1) Goop flexes its editorial muscles to win over men with a new podcast called Goopfellas.

WHAT HAPPENED: Goop’s new podcast is its first male-focused editorial vertical, with plans to expand its products for men with a newsletter and private-label products.

Why it matters

  • Goop, which stands out among consumer brands that have merged ecommerce with editorial content, has solid experience to bring to its new men’s vertical. Beyond “Goopfellas,” its plans to introduce men’s apparel and accessories via its private label, G.Label, and launch a separate newsletter—the medium that launched the Goop brand at the very beginning—build on already proven expertise (it may also create events for men). But the more interesting aspect of its foray into men’s is the strategic decision to start with a podcast, which suggests audio is a more effective entrypoint for men into the Goop ecosystem.
  • On “Goopfellas,” the company will interview male celebrities, healthcare leaders and CEOs on topics ranging from trauma and nutrition to community and mental health disorders, with the hope that it will reduce toxic masculinity in the process. In branching out, Goop is latching on to the rise of menswear and men’s health brands as more male consumers become interested in looking after their appearance and wellness. Still, while the Goop brand was never officially branded as “for women,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s involvement gives a company an undeniably female tint, and makes Goop’s command of the men’s consumer space questionable. Goop will also have to surmount pre-existing criticism that highlights the company’s lack of credibility to serve women in the health space. This is not to say that men will be more impervious to fabricated claims, but given the historically overwhelming focus on women in the wellness space, Goop may not be able to get away with as much as it broadens its audience.

2) American Express buys the restaurant reservation app Resy, fueling both companies’ global ambitions.

WHAT HAPPENED: American Express acquired Resy, an additional path that the financial company can use to integrate more deeply in its cardholders’ lives, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

Why it matters

  • American Express’ latest purchase adds to a long line of hospitality-, travel- and restaurant-related acquisitions. In the past three years, apps and sites such as Mezi, which helps consumers book trips, LoungeBuddy, which lets users set up access to airport lounges, and Pocket Concierge, which lets consumers reserve restaurants in Japan, all merged with the Amex family. Now, with Resy, Amex can offer its cardholders exclusive benefits and experiences at 4,000 (more upscale) restaurants in the U.S. and more than 10,000 globally through Resy’s international partnerships (in 2018, Resy also launched services for restaurants to help manage inventory and improve performance).
  • Amex’s activity speaks to the company’s desire to become further engrained in its cardholders’ lives, particularly when they’re on the go. As you read in Points of Departure, providing consumers with on-demand products and services at the airport, in restaurants and at events, is growing increasingly expected, particularly when shoppers bigger spenders and traveling globally. Resy’s premium restaurant listings and Amex’s clientele are thus a good match—more so than Resy and Airbnb, a suspected buyer of Resy back in March. Airbnb has the global footprint, but ultimately serves hosts rather than travelers, while Amex has the money and the consumer-facing business to supplement Resy. With the acquisition, Resy will be able to reap new resources and scale up and internationally, while Amex will gain more ways to treat its clients. This is important, considering the financial company reduced a good deal of cardholder benefits and Resy can help rebuild the value prop of its brand.

3) The hair care brand OGX will be the first official beauty sponsor of Governors Ball—a smaller-scale, but still high-potential partnership vis-à-vis brands at Coachella.

WHAT HAPPENED: OGX, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, will become the first official beauty sponsor at the New York City-based music festival this May and June.

Why it matters

  • Festivals sponsorships are far from new; Coachella and SXSW provide major opportunities for consumer companies, and in the apparel sphere, Revolve has flexed its influencer marketing muscles through its own events. But smaller festivals like Governors Ball provide a new territory for brands to pepper their products and connect with shoppers—possibly in a less corporate way than at major events like Coachella. Like the brands tapping into micro-influencer marketing, which can help strike a more authentic relationship with shoppers, smaller events could have a similar effect, giving brands like OGX a unique opportunity to make its mark in a highly competitive cosmetics market. Compared to Coachella, which can welcome up to 99,000 attendees per day, compared to Governors Ball, which has approximately 50,000 attendees per day (Coachela is also three days longer than Governors Ball).
  • After working with the music festival for the past two years, OGX is primed for a bolder sponsorship strategy at Governors Ball. In 2018, it also worked with an influencer named Christine Bibbo Herr, who drove $5,500 of earned media value via six posts for OGX across two months, according to Tribe Dynamics. Now, with a wider-reaching influencer strategy, as well as product and styling bars available to general admission as well as VIP ticket holders and musical artists, OGX is hoping that its brand will resonate with a greater number of Governors Ball attendees, nearly two-thirds of which are 21-34-years-old. This demographic maps onto the millennials that comprise OGX target audience, and is likely to make an impression on the many attendees seeking “festival hair.” What’s less clear is how OGX’s partnerships with the musician Njozma and the recipe video network Tastmade to create digital content about the festival will materialize and how big of a role OGX’s brand will play in it.

4) Rent The Runway merges pop-up with mobile advertising through its Compass Coffee promotion in D.C.

WHAT HAPPENED: Earlier this month, Rent The Runway’s mobile pop-up emerged at six Compass Coffee locations across the capital over the course of five days to advertise its Unlimited membership program.

Why it matters

  • At each coffee shop, RTR decorated Compass Coffee with balloons and window decals, offering visitors a free cup of coffee and a $100 discount for a 60-day Unlimited trial in exchange for learning more about the membership. Consumer brands partnering with coffee shops is not new—Shinola’s New York flagship has a cafe by The Smile and in 2018, Glossier gave a San Francisco coffee shop, Rhea’s Cafe, a pink makeover where it launched a month-long pop-up. But as more digitally-native brands look to retail as a customer acquisition tool, RTR’s micro-pop-up strategy stands out for combining caffeine with pop-ups and mobile advertising.
  • RTR’s strategy avoided building out its own spaces, with can be expensive, especially when the store is a temporary pop-up. Instead, its pop-ups acted as a roving billboard for the brand. According to the company, it took three hours to set up the pop-up in a new Compass Coffee location and about the same to deconstruct at the end of the day, while typically, a pop-up buildout can take about six weeks. RTR also intelligently used a cluster technique, popping up in D.C. in order to drive more traffic to its Georgetown store (one of the company’s five existing physical locations). The drawback, however, is that RTR wasn’t able to showcase a large assortment of products. But like RTR’s foray into select WeWork locations in late 2018, which allow subscribers to return their items at more brick-and-mortar spaces, the Compass Coffee promotion provided RTR a new platform to voice its brand and connect with individual consumers.