It's been another weird week in retail. Wayfair boxed up its marketing creativity, KFC livestreamed hours of cats crawling over Colonel Sanders and Crocs got an even uglier lift.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Wayfair steams up Twitter with sauna ad
We all win some and lose some. Wayfair might be a hip retailer when it comes to selling furniture, but this week its advertising became the butt of social media's jokes, as Twitter users roasted the company for an ad that looked like a bad craigslist listing and raised way more questions than it answered.
The ad, per adweek's report, showed a blonde woman's head sticking out of a box, which — without context — looked either like a poorly-planned Halloween costume or some kind of voluntary imprisonment. This became even more baffling to Twitter users when they discovered that the furniture deathtrap retailed for $193.99. (That may seem like a crazy price, but let's remember some people paid much more for custom horse hooves last October).
As it turns out, the ad was for a personal sauna, which innovatively uses a camp chair and "moisture resistant" polyester to create a product that no one could possibly need.
This raised more questions for us, including: Why is the model using a sauna in her living room? What does she do while she's sitting in her confinement alone? Why a camp chair? And, most importantly, what kind of person buys a personal sauna?
Alarmingly, this product currently has over four stars and 127 reviews, suggesting that more people have tried (and liked) this sauna than Retail Dive's last Twitter post.
This is a legit WayFair ad and not a meme and I don’t get it pic.twitter.com/jv1biyJCbD— Jenna (@jennaglazier97) July 10, 2018
KFC gets cattitude
Equally confusing, but somehow more effective, was KFC's effort this week to grab attention by livestreaming cats climbing over a robotic Colonel Sanders cat playground for four hours.
While there is no discernible reason for why fried chicken lovers would want to watch cats wander around a room, narrated by "Bob's Burgers" Ron Lynch, watch they did — in astonishing numbers. According to Adweek, which has the unfortunate job of reporting on KFC's marketing stunts in a serious manner, the livestream experience captured the attention of over 700,000 poor souls with nothing better to fill their lives with.
For context, that's about double the combined populations of the 10 least-populated countries on Earth. Lancome even set a Guiness World Record for "most people matched with foundation in 8 hours" and, despite its best efforts at obtaining a pointless award, still fell woefully short of the buzz KFC's cat-watching extravaganza caused (about 698,000 people short).
Somewhere, possibly right meow, a marketer is sitting in the deep-fried depths of a KFC kitchen, cackling maniacally as they plan their next campaign.
Kentucky fried cats— Dextheduck (@DexTheDuck) July 15, 2018
Stop trying to make Crocs happen
Crocs were never going to happen. From the start they were considered a fashion faux pas for anyone between the ages of four and 74, or anyone not immediately in the vicinity of a public pool or a garden.
Despite a seemingly doomed decision to make rubber clogs with heels, the brand is still making money off of its products, according to Fast Company. The publication said that the Croc-high heel combo has been "flying off the shelves," a grave reminder to us all that the fashion sense of the United States is slowly derailing.
On the plus side, we came up with a new Crocs slogan: Nevertheless, Crocs persisted.
these crocs high heels are ???? pic.twitter.com/iIKWUjkVFa— finn (@uglyfinnn) July 15, 2018
Blockbuster slowly fades out of existence
There is something tragically funny about the recent news that Blockbuster is officially down to one company-run branch in the United States — and even more so when we discover that it's in Bend, Oregon.
The video store seems to be competing with Toys R Us for the saddest retail story of the year, although Blockbuster's demise has been much longer coming than the hard-and-fast death of Toys R Us — and they seem to be taking it better as well. There's at least one Blockbuster (non-corporate) making light of its lonely fate on Twitter to an audience of more than 300K followers.
And we have to say, there's something especially depressing about slowly going out of business when someone out there is getting paid to make an Alexa-powered board game. It's almost easy to imagine a motion picture film featuring a lone customer walking into a lone Blockbuster — the camera zooms in as the customer approaches and we discover, over the gasps of the audience, that Blockbuster's last dedicated customer is Geoffrey the Giraffe.
The manager and Geoffrey commiserate about the death of retail at the hands of Amazon and that blasted smart assistant Alexa, until a harsh voice echoes through the small space: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you repeat?"
In 2000, Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million. Today, Blockbuster is down to one store. Netflix is worth $172 BILLION. pic.twitter.com/22SO52o69b— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 16, 2018
The Last Blockbuster: Oregon’s newest tourist attraction. pic.twitter.com/F4dtoZ6D1J— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) July 18, 2018