Procter And Gamble Attempt To Trademark ‘LOL,’ ‘WTF’ And More

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is trying to adopt—via trademark—a number of social media abbreviations to be used in cleaning and air freshening products.

As reported by Bloomberg, the manufacturing giant has filed several applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office for phrases like “LOL,” “WTF,” “NBD” and “FML.” According to the applications, these abbreviations would be used to label non-medicated liquid soap, dishwashing detergents, hard surface cleaners and air fresheners.

The move could be a sign that P&G plans to launch a millennial-focused brand using these phrases, as applications say they would be considered a standard character mark. This term refers to words, letters, numbers or a combination thereof, but does not lay claim to specific fonts, size, color or design element.

P&G’s applications do not, however, indicate whether these trademarked phrases would stand for their original meanings, which are “laugh out loud,” “what the fuck,” “no big deal” and “fuck my life,” respectively. For purposes of branding, “WTF” could stand for “wash the floor,” or “FML” may translate to “for maximum lather,” considering P&G owns Pantene hair products.

Creating a new label for common household items may be P&G’s plan to woo the generation blamed for killing industries en masse. P&G board member Nelson Peltz acknowledged that Millennials want a more intimate relationship with their products, saying that younger consumers do not want “one-size fits all” brands.

“Millennials want these little brands, these local brands that they have an emotional attachment to,” Peltz said.

Young consumers aren’t buying fabric softeners the way their parents did, forcing the company to rethink its marketing—relabeling bottles “fabric conditioner,” for example. P&G’s president of NA Fabric Care Shailesh Jejurikar told The Wall Street Journal that millennials don’t know what the product is for.

Adopting “the lingo” of young consumers can be a fun way to engage, but brands run the risk of appearing disingenuous. Several brands have employed marketing campaigns using popular memes or emoji, some with great success.

However, marketerss should make sure any use of popular phrases is in line with its brand message. A 2016 study by Sprout Social asked social media users what annoys them about brands online. For 29.9 percent of respondents, using slang or jargon that doesn’t fit the brand was listed as a major reason for an unfollow.

OpenTable Partners With Kellogg’s For Pop-Up Cereal Residency

Kellogg is partnering with Food Network star Duff Goldman and OpenTable to launch a pop-up culinary residency at Kellog’s NYC Café this fall to benefit the nonprofit organization No Kid Hungry.

For two days in September, Goldman is taking over the café to add his culinary spin on various dishes featuring Kellogg’s cereal brands. The event will let attendees pay what they want, and all donations will go toward the charity to fund its mission to end child hunger in America. As an added bonus, attendees can purchase limited-edition cereal bowls designed by Goldman, and those proceeds will also go to charity.

“When it comes to creativity, the sky is the limit when exploring exciting, new ways to play with Kellogg’s cereal,” Goldman said in a statement. “It was so fun to get out of my comfort zone and discover the endless possibilities of cereal—hopefully my creations will inspire everyone to experiment in their own kitchens.”

The event is part of Kellogg’s “Breakfast for Better Days” initiative, which has the goal of making the lives of three billion people a little brighter by the end of 2025. The program, in addition to partnerships such as the one with United Way to combat bullying, reinforces Kellogg’s motto of being “a company with Heart & Soul.”

Kellogg’s NYC Café guests can not only look forward to feeling good by donating to charity, but they can look good too. In a separate announcement, the company debuted its Froot Loops-themed fashion collection developed in partnership with AWAYTOMARS. The clothes featuring colored circles and the character Toucan Sam are available at Kellogg’s NYC while supplies as well as online. These outfits are part of AWAYTOMARS’ Spring/Summer 19 collection, which makes its Paris debut in September.

Mercedes-Benz Uses IGTV Platform To Release Branded Short Film

Mercedes-Benz has produced its first spot for Instagram’s new IGTV platform, a black and white short film called Bertha Benz: The First Driver.

