The ever-popular coffeehouse chain scores a seasonal hit with its Pumpkin Spice Lattes and now every brand and its mother has to have its own pumpkin spice something. Anything. It doesn't even seem to matter what it is.
Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten aren't having any of it. And when they audit some of the ridiculous products brands are offering this year just to jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, you're not going to believe what they found. But fair warning: Its not for sensitive stomachs.
On the heels of our recent post about Amazon Go, it's worth noting this automated convenience stores powered by WeChat. There's no checkout. Instead, customers scan QR codes to enter the store, select products, then pay using their WeChat mobile wallets.
How soon we'll see this sort of thing in the US is anyone's guess, but it can't be that far off.
Indeed, it's actually not tremendously different than using Apple's Store app at Apple locations, where you can walk in, scan an item and walk out.
Except that BingoBox has, you know, junk food. Hard not to love that.
We're McLovin' this new promotion from Mickey D's, which turns their recyclable drink trays into boom boxes for your iPhone.
It's not the first time this has been done, of course—Coca-Cola once famously turned a magazine print ad into a speaker system for mobile phones as well. But that doesn't make McDonald's promo any less fun (our loud).
As goes Whole Foods, so goes the future of grocery stores?
A lot has been made of Amazon's recent announcement that it will acquire Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion (insert your own "Whole Paycheck" joke here).
Many have speculated the brand will continue to operate as it has, with enhanced pre-ordering and home delivery. But Amazon may have something far bigger in mind.
As Business Insider recently pointed out, Amazon released a video back in December on a concept it calls 'Amazon Go'.
Here, shoppers use an Amazon Go app to pre-order items in a virtual cart. When they get to the store, they simply walk in, scan the app at a turnstile, pick up the items they want, and walk out the door, without ever digging for cash, writing a check, swiping a card—or ever standing in line.
Using what Amazon calls "Just Walk Out" technology, Amazon Go leverages "deep learning algorithms, computer vision and sensor fusion" to keep track of what you pick up in-store. It'll even know if you put something back, or picked up additional items, and update your order. Everything's automatically charged to your account when you walk out the door.
It's a fascinating and compelling vision. It's also one shared by many others, of course.
It's been well over a decade since I started chatting with Seth Godin, Tom Nicholson and others about the concept—and how elements of it have already been applied for brands such as Prada and Tesco—as showcased in my books, The On-Demand Brand and Branding Unbound.
What I think is especially elegant about Amazon's concept is that it at least appears to remove the need for things like RFID tags to be applied at the item level, and for readers to be set up throughout the store—something that has so far proven costly and impractical. At least from this video, the technology appears to be completely invisible to the customer. The first Go location opened for Amazon employees in Seattle earlier this year.
It'll be a blast to see how the concept develops, and what role if any Whole Foods ultimately plays in its evolution.
However things play out there, it's hard to imagine some version of this concept is not just the future of Whole Foods or even just the grocery category.
Still loving this adverprank promoting 'The Ring' sequel. Fans of the franchise are very familiar with its "First you watch it, then you die" conceit—though this would freak even those without the backstory. Sure, it's no "Devil's Due" or 'Telekinetic Coffee Shop," but it gets the neck hair bristling just fine.
In the conclusion of our Summer 2016 digital marketing wrap-up on the Jim Blasingame Show, Jim and I talk marketing and the IoT.
You know we're entering new territory when Amazon is rolling out a Dash button for Mentos.
Jim's show focuses on startups and SMBs, so the discussion speaks to trends through that lens.
As things turned out, Jim and I got so engrossed in our conversation, we never got a chance to talk about what is probably the #1 buzz-generating digital marketing news story of the summer: Pokémon GO.
In the end, we decided to save that for another show, and perhaps that's for the better.
Even as word spreads that the game may not have as much GO in it as some thought (and with even Target appropriating its most conspicuous icon these days) the game's larger lessons for marketing in the age of augmented reality may be better absorbed with a little more distance from Pikachu's big moment.
Besides, we don't want it to completely overshadow some of the other major trends from the summer that was.
A look at some of the ways retailers are using the IoT to supercharge the in-store experience. You can read a lot more about this topic in my books BRANDING UNBOUND and THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. Just saying.