Forget Times Square Glitz: The Best Billboard Action Is In Brooklyn

Forget Times Square Glitz: The Best Billboard Action Is In Brooklyn

Street Art Billboard for Clash of Clans Video Game. Artist: McBess

 

THIS IS A BIG DEAL: The next generation of billboardery is NOT being created by the advertising creatives whose gigantic digital billboards dominate Times Square.

  • Instead, cool brands are reaching out to artists and street art collectives to create fresher and more engaging visuals to showcase their brands – especially brands looking to tap into those with a millennial or urban mindset.
  • Brooklyn is front and center when it comes to this new billboard artistry trend.
  • Over the last decade, Brooklyn has increasingly been identified as one of the great cultural epicenters of the world.
  • Which is why so many brands are setting up creative outposts there (especially in Williamsburg and Greenpoint). Believe me, NOBODY is setting up in Times Square.

I’ve been aware of this for a while. We moved Zandl Group’s offices to Bushwick in 2008 just before the street art scene fully took off there. The Bushwick Collective was founded in 2012.

  • But it was newly brought home to me this weekend as I biked from Manhattan to Williamsburg and rode up the waterside along Kent Avenue.
  • Visually glorious and exciting to see so much art in so many different forms.

See below for just a smattering of what I saw.

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Floristry Is Hot: Especially In The Fashion Biz

Floristry Is Hot: Especially In The Fashion Biz

 

I’ve been seeing the word “Floristry” showing up a lot lately.

  • Since it was a term I was not familiar with (vs. florist or gardening), I checked it out and WOW.
  • A whole new creative industry is being born.
  • The really exciting stuff is happening right at the intersection of fashion, social media, and e-commerce.
  • Many of floristry’s leading names come from the fashion and art worlds.

Here are 5 key events that kicked off this trend going all the way back to 2010:

2010: Instagram and Pinterest are founded.

  • Access to photo sharing on social media makes this trend possible, providing opportunities for floristry startups, disrupting the status quo.
  • Based strictly on their social media accounts, floral designers are finding themselves hired to design weddings and events all around the world,

2012: Raf Simons’ debuts his first Dior show with “flower walls” commissioned from Belgian florist Mark Colle.

  • Overnight, the flower wall trend is born, becoming especially popular for Instagram-friendly weddings and industry events. (All documented in Dior and I)

2013: Anna Potter, founder of Swallows and Damsons, is one of the first florists posting on Instagram.

  • Her unstructured and garden-inspired style of floristry attracts a huge following (currently 154K).

2015: Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, former SVP at Tom Ford, co-founds Flowerbx.

  • Her big idea came when she realized there was no digital service offering a consistent, simplified approach to sending flowers.
  • Backers include former Net-a-Porter chief executive Mark Sebba, Carmen Busquets and Natalie Massenet.

2017:  Rodarte show at Paris Couture Week

  • The flower accessories and adornments make front page news.

Read on below for more on the most influential names in the floristry world.

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Amazon Pay vs. PayPal: When Can I Cancel My PayPal Account?

Amazon Pay vs. PayPal: When Can I Cancel My PayPal Account?

 

I don’t use PayPal often and based on a recent experience with an unauthorized billing by the WSJ, I will be using it even less.

  • If you have a genuine problem regarding an unauthorized charge on PayPal, you have NO RECOURSE. There’s no one to call, there’s no online assistance. Fortunately, my charge was for a small amount but if it was larger, I’d be freaked.
  • That said, PayPal is doing phenomenally well. They just reported a spectacular quarter posting $106 billion in total payment volume (TPV), an increase of 26% annually. They also added 6.5 million customers — the highest total in three years — to hit 210 million users. And the company is growing organically, with annual transactions per user increasing by 10%.
  • And I do love using Venmo, their peer-to-peer payment service.

However, I am still distressed by my recent experience with PayPal. Totally non-communicative and clearly more in their vendors’ camp than supportive of users like me. Read on below for more on what Amazon Pay is offering.

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What Is Luxury Today? What Is Luxury To You?

What Is Luxury Today? What Is Luxury To You?

 

 “Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends”   (Coco Chanel)

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about luxury, in part because I’ve recently returned from my second Nat GeoAround The World By Private Jet” trip.

  • In doing so, I learned a lot about different kinds of luxury. I also realized how personal and specific luxury is. What is a priority to one person, may not be to the next.
  • People indulge in luxury on a select basis. There is not an omni-luxury consumer. For example, one of the women on the nat geo trip, did her own laundry while traveling. She considered $12 too expensive to have her nightgown washed and yet she and her husband had just spent $150K for the trip (and it was their 3rd private jet trip)!! Go figure.
  • Having also tracked retail throughout my career, I’ve witnessed firsthand how people are switching out “things” for experiences.
  • This seems to be happening at an accelerated pace in luxury.
  • The shift from things/logos to experiences is also impacting how we talk about luxury.  For example, the way something is “made” becomes less relevant when it’s an experience vs. a thing. However, attention to detail and service become much more important.
  • Luxury is also a moving target. Remember when Starbucks was a luxury?

Read on below for my personal take on luxury including the top 5 luxuries in my own life as well as the characteristics that define luxury today. Overall, it is much more nuanced than it was in the days of logo-luxury.

