Louis Vuitton invests in Madhappy because mental health is the new luxury?

Fast Company: Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the conglomerate that owns many of the world’s best-known luxury brands, has just invested in a startup called Madhappy.

Madhappy Cofounder Peiman Raf says that the brand is on a mission to make the world a more optimistic place by creating conversations around mental health.

Madhappy is not the first “optimistic lifestyle brand” promoting mental health awareness, (Life Is Good has done very well promoting optimism) so why is LVMH investing in Madhappy, and why now?

Life Is Good is genuine, but not cool. Madhappy is cool, and embedded in a sense of coolness is a sense of exclusivity, regardless of how much Madhappy’s cofounder talks about wanting the brand to be inclusive: “Growing up, we found that many streetwear labels seemed to be very exclusive, and we wanted to create a brand that was the opposite of that,” he says.

On trend colors and aloof models helps the coolness. Celebrity endorsements also can’t hurt: Gigi Hadid, Steph Curry, Katy Perry, and Cardi B have all been seen wearing Madhappy.

Irony alert: Coolness is about being in the in-crowd, but to have an in-crowd requires there to be outsiders. The coolness of Madhappy plays right into the social anxieties at the foundation of the mental health problems it claims to want to solve.

Why it’s hot?

1. This trend of brands aligning themselves with social issues speaks to our ongoing negotiation on the role we want brands to play in our lives. (See this week’s Lululemon post) If talking about mental health is cool, will more people get the help they need?

2. It seems the mental-health meme has reached a critical-enough mass in pop culture to be deemed profitable as a brand identity for a streetwear company. How much money from its $70 t-shirt sales Madhappy might dedicate to mental health initiatives remains to be seen.

3. How much of its target market’s mental health problems are a result of the culture that creates the conditions on which a Madhappy can thrive?

Silent Drive-Thru: An Introvert’s Dream Come True?

Multinational fast-food chains conforming their menus to cultural tastes is as old as Pulp Fiction’s Royal Cheese. Agency Superson helped Burger King Finland take this to another level, playing off the stereotype of shy Finns. Understanding it as an experience product, Burger King applied this concept to the drive thru, nodding to the common Finnish sensibility of reticence.

The brief was to increase app use, so they reconfigured the ol’ stand-by of the drive thru, to show how fast and easy it was to order via their app.

The spot is playful and funny, placing fast-food ordering into the realm of a clandestine caper.

And it turns out, it’s not just the Finns who resent talking to the muffled voice of the drive-thru.

Why it’s hot: Nodding to local culture inherently endears customers to the brand. The sense of collective understanding, and feeling known is a powerful bonding agent.

The drive-thru model didn’t align with the value proposition of the app, wherein you could order ahead and pick-up, so rethinking the model required a relatable story to encourage users to do the same.

Source: Contagious

 

Starface flips the script on acne care

What was once a source of embarrassment can perhaps now be a form of style points. D2C startup Starface is offering a new way to think about mild acne: Instead of hiding in shame, embrace your “uniqueness” by “owning” your acne, while helping it heal.

With star-shaped medicated stickers that users place over pimples, Starface helps acne heal while making a bold fashion and beauty statement. With the power of social media to shape perceptions of “cool” and “beautiful”, this reframe of acne could turn an embarrassment into empowerment.

Starface’s branding is very … Gen Z, post-postmodern, self-conscious retro-loving remix culture with all of human history as your source material. (Their “About Me” section parodies the opening text from Star Wars). And rightly so. This isn’t your older sister’s acne care. This is a new world.

Why it’s hot:

Another example of the ongoing and unprecedented revolution in social values, fueled by social media. The meaning of luxury, wealth, success, attractiveness, etc. is being scrutinized, tweaked, torn down, and reconstructed. Brands that have relied on the old standbys would be wise to re-calibrate their message and offerings to attract consumers in this new reality.

Source: Fast Company

Too many men

In China and India combined, men outnumber women by 70 million, mainly due to a couple reasons: cultural preference, government policy and modern medical technology.

And the consequences are severe, including:

  • Epidemic of loneliness, mental health
  •  Imbalanced labor market
  • Increased savings rates
  • Decreased consumption
  • Artificial inflation (housing)
  • Increased crime rate (trafficking, prostitution)

In China alone, there are about 34 million more men than women, that’s almost the entire population of California or Poland. It is common for men to pay “bride price” to prospective parents-in-law to gain approval of engagement and marriage. Due to the gender imbalance, the price has gone from a few hundred dollars a decade a go to nearly $30K in some parts of China.

Some others start to “import” brides from near by Asian countries, paying up to $8K for marriage tours to travel abroad and find wives.

