The Swirl: September 26, 2016

Our hearts are still heavy for the city of Charlotte over Kevin Lamont Scott's shooting and the riots and protests that ensued last week. Here's to uniting Charlotte strong and accepting one another with open minds and open souls. In the spirit of well, lifting spirits, we've got: an amazing art installation, a crazy home in the desert, and a congratulatory message.


"The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply."


If Pocahontas was not hands down a top five Disney pick for you growing up...we have to agree to disagree. Bonus points for those of you who may or may not have known every word to this song. As she more poetically puts it in her tune, the wind is a force you can feel, but cannot see. And it's something to be appreciated. WNBA star Elena Delle Donne couldn't agree more. Gatorade's newest ad in the "Win from Within" campaign showcases a sentimental story about how the Chicago Sky forward dropped out early in her career to spend more time with her disabled sister, who has cerebral palsy and cannot see or hear. And if the windy story from the Windy City wasn't enough to get you, the Gatorade-sponsored, wind-powered art installation definitely will. You'd better grab the tissues now, you're gonna need them.


This is one of the better, if not best, heartfelt stories to come from a brand in awhile. And what's truly remarkable is there's no overt product tie-in (except for that ever so subtle branding at the end there, Gatorade - we see you). She's an athlete who *probably* drinks Gatorade on the reg, so we're sold. The story creates a human connection for the brand in a way that's natural and meaningful, and the accompanied art installation just takes it to another level. Shoot and score. Slam dunk. Simply put, we're ~blown~ away. Lolz ok we'll stop now.


Ever dreamed of waking up to a pot of coffee brewing and no one around for miles? We might opt for a tropical island over middle of the Sahara desert, ourselves. But for those of you looking for a little heat and desolation, Audi and Airbnb have got your back. Last week, as part of its Emmy Awards sponsorship, Audi and Airbnb announced their newest promotion: a chance to win a 3-day getaway in a luxury residence in Death Valley. Did we mention that you get to drive a 2017 Audi R8 during the stay too? Not a bad deal. The house itself doesn't even have an address - just coordinates on a map. Its isolation makes it the perfect place to avoid traffic lights and congestion. And speed through dirt roads of course.


This partnership is not one we would typically expect from a car brand, but you have to admit it's pretty cool. The idea comes together flawlessly. But more than that, Audi has clearly demonstrated an understanding of their target audience. Rather than choosing a metropolitan or island getaway, they've strategically picked a residence that communicates a sense of adventure. This is not your average travel experience. And they know just who wants it. Gen X and millennials, we're talking to you.


Whether or not you're a fan of the new go-to word for growing up, "adulting" has caught on in a big way. From landing that first job and paying bills on your own to filing taxes and making moves with a significant other, millennials have taken to celebrating all aspects of doing life - particularly in their social media feeds. With that insight in mind, American Express recently tapped comedian Tina Fey for a series of goofy videos congratulating millennials on milestones and staple "life's firsts" moments. What to expect: a greeting card image turned video message with Fey giving the virtual thumbs up to flying with an infant, meeting the parents, landing a new job, hosting a dinner party, buying in bulk, and moving in together. Each ending, of course, is customized with a relevant benefit of American Express' Blue Cash Everyday credit card to the congratulation at hand. Swipe, swipe.


It's a smart play on the brand's behalf to not pull the "we're in the same boat" card (lol get it, card). Instead, these videos demonstrate that they're there for you - older millennial experiencing these things - and will be no matter what life throws at you. As a company built on strict rules and regulations, American Express has proven that financial services brands don't have to be stale and conservative. In fact, serving up relevant, humorous, targeted content is not only a safe move, but an effective one. Congrats on hitting the nail on the head, AmEx.


If you're tired of the presidential candidates squabbling and debating, you're not alone. But these out-of-the-political-context moments of Hillz and Don Don will remind you that they're humans with a sense of humor, too. Enjoy.