It's been another weird week in retail. Brands mourn the loss of a beloved mascot, Louis Vuitton enters into surprising categories and Zara's models evoke transparency.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Final goodbye to Mr. Peanut
Last year, we saw some of the most inspirational (and sometimes controversial) advertisements, with everything from Nike's Dream Crazier campaign to Gillette's The Best Men Can Be.
And to kick off the new year, brands delivered with even more creative content, though on a more somber note.
Mr. Peanut, the beloved face of Planters, was killed off in the brand's latest Super Bowl pre-game ad. In the VaynerMedia-produced spot, Mr. Peanut sacrifices himself in order to save his two friends — actor Wesley Snipes and comedian Matt Walsh — after their peanut mobile crashes. And we thought Burger King's 2019 Brazilian campaign where it offered free Whoppers to customers if they virtually set fire to its rival's ads was alarming.
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104. In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most. Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut pic.twitter.com/VFnEFod4Zp— The Estate of Mr. Peanut (@MrPeanut) January 22, 2020
The company announced the death of the 104-year-old peanut on Twitter in a tweet that has more than 30,000 retweets and more than 100,000 likes. And according to AdAge, the hashtag #RIPeanut was trending earlier this week. The stint even garnered attention from celebrities and other brands who tweeted their condolences to the mascot.
We, too, would sacrifice it all for the nut #RIPeanut (a real one).— SNICKERS (@SNICKERS) January 22, 2020
sending thoughts & prayers to mr peanuts family if he has a family im not actually sure https://t.co/UkaJinOhc7— BoJack Horseman (@BoJackHorseman) January 22, 2020
Planters' main Super Bowl ad, set to debut during the third quarter of the game, will focus on Mr. Peanut's funeral. If you weren't prepared for this kind of animated nonsense … well neither were we.
Why you gotta start 2020 on such a sour note, Planters?
Louis Vuitton eyes industry expansion
In this day in age, if you're not innovating and trying new things, there's a good chance you'll get left behind. Whether that be through product innovations or nailing down partnerships with sought-after figures, companies across the industry are finding creative ways to present their brands in order to remain relevant among consumers.
And luxury powerhouses are no exception. Louis Vuitton this week made two announcements, which on the surface appear unusual, but may ultimately help the designer reach new consumers. The company reportedly is opening a restaurant and cafe to be housed inside of its new flagship in Osaka, Japan, Women's Wear Daily reports. Luxury couture and delicious food: What's not to love?
Eateries are making a comeback in a big way for retailers. According to the National Restaurant Association, retail-host restaurants are viewed as one of the fastest growing segments in the industry, and were estimated to bring in $42 billion in sales in 2017, per the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sure, over the past few decades consumers could always count on casual options in the food court. But now, retailers are inviting guests to sit down and enjoy a more elegant experience (and maybe even test out some merch in the process). Crate and Barrel in July opened its first full-service restaurant, The Table at Crate, in Oak Brook, Illinois, and has since announced plans to expand to 15 additional locations. The company even invited consumers to take cocktails from its bar into the store to sip while they shop. Booze and pretty home goods sounds like our version of paradise.
In a way, LVMH (the conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Fenty, Sephora and Moët & Chandon, to name a few) has already dipped into this territory. Storied jeweler Tiffany & Co., which LVMH acquired in November for $16.2 billion, opened its first Blue Box Cafe in its Fifth Avenue flagship in 2017.
But, as we've found, where there's one absurdity, another isn't far behind. Shortly after confirming plans to get into the restaurant business, Louis Vuitton revealed it's also sealing a multi-year partnership with the NBA.
Victory travels in Vuitton.— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) January 23, 2020
For the very first time, the Larry O'Brien Trophy will be awarded to the @NBA Finals winners this year in a bespoke #LouisVuitton Travel Case. Learn about the new #LVxNBA partnership at https://t.co/Hwqq0tcnmx pic.twitter.com/WmhPNGxThI
The NBA in a press release said Louis Vuitton will be the "first official Trophy Travel Case provider." We cannot make this up.
The case is covered in the iconic LV monogram and will house The Larry O'Brien Trophy at the NBA Finals in June. Nothing like a bunch of sweaty dudes, — er, sorry championship athletes — dripping all over fine leather goods.
Honestly, this might actually get us to watch a sporting event (emphasis on the word "might").
Zara's model search gets a bit more clear-cut
With consumers becoming ever more conscious about the environmental impact of their buying habits, it seems fast-fashion retailers are willing to test anything to make sales. Last year, Twitter users pointed out Asos' marketing flop, which appeared to be trying to sell shoppers a pair of legs. And now Zara is facing similar criticism for its unique modeling approach.
The fast-fashion brand apparently went with a "less is more" mindset and opted for total transparency with its models.
In a tweet that went viral, Twitter user @GrrlGhost pointed out two pairs of pants that seemingly are floating in midair, no human models present.
Lmao why have Zara decided to model jeans like this pic.twitter.com/xWhOxmMvB4— sneaky dogfriend (@GrrlGhost) January 19, 2020
And while the products on their own seem harmless — a pair of white jeans and a pair of distressed black jeans — the presentation is something to make your stomach turn.
It's creative, we'll give Zara that, and garnered plenty of attention, but the jury's out on whether that translates to sales.