Nike Drops First eSports Spot

Nike’s first esports advertisement features gamers arrive at Camp Next Level — an esports training facility built by League of Legends player UZI. The retired League of Legends star was one of the first esports signings made by Nike.

The ad itself shows gamers being trained and worked in an (esports) training camp. Nike has come out saying that the ad is meant to try and remind esports athletes, who often practice extremely long days, that a healthy lifestyle and eating right is just as important as putting in long hours of practice.

Why it’s hot:
Nike didn’t hold back in it’s first eSports spot and launched in a Chinese market that is already booming. China’s e-sports revenue grew 54.69% YoY to $10.6 billion in the first six months of 2020. The spot will definitely spark discussion over Nike’s place in the esports world.

Move over sharks: It’s Fat Bear Week!

This is a single elimination tournament.

For each set of two bears, vote for one who you think is the fattest.

The bear with the most votes advances.

Only one will be crowned champion of Fat Bear Week.

It’s Fat Bear Week 2020! What better way to escape the doldrums of covid life than to spend an hour or four watching the peaceful lives of Alaska brown bears — and voting for your favorite? Bear cams! Live chat with park rangers! Voting, but without the nausea!

From The Verge:

Sometimes, we need to appreciate the really big things in life — like the fact that even in 2020, Fat Bear Week has arrived right on schedule. The annual tournament kicks off today with head-to-head matchups continuing until October 6th. Anyone with an internet connection can tune into Katmai National Park’s live Bearcam to watch the behemoths binge on salmon, and viewers can vote each day for their favorite big beasts.

Fat bears are healthy bears. So Katmai National Park and Preserve started the tradition six years ago to celebrate its bears, who are likely among the fattest (and healthiest) of their species in the world. The Brooks River meanders through the pristine park, delivering a buffet of migrating sockeye salmon to its bears each summer. They’ve got to stuff themselves to prepare for winter hibernation, when they might lose a third of their body mass while holing up in their dens for up to six months.

This is perfect fodder for news channels and web sites that need content, and a feel good story that captures the attention of the world, if only for a week.

By now, some of Katmai’s 2,200 bears are celebrities. Fans are already campaigning for their favorites, like last year’s “Queen of Corpulence,” bear 435 (aka Holly).

 

Voting captures your email address for explore.org, the multimedia organization running Bear Week, which promotes stories around “animal rights, health and human services, and poverty to the environment, education, and spirituality.”

Why it’s hot:

1. This is a fun way to spread awareness of wildlife by prodding us humans’ deep desire to have our say.

2. Encouraging people to care about bears is a positive step in encouraging eco-conscious public sentiment and personal choices.

By 2025, roughly 85% of people in the US will live in urban areas, disconnected from nature for a majority of their lives. Maintaining an appreciation for the other species on our planet is important for the mostly urban public to make personal and policy decisions that preserve and protect vital natural ecosystems that they might not have any connection with. A yearly tournament for fattest bear is a clever way to get urban dwellers to fall in love with an animal that they otherwise may not have any reason to know or care about, which is especially important when policy decisions can literally kill entire ecosystems.

Source: The Verge

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

 

Life Beyond the Cookie

With 3rd-party slowly-but-surely going the way of the dodo, the drive for marketers to develop data strategies that accelerate 1st-party data growth and utilization is fast becoming an existential imperative.

WHY IT’S HOT:  Relationships and Relevance will matter more than ever, as marketers of all shapes and sizes strive to survive and thrive in a fundamentally changed world. (From “nice-to-have” to “mission-critical”)

From Digiday:

‘Re-architecting the entire process’: How Vice is preparing for life after the third-party cookie

Vice Media Group pulls in 57.5 million global unique visitors a month, according to Comscore; Vice itself says it has a global audience of “more than 350 million individuals.” But only a minority of those users are logged in at any time. With third-party cookies soon to be obsolete and Apple clamping down on the free-for-all sharing of mobile IDs, Vice’s first-party data strategy aims to improve its registration process and double down on contextual ads.

In the latest example of bolstering its first-party data offering for advertisers, Vice Media Group is using a new tool from consumer reporting agency Experian and data platform Infosum.

That tool, Experian Match, those companies say, offers publishers more insights on their audiences without needing to use third-party cookies or requiring users to log in. In turn, they can offer advertisers more precision targeting options.

“What interests me the most is that there’s so much bias within data — for example, proxies to get into the definition [of an a target audience on an advertiser brief],” said Ryan Simone, Vice Media director of global audience solutions. “We are looking to eliminate bias in every instance. If a client says ‘this specific … group is what we are looking for,’ we can say on Vice — not through the proxies of third-party data or other interpretation’ that product A [should target] this content, this audience [and that’s] different from product B. It’s a much more sophisticated strategy and re-architecting the entire process.”

