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April 1, 2021

Talk City to Me!

In this flush new era of digital nomadic life, freed from the chains of commutes and communal break rooms, the competition for creative technologists has gone global. Cue Helsinki to fire the first salvo. With a smart nod at our increased hunger for all things unboxing, the city has launched a direct marketing campaign that serves to entice top technology talent to the Northern capital. 10 lucky applicants will be invited to Helsinkify their homes and will receive a box of classic Finnish design items, valued at $1,000 Euros (along with a job offer!) We can’t wait to see how Paris responds!!

One-Two-Tinder

Tinder is letting nothing get in the way of love this Spring!! In two separate initiatives, the online dating app is providing all the lubrication needed for smoother and swifter love connections via Lyft and rapid Covid tests. It seems that stated intentions of “go on a date” in Tinder bios hit an all-time high in February, while Lyft’s weekly ridership volume reached a record level since the pandemic’s onset in the U.S. in March 2020. By tossing in the opportunity for two free in home Covid tests, the dating app hopes to move the magic off the screen and into the sunset. (And isn’t that what we all dream of?)

I Was Told There Would be Meatballs

In the sort of quirky swan dive we would expect from the Swedish lifestyle company, Ikea has marked the end of its physical catalogues production with a unique offering: the brand has turned its 2021 catalogue into a podcast. The finished product, available on YouTube and Spotify, has been described as a tour for the listeners’ ears, as it marks a journey through the furnished homes of six different families, then dives into seven how-to sections for at-home transcendence. For everyone who has ever found their own stumbling pronunciations of various Ikea items oddly soothing and even hygge-inducing, this is your pandemic sound track!

Not Today, Satan!

Lil Nas X is stirring it up! American musician Lil Nas X and Brooklyn brand MSCHF have created a limited run of 666 pairs of black Nike trainers, which they claim have been customized with human blood. The Satan shoes were created to mark the singer’s music video for his new single Montenero (Call Me by Your Name) which features visuals of Lil Nas X sliding down a stripper pole into hell and giving the devil a lapdance. The singer, who came out as gay in 2019, has hinted that his motivation for subverting Christian iconography was prompted by the homophobia he experienced growing up. Nike has distanced itself from the collab – and has issued a lawsuit against the design shop, MSCHF. Either way, these kicks are hot!

All of Me

Today’s consumers are looking for a full body immersion when it comes to their brand choices. Brands are no longer objects for a refrigerator shelf or a night stand, they are smart nods to whole lifestyles. Either you know – or its just no. A wide variety of companies have stepped to the plate to merge categories and experiences into its offerings, some more successfully than others. We love the ones that showcase deep insights and plenty of playfulness with smart content, like a nod to 90’s nostalgia, or an understanding of the recent hunger for online learning. The latest two: Oreo’s Spanish Academy and Hot Topic’s Blockbuster eye palette, have turned up to be big winners for the brands on both social and in sales. It’s all or nothing, people!

Friendsgiving?

Once upon a time, people of this great nation looked for ANY excuse to not spend a holiday with family. Now – it seems that it is what we all miss the most. In a dazed and confused move, ComicCon has announced its return to reality by scheduling a ‘Special Edition’ of its esteemed super hero conference on – wait for it – Thanksgiving weekend 2022. The organization is currently bushwhacking its way through a huge backlash as fans and foes alike express their disgust at the missed-the-memo timing. Calendar kryptonite, indeed.

Hat Heat

Are hats the new kicks? There are some early indicators coming out of New York City that say it might well be so. “I used to dress from the bottom up. I would get my sneakers first and everything else came after. But now, I find myself, putting on a hat first,” says Tab Hunter, a 32-year-old, Queens-dwelling streetwear aficionado and avid collector of baseball caps. Right now, fitted caps are bucking the downward sales trend afflicting the wider pandemic-hit fashion industry. Sales started to uptick in late 2019 and exploded in 2020. Fashion pundits cite the accessories ability to signal community, coolness, and offer the ability for collectability. Add to this, perhaps, is the pandemic’s shift in focus from our feet (outside) to our faces (inside) making hats front and center. Either way, it looks like fitted hats are where it’s at inside this New York minute.

It’s the Little Things

Perhaps because our lives over the past year have shrunk to the dimensions of a cell phone screen, or maybe we have no space left in our cold, black hearts, but it seems that right now we crave the miniature over the monolithic. Check out Emerson’s Tiny Pub Experience out of New Zealand which gives new meaning to microbrew! Given the strictness of the Kiwi’s lockdown, the beer brand came up with a plan to bring people back together safely. They crafted a national tour of a pub built for two, complete with a miniature dart board, piano and newspapers, along with a bartender to serve things up safely. Patrons can book a pint in the pub on the brand’s website, with visits limited to two people only for 27 minutes. The goal is to underscore the importance of human connection, and the role of the brand in bringing people together. We’ll drink to that!

A Giant Scramble

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Who doesn’t love a good entendre? In current vernacular, an Easter Egg is a surprise hidden in media content, such as a TV show or a game that the viewer gets – its typically a sly reference to something happening in current culture, or to a plot element from earlier stories. This year, Cadbury is borrowing the term to launch its “Worldwide Hide”. In a tech-meets-tradition initiative, the brand is working with Google Maps Street View to allow for AR egg hunts around the world. Users can take the traditional Cadbury Purple egg and hide it virtually anywhere that has meaning for them and their loved ones. The ensuing hunt can be as complex or simple as desired, but the goal is to make it personal. There is something that feels wonderful about exploring the world right now, even if it’s simply to pursue virtual chocolate. On second thought – can there be a better reason?

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