Take Your Croc and Shove It

September 23, 2022

There’s a disturbance in the force, futurists. That force is my email inbox, and the disturbance is that a shocking number of eCom businesses are beginning to reactivate old email lists in hopes to bolster what we can only imagine are imperiled sales targets.

Three Six Mafia isn’t the only one who knows how hard it is out here right now — eCom has seen better days.

Brands are showing signs of desperation. Four weeks ago I received an email out-of-the-blue from a brand who I churned out of over two years ago: Care/of. I hadn’t heard from them in years, and one day I began receiving daily marketing offers. Despite explicitly unsubscribing, I’m now re-opted in, likely part of a reactivation campaign gone awry.

Yesterday, Men’s Warehouse sent me a “certificate” — but don’t call it a marketing email. I could not unsubscribe, because this isn’t marketing. So, I had to submit a ticket to get removed from certificates, which takes 6-9 weeks. The last time I purchased from Men’s Warehouse? September of 2012.

This week the FTC released guidance on dark patterns, those trixy hobbitses of business practices that we often use to try to eke out a little extra dough from customers. While every business is tempted to use them, it’s a game of brinkmanship.

As the economy turns, and winning in digital gets harder and harder, we expect to see more brands scrape the bottom of the barrel for conversions.

The sad truth is that sometimes dark patterns produce results. In the short-term, at least. But in the long-run, economic challenges don’t last nearly as long as the sour taste left in the customer’s mouth.

Do the right thing by your customer. Always.

— Phillip

Row, Row, Row Your Whole Life Savings Away. Peloton will soon be selling a rowing machine that will cost over $3,000. Fitness classes for the machine will be an additional $528 a year. File this alongside Apple Watch Ultra — not for the actual rowers — it's a luxury good. The announcement was not met with much of a move in the PTON stock price, which has been neither merrily merrily merrily, nor a dream.

Not Quite Human. NBA superstar Luka Dončić launched a digital version of himself dubbed Luk.AI, using MetaHuman technology. Luk.AI has a TikTok date planned where the alter ego will be Dueting with other creators and “developing his own personality inspired by things discovered on his FYP.” And hopefully not do anything too creepy.

More Sights & Sounds. Seventh Generation is launching Climate Fingerprints to comprehensively measure their corporate climate impact through the specific framework they have laid out. Getty is removing all stock imagery generated with AI. And Walmart Connect is expanding to “Innovation,” according to the company, by partnering with TikTok, Snapchat, Roku, Firework, and TalkShopLive.

Silky Smooth. Move over (already), Travis Barker — Brad Pitt’s into skincare now. It’s sustainable, it’s vegan, and the bottle lids are made from old recycled wine casks.

Is Cider the Next Shein? The (don’t call it) fast-fashion cottage core wannabe Shein, Cider, is ramping up lately with additional awareness campaigns and performance spend ahead of sweater season. The “just-in-time” fashion brand begs the question — can 100% polyester be hygge?

Carbo-Load? Non-alcoholic beer company, Rally, has announced their collaboration with running shoe company, HOKA. As one would expect with a running collaboration, the drinks are “packed with electrolytes.”

Alcohol that Really Delivers. The retail industrial complex will not rest until every single site has been monetized to death. Drizly now has its own ad platform, Drizly Ads. The company has also hired a former executive from PepsiCo as its first chief customer officer.

  • Our Take: When we sat down with AdAge 40-under-40 honoree, Kiri Masters, back in June of 2022, she saw retail media networks as a way of bringing together two traditionally siloed parts of an org: performance and brand. “We're in a world where brand is performance and performance can be brand as well,” said Kiri. “There are a lot of constructs organizationally within these companies that kind of make it very challenging because of the silos. Each team might be working against each other because the metrics, [their focus], really align.”

    Drizly is the latest to invest in a media network. It certainly won’t be the last.

Croc Pots. This riveting article from Vice faces down the age-old question of whether you can — and/or should — eat Crocs, and whether or not they would have any nutritional value in a survival setting. Granted, most of us don’t need to read the article to know the answer, but the journey to get there is entertaining.

Climate Change. Time is planning to launch a new division that is focused on sustainability, known as “CO2 by Time.” The goal is for curated climate action portfolios to help companies offset their carbon emissions.

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