What in the World—Week of May 2

Kevin Hart launches tequila brand
Kevin Hart is the latest Hollywood star to launch an alcohol brand, with the recent launch of Gran Coramino tequila. The tequila is a cristalino, a clarified aged tequila possessing complexity and smoothness, but that looks as clear as un-aged silver tequilas. Cristalino is still relatively niche in the U.S., says Rolling Stone. Hart partnered with Global Brand Equities, which has launched spirits by Post Malone and A$AP Rocky, and Juan Domingo Beckmann, the CEO of Becle, parent company of Proximo Spirits. Hart tells Rolling Stone he has been approached about lending his name to other spirits projects, but dismissed them as “money grabs” and opted not to participate. “If it’s not true or authentic to me, then it can’t work,” he says. Tequila is one of the most popular spirits in the U.S., with sales of tequila and mezcal reaching $5.2 billion in 2021, a 30% increase from 2020, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of America. It is also the second fastest growing sector by both revenue and volume.

Mental health apps have poor privacy protections: study
A 2021 study by Deloitte found there are as many as 20,000 mental health apps on the market today. But Mozilla researchers in its *Privacy Not Included study say these types of apps are more lacking in privacy protections. Mozilla gave 29 of the 32 mental health and prayer apps analyzed a “privacy not included” warning label, indicating concerns around their management of user data. “The vast majority of mental health and prayer apps are exceptionally creepy,” said Jen Caltrider, lead on the *Privacy Not Included study, in a statement quoted by The Verge. “They track, share, and capitalize on users’ most intimate personal thoughts and feelings, like moods, mental state, and biometric data.” According to The Verge, most apps also had “poor security practices,” allowing users to create accounts containing deeply personal information with weak passwords.

Digital video advertising grew 49% last year: IAB
Digital video advertising grew 49% last year and is expected to increase an additional 26% to $49.2 billion this year, according to the IAB’s 2021 Video Ad Spend and 2022 Outlook report. The growth is being led by connected TV, which TechCrunch says is an indication of “the sizable shift away from traditional TV viewing and toward streaming video.” Connected TV grew 57% to $15.2 billion in 2021, and will grow another 39% to $21.2 billion this year. Yet the IAB says that time spent with connected TV is outpacing that of advertising investment. According to the IAB, connected TV viewing will account for 36% of total time spent with both linear and connected TV, while accounting for just 18% of total video ad dollars.

AB InBev brings Ukraine brew to the world
Anheuser Busch will soon start brewing Ukraine’s most popular beer in the U.S. to help raise money for the war-torn country. “The original Chernigivske beer brewed in Ukraine has a crisp and refreshing taste with a character that perfectly balances strength and spirit. Our tribute brew celebrates that spirit,” explains the introductory copy on the special site. Anheuser Busch said it will make the beer at a factory in New Jersey, and it will be sold as draught in some U.S. markets, and in six-packs of cans in Canada. Since 1988, Chernigivske has been brewed in Chernihiv, which was devastated by Russian shelling last month. “AB InBev said the initiative is “aimed at providing humanitarian relief for those impacted by the crisis in Ukraine,” reported CNN. The company will also donate at least $5 million to humanitarian aid organizations. Like many other international corporations, AB InBev has sought to pull out of Russia since it invaded Ukraine, including selling its stake in Russian joint-venture AB InBev Efes, and requesting that the controlling shareholder in its Russian operations stop selling Budweiser in the country.

Taco Bell does drag for breakfast
Taco Bell is presenting a series of drag shows at five of its cantina locations across the U.S. in May and June to both celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and promote its breakfast menu. The “Taco Bell Drag Brunch” events will be hosted by drag performer Kay Sedia, will feature performances by local queens and kings, and also offer the $5 Bell Breakfast Box and mimosas. “We understand the importance of creating safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community and are thrilled to provide a unique experience that spotlights and celebrates the wonderful artform of drag and its influence in culture with their chosen families,” said Sean Tresvant, global chief brand officer at Taco Bell. The idea for “Drag Brunch” came from Live Más Pride, Taco Bell’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group.


David Brown