November 13, 2022 BY Jacey Edwards in Newsletter
Shoes for Seabiscuit: NL #122
Naughty or Nice?
Time to ditch the pumpkin spice scented trash bags and get out your Elf on a Shelf, Christmas is just around the corner, folks (R.I.P Thanksgiving).
Whether or not you’re the kind of person that starts decorating for Santa as soon as the last trick-or-treater leaves, or the claus-trophobic type that waits reverently till after Turkey Day, marketers have been working on Christmas campaigns for months, trying best to predict what kind of buyers they’ll encounter this season and how to appeal to them.
Here are a few educated guesses about how it’s going to shake out:
Deals, Deals, Deals
It’s no surprise that inflation is putting a bit of a damper on everyone’s Christmas spirits. This is where value brands like Kohls, JCPenny, and TK Maxx (I know . . . it’s the British version) can shine by upping promotional material and giving people the sense that they’re getting more bang for their buck (or, apparently, pound).
Other retailers are capitalizing off the (still) shiny novelty of post-pandemic social gatherings. American Eagle, for example, is fully embracing the angle of “revenge living” in their Gen-Z targeted advertising. And Lego’s latest ad features Katy Perry pied pipering kids together (with some help from Rapunzel and Iron Man) to build a present-delivery vehicle. The tag? “Build a playful holiday.” Sleigh-in it.
The 12 Days of Influencers
Or more, let’s be honest. Data from Meta revealed that 29% of customers claim that influencers help them find holiday gifts. 25% went even further, saying they were more likely to purchase items faster if they were promoted by an influencer. Bottom line? Consumers (especially younger generations) can sniff out sneaky sales tactics like a pack of bloodhounds. Brands who are keeping it real will keep reaping the rewards.
No matter what brands are naughty or nice this holiday season, just remember that your kids are never too old to be bribed into good behavior by Elf on a Shelf. Some would say I’m just another sucker who fell for good marketing, but I’m proud to be an elf-made man.
Google hosted an AI event.
Google’s inaugural AI Event took place in New York last week, and the company showed off a dozen-or-so AI projects it has in the works. The showcase included a wide variety of tools, ranging from those able to mitigate climate change to helping novelists craft prose. Robots are getting smarter, y’all.
Google laid out three main ways AI can specifically benefit humans: access to more languages, new avenues for creativity, and lifesaving alert for disasters. “We are building an AI model that will support the 1,000 most spoken languages to bring greater inclusion to billions of people in marginalized communities all around the world.” The technology will eventually include voice typing for all languages and dialects as well.
The second version of the AI Test Kitchen was introduced, with a focus on text-to-image generators. Features include the City Dreamer, which will invite users to dream up a city from their imagination and allow Google’s text-to-image models to bring it to life. The Wobble feature will bring 2D to 3D animation techniques to Google created monsters.
Another fascinating piece of research demonstrated at Google’s AI event was the notion of letting robotic systems effectively write their one codes. The concept is designed to save human developers the hassle of having to go in and reprogram things as new information arises. Why not just have a robot do it, right?
Tech layoffs are everywhere.
Last week, some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies announced significant layoffs. A week after Elon acquired Twitter, a mass round of employee layoffs ensued. Twitter claims in order for the platform to move in the right direction, a reduction of its workforce was necessary. Jack Dorsey even tweeted out an apology, saying he regrets growing the company too quickly. That’s nice, but not sure it made anyone who lost their job feel better.
Lyft announced it would slice 13 percent of its staff, which rounds up to about 680 people. In a staff-wide memo, CEO Patrick Collison said the cuts were necessary amid rising inflation, fears of a looming recession, higher interest rates, energy shocks and a lot of other depressing things.
Online payments giant Stripe laid off roughly 14% of its staff, blaming the growth of operating costs and a poor judgment of the direction of the internet’s economy.
What happened? Did Elon’s sink prank really tank the tech world? Not even close. In the most general sense, many of these companies’ profits were buoyed by pandemic-era spending. This led to aggressive hiring sprees in 2020 and 2021. Fast forward to today, and the economy has tightened dramatically.
Best of the Week
Tips and Tricks
One of those free downloads you should actually download. 150+ copywriting and content creation templates from HubSpot. Writer’s block? Cat got your tongue? Speechless? This one’s for you.
Alie Ward hosts “Ologies,” a comedic science show named one of Time Magazine’s top 50 podcasts. Ryan’s review? “It’s a fun podcast.” He has a way with words.
What To Watch
Welcome to Wrexham is a docuseries that follows Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as they navigate running the 3rd oldest professional football club in the world. It’s the best. And now I’m a Wrexham fan for life.
Death Cab for Cutie recently put out a new album, Asphalt Meadows. If the last time you listened to Death Cab was at a middle school dance, I understand. But it’s time to jump back on the emo wagon.
More News From The Week
- A whopping $3.36 billion worth of stolen cryptocurrency was seized by law enforcement in the largest crypto fraud case ever.
- Shoes for Seabiscuit. And on that note, I’ve seen everything.
- Candy Crush lit up the New York sky with an ad created by hundreds of drones. Way cool.
- Go watch this right now. Walmart’s Office Space themed Black Friday ad.
- Mattress Mack wins $75 million after betting on the Astros World Series win. And he won’t throw ONE Tempur-Pedic my way? Selfish.