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

Unilever Gives Birth to Baby Dove

(Baby brain alert!)

Unilever’s Dove and Dove Men+Care are proud parents of Baby Dove, the brand’s first major category extension since launch of the aforementioned men’s line seven years ago. The new line of baby washes, lotions and wipes kicks off with a digital video today to be followed by a broader digital, TV and #RealMoms social campaign.

“Baby Dove is building on the 60-year heritage of cleansing and care and moisturization of the Dove brand,” said Nick Soukas, VP of Dove. One of the key insights behind the products is that baby skin loses moisture five times faster than adult skin, so Dove’s heritage of moisturizing products fits particularly well, he said. Beyond the moisturizing heritage, Dove has been squarely focused on moms and dads with its existing product lines for years, making the leap to babies fairly easy. Marketing for Dove Men+Care in particular has been focused on men’s roles as fathers since day one.

But Baby Dove will be focused on the primary buyer in the category — moms — and in particular bucking up women’s self-esteem vs. pressure to be perfect. Instead of Real Beauty, think of it as a campaign for real parenting. Read more here.

By coming from a place of support, acceptance & advocacy, the campaign has won a typically critical “mom community” online. Initial fan reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, with comments like: “Love how inclusive Dove is for all walks of life, regardless of color, gender, and sexuality. Keep it up!”  And popular mommy blogs have picked up on the conversation too, sharing the campaign with their own accompanying messages of positivity and in support of the launch. See examples here, here, and here.

Why it’s hot:

Being in tune with the role your brand plays in consumer lives + understanding the power of real consumer truths = A breakthrough campaign that will get the target audience sharing & talking.

On the heels of major mess ups (::cough, pepsi, cough::), it’s worth remembering that this simple combination of knowing your audience & knowing your brand can lead to a campaign that strikes a chord & feels right for the company.

Guinness Goes American and Blonde With Discovery Series

Beginning in September, Guinness will get a little bit more American. A new program called the “Discovery Series” will feature a range of beers using various styles that will be marketed under the Guinness megabrand.

The first brew out of the gate will be made in the U.S. and called Guinness Blonde American Lager, which will be supported by a national TV campaign. A print ad that recently ran in Playboy magazine teased the upcoming launch by boasting that “the most talked about American blonde in years … will come from a most unexpected source.”



The program seeks to capitalize on the growing thirst for variety in beers that has fueled the craft-beer movement. Guinness is calling its new entry a “fusion brew” that blends the American lager brewing style with the influence of overseas Guinness know-how.

Guinness Blonde will be brewed in Latrobe, Pa., at a contract brewery called City Brewing, but will be made using a Guinness yeast imported from Dublin.

The plan is to introduce two Discovery Series beers each year featuring various styles. While Blonde will become a permanent fixture in the Guinness line-up, some of the brews might be limited editions.

Source: AdAge

Why It’s Hot

While we’re on the topic of beer… 🙂

This is an example of product development and marketing in direct reaction to changing consumption habits. According to Doug Campbell, director of Diageo’s beer business, “In the states there is still a certain amount of magic about the classic Guinness being brewed in Dublin…but [there is a] tension in the beer world: More people want to “buy from a brewery next door” to me but at the very same time when it comes to imports, there is still a demand for the expertise, the heritage [and] artistry that a lot of imported brands have.”

I also think the choice of channel (Playboy) is an interesting take on their target audience — are these guys the “craft” beer drinkers? Those willing to try new things? Not sure, but would love to see the insight that guided the media choices!


AXE Measures Your Social Effect

AXE created a pretty cool little tool to check out your friends “Social Effect.” This custom Social Effort Scale is designed to tell you if you’re trying too hard online. There are now millions of photos tagged with terms like #selfie, #baller, #slick and even #youwantthis, but as the Social Effort Scale has determined, women typically find men with a scores over 150 unattractive, due to them seeming like they’re trying too hard.

The new AXE Social Effect utility shows exactly where you sit on the scale, by tracking #hashtags on user profiles to see how they are trying to impress. You can log in with either Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (or all 3), and have your hashtags tracked to see if you’re trying too much or not enough.  Check it out here.

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Why it’s hot:

The platform is presented by AXE Matte Effect and although there’s barely any mention of the product, that’s precisely the point, since the product is all about “Less Effort. More Style.” The “analysis” plays off of a user’s natural desire to review self-posted content, and it’s just plain fun to see infographic-style results of your own social media trends.