The branded content is just over two minutes in length and tells the story of Bertha Benz, wife of car inventor—and Mercedes-Benz co-founder—Karl Benz. When Karl invented the first automobile in 1888, it was his wife, Bertha that took it on a 60-mile ride through Germany to prove that it works.

“This was one of those projects that we’d been kicking around for a little while,” Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services and digital customer experience at Mercedes-Benz USA told AList. “We’ve told the ‘birth of Benz’ story a number of times before but we really wanted to make sure that at some point, we produce a more powerful video to tell the story.”

The First Driver, which was originally considered for National Women’s Day, was launched on Monday ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.

“This week felt like a really magical week to launch the story celebrate the 130th anniversary [of Mercedes-Benz] and kick off a week of classic car content,” added Aikman.

The First Driver is filmed in black and white and features no sound other than a piano score, reminiscent of a silent film. The video shows how Bertha overcame odds like the car breaking down and believed in her husband’s invention when he had doubts.

“We liked that culture clash between the most contemporary place that you can put video—the newest channel in kind of the newest vertical video format on IGTV—with something that feels amazingly authentic to the story that we’re telling,” said Aikman, who added that seeing a woman drive by in 1888 was probably like seeing a flying car today.

IGTV launched in June as a platform for short-form video content designed to highlight creators. As a long-time beta tester for Facebook and Instagram, Mercedes-Benz was eager to try out the new format, although they knew it couldn’t be a traditional video ad.

“Because it’s more of an entertainment platform and not an advertising platform at launch,” said Aikman, “we [had to] think about content that feels more like storytelling content. Mercedes-Benz isn’t new to vertical video—we’ve been using that advertising format for a while because of the importance of mobile in today’s world.”

As young consumers increasingly turn to digital content and video for entertainment, Aikman says storytelling is more important than ever for marketers. You have to earn your place on the platforms, he stressed.

“I believe storytelling is critical,” explained Aikman. “It’s always been finding that balance between those stories that brands have to tell with their products, heritage and missions and what really connects you to customers. As a brand, we’re trying to drive those emotional connections with our audience and we do it with authentic, powerful stories that are ingrained in who we are.”

In addition to IGTV, The First Driver has been launched on YouTube and Facebook, although in a traditional (horizontal) video format.

Michelob, Bud Light Engage Sports Fans With Caddie Keg, Locked Smart Fridges

During the PGA Championship last week, Michelob Ultra showed off a caddie bag with a built-in refillable beer keg, complete with a tap handle at the top. Other features include a storage compartment for pint glasses, a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker, a tablet for streaming media and decorative LED lighting. In essence, the caddie bag is a portable party for putters.

Discussing the keg caddie in a statement, Michelob Ultra vice president Azania Andrews said, “We are always looking for new ways to innovate and help our consumers live fit and fun, and the Ultra Caddie delivers both. Michelob Ultra has been the official beer of golf for more than a decade, and we’re excited to unveil the Ultra Caddie at the PGA Championship in St. Louis.”

Michelob Ultra’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has engaged with sports fans recently with a series of unconventional activations. In August, the company introduced the Bud Light “Victory Fridge” to Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium along with various bars across the city. Fully stocked with bottles of Bud Light, these smart fridges will open simultaneously if the Cleveland Browns break their losing streak and win their first victory during the 2018 NFL season.

Andy Goeler, Bud Light’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement, “The Bud Light Browns ‘Victory Fridge’ is a fun way to celebrate and reward a fan base that has never wavered in enthusiasm or dedication for their team no matter what happens. …we’re always looking to bring NFL fans and friends together for memorable experiences.”

The Browns lost all of their games last year, and most of their games the year before. The team also hasn’t won a championship since 1964, so perhaps this bit of encouragement will help them pull out of their slump.

It is worth noting that offering free beer to the entire state of California in June was not enough to help Mexico break its World Cup curse. But, the Philadelphia Eagles did win the Super Bowl last year when its city was offered free bottles of beer, so it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the Browns will succeed in a similar way.