Why it’s hot: Potentially, these 70 million men might never get married or have a family, and might need to live and take care of themselves. Brands (CPG, Healthcare) should think about the implications and impacts it has on them.

Source: The Washington Post

Recommended: “A Piece of Work”

Here’s a shameless plug for a podcast I really dig: Abbi Jacobsen’s new “A Piece of Work” podcast, a collab with WNYC and MoMA.

Read more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-piece-of-work-inside-abbi-jacobsons-new-art-podcast-w494252

And listen to it here: https://project.wnyc.org/new-piece-of-work-moma-podcast/?gclid=CjwKEAjwoNrMBRD4-viTlaj42GcSJAD84Ni_ahV6_Nn_s1DD-4Ghu_OA8CVfaSjqxUpt4qPH1CZ5sxoCB-Tw_wcB

WHY IT’S HOT:

I appreciate A Piece of Work for the way it demystifies what fine art is all about. It’s incredibly accessible– even the curators she interviews are surprisingly unpretentious– which is so refreshing. Plus, her guests are great–  there is nothing not funny about Hannibal Burress talking about Duchamp’s urinal found art sculpture. As an Art History nerd I love it, but I recommend it because living in New York City it is easy to forget the incredible art all around us and A Piece of Work is not only a great podcast but a great reminder.

Relive The Drama of AIM In “Emily Is Away Too”

In 2015, game designer Kyle Seeley released the freeware title Emily is Away, a romantic epic divided into five virtual acts told through the nostalgia of an AOL Instant Messenger chat with the titular Emily. Emily is Away Too takes place in 2006, the protagonist’s senior year of college.

The game not only captures the social and dating experiences of its creator from that time, but also a year of transformation and expansion for digital culture.

This game is all about how we first portrayed ourselves online – the AIM platform was such a pivotal part of self expression growing up. Opening up and reliving those past relationships and conversations developed through outdated technology helps evaluate who we are and who we choose to be in the future.

 

WHY ITS HOT:

Millennials are more nostalgic towards old tech because we’re the first generation to uniquely experience these complete shifts in communication at the same time together. Past generations shared the passive, much more gradual rise of film or television. Meanwhile, the internet, its interactivity and social applications, fundamentally changed how we created memories with childhood friends.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/relive-the-torrid-human-dramas-of-old-aim-chats-in-emily-is-away-too

 

exploring the reality of mixed reality…

Strange Beasts from Magali Barbé on Vimeo.

I came across the short film Strange Beasts this week, which in a way slightly lighter than Black Mirror explores the peculiar realities of a mixed reality world. The full 5 minutes are well worth watching, it’s a quick story, but the pertinent parts are probably the first minute, and from about 2:40-4 minutes, when it implies its central philosophical question. I thought this would make for a good discussion.

Why It’s Hot:

Mixed reality is obviously a topic du jour among emergent technologies, a step beyond virtual reality – enabling us to see things ourselves that aren’t there in any tangible, physical sense (as we currently understand physical tangibility). The question is – what kind of place will the “real world” be when everyone can for all intents and purposes be experiencing their own “world”, cordoning themselves off into their own ecosystem of things, beasts, and even friends and family? Plus, we think we look ridiculous with a virtual reality headset on…

The Future: Brought to you by Alexa

At its launch, Alexa was designed to work with 135 skills. In 2017, its skills has increased to almost 7,000. Alexa can now do anything from order you a pizza, read your kids a bedtime story, and turn your lights on and off. Alexa is always listening, aptly responding to whatever you need, and what started as an experimental device is slowly becoming a household fixture.

As consumers, we’re aware of the devices tracking us. But for most, it’s hard to wrap your head around the foretold dangers of beings surveilled, because most don ‘t feel direct implications. And while privacy remains a hot topic in tech, Alexa promises that anything shared on their servers is 100% safe and undiscoverable to outsiders.

The interesting reality is: I basically give Amazon all of money. I even admit to using Amazon Now when I need toilet paper on a Saturday when I can easily walk to the corner store and pick it up myself. Amazon is the go-to for all my needs as a consumer, and in turn, Amazon knows a lot about me.

“While Google is working to anticipate your needs, Amazon is readying itself to be the only place you need to go to fulfill them.”

Image result for rosie the robot maid

Why it’s hot?

  • The Everything Store: It’s easy to buy into the Amazon universe. It’ll be interesting to see how their business grows in tech as this device becomes more of a household fixture.
  • Privacy: People are aware of surveillance, but convenience will likely bypass any privacy concerns.
  • Environmental and Cultural implications: Amazon Now, Amazon Prime – both feed the culture of instant gratification that brands and media continue to cultivate. What are the implications of devices like Alexa on consumption and willpower for society?

