June 12, 2022 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Even Mona Lisa can’t afford gas: NL #102
Let them smash cake.
Probably my favorite story of the summer so far. In case you missed it, a couple of weeks ago, a man disguised as an old woman in a wheelchair smeared a piece of cake on the beloved Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Why? He claims it was in the name of climate change. Makes sense.
But really, I have so many questions. Why the woman disguise? Why cake and not the traditional tomato or egg? And why the Mona Lisa? Who’s got beef with Lisa? Despite all the unknowns, one thing’s for certain- the stunt invited a quick opportunity for some marketing fun. Two brands in particular took advantage of the trending story.
After the story broke, Kraft Heinz quickly suggested that one of their products could’ve been responsible for the “cream” used to smear the painting. Philadelphia Cream Cheese featured a recreation of the defacing on their social platforms, questioning whether or not the graffiti was Philly’s own. “If there’s one cream cheese that’s worthy of the Louvre, it’s Philadelphia.” I mean, come on. Mad props to the folks at creative agency Rethink for that one.
Swedish snacks manufacturer OLW also jumped on the train. The brand posted an image of Mona Lisa on their social media platforms with the accompanied text, “Never been a cake person really.” To give some context for us Americans, OLW was aiming to advertise its sour cream and onion crisps. TBH, good call. Mona Lisa is obviously the salty snack type.
This really is one of the better stories for reactive advertising. The content is far from sensitive, so it doesn’t even remotely approach the danger of cold manipulation. No one likes to see a brand using tragedy or heartache to better position their name. But with the Mona Lisa cake drama, everything turned out fine. No one was harmed, not even ol’ Mona. The event was simply straight-up bizarre and incredibly interesting. Kudos to Philadelphia and OLW for seizing the day. Little Debbie? Sara Lee? Duncan Hines? Y’all missed a serious layup.
Gas prices are relentless.
The national average price of gas in the US surpassed $5 per gallon for the first time ever last week. And unfortunately, things are only going to get worse. Summer travel season combined with the cut-off of Russian oil shipments will continue to exacerbate the problem. Experts are confident the national average for gasoline will reach close to $6 later this summer. I’ll give everyone a second to dry their tears before I move on.
Higher gas prices will only contribute to overall inflation. With diesel prices at an all time high, prices for groceries and other goods will only rise. Inflation continues to deliver harsh blows, with companies absorbing rising costs and consumers depleting savings. And expensive gas is not the only culprit behind our nation’s current bleak inflation status. Categories for shelter, airfare, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles were other major contributers.
“It’s a perfect storm of factors all aligning to create a rare environment of rapid price hikes. The situation could get even worse should there be any unexpected issues at the nation’s refineries or a major hurricane that impacts oil production or refineries this summer.”
So, the worse could get even worse. Oh, goody.
Billions in excess inventory at Target and Walmart.
With all the shortages going on, we certainly didn’t see this one coming. Major US retailers that recently hurried to stock their shelves amid product shortages are now finding themselves with, dare we say it, too much stuff. Target, Gap, Walmart and others are now sitting on $45 billion in inventory they need to move, a 26% increase from last year. Some are even introducing steep discounts on the unsold goods. So, gas might cost you your mortgage, but Target’s beloved dollar section is now only fifty cents. It’ll all even out.
Costco reported its inventories ballooned by 26%, including a “few hundred million dollars” of extra holiday merchandise. Gap experienced similar issues, with a 34% spike in excess inventories. With average retail inventories in the US rising at a faster pace than sales growth, the majority of retailers were hit by the imbalance. “You will see some discounting and it will be more than last year, but ultimately, it will be held back by the still high cost of sourcing inventories and labor.” In case I lost you, this is called a lose-lose-lose-lose situation.
Best of the Week
Apps to Have
It’s time to teach the old dog some new tricks. Check out these 10 utility apps to give unique capabilites to your iPhone. Putting the Posture app at the top of our list because… we’re old.
Tips and Tricks
6 things you can track to measure social media performance. Some useful tips on which KPIs to keep your eyes on, and how many selfies are too many. (Our opinion? The limit does not exist.)
What to Watch
Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer needs to be next on your watch list. The series is currently No. 1 in the platform’s weekly ratings- which means it’s really, really good.
Third Eye Blind’s latest acoustic release has us feeling all the feels. Are people still saying that? We say yes. And news of 3EB’s upcoming acoustic album has our feelings exploding.
More News from the Week.
- Crypto nerds and gamers unite. Epic will roll out its first blockchain game later this year.
- The Head of Operations at Meta stepped down, and is under investigation for using Meta funds for her wedding. Meta romantic, but meta illegal.
- Apple introduced its version of a buy now, pay later program. So now, when your phone breaks, you can snag a new one and officially own it in 3-13 years.
- Beefalo, the new bison-cattle hybrid, is being touted as the healthy meat of the future. I mean… was this one necessary?
- The Jif recall will cost Smuckers nearly $125 million. And all the Peter Pan loyalists said “who cares?”