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The Mark of the Beets

The Devil and Amazon One
April 20, 2022
Lonny Bramzon. Photo by Ben Frey. Photo by District Fray.

“Lonny The Street Lawyer is a high profile criminal trial attorney, cannabis brand owner, inspirational speaker, and entrepreneur” is how the bio for Lonny Bramzon, a criminal defense attorney in Silver Springs, Maryland, reads to a prospective shopper.

Lonny also sells weed.

In this space you’ve seen us opine upon the nature of the modern creator economy, brutalist brands, and brands whose platform borders on performance art. Behold, I’ve found an example of all three. I present Street Lawyer Services

In Miami Beach, and in several other cities, a not-so-hidden secret is the gray market business model retailing weed as an otherwise-normal operation. The concept is prominent in States where weed possession has been decriminalized, like New York, however retail purchasing has not yet been permitted. The hype man carnival barker over-the-top entrepreneur-god-man-child aesthetic had been perfected in his brand, Street Lawyer Services. The brand is a popular destination for “cannabis-based gifts and accessories” but getting actual weed there is no problemo, too. 

This feels especially relevant to our moment. Opportunists, skirting regulations, positioning for an eventual moment that will become a cultural tipping point, waiting for the pounce.

The rise of the absurd, the ironic, the commentary, the statement, the witty, means that brands must become smarter, more aware, more thoughtful, and more artistic than ever before. — Phillip Jackson, Vision 2021

Right now it’s cannabis. Soon it will be psychadelics. Happy 4/20.

Read more in last year’s Vision 2021, Brands Are Performance Art.

A Bad Day for Your Ex-Boyfriend’s Roommate. Netflix may be cracking down on as many as 100 million households worldwide supposed to be sharing their accounts. This comes after an historic drop of subscribership. In Wednesday’s earnings, Netflix announced that they lost 200,000 subscribers in Q4, and will likely continue to lose millions more over the coming year. They also announced an ad-driven model, which was long-overdue for the streaming behemoth. I weep with irony over the fact that I make my living on ad revenue, but detest the thought of Netflix marketing to me. 

Editor’s Note: In our annual predictions episode, Phillip said Netflix would be the media winner this year. We missed the mark on that one.

“My 10-Year Old Brother Knows ALO Yoga” Marketing to kids is one way to reach the parents. Cereal companies have known this for basically ever, but so did Credit Karma, and a host of others who have found ways to game household penetration. The latest brand to attempt it is LA-based ALO Yoga, which is now marketing in Roblox, of all places.

One Box to Rule Them All. Bad news for sneaker resellers. Your box condition just became jeopardized. Nike's 'One Box' shipping shoebox cuts packaging waste in half by ditching the traditional double box, and making the shoebox a ship…? box? Sure. Shipbox. That works. 

The Mark of the Beets. Amazon's palm payment technology is heading to Austin-area Whole Foods, sparking some discussion and debate over the safety of full-hand scans. This was previously tested in Amazon Go, its “just walk out” store models, as well as its 4-Star retail concepts across the country. With 4-Star winding down over the next year, expect to see the quick-checkout technology may become more prevalent in other retail outfits like Whole Foods.

The Amazon of Beverage. Anheuser-Busch InBev has recently found rapid-delivery success in Brazil with Zé Delivery. The bev giant’s DTC service says it is Latin America’s largest alcohol and bev delivery platform.

You Hike. We Strike.  As Etsy faces a sellers' strike in response to its latest fee hike, a founder of the e-commerce retail giant reflects on the company's growth, and its costs, which it recently increased upwards of 30%. While the business was rooted in at-home creators selling at a small scale, the business is “barely recognizable” now as more commercial vendors have moved to the marketplace. Etsy acquired Depop, a peer-to-peer app-based marketplace in 2021. One analyst remarked that “Depop might be for Etsy what Venmo was for PayPal: The choice of the next generation.”

Vicky and Her Secrets. We’ll admit that she kept this one close to the chest. Victoria’s Secret has announced the launch of Happy Nation, “a digital-only brand with no plans at present to move into brick-and-mortar retail. Advertisements in the form of billboards have started to pop up in Roblox, however.” It looks to compete with the likes of MadHappy in both mission and aesthetic, but also seems to have completely ripped off the Happy Returns logo. Good job, y’all. Their metaverse engagement campaign includes (checks notes) yep… obstacle courses(?) or “obbys,” that will launch in Roblox in May.

What the sh*t, Dallas? T-pain is calling out his lowest-selling merch cities from his most recent tour. In this TikTok he shows the weekly spreadsheet that shows how much inventory went to which cities. His emphatic “what the sh*t, Dallas?” signals a new era of direct-to-consumer: data-driven insults.

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