1) YouTube’s Beauty Try-On campaign allows consumers to participate in—and stop ignoring—advertisements, but will it be more than a gimmick?

Why it matters

  • As a home to major beauty bloggers, YouTube’s decision to debut the AR tool in partnership with MAC Cosmetics makes sense.
  • Customers can virtually test lipstick shades while an influencer speaks to them about the product, essentially creating a shoppable vlog. AR is tempting to many consumer brands, from Sephora’s Virtual Artist App to Target Beauty Studios, both of which are powered by ModiFace, a virtual tech company acquired by L’Oréal in March 2018.
  • In contrast, Google, YouTube’s parent company, owns Beauty Try-On, which is just one of a developing suite of services for advertisers seeking interactive solutions.
  • YouTube has 2 billion active monthly users. But that doesn’t necessarily mean AR ads will catch on in a meaningful way.

2) After closing its two mens-only stores, Lululemon’s retail readjustment mimics Gap-owned Athleta’s decision to sell its men’s brand Hill City at its own stores.

Why it matters

  • Lululemons’ decision to unite its men’s and women’s lines suggests that selling coed drives greater sales, as does Gap’s decision to launch Hill City at 50 Athleta stores.
  • This may help Lululemon double revenue for its men’s segment by 2023 (it grew 33% in 2018).
  • Considering its recent (seemingly unisex) line of personal care products and forthcoming sneaker line, the brand is possibly revving up to become a one-stop shop for whatever culture athleisure advances.
  • If so, the main question is whether the brand and value system attached to the company is enough to build “lifestyle” relevance.

Why it matters

  • Netflix has barely diversified its revenue stream—the vast majority still stems from subscriptions and streaming.
  • While “Stranger Things” has led to some merchandise—t-shirts and an ice cream collab with Baskin Robbins sold at Target—as well as a mobile game in 2017, the new video game will effectively submerge fans into the “Stranger Things” world.
  • It’s interesting that Netflix would outsource video game development considering its intent to grow original content to 50% of its streaming offering in the next few years.
  • But the move is likely economical; By licensing its characters, Netflix can test the promise of video games in driving the business, without expending much effort.
  • The company is likely wary of the historical lack of success with film- and TV-related video games, even as the market heats up.

4) L.L. Bean teams up with Uber as it attempts to bolster its image as a B2B platform after a less-than-stellar IPO debut.

Why it matters

  • Uber began its voucher program in April 2019, just before announcing its IPO.
  • So far a handful of restaurants, retailers and venues including Westfield mall and Live Nation Entertainment have created campaigns around the vouchers to increase foot traffic, gaining access to real-time metrics on an Uber dashboard.
  • The L.L. Bean stunt stands out, reducing friction for consumers to visit its summertime campsite pop-ups in U.S. cities such as Boston and New York where it’s hosting marketing-meets-community-building events, instead of sending them to a fixed store location.
  • But more importantly, it can help bolster Uber’s reputation as a B2B platform, which now includes Uber Health (which allows hospitals to book rides for patients), Uber Freight (which links truck drivers to shipping companies) and Uber Eats (its meal-delivery service), as it begins to recover from its rocky IPO.