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Out of Scope Issue 11: Robot police dogs, oat milk, and the next phase of Bachelor celebrity
This week’s non-required thinking on reputation, business, and culture
This week, we consider Spotify in several facets, remind you that cookies are still abandoning the advertising industry, scold an oat milk company, and reflect on the strangely quiet “cancellation” of Joe Rogan.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
Real food, real brand, but no physical restaurant? Welcome to a world haunted by “ghost kitchens.” On Seamless and other food delivery apps, what looks like a new local restaurant may really be a new way for a celebrity to lend their name to a line of dishes, or a struggling local restaurant to make money on the side. If the consumer shift to digital over the last year stays, what other brands might haunt us?
Starting with “You don’t think much about $200,000; it’s not life-changing” and going from there, this Confession of an Overnight Tech Millionaire is a good example of why not all ideas are meant to go into print.
In a true commitment to one of our favorite concepts, “first thought, best thought,” Spotify is really sticking to the name they originally went with when patenting Car Thing — a device that, get this… is a thing for your car to help you play Spotify hands-free.
Cookie conversations are everywhere, but this is actually a great explainer about what’s coming up next with Google’s replacement for targeting ad tech.
In a move that will bring new transparency previously unavailable for podcast charts, Spotify’s newly available online podcast charts also come with an explainer on the methodology behind them.
The five-day workweek is now an anomaly more than the norm thanks to a combination of increasing digital touchpoints and new expectations. Slack, one of the main characters in the slow creep of work into home life, weighed in to say that’s a good thing; meanwhile, journalist Anne Helen Petersen shared how the strictest boundaries she has set lately came with anticipating her second vaccine dose — and how the future of work can’t keep this trend up.
During what is probably one of the police’s worst branding moments, the NYPD apparently decided now was the right time to purchase and deploy a $70K terrifying robot dog. Whatever your views on the state of policing in America, now is not the time to deploy K9-Terminator.
🏆 REPUTATION FAIL OF THE WEEK: Minor Figures Oat Milk
Oat milk, for some reason, is a product that demands off-the-cuff marketing campaigns. But this time, Minor Figures took the guerilla marketing challenge a little too far. The City of Brotherly Love has been overrun this week with hundreds of Minor Figures Oat Milk posters, featuring a person with face tattoos and sunglasses, plastered over existing street art and murals. The first rule in street art — don’t cover other’s art — has been broken by an oat milk company. Something tells us a British company should’ve known that they can’t just show up and do what they want in Philly… TL;DR? Watch the TikTok rundown here.
💡ON OUR MINDS
WHY IS JOE ROGAN, FOE OF CANCEL CULTURE, ALLOWING HIMSELF TO BE CANCELLED?
Comedian, fitness influencer, and provocateur Joe Rogan (famous for persuading Elon Musk to get stoned during an interview) has allowed 42 episodes and counting of his podcast to be deleted from Spotify, with whom he signed a $100 million dollar exclusive deal last year.
Spotify was willing to pay such a high price because Rogan is the #1 podcast in the world by any measure.
But what his fans love about him, and what has made him a hero of the free-thought advocates known as the intellectual dark web--a heavy-hitting group that includes public intellectuals Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Douglas Murray--is Rogan’s commitment to freedom of speech.
So does his latest move indicate that his many screeds against cancel culture were all bluster? Or is he really shrugging it all off?
It’ll be interesting to see how long (or if) this affects the value of Rogan’s brand.
THE BACHELOR’S MOST DRAMATIC (POST) SEASON YET 🌹
The news was met by many with praise, but others wondered why he went to such extreme lengths to avoid confronting his truth, going on not one but three seasons of what is arguably one of TV’s straightest shows.
Another reason some people are less than pleased by the announcement? Coming out as gay shouldn’t excuse past misdeeds, but his past stalking and harassment of women are being swept aside in favor of a Netflix redemption arc.
Getting an exclusive (and a big payday) is essential for today’s media/reality star economy - meaning Colton and his team shopped his story around early enough that his big new reality TV show is already in production with Olympian Gus Kenworthy acting as Colton’s guide to life as a gay man.
There’s something to be said for the fact that we're seeing another public figure using their identity—whether racial or sexual—to fuel the next phase of their career.
This is the biggest move a Bachelor franchise contestant has made yet (most are content with their sponsored content on Instagram), so it remains to be seen if this is the next launchpad for post-Bachelor celebrity.
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
The fine print:
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