What in the World — Week of November 8

Your phone looks amazing in those jeans
It used to be that jeans were sold based on how they accentuated your butt. But in yet another example of our increased fealty to technology, Samsung is now using them to showcase its latest mobile device. Samsung Australia has partnered with the jeans brand Dr. Denim to create limited-edition jeans capable of holding its new folding Galaxy Z Flip3. “Smartphones are not pocket friendly, so we’ve leveraged Dr. Denim’s style credentials to design jeans that shake up the pocket norm and fit our compact Galaxy Z Flip3,” said Samsung’s head of brand marketing, Hayley Walton, in a release announcing the launch of the “Z Flip Pocket Denim.” The jeans have no back pockets; instead one has been “flipped” forward to the thigh, and downsized to accommodate the Flip3 phone. They’re being limited to 450 pairs and sell for AUD$1,499 (including the Flip3).

Zoom to test advertising on its free service
After explosive growth during the pandemic, video chat service Zoom has started selling advertising targeting users of its free Basic plan in select markets. “Today, millions of users around the world continue to access Zoom’s products and services for free,” said Janine Pelosi, Zoom’s chief marketing officer, in a blog post announcing the pilot program. “And it is important to Zoom that we can continue to provide our products and services to our users, drive innovation, and add even more value.” The advertising will appear only on the browser page users see at the end of a meeting, and will only be shown to users after meetings hosted by other free users. No ads will be shown during a meeting, and Zoom stressed that no content from any meeting, webinar or message will be used for marketing purposes.

Nike is getting meta
Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, there was a lot of talk and discussion about the significance (good or bad) of the metaverse last week. But there’s no doubt that some brands are looking to a virtual future regardless of what Meta does. CNBC reported last week that Nike has filed several new trademarks that suggest it is preparing to sell virtual Nike-branded sneakers and clothing. The company also recently posted job openings for virtual design roles, including a “virtual material designer of footwear.” Nike is clearly taking steps to prepare for the “metaverse,” trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC. “They’re filing new applications for the company’s main trademarks, saying that they’re going to launch and start selling virtual clothing, headwear [and] shoes, in online and virtual worlds.”

British American Tobacco gives rise to the ‘nicotinfluencer’
Tobacco company BAT is spending heavily on influencer marketing to promote its Velo flavoured nicotine pouches, according to The Guardian. This new wave of “nicotinfluencers” are on the front lines of the marketing war being waged by tobacco companies, says the report. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that BAT had spent about £1 billion using influencers on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook to reach young people in countries including Pakistan, Sweden and Spain, and is now employing a similar approach in the U.K. “BAT markets Velo as a way to ‘move on’—an alternative to cigarettes,” says The Guardian. “Yet not one of the posts from BAT’s army of nicotinfluencers mentions quitting.” In fact, the report says, BAT’s own analysis shows that more than half of the market for the Velo pouches comes from people who did not previously use nicotine. More than 100 health and anti-smoking groups around the world have sent letters to the major social platforms demanding they put an end to the promotion of addictive products.

Clippy is back (again)
“It looks like you’re trying to write a witty newsletter post about the return of Clippy…” Two years after bringing back (and then abruptly killing off) its oft-derided anthropomorphic paper clip mascot Clippy, Microsoft is bringing it back as a Retro Sticker Pack in Microsoft Teams, reports The Verge. Microsoft confirmed Clippy’s return last month, about two years after they first brought the mascot back as a sticker pack, only to send it to a paperclip farm upstate a day later. According to a source, “brand police” within Microsoft were unhappy about Clippy’s return at the time. We’re not sure what prompted Microsoft to bring Clippy back this time, but it probably helped them craft the announcement announcing its return.

Chris Powell