The retail world looks different now and there's a lot of uncertainty. Instead of highlighting the absurd products we normally do, we're going to be looking at some of the things in the industry that made us smile recently.
This week, Mattel unveiled a new set of action figures inspired by real-life heroes, beer companies dropped contests to help make sheltering in place a bit easier for consumers and Chick-fil-A entered into a new category.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Mattel honors frontline workers
While some jobs allow for the flexibility of working from home during this difficult and uncertain period, that's not the case everywhere. Other workers have remained on the job, helping to serve their communities.
To help honor these real-life heroes, Mattel this week unveiled a new line of action figures. The #ThankYouHeroes collection includes 16 dolls in four different professions: doctor, nurse, delivery driver and emergency medical technician.
The company also released a Little People Community Champions set, which includes a doctor, nurse, EMT, delivery driver and grocery store worker.
"#ThankYouHeroes is designed to immortalize and honor healthcare and every day heroes, and to drive additional donations to support first responders," Chuck Scothon, senior vice president of Fisher-Price and global head of Infant and Preschool at Mattel, said in a statement. "Whether these toys are given as a gift to recognize someone working on the front lines, or used as a tool to help children have conversations about how they are feeling, it is our hope that Fisher-Price toys, and play in general, can ultimately make these difficult times easier for both kids and adults."
The dolls are currently available for pre-order through May 31 for $20 each. The items are expected to ship by Dec. 31 this year.
The best part of this? All net proceeds ($15 per doll) from the #ThankYouHeroes line will go to #FirstRespondersFirst, a fund that helps provide essential supplies, equipment and resources to healthcare professionals and their families during this time.
Miller High Life brings the party home
In order to help stem the spread of the virus and protect individuals, many people have been forced to cancel or postpone events, including their wedding celebrations.
Couples have gotten creative with canceled plans, doing everything from getting married via Zoom (which is now legal in New York!) to hosting private ceremonies where guests can drive by to congratulate the couple. And to help make a sour situation a little easier, some companies have stepped in. Busch beer last month rolled out a contest aimed at couples who have had to adjust wedding plans due to the pandemic. The Anheuser-Busch brand promised it would give away a year's worth of beer for 250 winners.
And now, Miller High Life is stepping in to bring the celebration right to couples' homes, sister publication Marketing Dive reported. The MillerCoors brand this week unveiled a contest for couples whose wedding plans have been altered in recent months.
Three lucky winners will receive a "Wedding at Your Doorstep," which includes a photographer, an officiant and beer, in addition to $10,000 to be used on a future honeymoon or to cover costs from canceled plans.
For the chance to win, couples must submit a brief statement (no more than 150 words) on how their wedding plans changed this year due to the pandemic and how they continue to celebrate with Miller High Life, of course. Entrants can email their statements and a photo to [email protected]
Chick-fil-A gets into meal kits
For some, the extra time at home is welcome as it means more time to attempt new recipes they've been dying to try or fine tune some culinary skills. For others, though, more time in the kitchen is anything but welcome.
And for those sick of eating boxed mac and cheese or beans straight out of the can (hey, no judgment over here, you do you), Chick-fil-A might have a solution.
The fast-food chicken chain this week announced that it will offer chicken parmesan meal kits at select locations beginning May 4. The kits — which include two seasoned and breaded pieces of Chick-fil-A's original filets, marinara sauce, Italian-style cheeses, and creamy garlic and lemon pasta — start at $14.99. However, customers can make substitutions for items, like swapping the breaded chicken for grilled or spicy filets.
"Our guests are currently experiencing unique challenges, which is why we're proud to offer the Chicken Parmesan Meal Kit as an easy way for them to enjoy a delicious meal from the safety and comfort of home," Ben Bolling, menu and packaging program lead at Chick-fil-A, said in a statement. "Our easy-to-prepare, dinnertime solution provides Chick-fil-A customers with all the ingredients needed for a home cooked meal, and all they have to do is simply visit a Chick-fil-A drive-thru or have a Chicken Parmesan Meal Kit delivered right to their front door."
The meal kits were first piloted in Atlanta in 2018, and since then more than 15,000 consumers have expressed interest in the product, Chick-fil-A said.
The restaurant chain in March announced it was bringing its signature sauces to select Publix, Target, Walmart and Winn-Dixie stores.