Welcome to First Things First, Adweek’s daily resource for marketers. We’ll be publishing the content to First Things First on Adweek.com each morning (like this post), but if you prefer that it come straight to your inbox, you can sign up for the email here.
Airbnb is inviting people to go to Hell—Hell, Michigan, that is. For $31 a night, guests can book a Halloween-themed tiny house in the township of Hell courtesy of the rental site and John Colone, the self-proclaimed mayor of Hell. (And visitors, too, will be named honorary “Mayor Hell” for the night.) It’s the latest marketing stunt by Airbnb following its rental of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s mansion for the show’s 30th anniversary.
Since the early 1900s, toys have been marketed by gender, divided into pink toys for girls and blue toys for boys. Even now that consumers have begun to accept gender as nonbinary and not bound to such rigid assumptions, the toy industry has been slower to adapt than others. Tessa Trabue of social organization Let Toys Be Toys says it has to do with stereotypes that have remained in films (think Disney princesses and Marvel superheroes), which then translate to toy designs. Major brands and small startups have started challenging the divide, though, with products like Mattel’s customizable Creatable World dolls and campaigns like those from Melissa & Doug, which feature children of all genders.
How to move beyond the binary: Instead of defining toys by gender, toymakers can consider designs by interest and what excites them.
In an effort to showcase its rejection with the status quo, R/GA promises a reinvention every nine years, but a wave of leadership departures has left the industry wondering whether this next reinvention will be by choice. The exits include global chief innovation officer Saneel Radia, global head of brand Mike Rigby and global chief strategy officer Barry Wacksman, among several others. CEO Sean Lyons says it’s all part of the change, and a shift in leadership will present opportunities for the agency.
Related: Given the many recent changes for the company, Adweek spoke with R/GA founder, executive chairman and former CEO Bob Greenberg, to discuss its latest reinvention.
Just over a year ago, Martin Agency vp and group director Taylor Grimes developed the Tension Map, which helps brands identify consumer pain points and solve them with more speed and efficiency. The goal was to make a less rational, uncomplicated tool that helps generate big, human ideas, and it takes the form of a visual, intuitive map and scoring system that helps brands find creative and strategic direction. Plus, it couldn’t come at a more important time, when “uncertainty” is the word of the hour and consumer decisions are more emotion-fueled than ever.
The open-source maps are free for anyone to use: “If you can figure out what consumers need, and the pain points to solve them, there’s good utility there,” Grimes said.
That sound that plays when you start up Netflix—how does it make you feel? If your answer is anywhere on a scale of tired to enraged, you’re in good company. Any brand’s “aural signature” sound can evoke powerful emotions, and those emotions are subject to change. A recent study shows that Netflix is received pretty positively by viewers, but their perception of it sours by 10% when they’re exposed to that trademark sound. Unsurprisingly, their displeasure is attributed to oversaturation as people have been spending more time streaming amid the pandemic.