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, Popeyes dropped some fresh merchandise that goes back to its Louisiana roots, date night got a new look and a beer brand said it would reward consumers for doing their taxes.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Popeyes aims to help those in need with a fresh merch drop
Across the industry, companies are stepping up in this time of crisis — whether that's shifting production to make items like hand sanitizer or masks, giving away their products to healthcare workers on the front lines, or making some other effort to help those in local communities.
Popeyes this week announced a new campaign aimed at helping those in New Orleans, an area that has been hard-hit by the coronavirus. The fast-food chain, which was started in Louisiana, created a new menu item with a goal of providing more than 1 million meals to those in need. For $28, the "NOLA STRONG MEAL" comes with 12 pieces of fried chicken, two sides, six biscuits, and a branded T-shirt and hat.
The company said all proceeds from the meal boxes will go directly toward Second Harvest Food Bank, which is the largest anti-hunger organization in the state. Popeyes is also making a donation to Feed the Front Line NOLA as well as providing meals to the organization every Sunday.
"We are proud of our New Orleans heritage, and we are dedicated to supporting those in our community who need help during these difficult times," said Bruno Cardinali, head of marketing North America.
For consumers who may not want to indulge on Popeyes' delicious fried chicken but want to help the cause (and sport some of the freshest merch around while doing so), the restaurant is selling the hats for $15 and T-shirts for $10 in an online shop.
To help kick off this campaign, the fast-food chain released a short film that taps the talent of some New Orleans natives, like actor Wendell Pierce, who narrates the piece.
Red Lobster reignites date night
With much of the country sheltering in place, one might think dating life has been put on pause. But thanks to technology and a little creativity, individuals are finding new ways to connect. In fact, some of the biggest names in the online dating world — Tinder and OkCupid, both owned by Match Group — have seen daily messages between users surge since mid-March, Fast Company reported.
But with businesses closed to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, couples are forced to be creative in their date night plans. Restaurants, typically popular spots to spend an evening with a partner, are finding creative ways to still participate in the fun.
Red Lobster this week unveiled virtual Zoom backgrounds and a curated Spotify playlist to help transport people to their restaurant while staying safe at home. Customers can choose between 10 backgrounds, which include one of a lobster tank and another of the sun setting over the ocean.
The backgrounds and playlist coincide with a list of three deal meals (Lobster Date Night, Surf and Turf Date Night and Ultimate Date Night), all of which come with those famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits, to remind guests that takeout is still an option despite locations being temporarily closed for dining in.
Who wouldn't want to be virtually transported to Red Lobster while stuck at home?
Natty Light, TaxAct give the ultimate participation award
The Trump administration last month announced that the income tax filing deadline, which was originally April 15, was extended to July 15. Which, for some people, just means more time to procrastinate on filing their taxes.
Natural Light, however, is here to provide a little motivation to actually get it done. The Anheuser-Busch beer brand partnered with TaxAct to give away a case of beer for anyone that files their taxes through the service by the extended deadline date, sister publication Marketing Dive reported.
Consumers over the age of 21 that utilize TaxAct's tax preparation tool and file by July 15 will receive a rebate for a 24-pack of beer courtesy of the companies.
To qualify, users must upload a picture of their beer receipt and upload to mybeerrebate.com.
If only all companies could give us this kind of participation award for doing frustratingly mundane tasks.