Publishers provide a first-party ID, IP address and timestamp data, which is matched with Experian’s own IP address and household-level socio-demographic data. This initial match is used to create the Experian Match mapping file, which is then stored in a decentralized data “bunker.” From here, all matching takes place using InfoSum’s decentralized marketing infrastructure, with publishers creating their own private and secure ”bunkers” and advertisers doing likewise, so individual personal customer data is never shared between publishers and advertisers.

Privacy and security were important considerations before committing to use the product, said Paul Davison, Vice Media Group vice president of agency development, for international in statement. But, he added, “Those concerns are solved instantly as no data has to be moved between companies.”

As for login data, Vice’s user registration process is fairly basic and doesn’t offer users much explanation about the benefits they will receive if they do so. Updating that is a work in progress, said Simone.

“There will be a lot more front-facing strategy” for encouraging sign-ups, he said. “We are looking to create greater value …. for our users.” (The company also collects first-party data through newsletters and experiential events, such as those held —pre-covid, at least — by Refinery29.)

Vice has worked with contextual intelligence platform Grapeshot long before it was acquired by Oracle in 2018. Beyond offering advertisers large audiences around marquee segments like “fashion” or “music,” Vice has begun working more recently to open up more prescriptive subsegments — like “jewelry” for example.

“People are scared to send out smaller audiences — but I’d rather provide something that’s exact. Opening that up provides greater insights,” especially when layered with first-party data sets gleaned through partnerships like Experian and Infosum, said Simone.  Vice might not have a wealth of content around high fashion, for example, but consumers of a particular fashion house might still visit the site to read about politics or tech.

“Contextual has evolved and with the absence of the third-party cookie it’s all the more significant,” said Simone.

Publishers’ biggest differentiating features for advertisers are their audiences and the context within their ads will sit, said Alessandro De Zanche, founder of media consultancy ADZ Strategies.

“If they really want to progress and be more in control, publishers need to go back to the basics: rebuilding trust with the audience, being transparent, educating the audience on why they should give you consent — that’s the very first — then building on top of that,” De Zanche said.

“With all the technical changes and privacy regulations, if a publisher doesn’t rebuild the relationship and interaction with its audience, it will just be like trying to Sellotape their way forward.”

What it takes to launch a new fast-fashion collection? A brand partnership, a pop star and 6 new Instagram AR filters

Remember when Target released their insanely popular and highly anticipated partnership with Zac Posen? Back then, the existence of that partnership alone drove enough PR and excitement to make that launch an astronomical success.

Fast forward to today. H&M is dropping its new collection in partnership with Kangol. But that is certainly not enough to entice Gen Z today. Beyond the new partnership and, of course, clothing collection, the brands partnered with British pop start Mabel – not just as a spokesperson but – to create a music video along with new 6 AR-filters that allow people to star in their own music videos (and H&M social channels). Basically, H&M’s new collection is a Tik-Tok campaign on Insta.

Gen Z’s fashion trends have also dramatically changed since Covid as nearly half of young consumers say that COVID has changed the kind of clothing they shop for, according to according to YPulse’s new fashion and style report. Since the start of the pandemic, quarantined young consumers have helped create a loungewear and athleisure boom, and their fashion interests have been changing. The pandemic has spurred at-home fashion trends, and Glossy reported that young shoppers now prefer “comfortable, seasonless” fashion over “runway trends” so H&M/Kangol’s new line will likely also appeal to them based on the cool, laid-back, 90’s nostalgic vibe of this collection.

Why it’s hot: Fast fashion keeps getting ‘faster’ with evolving consumer trends and needs

Google Trends to the Rescue

Google search data has been found to help pinpoint COVID-19 hotspots before they flare-up. It’s not the first time researchers turn to the tech giant to deal with possible outbreaks. In 2009, health specialists used keyword search volume to tackle H1N1 pandemic outbreaks. Although physicians like to think patients reach out to them as soon as they’re feeling ill, the reality is that patients turn to WebMD and Dr. Google before going into offices.

Tracking COVID symptoms is only going to get harder as flu and allergy season kicks off, but researchers leaning on the search data think focusing on searches for GI (gastro-intestinal) related symptoms can help point them in the direction of an outbreak.

The team looked at Google Trends data for searches on a range of symptoms that dated from January 20 to April 20 of 2020. They found that searches for ageusia (loss of taste), loss of appetite, and diarrhea correlated with COVID-19 case numbers in states with high early infection rates like New York and New Jersey, with an approximate delay of four weeks. The signal was less clear for other symptoms.

Source: Popular Science

While search data is not a sure shot predictor – the majority of COVID patients don’t experience GI symptoms, it does merit further exploration.

Why it’s hot: Having the right combination of keywords to track could help mitigate outbreaks in the future.

