New Balance jumps on the 90s nostalgia train

Come on ride the train - and ride it! New Balance is launching its newest sneaker, the X-90, by celebrating the '90s. As part of the launch, they partnered with Foot Locker to create an experiential pop-up shop that throws consumers back in time with various rooms decked with items from the era. They invited '90s celebrities like Ben Savage and Jaleel White to attend the launch party (I wonder if Jaleel came as Steve or Stephan?). The sneakers themselves also have elements that are reminiscent of shoes from that time as well.

See a video of the pop-up here.

HP is challenging American family stereotypes

Grab a box of tissues (if you're a big sap like myself), and watch this latest video from HP.

They are the latest brand to take on debated societal topics. With this video, the brand is trying to "reinvent mindsets" by challenging what a typical American family actually looks like. Based on stats, it's much more diverse than people think.

It is a highly relevant and timely way to showcase how HP itself is constantly reinventing itself, technology and looking at things in new ways.

Just scan it with the Nike app

New school year, new kicks as they always say. And Nike wants to be the shoe of choice by easing some pain points of that shopping experience during this busy times.

At select locations, consumers can use the Nike app to scan bar codes, select their preferred color and size and and submit the order to have them ready to try on in a few minutes. No flagging down busy store associates, or waiting longer for them to go back and find the right ones - only to find out they don't even have them in stock.

Who created this activation - Statler and Waldorf?

When you think of senior citizens in balcony seats, you think of these guys. But now in Ghent, Belgium, one festival organization is trying to pair young music fans with senior citizens to enjoy a show together.

An upcoming Bjork concert will take place in St. Peter's square, and surrounding it is a retirement home where older citizens live, many who don't receive a lot of visitors.

The Jazz Festival worked with creative agency Humming and the facility to offer attendees the chance to purchase balcony seats in the tenants' homes so they can not only get a great view but also connect with people who may potentially be lonely and otherwise would be isolated from the crowd in the square below.

The cost of the seats do double good, though because the proceeds will go to an organization that connects homeless people with hotels that have rooms they weren't able to fill. Is your heart just bursting right now??

Watch a video promoting the activation here. 

Kroger's bagging plastic bags

First Starbucks declared it is going to phase out plastic straws from its stores over the next couple of years, and now Kroger is declaring it's going to phase out single use plastic bags by 2025.

As environmental news and concerns about humans' waste continues to grow, especially with plastic goods, companies are starting to listen to those customers and step forward to make a change. There is something powerful about having a brand listen and take a positive step forward, which ultimately should positively impact brand affinity and loyalty in this day and age where activism is so important to consumers. Consumers are also tending to buy products from brands who share their values, so its more important than ever for companies to be in tune with its core audience, and also be forward and transparent on what their values are with consumers - and stand behind them.

Snickers offers one for the price of two

Would you ever buy one of product for the price of two? (BOGT anyone?) Of course not. Snickers knows it too, but in their latest digital media ad campaign, they are advertising this and giving a message to anyone "crazy" enough to click it, asking them if they are ok.

The campaign reinforces their platform that "you're not yourself when you're hungry," and its a playful way to engage consumers who are curious enough to investigate such a preposterous deal, and remind them Snickers can help stave off unusual actions prompted by hunger.

You can watch the video response message here.

Delta sends consumers on guilt trips

What's more powerful than a guilt trip to influence someone to do something? A guilt trip from a Mom.

Delta used this force to raise awareness of its growing presence in Seattle, a city that is made up of 60% transplanted residents, with an outdoor campaign that features handwritten letters from Moms to their adult children living in the city, guilting encouraging them to come home for a visit, complete with pictures and all. While this ads a nice personal touch to the campaign, we assume Delta received approvals from all parties involved before launching the campaign, otherwise they could have some unhappy people for being Mom-shamed in public.

Non-melting popsicles save sticky hands

Say goodbye to sticky summertime hands and brain freeze - and say hello to non-melting popsicles! The company Bompas & Parr has created this fantastical new invention (available for a limited time) based on findings from a World War II research project that was looking to create a aircraft carrier out of ice that wouldn't melt, but did so, just very sloooowly and wasn't a viable solution.

But luckily that hard work can now be recognized and enjoyed in a different way by popsicle enthusiasts around the world! Let's hope this trend sticks.

App offers free burritos

Dos Toros is giving consumers what they want - free burritos. That is if you download their new app Burrito Time and are super attentive to your phone.

The app sends out one push notification a day, and if you're one of the first 10 people to see it and open the app, you get a free burrito. Just like that! It's a simple surprise and delight without much work on the consumer's end that can easily keep the brand top of mind, and potentially build loyalty when they hopefully reap the rewards.

Encouraging kids to play dirty

Screen time for kids is a growing topic of conversation and also concern in many countries, with studies backing up that it's not good for childhood development.