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Amazon’s Holiday 2017 Gift Preview: All I Want For Xmas Is The Echo Look!

Amazon’s Holiday 2017 Gift Preview: All I Want For Xmas Is The Echo Look!

 

I LOVE AMAZON!! They don’t cut corners, they have a huge vision and their events are, without a doubt, the best I have ever attended. And big shoutout to their PR firm, Hunter PR, top notch all the way.

  • The Holiday 2017 event was held at 4 World Trade Center, 71st floor – so it was a “top of the world” kind of experience.
  • And, the layout and décor were first rate – if anyone knows the name of the company that does their design and the buildouts, let me know.
  • What I always find so impressive is their whimsical approach to merchandising and that they always have a huge contingent of marketing people from Seattle on hand to provide product info and, at the same time, to get our reactions.

Based on the product categories most prominently featured, Amazon expects holiday to be huge for:

  • Kids and babies – lots of interactive toys, Amazon really digs Hasbro. I especially loved Hasbro’s newest FurReal Friends Roarin’ Tyler (see video/pics below). Mattel, meanwhile, might have a rough go of it this holiday season.
  • Tech and smart-home devices – everything was tech but smart home security and entertainment devices were front and center
  • Outdoors/recreational equipment including scooters, tents, drones

Two categories that are newer for Amazon are fashion (located right at the entrance to the event) and Grocery & Gourmet.

  • In the fashion area, they also featured the Echo Look which I was sad to hear was only available “by invitation” and, as was clearly (not subtly) communicated to me, I was not nearly stylish enough to get one.
  • In Grocery, emphasis on Amazon Fresh with displays of bananas, avocados and chocolates. I was told their  Seattle office is filled with cute vegetable and fruit stands.

Read on below for more of the items that caught my eye – including photos and video.

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The Gatekeepers: Excellent Read For All The Political Junkies Out There

The Gatekeepers: Excellent Read For All The Political Junkies Out There

 

WOW – wrote this post earlier this week not realizing how timely it was going to be and that I would need to do a last minute edit before it went out this morning.

Chris Whipple’s book about the role and power of the chiefs of staff for presidents Nixon through Obama, is a great read. Highly recommend – especially for my political junkie friends – and really who isn’t into politics these days?

  • Whipple interviewed all seventeen chiefs of staff who remain alive today.
  • He was privy to all the juicy details on how each president’s White House functioned.
  • The management style of each president is crucial in determining what kind of chief of staff he wants (which is often very different from what he needs).
  • The Gatekeepers delves into the details of how each president’s chief of staff ended up defining the presidency  he served.

What I found most intriguing were the similarities in how many of the presidents functioned (or not) within the White House.

  • The amount of chaos and hubris and vicious feuding that goes on in almost all administrations is mind-boggling.
  • What was even more lamentable was how similar the issues were in so many of the administrations – from Carter to Clinton to Bush (the Decider).
  • Very different presidents, but once they got into office, the hubris took over and they acted very similarly in many situations.

Read on below for which administration reminded me the most of Trump’s.

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Island Oyster On Governors Island Now Open: Absolutely Love It!

Island Oyster On Governors Island Now Open: Absolutely Love It!

 

Finally made it to Kerry Heffernan’s absolutely gorgeous oyster bar on Governor’s Island. Even when it’s gloomy it’s a fabulous place to hang out. And it looked so moody and cinematic with the dark clouds – but it never did rain!

  • HIGHLY RECOMMEND. And this is important: They are open 7 days a week from noon to 6pm. So if you can skip “school” and take the ferry out one weekday afternoon, that would be pretty sweet.
  • The set-up of the bar is amazing and I will be back this weekend, weather permitting.
  • A place that has rose on tap is definitely worth adding to your fave list!!
  • Note: They don’t have the full menu up and running yet, only oysters.
  • And they are very short-staffed, takes a while to get those oysters. Apparently shuckers are in high demand.

Read on below for 2 more food trends that are right up my alley: The Viking Diet and pickled cabbage/sauerkraut.

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OZY Fest 2017: Tremendous Potential But So Disappointing

OZY Fest 2017: Tremendous Potential But So Disappointing

 

 

OZY Media, which launched in 2013, held their second annual OZY Fest this past Saturday in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield.

  • It’s positioned as a new type of SXSW or “TED Meets Coachella”
  • All I can say is NOPE – not even close.
  • I can’t quite put my finger on what makes it come off as such a strange mishmash of ideas, but it doesn’t work.
  • Part of the problem may be the location. Central Park is not conducive to talks of this kind – there are too many distractions – and it’s too weather-dependent.

Because I had not been familiar with OZY, I did some research and what I found is not good news for the brand (which also explains why there were only eight sponsors for the event, three of which I had to google).

  • OZY initially began with an ad-driven, web-based business model.
  • Traffic to its main site, Ozy.com, declined 41% to 6.4 million unique U.S. visitors in December from just under 11 million a year earlier. (Source: WSJ/comScore)
  • The competition in the millennial news space is fierce. OZY is up against VICE, Buzzfeed, Mic, Vox, Cheddar, Bustle, Fusion among others.
  • And all the mainstream news sites e.g. CNN are going after the same audience. Whether OZY can survive is a big question mark.

Read on below for what needs immediate fixing should there be an OZY Fest 2018.

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