 

 

The home fitness category is still booming

Digital fitness continues to surge.

  • Peloton’s Q4 earnings showed a 172% YoY jump in revenue, and its connected subscribers were up 113% YoY.
  • Apple just announced its virtual fitness product (Fitness Plus), available to the 1B+ Apple devices out there. 
  • Lululemon has already upped its projected revenue for Mirror from $100m to $150m.
  • Zwift, an indoor training app, reached unicorn status yesterday after a $450m funding round.
  • Tonal, a wall-mounted system that costs $2,995, lets users lift up to 200 pounds in “digital weights” raised $100m

The pandemic has exploded the market for digital fitness 

There are 62m gym memberships in the US and 183m globally, according to a 2019 report. But many people shifted to online workouts during the pandemic, and gyms have been slow to reopen. 

Data from Thinknum shows while 46 states have re-opened gyms, Facebook location mentions have “remained utterly stagnant for gyms.” Thinknum flags one outlier — Planet Fitness, which has tons of locations and is cheap.

Why it’s hot

With new technology capabilities and the need to move to digital, now is a time where fitness can truly be democratized. And it’ll also be interesting to see how this impacts fitness-adjacent categories (e.g. tech, wellness, etc.). Our phones have become the centerpiece for making every single aspect of our lives easier and more affordable. Fitness is no exception.

Retiring jeweler hides $1M of remaining merchandise around Michigan; sells access to the clues

In a great example of re-evaluating value, a Michigan jeweler has closed his store, hid all his merchandise in various places across the state, and is selling tickets to clues to find his hidden “treasure”. He went from selling objects, to selling adventure. And if he prices his clues right, he’ll probably make more money than he would from selling the jewelry itself. The first few “quests”, which began in August, seem to have sold out.

Mlive.com:

A Michigan jeweler has cleaned out his store in the name of adventure.

Johnny Perri, owner of J&M Jewelers in Macomb County, and his wife Amy Perri buried $1 million in gold, silver, jewels and antiques across Michigan – from Metro Detroit to the Upper Peninsula. Starting Aug. 1, the treasure will be up for grabs to registered Treasure Quest hunters.

After 23 years, J&M Jewelers is closing following a months-long forced temporary closure related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The monthly Treasure Quests will provide a new source of income for the Perri family – registration for each hunt is $50.

From Johnny’s Treasure Quest site:

“I have buried not only my entire jewelry store but thousands upon thousands of dollars of gold, silver, diamonds & antiques in various locations in Michigan from the bottom to the upper peninsula. Everything I have buried has a history and many memories attached to them that I have let go and placed in the ground for you to discover❤️
– The links below are treasure quest adventures in specific locations in Michigan along with a starting date in which the adventure will begin.
– Everyone anywhere is permitted to purchase a ticket up until 24 hours prior to the adventure start date.
– Refunds are available only up until 24 hours of the adventure start date.
– You do not just have to live in Michigan or in the specific region location where the treasure is buried to participate. Although anyone may purchase tickets, they will be limited at my discretion.
– you will literally be unearthing physical, real treasure from the ground with the exception that I did not hide it in the ground but it could be hanging from a tree (for example).
– All treasure that I have buried/hidden will be directly under or next to (if not buried) a literal painted “X”
Please be respectful of property by not digging up the town. “X” will always mark the spot.
– I have inserted advanced GPS trackers into each treasure simply so I can know if a treasure has been discovered. If you discover the treasure, please either leave the GPS unit behind where the treasure was discovered or more preferably contact me and I’ll arrange a way to get it from you:)
– Posting or sharing clues on social media and/or through any other means to a third party is strictly prohibited. Consequences of these said actions will immediately disqualify you from the current and any future adventure quest treasure hunts. Furthermore your ticket will be revoked and any retrieval attempts to acquire the treasure thereafter will be met with legal action. In other words, please DO NOT share any clues for any reason to anyone other then your team and yourself.”

Why it’s hot:

1. A reminder that it’s essential to understand where your value lies, and to always be aware of opportunities to create value when things change.

2. This concepts taps into two very strong impulses within the American psyche:

the call to adventure

and

the chance to strike it rich

3. It’s the perfect moment (covid restictions/terrible news daily) for those looking for some fun and diversion, and looking to get out of the house.

Source: USA Today

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.

 

 

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

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

Back-to-School Ads Get A-

This Back-to-School (BTS) year is unlike any other and so is its advertising. According to research, BTS advertising so far in July is down almost 50% vs. year-ago period as many retail marketers pull back on spending and families remain unsure of whether kids will return to in-person classes this Fall.

But there’s a silver lining to this. Despite BTS advertising budgets being down, the quality of the work that does exist – which is usually pretty cliché filled with sunny and happy kids in yellow buses – is up.

