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. For one night only…
Skittles has announced that instead of airing ads during the Super Bowl, they will be hosting a one-night Broadway play that afternoon: “Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical.” Why should you care? The 30-minute musical, starring Michael C. Hall, will mark the second year Skittles has embraced an alternative to traditional 30-second spots during the Super Bowl. Brands should consider whether Skittles is an early adopter of an emerging trend or an anomaly. The Super Bowl offers unmatched exposure in terms of audience size, but brands also must find a way to standout. Over the past year, we’ve seen brands start to reframe their tactics to focus on audience quality over quantity. This stunt certainly embraces that philosophy – trading a viewership of millions for 1,500 audience members. So long as Skittles remain a minority by not advertising at the Super Bowl, their “rebellion” and mystery around their alternative techniques will still allow them to capture the quantity attention they desire through earned media and curious individuals connecting with them on social media of their website. [Adweek]
2. A regular egg.
This week, a photo of an exceptionally ordinary and very regular egg became the most liked picture on Instagram of all time. Why should you care? Two words: Gen Z. Gen Z, or Generation Z, is the generational cohort that comes after Millennials. Though it varies between research organizations, the oldest members of Gen Z are in their final years of college or just entering the workforce (and therefore gaining purchasing power as well as influence). According to YPulse, this egg picture is a classic example of Gen Z’s “absurdist humor”. The account who published the picture attributed the reception to the egg’s “intentions” stating, “It does not pretend to be an image for getting fans, it does not pretend to be a Fabergé egg…It is not hunting for anyone’s attention. It is simple egg.” Not only will brands need to adapt to Gen Z’s humor, but recognize the desire for authentic and transparent messaging on Instagram: a new direction we’ve seen people starting to demand across social media. [The New York Times]
3. Hanging with the cool kids
Facebook is currently testing an app, LOL, which has a “feed of memes and GIFs categorized by topics like ‘animals’ and ‘pranks’.” Why should you care? LOL is an(other) attempt by Facebook to bring teens back to their platforms, particularly those who have migrated to SnapChat. According to The Verge, the focus on teens with smartphones is due to Facebook’s eagerness “to tap into a market both deemed lucrative by advertisers and seen as the breeding ground for new and cutting-edge developments in internet culture.” Without knowing the full extent of their strategy, our team wonders why they aren’t focusing on the people loyal to their platform. It makes sense for Facebook to seek out young audiences who will grow with them, but that isn’t the only way to grow their audience. Too often, innovation is associated with creating something for the youth. However, if older demographics, who also have greater purchasing power, are active users of Facebook, why not innovate around their needs? [The Verge]
4. Streaming with IMDb
Amazon is launching IMDb Freedrive, a new free, but ad-supported, video-on-demand streaming service. Why should you care? Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen cable companies alter their offerings and several companies enter the market in variety of ways to try to capitalize on cord-cutting Millennials. IMDb seems like a natural fit as it is already a go-to resource on film and television. However, it is unclear how they will differentiate themselves from other services (including Amazon Prime), other than by offering content for free. It will be interesting to see how this model is received by people who have now become accustomed to bingeing full seasons (or series) on Netflix with only the occasional interruption of, “Are you still watching?” [Variety]
5. Somewhere out there
New music apps that allow private groups of people to listen to the same music simultaneously, like Playlist and Vertigo, are gaining in popularity. Why should you care? As we’ve seen last year and expect to continue this year, people are seeking balance between their digital and analog experiences. Additionally, we’re hearing more and more about public health concerns over loneliness. Recent studies have shown that social media and the internet play a part in facilitating loneliness as technology changes how people interact with each other and the world around them. However, smart companies will see opportunities to address loneliness by providing engaging connections and analog experiences using digital tools. For example, maybe some of you remember sitting on a school bus traveling to a performance or game and sharing an earbud so you could both listen to latest song on your iPod Nano (or Sony Walkman, 8-Track Player, etc.). These music apps are facilitating the same experience, but instead of needing to be seated side-by-side, people can be worlds apart, but actively listening together. [Cassandra Daily]
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