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The Swirl: January 29, 2017

The outcome was uncertain, but guys, in just a few days, we will have made it through the first month of 2018. Just a casual eleven to go. But we’re confident that together with a little caffeine and the Swirl, we will continue to crush it. All the positive vibes. In this edition: burgers proving points, a new Alexa and talking heads.

WORD OF THE WEEK

CES - aka the Consumer Electronics Show, an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association every January in Vegas to present new products and technologies in the industry. Nerd. Alert. As you might guess, voice, artificial intelligence and virtual reality interfaces were hot topics. For those of us who weren’t able to attend, or didn’t follow the show religiously, thank the real MVPs at 4A’s who summarized everything we need to know.

For those wondering what the heck 'net neutrality' is...

SwirlNotes: Burger King is back at it again to demonstrate it, clear as day. Why would you wait longer for certain websites, when you wouldn’t pay more for the same Whopper at BK? The simple answer: you wouldn’t.

WHY IT MATTERS

A few months ago, we covered BK for their anti-bullying efforts. And now the burger brand is using their advertising as a platform to address net neutrality. You may have heard of it. If you haven’t [or still don’t get it], we got you. Essentially, its the idea that all internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Most people are in support of this, and with this ad, so is Burger King. We appreciate the brand’s way of elevating their product to demonstrate an extremely relevant topic in a straightforward way. Some might even say they used something as simple as burgers to teach us a lesson. In just 24 hours, the ad got 1.5 million views on YouTube (pretty sure that’s classified as viral) and coverage in all the major new publications. All that and a bag of french fries.

For those thinking about what to ask Alexa next...

SwirlNotes: Amazon just released their Echo Spot - a newer version of the Alexa we’re all familiar with, plus more. Think a more compact design, and camera and video capabilities that allow you to FaceTime and keep an eye on your home.

WHY IT MATTERS

Amazon introduced the new product with an emotional ad featuring a Grandma eager to see her family more. And just when you think you can’t handle the loneliness anymore, the doorbell rings surprising her with the gift she’s been waiting for: a Spot. After she’s reunited with her family with the device, the ad ends with the line "be together more." Tear. We have to say we never expected an emotional spot for this release, but it couldn’t be smarter. They make technology and connection seem easier than ever. This, along with the traditional clock aesthetic, makes it the perfect product for those that may be intimidated by fancy technology today.

For the music gurus...

SwirlNotes: You’ll appreciate Apple’s latest push to promote Animojis on iPhone X, a feature that analyzes your facial expressions and mirrors then in a dozen animations. You may also recognize the background music as a nod to the latest Grammy nominations. And the award goes to...

WHY IT MATTERS

We never imagined emojis could transform from fun, static text message visuals into dynamic, nearly-talking versions of your own face. Way 2 up your game, Apple. We’re also not iPhone X owners [yet], so we haven’t had the pleasure of experimenting with the Animoji features IRL, but feel like Apple’s advertising around the new phone give us a pretty good idea of what to expect. Plus, this music video style ad is a perfect tie into the Grammys, and will air immediately following Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” performance on the award show. Timing is truly everything.

FINAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Warning: spoilers ahead. Do not read if you haven’t watched the latest episode of This Is Us. But if you have, you can imagine which brand might have caught some flack last week over Jack Pearson’s death. We’re still grieving.