It's been another weird week in retail.
Ikea is expecting a lot out of an ad that doubles as a pregnancy test, Peloton released a $4,000 treadmill at the Consumer Electronics Show and sweaters from a variety of retailers struck controversial chords.
This, and more, in this week's Retail Therapy.
Don't pee in someone's cheerios — pee on Ikea's ad
The day Ikea stops releasing over-the-top ads surely will be the first sure sign that the retail apocalypse is truly on its way.
Thankfully, today is not that day, and those preparing for doomsday around the world can avoid running to their bunkers of bottled water and canned food for at least another few weeks.
In a strangely intimate move that challenges the boundaries of the brand-consumer relationship, Ikea released an ad that doubles as a pregnancy test, according to AdAge.
Expecting mothers that pee on the advertisement discover not only that they're pregnant, but also that they get a great discount on a crib, because nothing says "I've got your back" quite like discounted furniture you have to build yourself. That said, it is great to see that Ikea's marketing department is maturing from 25-minute pointless ads and pithy jabs at tech companies to campaigns that actually have utility.
So next time you're restocking the bathroom magazines, maybe throw an Ikea catalog in there for good measure.
Put a $4,000 spring back in your step
There are different levels of every hobby: Like, "I watch sports a lot so I bought a flat-screen TV" versus "I watch sports a lot so I bought a 146-inch flat-screen TV that takes up an entire wall." Then there are the people who pay for a gym membership versus those who pay for a $4,000 treadmill
That's right folks. If CES has taught us anything this year, it's that there's a market for just about every over-the-top technology product — including treadmills that are worth more than your last trip to Paris. The $3,995 Peloton Tread, which debuted at the conference, is aimed at serious exercise fanatics, but it could also serve as the motivation we all need to keep up with our New Year's running resolutions: After all, nothing says buyer's remorse like a $4,000 treadmill you only used once.
As much as I like #tech, can't we just go walk/run outside and exercise like normal people?! This seems ridiculous and overpriced.#CES2018#PelotonTread will help you work up a sweathttps://t.co/vcOTUXK2ow— (@Rreizero) January 11, 2018
For those of us high on spirit and low on effort, there's another option: Cheetos' "Teach Me How to Curl" video shines a spotlight on "one of the country's most underappreciated sports," Marketing Dive reports, and encourages users to post videos of their own curling-inspired dance moves.
So really, it's just a question of whether consumers would rather sacrifice their money or their dignity.
Sweater fashion goes into hibernation
The red carpet is known for its hot looks, but as Victoria's Secret taught us in November, even angels fall. This time it was the Golden Globes awards show reminding us all that, in the wise words of Kenneth Branagh's Professor Lockhart, "celebrity is as celebrity does."
Actress Connie Britton was the source of a look that was half-inspiring and half-confusing, as she showed up in a sweater with the words "poverty is sexist" written on it. Fans were quick to point out the product costs around $380, Fox News reports. While many were supportive of the message, as well as all the money the company gives to charity, others found it both befuddling and off the mark.
Thanks Connie Britton— Claudia Muñoz (@claudiamunozl) January 8, 2018
But why tho?.... pic.twitter.com/k7holtJPOW
So apparently that "Poverty is Sexist" sweater cost about $380. https://t.co/e5MTwrtLK4— Mickey White (@BiasedGirl) January 8, 2018
Whether or not Hollywood loved Britton's fashion choices this week, consumers absolutely hated the offering H&M threw into the world. The Swedish retailer released a kids sweater with a perceived racial slur on it and then proceeded to advertise it on a young black child, AdAge reports, sending the Twitterverse into a tailspin of anger and arguments around a brand whose old designs are already being burned for fuel.
We're not experts, but maybe retailers going for edgy fashion should try out something that falls into the "ugly, but inoffensive" category instead. Like, say, the Gamiss "Raw Meat Kangaroo Pocket Hoodie." Just a thought.
Why you need to hire diverse people to work in your comms, marketing and social shops. Not one person caught this?— Oliver Chinyere (@Oliverdirtyb) January 11, 2018
Black kid = coolest MONKEY in the jungle
White kid = survival expert
These things matter. Optics matter. Knowing history matters. H&M really failed here. pic.twitter.com/KwPMDJGW8K
Yes I'm sure H&M is engaged in a racist conspiracy and made the conscious decision to invite worldwide backlash and profit losses for the sake of making an intentionally bigoted dig at their black customers. Good point, everyone.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 11, 2018
The hoodie was blown outta proportion and most of y’all still gonna shop at H&M so you’re yapping for the sake of it— Mak (@bagger60_) January 11, 2018
Lands' End looks to the skies for growth
Remember back in 2016 when American Airlines employees started complaining about having to wear uniforms that made them physically sick? Well, the time has finally come for those hardworking flight attendants to get new uniforms.
According to Business Insider, the new uniforms will be made by Lands' End and tested starting in October. Essentially, American Airlines employees will go from wearing uniforms that made them break out in hives to wearing uniforms made by a company desperately trying to make a name for itself outside of the sinking ship that is Sears.
Over the two-year period, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants received over 3,500 reports about the uniforms, while American Airlines owned up to just 14, showing everyone what it means to be a caring employer. Maybe that's a story for another day, but if Walmart can raise the minimum wage, American Airlines can change a few materials in a uniform.
Bear in mind that if the uniforms were children, they'd have learned to run, talk and wreak havoc by the time American Airlines solved the problem.
American Airlines picks Lands' End to replace uniforms employees said made them sick https://t.co/XTXR03ASvA— Conor Shine (@Conor_Shine) January 9, 2018
just found out Lands End is going to be making our next American Airlines uniforms :) better than our current toxic twin hill nonsense— kevin andrew (@K3VINANDR3W) January 11, 2018