 

What is Twitter good for?

This past Wednesday, Kanye West had his most recent Twitter tweetstorm rant. This time, directed to Wiz Khalifa.

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For the past few weeks, there have been countless think pieces on what Twitter must do to save itself. Twitter, as a company, has a lot of challenges ahead of itself, but if you want to ask the question what Twitter is good for – this is it. This Kanye West tweetstorm was a cultural moment that took the internet by storm. A moment that could’ve only happened on  Twitter.

To fully embrace Twitter, as a platform, you have to be in-the-moment. So much of the content on Twitter is off-the-cuff commentary, live reactions, people from around the world coming together over one single topic to share love, humor, information and sometimes even hate.

The beauty of the true real-time nature of Twitter is that if you didn’t watch Kanye’s rant in real-time, you missed out. And you missed out on a moment that blew up beyond Twitter and into the wider culture.

Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” Video has the Right Rhythm

fashion14_150Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” Video has the Right Rhythm //


Lifestyle content rooted in creativity and culture continues to be a main focal point for brand marketers. It all about mastering the emotional connection with consumers and sparking the meaningful engagement that follows. Diesel seems to have had success only one year after a similar execution by PUMA that fell flat on its face.
Diesel joined forces with i-D Fashion Magazine to create a video in April 2014, “The A-Z of Dance,” featuring Diesel’s #joggjeans. The video features the top talent making waves in pop culture today. Then Diesel makes it your turn to be The Star of their Next Video.

joggjeans

Now slip into your Jogg Jeans and show us your moves…We are now inviting fans across the globe to dance their way into a one-of-a-kind follow up film – upload your moves to Instagram, Vine etc using the hashtags #joggjeans and #iDdance.

Diesel drives fans to their Jogg Jeans site where they connect the video, the CTA and all social engagement with the hashtag, #joggjeans seamlessly in one place sealing the deal by featuring fans.

While the Diesel video has recently resurfaced thanks to Fast Company, it is difficult to forget that PUMA released the PUMA Dance Dictionary a year earlier in 2013. The concept was “Encrypt your messages into dance moves.” The video was created to celebrate the launch of the new PUMA “Sync” fragrances, the PUMA Dance Dictionary is a digital application that encrypts messages into dance moves. Don’t say it, move it. However, the effort was an epic failure and their site, pumadancedictionary.com, has become nothing more than inoperable code.

Why It’s HOTThis shows that hitting the mark by understanding the social media landscape and understanding your audience in a manner that allows a team to create something that not only resonates but generates authentic engagement is a skill set only the few can master.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS BELOW:

Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” // WARNING: Video Contains Twerking. Content Potentially Not Suitable for Children Under Age 13.

PUMA’s Dance Dictionary // WARNING: You will never get the next 2 minutes and 44 seconds of your life back after watching the video below in its entirety. 


Adweek summed it up best:

The Puma Dance Dictionary, created by Grey London to push the brand’s new Sync fragrances (yes, Puma makes fragrances), allows users to select words and phrases which are then translated into dance moves by freestyle performers. These “moving” messages can be shared via social media or emailed to friends. You start with various templates and then shift a few words in and out to create sentences. The pre-set “I love women with heart,” for example, can be changed to “I love women with popcorn.” Or “I love guys with muscles.” Or even “I love women with nuts,” if you’re into that. Manipulating other templates yields sentiments like “Money makes me want to get naked,” “Hey bro, your face is crazy” and “Will you stroke my girlfriend?” This can be amusing, but not very, as the vocabulary is too limited. I understand the dancers could interpret only so many words, and Puma naturally wants to avoid potential hate speech or outright vulgarity. But the enterprise seems hamstrung by a lack of true interaction.

Ouch. Sorry, PUMA.You were just out of “Sync” on this one. Better luck next time.

Surviving in an Ad Agency

Ad agencies are often faced with surprise situations in the work place, like a client asking for several major changes just hours before the project deadline or the power suddenly going out right when people are busy working on their computers.

Canadian creative studio Phoenix has created The Survival Kit, which is designed to arm agency folks who are facing deadlines, major presentations, and other stressful events at work with the basic tools to help them survive those situations.

The Survival Kit is available in three packages: The Overtime, The Presentation, and The Power Outage. Each kit comes complete with different items that make each situation that much easier.

Read more here: Full Article

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Why it’s HOT: At an ad agency, sometimes the best culture lures the best talent. And every seasoned advertiser knows about Murphy’s Law (Anything that can go wrong, will) when it comes to doing their job. So I think it’s really neat to see an agency show that they are compassionate and aware of some of the worst situations its employees are likely to face in their careers. Every agency needs a Survival Kit!