The Swirl: May 16, 2016

The Swirl is back for everyone that hit snooze this morning. In this edition: a social makeover, some taco business, and GE's new ad.


"Don't ruin a good today by thinking about a bad yesterday."


Last week Instagram got a huge makeover. Don't worry - your experience with the app won't really change. But you will notice a new icon and interface that many consumers are feeling a little iffy about. Instagram ditched the retro look and feel of their old icon and replaced it with one that some are comparing to a PowerPoint gradient. Ooph. Anyway, the new icon takes more of a minimalist approach, embracing a flat design. As for the interface, you can expect less color and a simplified toolbar. The reasoning? Instagram says the changes were meant to make the app less cluttered, allowing colorful photos and videos to pop more against a sleek design. You can start throwing out hearts now.


Changes rarely go over well with consumers. They're a picky bunch, but even with all of the criticism, you have to give Instagram some credit for understanding what consumers want. When it comes to apps, simpler is usually better. Instagram recognized that it's current design was interfering with the visual nature of the platform. Even if you didn't notice it before, you have to admit that the previous toolbar was significantly more distracting. It might take a while to get used to, but compared to the algorithm changes announced this year, it seems like a minor change. Most of us will probably even forget what the old one looked like a month from now. Due to its simple features, thoughtful design, and ultimately more space to view, we give the interface a win.


Tomorrow is Tuesday, and we all know what that means: taco night. While you're busy adding your fave toppings like guac and cheese, take a moment to reflect on Taco Bell. If you don't remember, they introduced a taco filter for Cinco De Mayo a couple of weeks ago. And they killed it. The sponsored lens was the most successful campaign in the app's history. Think 224 million views and 12.5 years' worth of unique plays in one day. Yes, we said years.


The sponsored lens comes at a hefty cost, but results are showing it's probably worth it. And it's not just visibility. The average user spent 24 seconds engaging with the Taco Bell filter before actually sending it. Even if they weren't a frequent customer, they were still having fun with the brand. Who knows, maybe next time more people will swap the taco kit for the drive-through. Sales are hard to track, but one thing is for sure: Snapchat is rapidly becoming a huge player and brands need to start considering its power stat.


JK, octopuses. GE is back with a new ad featuring an octopus storm that threatens to disrupt the nation's crucial systems. It's their most recent effort to target younger, tech-savvy, digital audiences. The main message: GE is prepared and can handle anything the world throws at them. There's no doubt the spot is bizarre. It catches your attention, but it also highlights their technical capabilities more than their previous campaign. If you weren't really sure what GE did before, you now know that they help run super important things like the power grid, hospitals, and airplanes.


As crazy as the spot may seem, it works. We're living in a time where many consumers are intimidated by things like robots and self-driving cars. But GE is finding a way to calm those fears, positioning their innovation as a solution to the unknown. And as a crucial role to how the nation works. Who knew. Raining Octopuses - GE


Instagram's logo makeover wasn't the one only to break the internet. 7 others did it too.