Get ‘em While They’re Young

DTC’s next hot opportunity
July 12, 2021

In the DTC era, CPG brands can no longer wait until the age of peak consumption to instill loyalty. New tactic: get ‘em while they’re young. 

A toy line that first premiered in 2019 is now gracing the endcaps of Target once again. This time, the miniature toys are repackaged as a “blind box” loot box, where 5 baby brands help to complete a collection for burgeoning consumers. Children no longer have to wait for kids of their own to complain about “Kraft isn’t the same as Velveeta MOMMMMM ::eyeroll::” — they can now role-play it for themselves in preparation for the existential dread that is parenthood.

Following in the footsteps of the multi-billion dollar breakout success that are blindbox surprise toys (think: L.O.L. Surprise and Pikmi Pops): Zuru’s relaunch of the brands-cum-mini-toys now includes rare gold brands and ultra-rare rose-gold brands.

Modern loyalty is no game, though. There's a real strategy around building consumer affinity at a young age. Regional affinities around mayonnaise, for instance (Duke’s or die, bish), can be broken by catching a young consumer early on, while we’re busy forming preferences. Unlike alcohol or coffee, which are tastes that are acquired much later in life, young tastebuds (and minds) are ripe for the inceptioning as long as they’re capable of play.

DTC would do well to take note: these cute minis could be great ways to introduce new and upcoming brands to new consumers via their children. Imagine little Isabella asking mom for her very own bottle of Haus—“I just don’t like the preschool drunk culture or being hungover, right Mom?” Or little Liam bragging to his friends about his toy 8 Sleep mattress and Whoop band — “ugh my recovery score is always so low after I hit the Sour Brite Crawlers.”

The real innovation we need? How to “play” eCommerce. Because, at least for my kids, when they play, they still imitate physical retail, which is like, soooo two-thousand-and-late.

— Phillip

Making Baby Sun proud. In some of the week’s most important news, the Teletubbies are all vaxxed (and presumably, waxed). Po got the shot manufactured by AstraTubbica, whereas Tinky Winky went with Noo-nson & Noo-son. Twitter really had a lot of fun commenting on this.

Quality (care) you can trust. Dollar General has hired a chief medical officer and is working to expand its healthcare products and offerings. Who needs a PCP, when you have a DG? But seriously, this will likely be really valuable for people living in rural communities with decreased access to health products.

More Sights and Sounds. Disney, Paypal, & Facebook have some new patents in the works. DTC beauty brand, Glossier has raised $80 million in Series E funding, raising their value to an estimated $1.8 billion. TikTok Resumes are a thing now, and you can video apply to participating companies, like Shopify. Shopify is giving out free Business Starter Kits for entrepreneurial kids. The CDC officially made everyone shudder recently with their cautionary GIF of a kid putting the poo into the pool. And finally, there is a giant calico cat meowing over Tokyo and it’s awesome.

Bloomingdale’s, but make it snappy. The company will launch its new concept store, Bloomie’s, next month in Fairfax, VA. Bloomie’s will be a smaller, more concentrated version of Bloomingdale’s, showcasing its best offerings delivered in unexpected ways.

Bitcoin to Africa. Some coffee bags at Trader Joe’s have a QR code so you can directly tip the farmers the coffee was sourced from. Responses are mixed and range from enthusiastic applause to cynics questioning if it’s really going to the farmers.

Sweet dreams are made of Tapping the Rockies. Most of us don’t ever dream about Coors naturally, but the company has been trying to make that happen intentionally by targeting their marketing efforts towards sleeping consumers. Earlier this year, they “encouraged people to watch a short online video before bed, then play an eight-hour ‘soundscape’ through the night,” which should in turn make the subject dream of a cold, refreshing Coors. In response, thirty-five sleep experts have signed a letter stating the cause for alarm at such an action.

Sci-Fi breaks wind. In this Wired piece, Jason Kehe dives into Amazon’s near-obsession with flatulence in the future—well, actually— with most bodily fluids and functions for that matter. They just keep making appearances in Amazon science fiction shows, proving that the future is just like us—gassy.

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