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The Swirl: January 15, 2017

By now, you’ve likely noticed how brands tend to jump on every holiday bandwagon from the most silly to the most serious on social media. Doughnut pics may harmlessly fill up your feed without a second thought on National Doughnut Day, but is there a time and place where silence is actually better than awkward attempts to start or join a conversation? AdWeek had something to say about today of all days, and how sometimes a holiday like MLK Day is better left untouched. Personally, we agree. While we’re all for relevant content, we don’t necessarily approve of brands making light and using it as an excuse for a shameless promotion instead of a tribute to his story and legacy. Food for thought. In this edition: a new look for Diet Coke, punny bank jokes and a new pregnancy test.

WORD OF THE WEEK

Animation (n.) - the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the movie is shown as a sequence. Also a top tactic for selling dry, difficult products. Like Squatty Potties.

For the La Croix lovers...

SwirlNotes: Diet Coke is taking a page out the soda water brand's book with four new flavors and new slim can designs to attract - you guessed it - millennials. Change is hard. Expect to see this new look in the mixer, we mean, soda aisle from now on as part of a larger brand “restage.”

WHY IT MATTERS

This shift in look and taste is Diet Coke’s way of “re-energizing and modernizing [the brand] for a new generation of drinkers,” without overtly alienating the existing consumer base. However, for those of you who can’t deal with change, you’re in luck. The original DC packaging will not be thrown by the wayside in the wake of the slimmer, more colorful designs. Other marketing spoilers to keep an eye out for: new tagline “because I can” and a mix of male and female celebrities and influencers. For example, last week our girl, Claudia Oshry Soffer (aka @girlwithnojob), hosted a debut party for the drink, and shared her night with her 2.8 million Instagram followers. Nbd. What you won’t see: top A-list peeps like T-Swift who have repped the brand in the past. The thought there is to keep the focus on the product and not on the shiny human behind it. Transparency and authenticity, we like it. Time will tell if ~millennials~ will catch on to the new look, but for now, we can appreciate the balance between keeping the old and introducing the new. Aaah.

For the budget keepers...

SwirlNotes: Santander, a Northeastern bank, wants you to know that banking doesn’t always have to be disrespectful. Their latest campaignfeatures situations or feelings we’ve probably all experienced with our bank before. AKA things like feeling shafted, or getting jack squat.

WHY IT MATTERS

Banks don’t always have the best reputation for good customer service. More often than not, customers are left feeling like they’re always getting the short end of the stick. What we love about this campaign is the bank’s ability to confront these issues in a lighthearted way. The spots make you laugh because well...they’re true. Unless you go with the more respectful Santander, that is. We can’t think of a better way to position yourself as the better option. The literal nature of the ads just makes all of those frustrating moments seem even more ridiculous. Even better, it makes you wonder why you’re still putting up with it. Well done, Santander.

For the moms...

SwirlNotes:; Betcha didn’t think about peeing on an ad to see if you were pregnant. Nope, didn’t think so. IKEA’s most recent viral marketing ploy involves an ad placement that encourages people (well, expecting moms) to literally pee on the ad. What? Yep. If you’re pregnant, the ad will reveal an invisible code for a discounted price on a crib. Cha-ching.

WHY IT MATTERS

We know what you’re thinking…and trust us, we thought it, too. But we can’t fault IKEA for the outlandish, out-of-the-box thinking at play here. The furniture company prides itself on embracing life where it happens, by featuring single moms and divorced parents in their advertising. This latest stunt takes that idea to the next level by actually helping their consumers find out if they’re moving onto the next big stage of life: becoming parents. What’s even cooler is that they used the science behind real pregnancy tests to activate it, which is extremely innovative. Whoever said print advertising wasn’t interactive was seriously mistaken.

Roses are red, violets are blue… and Skittles has some new flavors for you. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (hint, hint - less than a month away), the candy brand is debuting their Love Mix bag with a blend of reds, whites and pinks, perfect for the holiday. Plus two new flavors join the fun: white grape and “Yumberry.” Yum. Also note, it’s being exclusively sold at Target.