Paddy Power Installs Massive Drive-Thru Confessional In Dublin

Irish gambling site Paddy Power launched a “drive-thru confessional” to spark conversation about the Pope’s upcoming visit. The tongue in cheek marketing activation pokes fun at the idea of “Catholic guilt” by offering residents a way to gain forgiveness on the go.

A 42-foot (13 meters) wide by 39-foot (12 meters) tall structure was strategically placed over a car wash next to Phoenix Park, where up to half a million people are expected to gather this weekend. The drive-thru confession box is made to look like the real thing, only much larger—“big enough to withstand the full spectrum of sin,” the company said.

“It was a bit of fun, but we also wanted to start a very real conversation about the subject in light of the Pope’s visit,” Rachael Kane, head of Irish PR at Paddy Power told AList.

Paddy Power says it commissioned a study about the decline of Catholicism in the area. Almost 80 percent of survey respondents said they did not go to confession at least once a month and 29 percent couldn’t remember the last time they went. (Details of the survey, including methodology were not cited.)

At the activation, guests can drive through massive red curtains, where they are greeted by a “priest.” With a wave of his hand, the “priest” absolves participants of their sins and they can be on their way.

“We have to confess that he may not necessarily [have] had the full qualifications for the job,” admitted Kane.

Outside, a branded sign encourages visitors to “Repent decades of sins in seconds” and “Filthy souls enter here.” Aside from Paddy Power’s name, there is no designated hashtag for the activation. A video was posted on YouTube that shows different Irish citizens being called to mass by a church bell in the distance.

Several posts on social media indicate that some passersby are getting a kick out of the confession booth, but it will surely get much more attention this weekend when the Pope arrives.

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not specifically prohibit gambling itself, the act can lead to other prohibited sins like greed and jealousy—so it’s no wonder a gambling site wouldn’t be a fan of religion. They’re not alone, either, which is part of the reason Pope Francis is paying Ireland a visit. Catholicism has been on a steep decline in the country due to outside influence and revelations of abuse within the church.

“If the Catholic hierarchy have anything they’d like to get off their chests too, they are more than welcome to take a spin through our mega drive-thru confession box while they’re here,” Paddy Power added in a blog post.

Paddy Power has gained a reputation for controversial advertising, riding popular issues like politics, sports and religion. When then-presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Scotland in 2016, for example, the gambling site greeted him with a Mexican mariachi band. Ahead of the big Euro 2012 soccer game, a 108-foot statue of England manager Roy Hodgson was erected to provide “divine intervention.”

What Peloton Shows Us About The Future Of Video Marketing

Written by James G. Brooks, Founder & CEO of GlassView

I don’t have to convince you that screens are the future. You’re staring into one right now.

If you’re like most Americans, you will spend about 12 hours today gazing into one screen or another. That may seem like a natural limit, but consider how screens have proliferated in recent years. There are screens at gas pumps, screens at supermarket checkout lines and screens on exercise equipment.

Take Peloton for example. The hit $2,000 exercise bike has transformed the home workout experience by linking consumers to live broadcast exercise classes. But Peloton, which just raised $550 million for a $4.15 billion valuation, isn’t the only sign that the IoT age is upon us. A recent Samsung ad points to another smart use of video—a family uses a screen on their refrigerator to take a video call and then mom shuts off the TV in the other room when dinner’s ready.

All of this signals that the Internet of Things is not a future technology. It’s here now. That means that very targeted video ads on IoT devices will soon become the norm. Here’s why:

  1. They will reduce the cost of hardware. We already live in a world in which consumers can get free versions of apps, news articles and streaming music services in exchange for viewing ads. If they’d rather pay extra, they can skip the ads. Hulu also offers a more expensive ad-free experience for those willing to pay extra not to see ads. Subsidizing IoT devices the same way then is plausible. Imagine if ads on a smart refrigerator reduced the cost by a few hundred dollars?

