Doodle Inspirations – August 21

At NDP, we pride ourselves on staying on top of the industry – what’s new, what’s trending, what’s surprised us. Here are a few things that caught our attention and got us talking this past week: 

Apple News has been providing news-curation services for their users for a while, but made a change to the consumer journey that has caused some stir. Historically, the user would select a story to read that would take them to the publisher site/app, but Apple is now prompting users to sign-up for Apple’s News+ app instead. As this will affect performance for their curation partners and they were not notified prior to this change taking effect, it’s not surprising that some publishers are reacting negatively. This includes The New York Times who is currently focused on getting subscribers to consume content through their owned app. We are all for an improved user experience, but communication (and over-communication) with fundamental shifts such as this are vital in maintaining positive relationships.

If you’re a lover of Zaxby’s, you’re going to be envious of those that were able to get their hands on the free relaxation packs given out by the southern fast food chain on August 15. Part of the chain’s “Peace, Harmony, Chicken” Zensation campaign, the pack included fried chicken-scented and crinkle-cut fry-scented candles, citrus vinaigrette bath bombs and a sleep mask. We like humor in marketing and love the idea of scented candles, but are debating if the citrus vinaigrette bath bomb was the most appealing idea.

A few editions back we discussed Hulu’s beta launch of their Ad Manager platform targeting small businesses and touting a $500 minimum media spend investment. Our concern at that time was regarding creative production costs/implications. Well, it seems Hulu was listening with the development of a new Creative Partner Program to help newcomers create assets for the platform. With four partners already signed on to facilitate the program, we’re interested to see how this program evolves and the quality of creative output.

The conference/event industry has been devastated by COVID, but those that have embraced virtual events have found success. Conde Nast has put on over 150 virtual events since March and has another 200 planned through the end of the year. Having held its first-ever Virtual Events Upfront, the company displayed what advertisers can expect for the rest of 2020 and the benefits of virtual experiences provide compared to in-person events. In a survey executed by Conde Nast, 90% of respondents said that even when live events come back they would still be interested in the virtual offerings. As a team that has attended our fair share of virtual events, trainings, and webinars, we recognize the value these virtual experiences are providing.

When a company that provides traditional TV says it doesn’t make sense anymore, you sit up and listen. That’s exactly what we did when this story on Verizon hit the presses. CNBC breaks it all down by drawing parallels between free access to subscription services through wireless plan purchases and exclusive retailer deals for cell phone brands/models back in the early 2010s. Basically, consumers are watching what they want to watch and not having to pay extra for it because of incentivized cell phone purchases providing access to key streaming content making the traditional cable bundle services appear archaic and unnecessary. We were surprised to see this move, but are interested to see how this acceptance of changing consumer behavior affects media conglomerate marketing (and pricing) in the future.