From JansPort backpacks #LightentheLoad campaign tackling mental health in today’s volatile and uncertain environment through candid teen interviews to Old Navy’s campaign starring five activists (reflecting today’s civil rights movements and concerns) to the Tik-Tok influenced campaigns by Hollister and American Eagle, the work is more relevant and grounded as it leans into the realities of the pandemic head on.

Although Hollister’s creative isn’t necessarily my favorite, their light-hearted “Jeanology” campaign which riffs on the idea of conducting science experiments with Bill Nye has a lot going for it. As part of the campaign, Hollister entered a long-term partnership with the D’Amelios, who rank among the most popular content creators on TikTok. The tie-up extends beyond social media content, as the D’Amelios’ hand-selected denim picks will receive a special tag in stores and online starting today.

TikTok also continues to have a strong hold on the attention of Gen Z: The percentage of U.S. consumers ages 13 to 35 who use it rose to 27% in April from 19% in January, according to Civic Science data, as the service saw a surge in activity as a result of the coronavirus.

Why it’s hot: It’s interesting to see how brands are adapting to address the moment – not just from a messaging but production standpoint. Also, for Hollister in particular, it’s cool to see that the campaign extends beyond the video app to cover all of the brand’s social media channels, as well as in-store activations. A true URL + IRL campaign.

Will “conscious traveling” become more prevalent post 2020?

The Year of Return: 2019, was a tourism campaign to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in America. It was an instance of “roots tourism”, which appeals to travelers to visit a destination on the basis of their ancestry.

Beyond the education and personal transformation that many travelers gain from this type of tourism, could it also be an opportunity for racial reconciliation?

Travelers felt that the trip helped them to conceptualize slavery differently, and this led them to a deeper understanding of race relations in the United States. For example, one traveller said that prior to visiting Ghana, they felt a “certain anger towards white people”. But visiting Ghana and specifically the Cape Coast dungeon exposed them to learning more about all of the actors in slavery – (white) Europeans and (black) Africans.

Travel and tourism are often linked to expanding our view of the world but it hasn’t been linked to social justice much until now. It’ll be interesting to see if and how the travel industry evolves post-pandemic, post-recession, post-social injustice protests to offer more ways for people to ‘travel with purpose’ – whether that means new destinations that can help us expand our mind not just our passport stamp collection, new experiences that allow us to go deeper and travel more meaningfully or even new ways to travel that can help us protect the planet (more sustainable/eco-friendly).

Source: Quartz Africa, Suitcase Magazine

 

The Path to Enduring Loyalty

Stitch Fix Is Attracting Loyal Customers Without a Loyalty Program

As their customer base has grown in recent years, so too has the revenue they generate from each active customer. Even amidst the pain the apparel industry has been experiencing, over the last few months of the coronavirus pandemic, Stitch Fix has managed to weather the storm with only a slight revenue decline – mostly due to the decision to close warehouses for a period.

WHY IT’S HOT:  In a world where “loyalty” tends to cost businesses and marketers money, in the form of deals and discounts, Stitch Fix is a testament to the the power of data to drive true personalization across the customer experience.

From The Motley Fool:

A personal stylist armed with a powerful data-driven selection algorithm creates a great customer experience.

 

In the highly competitive clothing industry, loyal customers are worth their weight in gold. Stores go to great lengths to attract repeat customers with programs that provide rewards, discounts, or exclusive offers for loyal members. But even with these programs, customers are hard to keep. A 2019 survey by Criteo found that 72% of apparel shoppers were open to considering other brands, which is why what Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) has done to create loyal clients without a loyalty program is so special.

Let’s look at this personalized online clothing retailer’s loyal customers, how data science is helping build loyalty into the process, and what management is doing to further capitalize on the company’s momentum.

Loyal customers spend more

Clothing stores have seen a significant drop in spending in the past few months, but Stitch Fix’s most recent quarterly revenue only declined by 9% year over year. Impressively, this decline was not due to a drop in demand, but because the company chose to close its warehouses for part of the quarter as it put safety measures in place for its staff. This strong result against a backdrop of abysmal retail clothing spending was powered in part by the company’s auto-ship customers.

In the most recent earnings call, CEO Katrina Lake indicated that customers who sign up to receive “Fixes” (shipments of clothes) automatically and on a regular basis “achieved the strongest levels of ownership retention in the last three years.” She added that “this large contingent of loyal and highly engaged clients” are “very valuable.” Having a stable base of repeat clients helps the company better predict demand trends, shape inventory purchases, and forecast appropriate staffing levels.

Additional benefits from Stitch Fix’s loyal customers show up in the revenue-per-active-client metric. At the end of the day, consumers vote with their wallets. And impressively, this number has increased for the last eight quarters in a row. It’s clear Stitch Fix clients love the service as they are willing to spend more over time.