  2. They will offer helpful IoT apps. What would you use the video screen on a refrigerator for anyway? In the Samsung ad, it’s for placing a video call. Another use would be for showing recipes or videos of chefs preparing those recipes. Such content will either come from subscription, web browsing or via apps. The latter two will likely be ad-supported. Sitting through a 30-second targeted ad is a small price to pay for a time-saving recipe. There are other applications. A garage-based screen could deliver DIY videos and apps. A laundry room screen could offer info on apparel care or cleaning.

  3. Marketers will be able to target the right user at the right time. Someone who is calling up a recipe obviously cooks at home and is a great target for a food ad or for a service like Blue Apron. The latter, which extensively advertises on podcasts, might find that targeting a consumer when they’re just about to cook a meal is the perfect time to pitch its services. Similarly, when a consumer is cleaning or doing wash, their minds are focused on those activities, creating opportunities for marketers of relevant products.

  4. Consumers will be able to control their ad exposure. Consumers are aware that their attention has value. The interruptive advertising model is an affront to this calculation. But offering consumers the choice of seeing an ad in exchange for something—an app or service—is a fair deal. Research has shown that such opt-in ads engage users at eight times the rate of autoplay ads.

There are two trends that are paving the way for IoT ads. One is the growth of IoT devices in the home. The other is the possibility of opt-in advertising, which offers consumers something of value for their time. The merging of these two trends points to a future which is attractive to both advertisers and consumers. Consumers get control and marketers get a willing audience. That’s as close to a win-win as you can get.

Originally published at VideoInk.

Dunnhumby And The Future Of Supermarket Data

Every time you use a supermarket loyalty card, you’re doing more than getting discounts—you’re giving away data. British firm Dunnhumby is one of the best-known pioneers of data-aggregating supermarket loyalty card programs thanks to groundbreaking work with Tesco in the UK and Kroger/Ralphs in the United States.

But like many innovators, Dunnhumby faces a dilemma. Marketing data has become democratized over the years, and it’s easy for retailers and ecommerce brands to do in-house analytics which previously required outside assistance. For companies like Dunnhumby, which come from the world of multi-year contracts and on-loan consultants, that’s a big sea change.

Guillaume Bacuvier, a former Google advertising executive, joined Dunnhumby as CEO in 2017. His mandate is to help the company navigate a sea change in marketing and retail data science.

While Dunnhumby’s bread and butter is their work with big-name firms like Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline and Whole Foods, the company is now expanding into new areas: Working with mid-size and smaller companies, for instance, as well as building out a consumer data science platform.

This summer, AList spoke with Bacuvier at a Dunnhumby conference in Chicago about the company, its future plans, and the marketing data landscape in general. Here’s what he had to say:

Audience Targeting Has Multiple Uses

When it comes to the retail world, purchase history—and the inferences that can be drawn from it—is king. This isn’t just because it can be used to predict future purchases, but because it can be leveraged for additional purposes like advertising.

“If you’re a large consumer goods company and you’re about to launch a product,” Bacuvier says, “[Look at] audience targeting, which is built on the kind of data that a retailer has. It’s quite powerful because retailers have a lot of purchase history about people. That’s usually a good predictor of work, whether you’re in the market for a new chocolate bar that you’re about to launch or a new brand of detergent. What Dunnhumby has done—and we’re not the only ones in the market to do this—is help retailers build media revenue streams and advertising revenue streams that come on top of our core retail business.”

Marketing Data Co-ops For Smaller Companies

Bacuvier notes that one challenge facing smaller retailers—that is, retail chains with multiple locations that might not necessarily be Walmart or Kroger sized—when it comes to big data is that they simply have less data to work with than their larger competitors. He says one possible way for smaller companies to gain leverage is through data co-ops. “Co-op models are not foreign to the retail industry,” Bacuvier adds. “They’ve often had co-ops when it comes to dealing with their supplier base and build co-ops to gain purchasing power and get better prices.”

