encourage men to contribute to family planning conversations and become more aware of their reproductive health.
A typical men’s fertility program, which can include a reproductive kit, storage and lab fees, can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Dadi offers significantly lower pricing options at either $9.99 a month or $99 a year to store the sperm at the New England Cryogenic Center (NECC).
The entire process is fairly innocuous, as it includes no branding. Men can deposit their sperm into it, tap a button to mix in a preservative located in the cap to keep it stable and then use a FedEx prepaid label to ship back to Dadi’s lab facility at NECC. In 24 hours, consumers can expect results about their fertility as well as a video of their sperm. During the whole process, consumers can chat with the Dadi team either through email or text.
Why it’s hot: With the introduction of D2C brands like Hims and Roman, many companies are tackling sensitive male issues with tech-enabled solutions to age-old issues in an almost anonymous setting. Regardless of the benefits, there are many challenging regulations that come with sperm storage, not to mention getting men to care about fertility which will be the toughest challenge to overcome. These startups will need to go beyond education and brand building and really find a way to change the way we think about fertility as a society.
To make children’s car journeys more entertaining, Volkswagen has created a location-based app that tells personalised stories based on what kids can see out of the back window.
The Snelweg Sprookjes (Road Tales) app detects ordinary objects such as tunnels, windmills, pass overs, gas stations, and electricity poles and transforms them in real-time into story elements. For example, a tunnel turns into a rocket launcher.
Why its hot?
Other than stories that adapt to your surroundings in real time, Road Tales gives children a reason to put their tablets way and look outside the window instead.
JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce site, delivered books and backpacks over 150 miles to students at a school in a village in Indonesia that’s hard to reach by road. Indonesia houses a population of more than 260 million people across some 17,000 islands making it one of the nations that could really use revolutionized delivery and logistics systems.
Why it’s hot: Technology is not taking over a human’s job in this case, it’s doing what they can’t do.
Domino’s is promoting a limited-time addition to its rewards program that kicks off the day before Super Bowl Sunday, one of the top five days of the year in the ever-competitive pizza industry. The leading pizza chain is giving points for any brand of pizza. Someone could even heat up frozen pizza and earn points.
The offer gives anyone who signs up the chance to get free pizza without having to buy from Domino’s.After Domino’s cooked up the idea, its internal analytics and digital team worked on an artificial intelligence system that recognizes photos of pizza.
Thousands of photos were tested. Some trickery is actually allowed. If a dog has a pizza-shaped toy, a photo would get points for the owner, as the ad explains. While the 12-week offer may sound like a gimmick or act of desperation, it comes as Domino’s is playing from a position of strength and could extend its dominance over competitors including Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and numerous smaller chains.
To get the rewards, people need to sign up for Domino’s loyalty program and share a photo of pizza, up to once a week. Each photo counts as 10 points. After six photos are approved by the company’s “Piedentifier” artificial intelligence system, the person has 60 points that can be redeemed for a free pizza.
Domino’s traditionally doesn’t advertise in the Super Bowl and this year is no exception. The main push will be TV ads, with a heavy rotation on Saturday and on Sunday in the hours before kickoff.
Why It’s Hot
Domino’s owns the pizza delivery space and rewarding customers for eating the competition is a snarky way of reminding them who is the best.
The inimitable New York Times has created not one, but five new Alexa skills.
Now, people can use their smart speaker to access:
> A daily flash briefing read by journalist Michael Barbaro
> Hear about the travels of Sebastian Modak with “52 places to go”
> Get a weekly music roundup from music editor Caryn Ganz
> Get book recommendations from Times book critics
> Play a weekly “New York Times Quiz” testing their knowledge of recent news
Why it’s hot:
It may not feel a massive innovation, but it’s a savvy move for the Times in a world where people are increasingly eschewing websites. No longer is it enough to build destinations, we have to think about how our brands can be present where people need them, when they need them.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Heinz is attempting to recreate the joys of ketchup and give it a social equity boost with its Ketchup Caviar.
America’s favorite ketchup presents America’s favorite caviar. Reply with #HeinzKetchupCaviar and #Sweeps for the chance to get your hands on one of 150 jars this Valen-HEINZ day. No purchase necessary. Rules linked in bio. pic.twitter.com/aa8NNebVk1
— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) January 24, 2019
The extremely limited batch of Heinz Ketchup Caviar will be available for Valentine’s. If you want to get your hands on one of the 150 jars available you’ll have to enter the brand’s sweepstakes (see link above).
But what is Ketchup Caviar? First off, it’s not literal caviar. No fish roe were harmed in the making of this sweepstakes. Instead, Heinz Ketchup Caviar is a molecular gastronomic spin on the classic condiment that attempts to recreate the joys of ketchup in pearl form.
Sweepstake winners will be contacted to receive their 1.8 oz jar hopefully before Valentine’s.
Why it’s hot: It’s a fun way for Heinz to celebrate their 150 years in business, it could also be a way to test new delivery methods for their products, molecular gastronomy is cool.
Evolving consumer behavior continues to challenge traditional media giants.
Two key measures, U.S. wireless and pay-TV subscribers, came in well below predictions in the fourth quarter. AT&T added a net 13,000 U.S. monthly wireless subscribers in the period, way under projections of about 252,000. A loss of 410,000 users of non-phone devices like smartwatches and tablets drove the disappointment.
AT&T fell victim in part to the same phenomenon that’s bedeviling Apple and other phone makers: People are hanging onto their smartphones longer. The Dallas-based company’s phone sales fell $500 million in the recent quarter due to sluggish upgrades, Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said on an earnings conference call.
AT&T also lost 658,000 U.S. pay-TV subscribers, compared with the loss of about 191,000 anticipated by analysts.
