The Swirl: May 31, 2016

We hope everyone had an awesome Memorial Day weekend. The Swirl got the day off too, but now we're back in action with all the inspiration to get you through this 4-day week. In this edition: a shoebox, a viral laugh, and an excuse to live somewhere else.


Vertical video, n. skinny and tall video format, rather than the widescreen format normalized by movies and TV. And thanks to apps like Snapchat, it might take over horizontal sooner than you think.


Literally. If you've ever ordered from Zappos, you've probably noticed that their shipping and return policy is top-notch. But things are about to get even better, and we don't mean faster shipping. It has to do with the box. Starting June 1, shoes will be delivered in an awesome new box. The inside will feature a collection of templates that encourage recipients to fold, cut, and reuse the box into a variety of objects. Think smartphone holders, shoe sizers, and even a planter. The effort is part of a larger campaign, #ImNotABox, and goes further than providing consumers with the things they need. Its purpose is to inspire creativity and help people see the world in a new perspective. Because who doesn't miss the days when you could spend hours building a fort out of cardboard?


The campaign positions Zappos as a company that's dedicated to being there for their consumers. Previously, it's been all about the ease of shipping and returning, but they've taken it a step further by showing care through packaging. Brands can say they care all they want, but it's actions like this that really bring it full-circle. Who knew relationship building could be as simple as a box. Did we mention that you now have an excuse to buy those shoes you've been eyeing for months?


Or in this case, viral enough to break the internet. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to watch the mega viral Chewbacca video. The low-down: a woman named Candace bought a Chewbacca mask at Kohl's and took a video of herself hysterically laughing with it on. The video has been watched over 140 million times on Facebook, making it the most-watched video on Facebook Live ever. And Kohl's has Candace to thank for a lot of media attention. Not only are they having issues keeping the mask in stock across stores, but they've also managed to jump into the conversation by providing the family with Star Wars toys, gadgets, and yes, you guessed it: more masks. She even landed on the Late Late Show with James Corden where the laughter didn't cease, but may have made him late for work. Moral of the story? You can never have too many laughing Chewbacca's, especially when it's giving your brand name a good reputation.


As evidence of this video, consumers have a lot of control over a brand message. And while it's easy to get caught up in the negatives (*cough cough* poor reviews), consumers can actually do a lot of good. The key is how you take advantage of the opportunity. Kohl's response was in no way aggressive or pushy. Rather, the retailer decided to shift the focus on Candace's family and her loyalty to the store. And consumers were, and still are, loving every bit of the story. Way to go Kohl's, and thank you Candace for making a lot of people laugh.


That's the motto. YOLO. Drake and Airbnb can agree on that. ICYMI, Airbnb's new campaign "Live There" debuted a couple of months ago and encourages travelers to "live" in the cities they're staying in, not just visit them. Since the company's inception, the brand has nailed the insight that many people who book on the site aren't looking for a traditional tourist experience. Instead, they want to know where the hottest restaurants and local happenings are going down in the hippest neighborhoods. So what better way to get the scoop than leverage the hosts as local experts? All of the info is curated into a new tool called "Guidebooks," which aggregates the very best that the neighborhoods have offer. Plus, Airbnb plans to launch a new search engine that will make rental suggestions more personalized based on unique preferences. Essentially, it's a mini travel agent in your pocket. We know we just got back from a long weekend but... who's ready for another vacay?


Airbnb built its success on understanding consumer behavior and by following trends of disruption in the hospitality industry. The big hotels and even the boutiques may have ridiculed the brand's attempt at an affordable, local experience, but you know what they say? Haters gonna hate. Guess who is crushing it now? Airbnb moved from air mattresses, houseboats and treehouses to over 2.2 million homes in over 34,000 cities, and they've got their dedication to innovation to thank for it. This brand is a testament to true consumer understanding and doing whatever it takes to go above and beyond to fulfill an unmet need.


Brands are stepping up their Snapchat game. You should too.