Possibly the biggest reason clients are spending more is that they are better matched with items they love.

Data science helps improve the customer experience

Making great clothing selections is key to the client experience for Stitch Fix. The job of keeping this recommendation engine humming and improving it over time is the company’s data scientist team. This group is over 100 strong and many of its members have Ph.D.s in data science or related fields. The team received a patent on its Smart Fix Algorithm and has other patents pending. You can see the amazing detail that goes into this process on the Algorithms Tour section of the Stitch Fix website.

This algorithm is also driving selections for the direct buy offering, which allows clients to purchase clothing without the commitment of the five-item fix. This new service is taking off and its low return rates show that clients love it. Lake shared that “people keeping things that they love is ultimately like the true Northstar of our business and that’s really where we’re orienting a lot of our efforts again.” One of these new efforts is focused on pushing the envelope of how stylists engage with clients.

Doubling down on personalized service

On the last earnings call, Stitch Fix President Elizabeth Spaulding discussed a pilot program that “provide[s] clients with increased stylist engagement and the opportunity to select items in their fixes.” This program, currently being tested in the U.S. and the U.K., connects the client on a video call with a stylist while their fix is being created. This allows the client direct input into their selections and enables the stylist to become better acquainted with the client’s clothing choices.

This innovative approach plays to the company’s strengths and could further build its loyal client following. Spaulding indicated that more would be shared in upcoming calls, but said that “We believe this enhanced styling experience will appeal to an even broader set of clients as consumers seek high-touch engagement while not going into stores.”

Walmart poised to capture the summer movie market?

As traditional movie theaters struggle to attract movie-goers during the pandemic, the confined-space nature of their offering has opened up opportunity for other players. Perhaps one in particular that happens to have a huge amount of real estate for parking cars and for allowing customers to sit back and watch a film from the comfort (and relative safety) of their vehicle? Enter: Walmart.

Walmart has had success being more customer focused with their shop online and pick up stations. This new foray into theaters feels like an extension of that customer-centric premise.

Walmart is smart to move fast to assess how the brand can fulfill consumer desires in light of current events with resources they mostly already have on hand. This agility is what will help Walmart capitalize on movie-goers while theater heavy hitters are sitting ducks.

It’s also a lead-gen play. To discover info and movie times, you need to sign up for their newsletter.

From The Verge:

Walmart is converting some of its parking lots into drive-in theaters for the summer as the movie industry struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The retail behemoth is converting 160 of its parking lots across the US into drive-ins. These theaters will open in early August and remain open through October. The Walmart Drive-In will feature movies programmed by Tribeca Enterprises, the company behind the Tribeca Film Festival, which recently launched a summer movie drive-in series bringing films, music, and sporting events to as many US drive-ins as possible.

Walmart has not disclosed whether attendees will have to pay a price of admission. Though, ahead of each drive-in screening, Walmart says it will sell concessions for moviegoers, which they can order online for curbside pick-up ahead of the film screening. Theaters tend to make a good chunk of their profits on concessions, so Walmart could follow in the industry’s lead.

Why it’s hot:

1. This is a great example of using surplus resources to fill a market gap. The heavy investment stuff is already in place. Walmart needs to invest in some screens, staff, etc, but that overhead is minimal.

2. Though it’s only temporary, the experience created should endear people to the brand, as well as boost revenues from concessions sales.

Source: The Verge

The Great Privacy Revolt

DuckDuckGo is an Internet privacy company that “empowers users to seamlessly take control of their personal information online, without any tradeoffs.”

Over the years, DuckDuckGo has offered millions of people a private alternative to Google. And it seems as if consumers are using it. The site is currently averaging more than 50 million search queries per day, which was far beyond what I thought it’d be.

As companies large and small, not to mention government agencies, are hacked, consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly aware that their growing dependence on technology has come at the expense of their privacy. It’s estimated Google trackers lurk behind 76% of web pages and Facebook’s on 24%.

In the past, consumers almost haphazardly shared data without thinking twice but it seems that’s changing and forcing marketers to rethink the experience.

Why it’s hot:
Consumers are turning to more technologies that safeguard their privacy. The DOJ is probing Google’s search engine dominance. Germanys highest court ordered Facebook to stop harvesting user data. All of these happens are contributing to a larger privacy revolt, especially with younger generations.

According to a recent GenTech study only 29% of 19- to 24-year-olds view technologies such as AI and machine learning algorithms as positive interventions. Instead, most wish to maintain a sense of autonomy in their decision making and have the opportunity to freely explore new products, services, and experiences. It’ll be interesting to see how marketers adapt to create experiences for consumers in the future.