Possible models for marketing data co-ops, for instance, could include regional retailers teaming up to aggregate their data for better insights and advertising inventory.

GDPR As An Opportunity

Marketers and data brokers are still struggling with the European Union’s GDPR regulation, which changes the way customer and user information is processed. Europe’s new guarantees of data portability and information retention are much more stringent than the United States’. Bacuvier says this presents an opportunity.

Speaking of data portability, Bacuvier notes that customers could potentially take loyalty card records and transfer them to competitors.

“This is disruptive in many ways. One is obviously that the kind of intrinsic value of that data set, for whoever is owning that loyalty program, is exposed because all of a sudden, it’s not as protected as before. It is much easier and creates a kind of competitive environment for one company to potentially win over customers from another by being able to very quickly absorb all their historical transaction data—therefore be able to offer something personalized far more quickly than they would before. It also will require us to create a whole ecosystem to enable data portability.”

The Value Of Consumer Data Is Changing

In the past, in-store consumer data was primarily used to create customized promotions and help companies predict the future to varying degrees of accuracy. However, the rise of ecommerce means that consumer data can now be leveraged for advertising and other secondary uses.

“We use data science to help companies create revenue out of that data,” Bacuvier says. “Media is one example where you can create additional revenue streams from the data that you have. Or it could be monetizing in retail; it’s quite a classic as you can commercialize that data back to your supplier base in the form of insights or market research or business intelligence. Many suppliers are willing to pay for it because [it’s] the only way they can really understand what’s going on with consumers.”

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Schuh, New York Life, DraftKings Appoint CMOs; Live Nation Adds Head Marketer

This week, Schuh, New York Life Insurance and J.Jill hire new chief marketing officers while Live Nation names its head of integrated marketing.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Chief Marketer Joins New York Life

Michelle Bottomley has been appointed to the role of chief marketing officer at New York Life. In this role, she will be responsible for the insurance company’s brand, driving outcomes for its core business. Bottomley most recently served as Staples’ chief marketing officer, and was chief marketing and sales officer at Mercer before that. In a statement, New York Life executive vice president Matt Grove said, “The leadership and expertise Michelle brings to the CMO role put us in a great position to develop the connected experiences that today’s clients expect.”

Live Nation Names Integrated Marketing Head

Amy Marks has joined Live Nation Entertainment as its first executive vice president and head of integrated marketing at the company’s media and sponsorship division. In this position, Marks will lead research, analytics, strategy, creative, experiential events and industry marketing for the department. She most recently served as global head of marketing for Bloomberg Media.

DraftKings Hires CMO

As part of its ongoing expansion efforts, DraftKings revealed that it has hired Tom Goedde to serve as its chief marketing officer. Before joining the company, Goedde was most recently the chief marketing officer for the rival fantasy sports platform iPro, and his appointment comes alongside several other new hires at DraftKings.

Shoe Retailer Appoints CMO

Australian retailer Schuh has named Alice Cleary as its new chief marketing officer. She previously held the position of global marketing director for the Australian cosmetics brand Nude by Nature, and served in multiple marketing roles in the fashion industry before that.

Apparel Brand Adds Marketing Chief

Massachusetts-based retailer J.Jill announced the appointment of Brian Beitler as its chief marketing and brand development officer. Before joining the company, Beitler served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Lane Bryant and Catherine’s, both divisions at the Ascena Retail Group and David’s Bridal.

Tire Company Appoints Head Of Americas Marketing

Continental Commercial Specialty Tires has promoted Pavel Prouza as its head of sales and marketing for the Americas. Prouza has been with Continental since 2007, and in his new role, he will oversee the company’s material handling, earthmoving and agriculture tire business in North America, Central America and South America.