The figures look even worse in contrast with AT&T’s biggest rivals in mobile services. Although Verizon Communications reported downbeat fourth-quarter sales on Tuesday, that company and T-Mobile US Inc. each gained 1.2 million new wireless subscribers in the quarter. AT&T’s monthly defection rate, or churn, rose to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent a year ago.
Why it’s hot?
Brands need to operate their businesses nimbly. They have to evolve into light weight operations, such as RPA, that will allow them to adopt new business models more fluidly.
Recharge, a San Francisco startup that made headlines a few years ago for offering hotel stays by the minute (for a nap, shower or phone call, the company says), is expanding to offer the same service in people’s homes.
The big picture: Technology has enabled the creation of online marketplaces that segment the use of physical space in new ways — from Airbnb’s home-sharing service to companies like Breather that let you book office space for a meeting or call. Even Airbnb recently acquired Gaest, a marketplace for renting out office space.
How it works: Guests in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York can book a stay in an available home via the Recharge app just as they would book a visit in one of its hotels.
For hosts, Recharge offers two options: a self-managed option, which means the host takes care of the cleaning and gets to keep most of the revenue, and an “autonomous” option, for which Recharge provides the cleaning, but takes a much bigger cut of the fee.
Hosts have to apply and be vetted, including providing a copy of their lease if they don’t own the home to ensure the service won’t violate its terms.
Recharge co-founder and CEO Emmanuel Bamfo says that the company’s service is legal, even in cities like San Francisco and New York with strict home-sharing laws, because there are no overnight stays.
But ultimately, it remains to be seen whether landlords react negatively to Recharge, he admits.
By the numbers: To date, Recharge has had 50,000 bookings, with an average stay of two hours, says Bamfo. It works with 50 hotels and has approved 1,100 homes. Eventually, says Bamfo, Recharge wants to purchase and manage its own hotels to have more flexibility.
Funding: Since raising $2.3 million in seed funding in 2016, Recharge has brought on strategic investors like JetBlue Ventures and Fifth Wall (which has ties to the real estate industry), bringing its total funding to $10 million.
Why It’s Hot:
Cities like San Francisco and New York are notoriously strict with home-sharing laws. By not allowing overnight stays Recharge found a way to bypass these laws one minute at a time.
OK, so it’s not exactly a new tactic (a classic of the genre is the ‘jilted lover’ billboards that have been used to promote a variety of TV shows), but it is interesting to see when B2B marketers step outside of their comfort zone.
This example from SAP appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and got quite a lot of traction online. There were some naysayers (“another dumb advertiser trying to be funny”), but I thought it was well executed. It was both dull enough and odd enough to work, and the idea that business constantly seeks feedback yet never actually wants to listen to it is surely a universal truth.
Why its hot…
SAP are having a tough time – just this week they took a big restructuring charge and are laying off 4,000 workers. In tough times you’d expect them to be conservative and play it safe. It’s refreshing to see them taking a leaf out of the playbook of some other categories and doing something unexpected.
It’s the week before the Big Game and some advertisers have already started rolling out sneak peeks and in some cases, full ads.
Up first, Stella Artois released their full ad on Monday, which features two memorable characters coming together to pitch the Belgian pilsner. The unlikely duo of Carrie Bradshaw and The Dude were brought together for the beer brand’s Change Up the Usual campaign.
Lil Jon is tempting the fates of losing his “Atlanta” card by partnering with Pepsi in a trailer for the Big Game, which takes a mocking tone towards Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola and its Perfect Pour. Standby for if Lil Jon will be invited back to his hometown after Sunday’s game in the ATL.
ASMR is a hot trend right now. Pepsi is creating its interpretation using Cardi B and Michelob Ultra is leveraging Zoe Kravitz in its version of the kooky internet phenomenon.
Take a look at the rest of the ads and teasers here: Adweek
If you want to get in on live action, this year 3 Percent Conference is expanding on their Super Bowl Tweet Up, by rolling out locations in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. To find out more, go here: https://www.3percentmovement.com/tweetup
And if you want to vote for your favorites and not so favorites, you can visit USA Today’s Ad Meter to cast your vote! http://admeter.usatoday.com/
Why Its Hot:
Its the Super Bowl. And at over $5M for a 30 second spot, this ad arena is not for the faint of heart, or the light in the wallet. But overall trends here, will dictate the direction for brands and advertisers in 2019. Agencies will need to quickly have POVs for the winners and the losers and how we can use those learnings to guide future creative requests. Watch this space for a recap of the winners and the losers next week!
I don’t know how. But it is.
Trending now, after a truck accident that left one car covered in slime. People are having hagfish fever!
What is a Hagfish? It’s an eel like isopod that creates a slick slime when threatened. According to The Atlantic, “typically, a hagfish will release less than a teaspoon of gunk from the 100 or so slime glands that line its flanks. And in less than half a second, that little amount will expand by 10,000 times—enough to fill a sizable bucket. Reach in, and every move of your hand will drag the water with it.”
What is truly cool is the structure of the slime, it’s almost like a spider web that quickly unravels when the hagfish is in danger. “Once these cells are expelled from the slime glands, they rupture, releasing the threads within them. Ewoldt’s colleague Gaurav Chaudhury found that despite their length, the threads can fully unspool in a fraction of a second. The pull of flowing water is enough to unwind them. But the process is even quicker if the loose end snags on a surface, like another thread, or a predator’s mouth.”
Watch the hagfish basically drown it’s predators! And how they survive the inital bite? “The animal is effectively wearing a set of extremely loose pajamas,” Fudge says. If a predator attacks, “the body sort of squishes out of the way.”
Why it’s hot?
Sometimes nature’s technology is the coolest of all. I’d love to see how studies on hagfish slime and it’s genetic composition and properties, might turn into new technology.