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. Cold reception to “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
Radio stations across the U.S. are banning “Baby It’s Cold Outside” this holiday season. Why should you care? This isn’t the first time society has taken another look at the tone and “message” of the Christmas song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” In 2016, a parody was released to reflect modern ideas of consent. In 2017, conversations about its appropriateness were renewed, particularly in light of the #metoo movement starting in October 2017. This year several radio stations have simply made the decision to ban the song because they feel it is tone deaf. However, that decision has not been met with unilateral praise, but ignited new debates on sensitivity, an American “addiction to outrage,” and historical context. Today’s consumers expect brands to take a stand on social issues and not be afraid of challenging “sacred” traditions. Consumers don’t want platitudes, but a brand’s values expressed through specific mundane actions, like playing a song on the radio. Except, for something like, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” we lack a model for brands to remain neutral on gray areas in social issues that also satisfies consumers’ desires to know where brands stand. [NPR]
2. Smell-0-vision, coming to a theater near you
During the previews of family films in 25 theaters across the U.S., Pillsbury will be pumping the smell of cinnamon rolls during ads for their refrigerated dough. Why should you care? Looking to hack into nostalgia to sell a product? Smell is the sense most directly connected to memory, making it an effective route to rousing nostalgia. Moviegoers seeking out family films, especially classics like The Grinch, are already primed for sentimentality. What makes this campaign particularly smart is that it combines and reinforces nostalgia in the smell (comfort food), imagery (families baking together), timing (holiday season), movie theater (captive audience) and activity (one families do together). [AdAge]
3. Shop and skate
Iceland, a UK supermarket chain, has installed an ice rink throughout one of their stores allowing customers to ice skate through the store while grocery shopping. Why should you care? Aside from learning whatever voodoo magic they employed to get the consent of their corporate legal team for this stunt, this certainly adds “magic to Christmas food shopping,” as they intended. Retrofitting a grocery store as an ice rink couldn’t be anything short of completely disruptive, so we applaud their willingness to try something risky that may cost them in the short-run (in dropped merchandise or inefficiencies) for the long-term dividends of building their brand. [PR Week]
4. Prejudice in technology
Estrella Jalisco, a Mexican import in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s portfolio, recently launched a campaign to combat racist terms autopopulated in Facebook’s search bar when typing the sentence “Mexicans are…” Why should you care? We love this campaign because it feels a bit “David and Goliath.” First, it cleverly sought to outsmart an algorithm, built by one of the most powerful tech companies in the world, by flooding social media with content associating uplifting and positive words with Mexico. Second, its success relied on people sharing positive content in a time where negative and divisive content gets so much attention. And, people did. On December 1, users who typed in “Mexicans are…” found the offensive autopopulated terms replaced with “inspiring, creative, passionate, caring and great.” [Adweek]
5. Yes, boy bands are cultural too
This week, The Pudding, a news organization focused on highly-visual, data-driven stories on culture, released an interactive database of “boy bands” since the 1980s. Why should you care? Because, how often does the opportunity arise to talk “boy bands” and “cultural importance” in the same sentence? Boy bands and the cool format aside, there is a more “academic” reason you should care. Over the past year, we’ve started to see new publications popping up antithetical to the backbreaking pace of the news cycle and the detail of a tweet. Long-form, niche topics are seeing success when presented as narratives in engaging formats. Currently, this has been driven by video (including comedy) and podcasts, but as data visualizations continue to find their footing in mainstream media, it will be interesting to see how this evolves in 2019. [The Pudding]
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