Unilever Exec Joins Ben & Jerry’s

Self-described progressive ice cream maker and aspiring social justice company Ben & Jerry’s announced that it has hired Matthew McCarthy as its new CEO. McCarthy served as a marketing executive at the ice cream maker’s parent company Unilever for 21 years before joining Ben & Jerry’s on July 1. He is already aiming to “double its social impact” while remaining focused on producing ice cream, earning a profit and giving back to the community.

Indie Games Studio Picks Marketing VP

DebySue Wolfcale has joined ArtCraft Entertainment as its new vice president of marketing. In this role, she will be responsible for the company’s global brand and product marketing initiatives, starting with the upcoming title Crowfall. Wolfcale previously served as the brand director BioWare/Electronic Arts where she led its live service marketing. Before that, she was the senior director for online marketing at BioWare and the director of global brand marketing at Sony Online Entertainment.

Robot Cache Hires CMO

Blockchain-based video game platform Robot Cache has named Laura Naviaux Sturr as its chief marketing officer. Most recently, Sturr served as the chief publishing officer at Daybreak Games (formerly Sony Online Entertainment).

Virgin Mobile Marketer Switches To RBS

Lisa Coulson has departed from her position as head of marketing at Virgin Media Mobile to be the head of marketing and digital at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). She served for almost two years at Virgin Mobile.

Paramount Hires EVP

Paramount Pictures announced the appointment of Michelle Hagen as executive vice president of worldwide promotions. She is tasked with overseeing the media company’s global partnerships. Prior to joining Paramount, Hagan served as a senior vice president at NBCUniversal, where she worked on global franchises that include Pitch Perfect and Jurassic World.

Public Transit App Names CMO

Yovav “Jay” Meydad announced via LinkedIn that he is now serving as the chief marketing officer for the Isreal-based public transit app developer Moovit App Global Ltd. Meydad has been with the company since 2013 and served as vice president of products and marketing prior to his promotion.

BT And EE Combine Marketing Roles

As part of a restructuring effort, UK-based telecommunications companies BT and EE have decided to strengthen their relationship by having one person oversee the marketing strategy for both brands. Pete Oliver has been promoted to the role of managing director of marketing for its consumer division.

AB InBev Promotes Marketer

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that Paula Lindenberg, the current vice president of marketing for Ambev—the company’s Brazilian business—is being promoted to North Europe president. In this new role, she will be in charge of operations in the UK and Ireland. Lindenberg served at InBev for over 17 years.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 17. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

VP, Digital Marketing Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Union, NJ
VP, International Marketing Carl’s Jr. Franklin, TN
Chief Marketing Officer Facebook Menlo Park, CA
VP, Growth & Marketing  Warner Music Group New York, NY
VP, Marketing, US Pandora Burbank, CA
VP, Marketing (Oakley) Luxottica Group New York, NY

Make sure to check back for updates on our Careers page.

Wikipedia, Ziploc Join Branded Fashion Trend

Ziploc and Wikipedia have joined the growing list of seemingly random brands entering the fashion space, tapping into consumers’ demand for rare and quirky collectibles.

Posing With Plastic

Storage brand Ziploc is reaching Japanese consumers in a “fresh” new way. Beams Couture has partnered with the brand to offer a limited edition of see-through attire made from repurposed food storage bags.

A pop-up activation at the Beams Shinjuku outpost will showcase branded items that include hats, bags, aprons, umbrellas and fanny packs. Each of the branded apparel items features Ziploc’s signature blue and magenta seals that either secure pockets or line the seams. The pop-up will run from August 15 to September 11 and online beginning August 20.

Owned by the S. C. Johnson Family, Ziploc is tapping into the growing $16.7 billion Japanese fashion industry with this unusual promotion while appealing to female consumers through a popular local brand. Beams frequently collaborates on limited-edition collections, such as a baseball-themed collection with Champion.

