Long Live the Indie Bookstore

As a former English major, professional writer, and fan of books, I was happy to read in The New York Times that “small booksellers not only survived the pandemic, but many are thriving.” More than 300 new independent bookstores have sprouted across the United States in the past couple of years. Given how bookstore sales […]

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The Best Gifts Don’t Come from Amazon, They Come from the Heart

Amazon.com is the information economy’s superstore. One can buy just about anything one desires from Bezos and company. If you’d like, Amazon’s Prime will even rush it to your doorstep. Such is the state of retail today. The mass appeal of fast-moving goods (that are just a click and a local warehouse away) is a […]

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Ikea Adorably Recreated Its Catalog in Animal Crossing

Brands have, like many of us, been pretty obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Horizons as the game has become an iconic aspect of quarantine life in 2020. That’s not to say every marketing tie-in or stunt has been a good fit, or that the integrations even made much sense. (Inclusive new avatar skin options from…

Did Ikea Just Make a Huge Translation Error, or a Hilariously Clever Ad?

In the marketing world, the line between embarrassing mistake and well-crafted opportunity is a notoriously blurry one. Companies (and the U.S. president) often say their gaffes were actually intentional, leaving many to decide for themselves. That seems to be the case with Ikea in Bahrain, where the retailer raised eyebrows with a storefront ad that…

Square and Stripe Tell Powerful Stories of the Small Business Owner’s Struggle

Small business is the backbone of the economy. Small businesses are also a radiating pain point during this devastating economic downturn. According to WBUR in Boston, earlier this summer, MassINC Polling Group surveyed 1,868 small businesses (defined as having fewer than 500 employees). Their findings show that 44% of small businesses lost at least half […]

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Wieden+Kennedy Isn’t Used To Vulnerability or Criticism, But Here’s A Chance to Learn

Wieden+Kennedy, the agency with 11 Agency of the Year credits to its name,  laid off 11% of its global workforce due to financial impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. W+K has offices in Portland, New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo, London, Shanghai, Delhi, and Sao Paulo. Prominent W+K clients include Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Disney, Facebook, Old Spice, Ford, McDonald’s, […]

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Brands Pause to Acknowledge the American Melee and Register Their Sadness

Exceptional brands create culture, but most brands reflect culture. Reflecting the culture since mid-March has been a creative challenge, given that millions of people are stuck at home and fearful for their health and economic well being. To make matters much worse, one week ago today, a Minneapolis cop was caught on video murdering a […]

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As A Way To Say “Thanks,” Bud Light Wants To Buy Everyone A Round

Did Someone Say “FREE BEER”? Someone did. The next round of Bud Light’s is on the brewery. The only question is when. Open for Takeout, a new promo from Bud Light, is asking beer drinkers to order takeout from a favorite restaurant or bar, upload the receipt to a web portal, and get $10 toward […]

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This Is Etsy’s Moment

Amazon.com is positioned to win right now, but the Seattle-based behemoth isn’t the only winner. For people seeking to buy direct from the maker, Etsy.com is the way to go. Etsy reported first-quarter consolidated gross merchandise sales jumped 32% year-on-year to $1.4 billion. The Brooklyn, N.Y., company is also doing well on Wall Street. Shares […]

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Next Time You Go Somewhere, Drive A Lexus (Or Any Toyota) To Ace Hardware

Put people first. Refer to car buyers as people and treat them as guests? I don’t get it. I don’t get it because I don’t own a Lexus or Toyota. A Company with A Conscience and A Big Wrench As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. continues to assist those […]

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“Main Street” Retailers Rely on the Local Community for Support in Every Way

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, San Francisco and other cities have asked people to only leave their homes for essential goods like food and medicine. Of course, the essential goods can only be made, packaged, delivered to the store, and sold in the store, when thousands of people who do this work leave their […]

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Corporate America’s Leaders Get Crash Course in Crisis Communications

Crisis management and crisis communications are not disciplines that you want to learn on the job. Yet, on the job in the midst of a crisis is exactly where and when you will learn them. Some CEOs will blunder during this time of disease and turmoil. Others will excel, along with their brands. John Mackey, […]

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American Shoppers Can’t Drive the Economy When They’re Afraid to Leave Home

SXSW is canceled and cash refunds are not available. NBA games are canceled. March Madness is canceled. St. Patrick’s Day parades are canceled. In-person classes at hundreds of universities across the country are canceled. No more than 250 people can lawfully gather in public. Hotel and airline bookings are spiraling down and down. The stock […]

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Snarky Wendy Gets Egg McMuffined

Social media marketing is for grown-ups. Naturally, adults come in all ages, because adulthood is about exercising emotional maturity, not about circles around the sun. Case in point, Wendy’s social media team decided to support its own product launches (Wendy’s has launched a Breakfast Baconator, a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, and a Maple Bacon Chicken […]

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NFL Teams With H&M to Offer Branded Gear Outside of the US

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M is partnering with the National Football League to offer branded gear to customers beyond American fans, according to the retailer. “H&M is extremely excited to offer fans outside the U.S. the opportunity to purchase NFL-licensed products,” an H&M spokesperson said. On H&M’s website, a variety of men’s jackets, T-shirts and sweatshirts…

P&G’s First Acquisition of 2020 Is a DTC Shaving Brand for Women

The new year is only nine days old, and P&G has already made a major acquisition. The CPG giant has acquired Billie, a direct-to-consumer women’s shaving brand, for an undisclosed amount. Billie launched in November 2017 and had raised $35 million to date, with a Series A round in January 2019 of $25 million led…

Early Results From Macy’s, L Brands Indicate a Less Than Happy Holidays

It’s a little more than a week into January, and already retailers are revealing results for the holiday shopping season that are mediocre at best. Notably, department store banner Macy’s and retail group L Brands both reported declines in comparable store sales for November and December. Macy’s said its comparable store sales for the two…

PVH to Sell Speedo to Pentland Group for $170 Million

Apparel conglomerate PVH agreed to sell the perpetual license it holds for the Speedo brand in North America and the Caribbean to Pentland Group for $170 million, according to an announcement today. Pentland was already the parent of Speedo International, which it acquired in 1991, and owns the swimwear brand’s intellectual property. PVH, as the…

Lululemon Names Nikki Neuberger Chief Brand Officer

Lululemon Athletica has named Nikki Neuburger its chief brand officer, a role she will begin effective Jan. 20, the company announced today. In the newly created role, Neuburger will lead the retailer’s marketing, creative, communication and sustainability efforts, and will report to CEO Calvin McDonald. Neuburger joins Lululemon from Uber, where she served as global…

A Vitamin Brand’s Itty Bitty Billboards Want You to ‘Start Small’ With Healthier Living

Go ahead and make those sweeping resolutions for 2020, like hitting the gym in beast mode seven days a week and going cold turkey on the drive-through. It’s good to have goals. But the Ritual vitamin brand has two words for those of us who may be over-eager–and guilt-ridden–this time of year: Baby. Steps. Execs…