Insensitive pro sports teams play “woke”

On Tuesday June 2nd, 2020, brands and organizations of all types blacked out their social media pages and some used hashtags such as #BlackOutTuesday, #BlackLivesMatter and #TheShowMustBePaused. Some criticized the effort because it made it was clogging up channels that protesters rely on to spread information.

Nevertheless, brands spoke up to show the public which side they’re on. Admirable, unless you happen to be a brand that has been accused for decades of racial insensitivity. Those tweets just came off as sounding hypocritical and tone-deaf.

Many pro sports teams have refused to change their names and mascots and even chants that mock or dehumanize native Americans. That’s their choice, but pairing that with a tweet meant to convey empathy for black, brown and native American populations just adds gasoline to the fire. Here’s a sample:

Why it’s Hot
For some brands, expressing solidarity with a repressed segment of America feels natural and progressive. For others, it’s a trap (of their own making).

A symbol to send a message about clean water

From The Stable:

Wash your hands is a Covid safety imperative. But there are millions of people without access to clean water. One in ten people in the world is denied access to clean water and one in four people out of ten don’t have a decent toilet of their own. Without these basic human rights, overcoming poverty is just a dream, as is good health and combating a deadly virus like Covid-19. International charity WaterAid has been working for a number of years to change this. Right now, that job is even more urgent and it has partnered with Don’t Panic on a new campaign, Bring Water.

The agency picked up the rainbow symbol, which has become part of the Covid community response, a sign of solidarity and belief that began in schools, and that now adorns streets, filling the windows of homes and the temporarily closed windows of restaurants and businesses across the planet. In the campaign film, You Can’t Have a Rainbow Without Water​, real rainbows are documented across the globe.

Why it’s Hot

It was smart to take a common symbol of hope (the rainbow) to make a clear statement that without clean water, there is no hope.

Source: The Stable

Voices of Brussels

Like any metropolitan bus system, it’s something people in Brussels love to complain about. Buses are either too late or too full or often both. But it’s tough to complain about a message of love.

Since last week, Brussels’ public bus company STIB-MIVB has been calling on people to send in voice messages — and an address. Then, the special bus goes out in the early evening in a big loop to spread all the messages and leave a trail of happiness.

Yes, with smartphones and video calls, there is already a plethora of ways to communicate. But a love bus with the voices of children and dear ones?

“It gives me pleasure,” said Asuncion Mendez, 82, after hearing a message from her great-grandchildren. She said it broke the dreariness of another lockdown day indoors and momentarily eased her fear of the coronavirus.

“It was a beautiful surprise. It warms the heart and makes people come together despite the lockdown,” said her daughter Carmen Diaz, who watched and listened with her from a open window one floor above street level.

Lorena Sanchez, the daughter of Diaz and granddaughter of Mendez, says it’s a great idea. “It can really have an impact on a lot of people, especially the older ones who do not have access to technology,” said Sanchez. “It brings something very special.”

The bus company has been inundated with requests, about 750 messages from the blowing of kisses to a request by a child for someone to become her godmother, spokeswoman An Van hamme said.

Public buses are continuing to run in Brussels, with passengers required to board and exit by the back door and adhere to social distancing while inside.

The “Voice of Brussels” program is even leaving a smile on the face of bus drivers, so often the target of abuse.

Why it’s hot?
Talk about putting unused assets to work to fulfill a real human need during a pandemic

 

Source: Spectrum news 1

Hollywood will never be the same

Amidst theater closings and lockdowns, Universal Pictures released Trolls World Tour via video-on-demand a few weeks back. Well, AMC Theaters, which likely would’ve offered the movie if they’d been allowed to open, wasn’t too happy with that. As a result of the incident, and Universal’s CEO floating the idea of more VOD releases AMC has decided to no longer show any Universal films.

The film was released via iTunes and Amazon Prime Video and viewers were charged $20 to watch the film during a 48-hour rental window.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, spoke in a Wall Street Journal piece on Tuesday, and mentioned the movie made some $100 million in premium VOD rentals in its first three weeks. Theaters typically take about 50% of box office sales, depending on the deal, while in this case Universal retained about 80%.

Does this signal the end of theaters altogether? Most likely not. But wait. Plot twist. On May 4, 1948, the Supreme Court made a game-changing decision that one company could not own both a film studio and theater chain. Basically, back then major studios controlled nearly everything about moviemaking. Today, that decision is being reviewed and could potentially be reversed or amended, which means big changes for an industry that already has a lot up in the air.

Why it’s hot:

While there is value in the theatre experience, it’s easy to see why a studio, especially someone like Sony, would love going vertical. Think about all the at home theatre equipment you could cross promote to enhance DTC viewing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

 

Coors’ offer to buy us a 6-pack is just what America needs right now

Apologies to the teetotalers among us.

