Ypulse Essentials: Facebook Phone & Kindle Fire Models, Spotify Loses Labels, Toy Of The Year

Facebook PhoneCodenamed ‘Buffy,’ the fabled Facebook phone (is going to be a reality in a year or so, and like its vampire-slayer namesake, it’s out to slay the smartphone competition. The phone will be manufactured by HTC and reportedly will run an Android platform. But will anyone care to have a Facebook phone over a phone with a Facebook app? Some of us still remember how things went when another media company — ahem, ESPN — tried to enter the cell phone market. In other news of tech to come, Amazon will debut new models of the Kindle Fire with larger screens in 2012. Amazon clearly wants to take a bite out of the mainstream tablet market, taking on Samsung and perhaps even Apple) (AllThingsD) (ShelfAwareness)

- Spotify is losing labels (because the music industry isn’t happy with the money it’s making from the service and fears that streaming is cannibalizing sales. But, now that listeners have had a taste of streaming just about any artist they want, we don’t think they’re going to run right back to the record store — digital or brick-and-mortar — to get the music they want; they’ll continue to find it online, one way or another) (AV Club)

- The Toy Industry Association has announced the finalists (for Toy Of The Year. The lists for best boy toy, girl toy, educational toy, and game are packed with cool items — and great gift ideas, obviously — but there’s one item that’s missing. The iPad. Say what you will, that’s one “toy” kids can’t keep their hands off of) (Kidscreen)

- Netflix is making its ‘Just For Kids’ section (available from the Wii console with just one click. We think it’s a smart move since the Wii is particularly popular with young families) (SacBee)

- With all the Black Friday ads clogging the airwaves lately, it’s hard to break through the clutter, but Macy’s ad with…

 
 

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“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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