Ypulse Essentials: Mattel's Monster High, Ford Fiesta @ Bonnarroo, Neo-Frugalism

Monster HighMattel to unveil ‘Monster High’ (this summer in a major launch featuring dolls based on the teen characters, an apparel line, a series of books, an interactive website/webisodes and a movie expected in 2011 or 2012) (Los Angeles Business Journal)

- Ford Fiesta @ Bonnaroo (targets Gen Y music lovers with experiential elements like the “Fiesta Garage,” a ‘70s themed performance space. Also auto care company Midas and SPIN magazine are teaming up to launch the “Rock the Highway” sweepstakes for young musicians. And a look at Millennials’ changing attitudes towards car culture) (MediaPost, reg. required) (Brandchannel)

- ‘MTV’s True Life: Resist the Power, Saudi Arabia’ (brings potential legal trouble from the country’s religious police for the Saudi youths featured in the episode. Also religious groups in America are not surprisingly less than pleased with Comedy Central’s plans for a cartoon featuring a Jesus Christ character) (Reuters) (THR)

- Sony Online Entertainment launches ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (as a free, browser-based virtual world. And good news for Moshi Monsters fans—Penguin is publishing a children’s series based on the world. Plus over on Gamasutra, Sony’s John Koller talks PSPs, price points and piracy) (Virtual World News) (Forbes)

- [Bare]feet first (a Canadian teen launches a campaign to go barefoot to raise money for impoverished children. While a teacher in the Midwest sets out to eat and anonymously blog every school lunch served in her school’s cafeteria over the course of a year)  (BBC News) (PSFK)

- Summit Entertainment and Mastercard debut pre-paid ‘Eclipse’ gift cards (to coincide with the release of the  third “Twilight” film. Also it looks like Batgirl fans will have to apply some muscle if they want to see the girl wonder in her own comic book movie)…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I don't spend money, really on anything. I enjoy video games and will enjoy getting video games, but I receive as gifts from grandparents, parents”—Female, 14, IA

Airbnb is booming in Africa, where young travelers are “looking for culture rather than comfort.” Over two million people have used Airbnb in Africa to book vacation accommodations in the last five years, reportedly earning African hosts $139 million in just the past year. Wanderlusting Millennials are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to discover new places, rather than retread old ground, and locales like Africa are getting a boost because of it. (Quartz)

Nielsen says they finally have a way to measure Netflix viewership—but Netflix says they’re way off base. Nielsen claims they can keep track of all viewing on the platform, including originals, “whether or not a studio or network wants them to.” Netflix claims, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.” Ouch. Regardless, Nielsen’s move is a step in the right direction to measure what The Post-TV Genis watching, and has “direct implications for the ad business.” (MediaPostAdAgeFortune)

Influencers are using Instagram’s new polling feature, beating brands to the punch. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future. Polling is not only an opportunity to engage with customers but a way for brands to “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media and [conduct] market research.” But brands have been slow to ask influencers to use the new story feature for promotions or to utilize the feature on their standalone accounts. (Glossy)

High school students are increasingly taking college courses—but little is known about whether it will benefit them. Thanks to dual-enrollment programs, which are expanding rapidly, students can get a head start on college credits, cutting down on the cost of higher education. Some also argue that Advanced Placement courses are more rigorous, and worthier of students’ extra effort. However, the impacts of programs on “a diverse set of students” is not yet known. (WSJ)

Kids have online influencers too, and they’re pushing branded toys to devoted viewers. Unboxing videos on YouTube are not a new phenomenon, but kid stars unboxing toys are getting brands’ attention as a way to leverage The Influencer Effect. MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, pivoted 90% of their ad spend to digital in 2014 and report the strategy is paying off. Studies show children’s attention is switching from cable to YouTube, and influencers help brands reach a “much more engaged smaller audience” and give them “that potential for virality.” (Bloomberg)

"I love coffee and love the experience of having someone make me a nice latte. I like being around other people and hanging out in restaurants or cafes.”—Female, 20, PA

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