A promo video for the Ziploc collection was released on Beams’ official YouTube video on Monday, highlighting each item in a humorous shopping network style. The activation recognizes its quirky appeal, targeting young women and collectors with a fear of missing out (FOMO).

Fashion For Information Freedom

Wikipedia is another unlikely company to join the branded fashion movement this week. The public information website has partnered with Advisory Board Crystals (ABC) to sell branded long-sleeve shirts that say “Internet Master.” ABC describes the shirt as combining “information related” elements of familiar visual language from the internet and its own brand.

Priced at $85, the shirts sold out in a matter of days. Proceeds from the sales went to Wikimedia, the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia. The partnership certainly benefits Wikipedia, but also ABC as a cause marketing campaign.

“Free information is a privilege,” ABC says on the Wikipedia shirt product page. “One of the ideals of the ABC Studio is that there are many ways to save the world.”

Fashion has become a popular way for non-endemic brands to engage consumers, especially in the food industry. McDonald’s recently launched an entire website devoted to branded merchandise that ranges everywhere from socks to Bluetooth speakers.

KFC hasn’t been shy about its fashion efforts, either, offering a wide range of apparel and home decorations in an effort to entertain millennials. Cheetos walked the runway in its cheesy styles, Taco Bell teamed up with Forever 21 and Mountain Dew partnered with youth culture fashion brand VFiles to celebrate the history of camouflage.

Ebay Partners With Community Businesses For Retail Revival Program

Earlier this year, eBay launched a 12-month pilot program called Retail Revival, where it is helping small businesses across the US sell goods by offering training and marketing support free of charge. Its first partner is the struggling city of Akron, Ohio, whose local businesses were hit hard by an economic downturn.

That combination of physical small business charm and global digital reach is being demonstrated in New York City, as eBay is hosting temporary takeovers of two The New Stand locations. The pop-up store will replace the newsstand’s usual goods with Akron brands.

“[Retail Revival] dramatizes the economic impact that we can have on communities and for people,” Chris Librie, head of global impact and giving at eBay, told AList. “Ecommerce is becoming ever more popular, but in some cases, it’s becoming ever more anonymous. I think what’s great about Retail Revival is that it enables our platform to be distinguished by what’s different, quirky and unique with the spin that those Akron sellers put on their merchandise.”

The pop-up store adds to eBay’s online promotion of Akron-made brands, which includes driving traffic to a dedicated Akron Retail Revival page using “Editor’s Picks” and “Featured Sellers” promotions on the homepage. The platform reaches over 175 million customers worldwide, and it is further supporting Akron businesses at events such as the eBay Open and on its social media channels.

“Without that kind of marketing, I don’t think that they would not have reached the states and countries that they have,” said Librie, explaining that the most successful sellers are the ones that offer unique products while having its “Akron pride” come through. He describes the Retail Revival initiative as a collaborative process that benefits both parties.

Librie added that eBay is a purpose-driven company, wanting to create economic opportunity for people. The Retail Revival initiative is a way for the company to “put its money where its mouth is” by entering communities to make a difference, which is why it is not charging businesses a fee for its services.

The lines between online and offline shopping are continuing to blur, creating more challenges for physical stores, especially small and medium-sized businesses. Ebay referred to a UBS study that found that 2017 had a record number of store closures, stating that the commerce platform could empower merchants of all sizes to adapt to the evolving retail industry.

The company’s CEO Devin Wenig spoke about the changes and the future of integrated retail in January, saying, “We’re not competing for ecommerce anymore, there’s no such thing. It’s commerce. That is $17 trillion of global spending, and nobody wakes up saying, ‘I want to buy a mobile phone in a store.’”

Ecommerce is expected to eventually comprise half of global sales, but despite the growth, online shopping lacks the physicality of brick-and-mortar, which is where the pop-up store comes into play.

The activation is unique to New York City for now, but other cities might receive a taste of Akron or Lansing, Michigan—which joined the initiative in early August—sometime in the future.