What in the World—Week of April 11

Frito-Lay launches Cracker Jill
“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker… Jill?” Frito-Lay announced last week that it is updating its 125-year-old snack food Cracker Jack to include a Cracker Jill variant celebrating the accomplishments of women in sports. Cracker Jill is available at ballparks across America and through a minimum $5 donation to the Women’s Sport Foundation—a non-profit with a goal to help girls and women reach their potential in sport and life. The brand has also partnered with award-winning artist Normani for a reimagining of the classic song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” which includes the line “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” Frito-Lay also worked with artist and model Monica Ahano to create new “Jills” that represent the five largest ethnicities in the country. The company said the intention is for Jill to join Cracker Jack’s longstanding mascot Sailor Jack as part of the brand ethos

Pinterest cracking down on climate change deniers
Pinterest introduced new guidelines last week to keep false and misleading claims about climate change off its platform. The changes make it the only major digital platform to block false information about the climate, and come as more users look for information about how to be greener, said Pinterest. The new rules will block content that denies the impact of climate change and human influence on the climate, false solutions that contradict “well-established scientific consensus,” and content that misrepresents scientific data, including “cherry-picking” to erode trust in climate science. “Pinterest believes in cultivating a space that’s trusted and truthful for those using our platform,” said head of policy Sarah Bromma, in a release. “This bold move is an expansion of our broader misinformation guidelines, which we first developed in 2017 to address public health misinformation, and have since updated to address new and emerging issues as they come to the forefront.”

Metaverse inspired Coke tastes like pixels (apparently)
For good or bad, there’s nothing hotter than the metaverse right now, and Coca-Cola is trying to grab some of that attention with a new version of Coke that will “bring the flavor of pixels to life.” Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte will be released in limited quantities, and has already launched in some Latin American countries. “The drink’s bright, upfront taste is reminiscent of powering up a game, and its refreshing finish makes for a perfect gaming companion,” said the company in a release. But after sampling Byte, The Verge’s Mitchell Clark struggled to explain the taste. “[T]here’s a flavor there, but it’s not something I can describe using any of the food words I know. It’s not bright, but it’s certainly not bitter,” he wrote, concluding that it tasted like Coke blended with Red Bull. Since Byte is inspired by gaming and the metaverse, Coca-Cola created mini-games in Fortnite, as well as an augmented reality game accessible from Coke Byte packaging.

Giving touchless payments a hand
We’ve all bemoaned having to pay an arm or a leg for something, but a British-Polish firm has introduced a system that enables consumers to pay with an arm. According to a BBC report, Walletmor last year became the first company to offer payment chips that can be implanted in people. The chip, which is slightly larger than a grain of rice, consists of a microchip and an antenna encased in a biopolymer. It does not require a battery or other power source. “The implant can be used to pay for a drink on the beach in Rio, a coffee in New York, a haircut in Paris, or at your local grocery store,” says CEO Wojtek Paprota. Walletmor says it has sold more than 500 chips. The article cites a 2021 survey of more than 4,000 people across the UK and EU which found that more than half (51%) would consider it. Among those with the chip is a man from the Netherlands named Patrick Paumen, a self-described “biohacker” who claims to have more than 32 pieces of technology in his body. The good news for his friends is that he can no longer use the excuse “I forgot my wallet.”

Wendy’s and Chipotle are exploring the metaverse
Restaurant brands Chipotle Mexican Grill and Wendy’s are actively exploring the real-world implications of opening virtual environments in the metaverse. According to The Wall Street Journal, Wendy’s recently opened a virtual restaurant in Meta’s virtual reality game Horizon Worlds. And Chipotle is introducing a game and a virtual restaurant in Roblox that mimics its original location in Denver. According to the Journal, up to 100,000 players who are able to roll a virtual burrito will earn “Burrito Bucks” that can be redeemed for real food at one of its restaurant locations. Wendy’s, meanwhile, recently opened a virtual restaurant in Meta’s virtual reality game Horizon Worlds that it will use to track engagement metrics like visits and social media posts.

David Brown