Inexplicable #BackpackChallenge Tops The Viral List

The latest #Challenge sweeping high schools and Twitter, the kitchen gadget that’s gone viral, a meme all about trying to stay non-political, and more stories and trends earning buzz this week!

1. Yes, the #BackpackChallenge Is a Thing

The Backpack Challenge is sweeping high schools across the nation. To participate, teens line up and throw heavy backpacks at a peer, who needs to run through the launched bags without getting knocked down. The challenge originally began trending in November, but has resurfaced with a vengeance. The #BackpackChallenge hashtag on Twitter surfaces a feed of kids lining up to toss backpacks at one brave challenger. Seem bizarre/confusing? We don’t disagree. But don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out—as with most teen social media challenges (think The Cinnamon Challenge, etc.) there’s little “why” behind this “what.” As one teen told BuzzFeed, “It’s just for fun. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

2. The Viral Kitchen Gadget

Can cooking tools go viral? The success of the Instant Pot shows us they can. The Instant Pot has become a massive success thanks to viral word of mouth on social media, becoming Amazon’s best-selling item in the U.S. Business Insider calls it “the Internet’s favorite kitchen appliance,” citing the thousands upon thousands of glowing reviews the product has received and the passionate communities of Instant Pot users trading tips and recipes on Reddit, Facebook and beyond. The CEO of the company behind the 7-in-1 gadget says of their viral success, "Cooking is very much a social behavior. If people make good food, they will be raving about it, including the tools used.”

3. Can You Say Anything Non-Political?

In the contentious political climate we’re experiencing now, everything can be political—from Super Bowl…

 
 

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“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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