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. The Truman Show meets HSN.
This week, Amazon announced that it was in talks to produce a fashion-based scripted show featuring Blake Lively where viewers could also directly purchase the outfits featured on the episodes. Why should you care? As advertising has always been closely tied to television, it is a little surprising it has taken so long for the two to be integrated. It has tried but never really found the value proposition for viewers. While technology certainly plays a role in this (being able to order directly from the platform is a new), there wasn’t anything stopping brands from advertising the exact outfits from an episode while the credits were running or during commercial breaks. This suggests the emergence of shoppable programming is reflective of cultural changes rather than technological. It is difficult to say what is driving this, but it seems that some combination of television moving into online platforms, YouTube stars, brand content/endorsements on social media, celebrity lifestyle brands and fast fashion have transformed attitudes from “I watch tv and mute the commercials,” to, “why not just put them all together?” [Vanity Fair]
2. @romeo + @juliet.
On October 9th, Buzzfeed launched six Instagram accounts featuring modernized characters from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. For the next eight days, these accounts will use the varying mediums of Instagram to creative an interactive storytelling experience, called Romeo Likes Juliet. Why should you care? This could prove to be an excellent example of how to stretch and rethink content delivery on Instagram. In reinventing this timeless classic, Buzzfeed is optimizing different features of Instagram to advance a plot. The content will be delivered by different characters through photos, comments (with both characters and actual people responding), captions, screenshots, videos and stories. If this proves to be a compelling format, not only could it be an innovative way to rethink social and digital campaigns, but it could also transform online storytelling. [The Hollywood Reporter]
3. Get an Uber or Lyft to the polls.
On Election Day (November 6th), Uber and Lyft will be offering discounted or free rides to the polls, making particular efforts to partner with nonprofits who help those in underrepresented communities who find registering and simply getting to the polls challenging. Why should you care? It’s a great idea. They are using their resources to do good and at the same time, it will not only support their research into transportation systems as they position themselves for future growth, but they are also getting media attention. Even better, they are not receiving political backlash as it seems that this divided country still agrees that the act of voting is good. However, if the intention is to not only grab headlines, but actually help people who legitimately can’t get to the polls, then they should also be offering them a ride home from the polls. CSR initiatives that only partially solve problems are not going to impress socially-conscious Millennials and activist Gen Z’ers who will see actions like this as only stunts rather than strategic altruism. [Fast Company]
4. An unforgettable font.
Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, recently released a new font, Sans Forgetica, which is designed to help people better remember what they’ve read. Why should you care? Before everyone changes all of their fonts over to Sans Forgetica, know that the researchers don’t view this as a panacea for memory. In tests, it improved retention of text by only 7%. The psychological principle this font is based on, that people learn better when the material presents a “desirable difficulty”, is not understood to be universal. Additionally, if everyone switches, this will also decrease the difficulty, as people become accustomed to it, therefore eliminating the memory properties. While this is an interesting finding, in most cases, it may be worth focusing on other areas of design to capture an audience’s attention. [Popular Science]
5. Rewarding digital detox.
Select Wyndham Hotels & Resorts across the U.S. are promoting digital detox by creating phone-free zones and rewarding patrons for putting down their phones. Why should you care? We’ve seen many brands begin to look at how they can help their customers better balance their online and offline time. Much of this discussion has happened around tech companies better informing consumers on how they are using their time on devices. We have seen sporadic stories of the occasional restaurant offering a discount for not having your phone at the table (or confiscating them at the door), but it is interesting to see a national hotel chain offer both carrots and sticks to promote good digital habits. Wyndham decided to pursue these changes after one of their studies found “the average American looks at their screen every 12 minutes while on vacation and 53% never unplug or reduce their phone usage on a trip.” In a travel industry that relies on photos and online reviews, this will certainly alter their digital strategy, but will it also be the digital refuge people desire on vacation or a buzzkill? [Lonely Planet]
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