This Coors ad from DDB Chicago hits all the right notes for an audience that needs a little encouragement and camaraderie right now … in these “unprecedented times.”

Humorous call-backs to examples of our national fortitude in tough times lends a sense of belonging in the face of struggle.

And what was the thread throughout our historical challenges? Beer.

And who knows better than anyone that sometimes, you just want to crack open a cold one and forget your problems, if just for a few hours? Coors.

We’re looking for escapism and Coors is here for us. Is it healthy? Probably not. Is it America? Absolutely.

Coors seems to know its place in the current crisis: They won’t fix the problem; they don’t claim to be saving anyone; they aren’t pandering to our sense of guilt by calling their workers “heroes”, but they can help mollify our anxiety (take the edge off) with a 6-pack of silver bullet.

Why it’s hot

1. Offering to buy a 6-pack for those who need it most, based on stories people tell on Twitter is a surefire way to get strong social engagement and brand affinity.

2. Humor done well is a salve on our collective psychological wounds, and positions Coors as our friend who totally gets what we’re going through.

Source: The Stable

How does America Respond

IT’S TIME TO BUILD

This is a provocative blog post by Marc Andressen, who’s a prominent venture capitalist, and was a founder of Netscape.

The blog post states and/or challenges why America is not building things and why cities like Singapore and Dubai are the modern marvels and not LA, Austin, or Seattle.

This crisis has woke up our country and our citizens, that we can’t get tests or swabs or ventilators; the richest super power in the world?

And part of that is because we haven’t been building things here and maybe its time. From new airports, hyperloops, supersonic aircraft, drone delivery, etc. maybe its time to build those things.

WHY ITS HOT:

It is part of a dialogue we will have to have coming out of this.

How much of our pharmaceutical industry should be outside or border? Yeah its cheaper, but does it put us all at risk to be dependent on China or other unstable sources?

There’s also a term called NIMBY, not in my background, that some may have heard of. In the bay area and other cities, theres a lack of housing and many times developers are blocked from building because it will block a view or devalue existing real estate.

The blog post is trying to challenge the path forward and to create a conversation around it.

Worth a read, check it out.

Self-destructing communal journal lures users to interact

A basic site This Website Will Self Destruct, created by artist Femme Android allows users to send an anonymous message into the void in order to keep the website alive. It’s been live since April 21, 2020.

Because the site tends to attract the lonely and despondent, there is a “Feeling Down?” button that links the user to mental health services.

Fast Company:

You can choose to leave your own note. Or you can merely observe, hitting the “read a message” button to see what others have posted, while leaving it to others to save the website from imminent annihilation. A death counter on top of the page refreshes every time someone posts something new, which, by my estimation, was happening about once every 5 or 10 seconds.

Like Post Secret, This Website Will Self-Destruct feels refreshingly Old Internet because, if nothing else, they are each equal parts gimmicky and sincere. This Website Will Self-Destruct offers an anonymous place to express yourself in a world where social media thirst traps and virtue signaling has trumped innocent and earnest discourse alike. It requires no subculture of rules to understand like a Reddit message board, no esoteric platform-specific memes like on Twitch, no subtweet agenda of the day to unpack like on Twitter, and no autoplay force-feeding you the next piece of content like on YouTube.

No, This Website Will Self-Destruct is just a website. It’s a place to jot down some thoughts, have a two-second laugh or cry, and kill some time until nobody cares about it anymore. And that moment that its purpose has been served, don’t worry—it’s happy to see itself out.

Why it’s hot:

It’s an interesting phenomenon, that just using the site: reading a note, or posting something silly (or sincere) makes one feel connected and part of a bigger, benevolent community with a shared goal.

The nature of the site (self-destructing if no one posts) activates our desire for continuity, compelling us to act.

Source: Fast Company

The change in consumer spending is just as expected after Covid-19 lockdowns went into effect

Looking at data for the week ending April 1, 2020; and comparing it to data from 2019.

Why it’s hot: The data validates what most know. Consumption patters have drastically changed and spending on many products/services has fallen out of necessity while many Americans have cut down spending on miscellaneous products for a variety of reasons (less disposable income, overall negative sentiment, etc.).

Source: The New York Times

Live Entertainment Adapts To The New Normal

Live entertainment is going digital. This weeks SNL took home cut video from cast members and made a #StayAtHome version. Check out the intro:

NYC theaters are also putting new content online. This week Playwrights Horizons launched a new podcast, Soundstage, putting new playwrights plays straight into your ear. This one is from one of my favorite playwrights, Robert O’Hara (Tufts Alumni for the strategy Jumbos).

And The National Theatre in London through their NT Live program (usually shown in movie theaters) is now releasing a live play on video every week. Actually their newest feature is making its world premiere RIGHT NOW. DURING HOT SAUCE.

Why it’s hot?

