Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.
1. No college ID, no personal data, no service.
Shiru Coffee, a coffee shop located near Brown University, sells almost exclusively to students and deals in essentially one currency: personal data. To receive their coffee, students must give their name, phone number, email address, college major(s), date of birth and professional interests. As a bonus, students can subsequently look forward “to receiving information from corporate sponsors who pay the cafe to reach its clientele through logos, apps, digital advertisements on screens in stores and on mobile devices, signs, surveys and even baristas.” Why should you care? A few months ago, following the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, it seemed like brands would be scrambling to renegotiate their data and privacy practices with consumers to regain their trust. It could be argued that this cafe overtly asking for data and offering compensation through coffee is doing just that. However, community members and students have begun voicing concerns. For an arrangement like this, whose responsibility is it to ensure customers are informed about how their data is used, especially as it must be significantly more valuable than a cup of coffee for this business model to work. Then again, maybe it simply doesn’t matter, as according to one student, “Maybe I should have been more apprehensive, but everyone has your information at this point anyway. To give out my name and email and what I study does not seem so risky to me.” [NPR]
2. Alexa, get me a drink.
Diageo recently launched an integrated print and voice campaign where ads would instruct people to ask Alexa or their Google Assistant to send a sample of its new vegan product, Bailey’s Almande. Why should you care? Brands are still looking for ways to make voice relevant to their campaigns. This setup works well because it engages people with the brand on multiple fronts – they see the ad in a magazine, they connect with the brand via smart speaker and after providing shipping information, a sample appears on their doorstep. While there may be a few steps to complete, it is still a fairly seamless way to get consumers to sample new products (and aren’t people always a little more forgiving when it comes to free alcohol?). [Digiday]
3. Choose your own dystopian ending.
This week, Netflix announced that season five of Black Mirror will have an episode with interactive features. Why should you care? This could be huge. If done well, adding interactivity could change the way we think about television and create so many new opportunities in the genre. At the same time, watching television is generally a passive activity (aside from the occasional “advice” to a referee or “warning” to an oblivious character). This will be an interesting test to see if people want to play a more active roll, albeit predetermined role, in the plot development of their favorite shows or if the prompts will instead feel like another way to ask “Are you still watching?” From a content development standpoint, expectations may also be challenging to manage. While it will align with consumer demands for customization, studios will only be able to shoot so many alternative plots and subplots, giving viewers the impression of choice they may ultimately not be able to deliver. [The Verge]
4. Amazon discovers brick and mortar.
Amazon has recently opened a store in New York City selling products with 4- or 5-star ratings on this little website they run. Why should you care? For an organization that is notorious for “killing” physical stores by transforming the shopping experience, this foray into traditional retail will certainly impact the industry. Their data will likely give them an advantage in product selection (what should be sold online or in-store) and in targeted marketing. However, their brick and mortar competitors have years and many iterations under their belt regarding interior design, organization and product placement. It will be interesting to see if Amazon will conform or transform physical retail in the same way they’ve disrupted just about everything else. [The New Food Economy]
5. Hide and seek in Belize.
The Belize Tourism Board is currently holding a contest to select five American contestants for a nationwide game of “hide and seek”. Why should you care? In November, the “seeker” will have five days to find four “hiders” who will be “tucked away on different secluded resorts throughout the country”. What a fun idea for a campaign with the goal of “evoking a sense of child-like wonder for travelers” while also showing off the country of Belize. [Lonely Planet]
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