One brand is helping to incent and excite kids to go outside and get dirty (because then it can clean your clothes). Laundry detergent brand OMO (also known as Persil in some countries) created a book for kids that only revealed its content when rubbed with dirt. It's a great campaign, but interesting in that it creates more work for the core consumer its targeting, which could be seen as negative, in the hopes that the higher-level meaning and values resonate with them in a positive way.

See a video about the campaign here.

Turning yoga pants into business attire

Some industries evolve and innovate not just for a customer need, but by a customer born out of a need not being met.

Enter Joanna Dai - a former bank exec who worked long hours and found that today's high-end business clothing for women weren't holding up as well as she could, from long days to hopping on a flight and going right to a meeting. No one wants to show up in a wrinkly mess of silk.

So she created a new line of more 'formal' business attire made out of stronger materials that keep up with the pace of modern business - like yoga pant fabric. Yup. It was only a matter of time that this happened. But props to Joanna because the clothing still looks sharp and impeccable.

Smart wristbands are a smart move for hotels

Wearable tech is a great tool for CX and Melia hotels, a hotel chain in Spain, is not only using it for its own services, but also shopping experiences beyond its doors.

Hotel patrons can pay for onsite services such as food, the spa, and more with smart wristbands, and parents can enable controls for each family members so the kids don't go on a spending spree. But they're also taking it one step further by allowing consumers to use the bracelets to pay for things at stores, coffee shops and even theme parks nearby to create a more seamless, safer and stylish (bye bye fanny packs) experience for vacationers.

"Oh Sh*t" insurance for Millennials

Younger generations (aka Millennials) are buying less insurance for potentially varying reasons - shifting towards shared economies, or just a sense of not needing or not being able to afford policies like renters insurance.

Sonnet Insurance has created a tactic to try and convert new, younger consumers with an "Oh Sh*t" policy that will allow consumers to get a quote on a claim for an unexpected event that could otherwise be covered by insurance (spilled beer on your expensive speakers). If they accept the quote right then and their, Sonnet will cover that initial claim that just happened.

It's an interesting solve and offer to counter a growing consumer behavior to try and win them over long-term.

Custom beats fit for royalty

Move over postcard, there's a new keepsake in town. Royal Caribbean is upping its game and creating custom videos for cruisers that will be a more memorable take away that they'll look at time and again (and share) versus a tchotchke they'll store in the back of a drawer somewhere.

Users will be able to select and upload 3 photos from their trip and an AI app, the Sound Seeker, will create 'custom' music to match the overall tone of the photos (e.g. coloring, expressions, etc.) and graphic effects.

You can even try it out with your boring, non-cruise ship photos here.

Burger King is turning guns into grills

In a bold move, Burger King is inserting itself into the issue of gun control, a risk a lot of brands likely wouldn't take head on.

They are installing bins outside select locations that will allow people to drop off their unwanted or old guns, which Burger King will then make into grills that will produce a positive outcome instead of a negative one - mouth watering, flame grilled Whoppers.

It's a move that shows they are committed to a younger target who has been greatly impacted by this issue and has been fighting hard against this cause and supporting them in a positive way, even at the risk of pissing off other consumers.

Watch a video about the campaign here.

Move over DeLorean, tunnels are the new time machine

Insurance is, in theory, something there to help you during tumultuous or bad times. Croatia Insurance wanted to illustrate that the company itself has endured and survived tumultuous times throughout the country's history while still serving consumers and being there for them, and brought that to life with an interactive experience.

The company transformed a WWII shelter tunnel into a virtual time machine that showcased major events from its own history and the country's over the past 13 decades through videos throughout the tunnel. To deepen the emotional connection, personal stories from consumers shared via social media were added to the exhibition in real-time to create a rich and unique historical mosaic, and spotlight their ancestors and untold stories.

View a vide of the activation here.

Whiskey-ing consumers away to Scotland

To show off celebrate its new $180 million distillery The Macallan whiskey brand set up a 4-D cube to give consumers a virtual tour of it, complete with multi-sensory experiences including wind and scents. It's a nice way for consumers to see the craft and care that goes into making such a high-end product, without having to spend the money on a trip to Scotland.

The great outdoors office space

Everyone knows L.L. Bean as a company that makes products and gear focused around being outdoors, but the company realized that a lot of its target audience work, requiring them to spend most of their time during the week indoors.

To celebrate being outdoors, and encourage people to go outside during the work day, the brand created a variety outdoor work spaces near New York's Bryant Park, complete with glass cubes, meeting rooms, cycling desks and more. While it doesn't require that they use L.L. Bean gear to enjoy it, the activation made a strong connection with consumers that L.L. Bean cares about their enjoyment of the outdoors in general, building affinity for the brand while reinforcing the company's own ethos. All without specific product trial.

So take a conference call hike.
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