Art has a way of surviving. Even live art. There has been some twitter criticism that stage work is not translating well to the digital form, but this is opening a brand new way of staging live art and it’s still in its nascent stage. Looking forward to lots of new brilliant work in these new times.

Facebook comments have a significant impact on advertising activities

The folks over at Hackernoon recently asked themselves a question. “Do comments under your advertising posts help you produce the best bang for your buck?”

They decided there’s only one way to find out and put $1,000 of ad dollars down letting the Facebook A/B testing tool find out.

Hypothesis:

  • Nobody reads comments before clicking on ads. Going further they assumed that comments (doesn’t matter good or bad) could have a positive impact on the ad. It could get higher relevance rankings, which in turn could result in a lower CPM and cost per click.

Prediction:

  • Bad Comments (Version A) group would give a lower cost per install (CPI) than No Comments (Version B), because nobody actually reads the comments.

Settings:

  • Budget: $150 a day, campaign budget optimization, Highest value or lowest cost bid strategy
  • Countries: USA
  • Language: English
  • Duration: 7 days
  • Total budget: $1,000
  • Optimization strategy: App installs

Results:
Comments make a real difference and are of critical importance to users. Looks like customers read comments before clicking on ads and bad comments give the impression of a product before visiting a landing page.

Why it’s hot:
Comments matter. Facebook users read comments and when comments are not pleasant, it results in a higher cost per conversion. While the first touchpoint with your customers is Facebook Ads, the second is the comment section under the ad.

He built an A.I. Clone to Attend Zoom Meetings for Him

Click on the picture above or here to see video

 


The phrase Zoom meeting has been uttered countlessly over the past few weeks, as businesses around the world have turned to the video conferencing app to connect for meetings. Indeed, a number of folks we’ve queried in our #WFH Diaries series have reported being on Zoom essentially all day long.

Throw in some Zoom happy hours, and Zoom wine nights, and Zoom card games, and it can be a bit much. Matt Reed, a creative technologist at Redpepper in Nashville, was certainly feeling the strain, anyway.

“My number of Zoom meetings has gone through the mesosphere and is currently on Mars,” Reed writes on his agency’s blog. “There’s barely even time for bio-breaks, Reddit, or actually getting work done. It’s as if Zoom has turned into the Oasis from Ready Player One, where everyone spends every waking hour of their day inside.”

So, Reed flexed his creative tech chops and came up with an amusing solution. He built a digital A.I.-powered twin of himself, named Zoombot, and had the clone show up for the Zoom meetings in his place.

Zoombot uses advanced A.I. speech recognition and text-to-speech tools to actually respond to other people in the meetings. Also, Reed didn’t warn his colleagues he was doing this—and their reactions in the video are priceless.

Why it’s hot?
Way to break the break the endless monotony of video calls using your digital twin. And the best part is that Reed is spending all the free time “making that coffee whip stuff everybody is making,” he reveals. “Stuff is delicious.”

 

Source: musebycl.io

 

 

A new voice injects some action into the democratic party persona

Apparently this ad came out in September, but I was just served it on Instagram a couple of days ago, and it’s just plain fun.

Most political ads are easy to ignore, but not this one. It plays like a trailer for an action movie, and only at the end do we discover that Valerie Plame is a democrat running for Congress. It piques the viewers interest first, eschewing the common tendencies of both tuning out political ads and of ignoring messages from outside one’s political cohort.

Why it’s hot:

1. Democrats have a huge messaging problem. They’ve long been criticized for being kind of lame and generally unable to inspire voter turnout, which is the main thing they need to do in order to win elections. Valerie Plame is bringing a new edginess to the party.

2. Congressional races have entered the national stage. As Democrats are looking to turn Congress more blue to combat a nearly inevitable Trump win, democratic candidates are hoping to appeal not just to their future constituents, but to the country as a whole, to fund their campaigns. To do so, this ad focuses on key national political issues (“national security, health care, and women’s rights”) and takes direct aim at Trump.

Covid-19 is no joke on April Fool’s Day

This is the date on which most of us log onto cyberspace searching for roundups of the best April Fool’s Day gags from our favorite brands. It’s usually hit-and-miss but there’s always a handful that capture our imaginations and make us laugh a little.

Not surprisingly, the global Covid-19 pandemic has forced brands to cancel their pranks in 2020 out of respect for the seriousness of the situation.  What *is* surprisingly is the reaction from the very content creators that are usually tasked with coming up with great April Fools ideas: apparently they hate this day. And, they came out of the woodwork to tell us so:


Story on Poynter

Story on AdAge

Story on Slate

Why It’s Hot

It’s interesting to see how much loathing marketers have for the pranks that have become such a brand necessity. Is this the end of April Fool’s Day brand content forever? Or just another way to say “2020 sucks”?