Apologies for a late edition, futurists. I spent some time at GROW NY this week where the networking was hot, and the venue (much) hotter. The historic Knockdown Center in Queens dealt a knockout blow to hundreds of attendees, where temps peaked at 84 degrees inside the building, in the midst of a NYC heat wave.
Whoever said DTC isn’t a hot space right now was very, very, wrong.
Three things to queue up this week:
- Our physical Visions books are here. They clock in at over 100 pages, and are a statement piece for a coffee table. We’re giving a few books and other merch right over here (I was told this week we should be charging $100 for these soooo…)
- Visions Episode 3 on Romanticism goes live tomorrow (*Friday) morning. Subscribe on Spotify so you don’t miss it.
- We’re launching our second guide with Spryker, this time on the merit of “Composable Commerce” and wtf it means, and htf you get any value from it. Link is below.
“We Found Love in a Meta Place” Unilever is making an interesting attempt at recognizing that “Love is Love” by launching a City Hall of Love in Decentraland through their Closeup oral care brand, stating: “Many couples are still denied the right to marry the person they love. But in the metaverse, anything is possible.”
Editor’s note: CEO Alan Jope says the “metaverse is a place where real-world limits don’t apply” but last we checked gravity exists in the metaverse… so… But in all seriousness this comes in the very week that 157 Republicans voted against marriage equality in the U.S. Congress. In this regard, we could all use a little skeuomorphism, the imposition of real-world constraints on digital spaces to aide adoption, right about now.
#TheyAreWatching. A Twitter thread about a complimentary sample pack of baby formulas is raising privacy concerns. The original poster retold a hashtag-laden account of a pregnancy test purchased at a Walgreens under the order of her GP, despite having a physical condition which would make pregnancy improbable. The customer reportedly received the Enfamil sample pack shortly after. The pack, described as “regiftable”, raised old concerns about data privacy and anecdotal accounts of similar experiences that have become folklore in eCommerce, such as the widely-reported 2012 account of Target sending a teenager pregnancy coupons. The post was labeled #theyarewatching.
More Sights & Sounds. Wordle will become a board game. Instagram is getting searchable maps. NGL is under scrutiny with a lawsuit alleging the app is a rip-off of another app, and also may have misled users by making them think all anonymous questions they received through the app were from their friends. DALL•E is going to be available to 1 million people from their waiting list over the next few weeks. Also, check out two bylines that landed this week, authored by our very own Phillip Jackson: The Future of Audio is the Future of Everything, Especially Commerce for Retail TouchPoints, and Everything Points to the Sunbelt as Next Center for E-commerce for Chain Store Age.
A Roadshow for XC Runners. Just in time for cross country season, Nike is launching a IRL Winnebago tour at high schools across the country. The mobile pop-up will provide product education, try-ons, and support for would-be collegiate athletes.
Editor’s note: this move feels decidedly “small brand” for a behemoth like Nike. This kind of local activation will draw out much more than the XC crowd. Tracksmith, a beloved luxury running apparel company, has had similar activations as of late, including their partnership with Autocamp to provide boujee Airstream trailer campsites for runners attending Falmouth ‘22. For more perspective, we interviewed Tracksmith founder Matt Taylor on the podcast.
Smooth(ie) Move. Jamba Juice this week announced a move that is a great example of the High/Low strategy that feels like it should have existed all along. Coming soon to kiosks at a Love’s Travel Shop near you, Jamba will license its brand and recipes to Blendid to bring healthier options to roadtrippers everywhere. This move continues a slow-launching pilot at two universities and a Walmart, and will be at a single Love’s location in California until later this year.
Editor’s note: Starbucks has long had licensees that use its brand, and sell its products, in gas stations, convenience stores, and retailers. Now Jamba will attempt to achieve the same ubiquity.
Supply Pain. While the cost of containers goes down, and retailers deal with over-supply, renewed concerns about shortages are brewing amid truckers protesting a new California law impacting independent contractors Protestors blocked the gates at the Port of Oakland, halting certain operations there for a day. This is the latest in a string of organized labor efforts that have hit the retail and logistics markets, having real impact on retail, CPG, and food service.
The Power of Thought. A new brain-to-computer device has been implanted for the first time in a patient that will enable them to text by thinking — a huge step forward for ALS patients and the tech industry. And we thought that Domino’s collab with Stranger Things — Mind Ordering — was trippy.