What in the World—Week of May 9

Indian startup designates nap time for employees
Wakefit co-founder Chaitanya Ramalingegowda wants to catch employees sleeping on the job. Not to punish them, but to encourage then. His Bengaluru, India-based mattress company has blocked out 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on its 677 employees’ calendars, designating it “Official Nap Time,” says Quartz. The company is also working towards creating “nap pods” and “quiet rooms” for employees. In a memo posted to Twitter, Ramalingegowda said that while Wakefit has been in business for more than six years, it has “failed to do justice to a crucial aspect of rest—the afternoon nap.” According to Ramalingegowda, research shows that an afternoon nap can help with memory, concentration, creativity and productivity. His memo cites a NASA study stating that a 26-minute catnap can enhance performance by 33%. According to Quartz, 34% of U.S. companies were allowing power naps for employees by 2008. Online retailer Zappos literally lets its employees sleep with the fishes in a custom-built room called The Tank featuring a 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium complete with massage chairs.

With revenues declining, Cameo lays off one-quarter of staff
Could Cameo’s massive success really have been a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scenario? The start-up, which allows people (and CEOs like Edward Rogers) to order custom shout-outs from more than 45,000 celebrities for birthdays, anniversaries, etc., has made what Variety described as “major layoffs” after a slowdown in business. The company laid off 87 employees, about one-quarter of its staff, with CEO Steven Galanis saying it needed to “right-size” the business. Cameo claimed $100 million in revenues in 2020, a 4.5x increase from the previous year, but Variety reports that the pace of sales seems to have “cooled off considerably” since then. “We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have rapidly changed since then,” said Galanis in a statement. “Accordingly, we have right-sized the business to best reflect the new realities.” Last year, Cameo raised $100 million in funding that valued the company at $1 billion.

Budweiser introduces Freedom cans
Budweiser is bringing back its popular patriotic cans for U.S. Memorial Day, but in a major update, is replacing the brand name with the word “Freedom.” According to Beverage Industry, the new cans will feature a red, white and blue design accompanied by stars and stripes and a bold eagle. In addition to swapping out the brand name, Budweiser is also replacing the phrase “King of Beers” with “Let it ring” and updating its manifesto to read: “Here’s to the freedom that unites all Americans. It is the foundation that our country’s strength is built upon. To commemorate this, we have replaced our iconic Budweiser name with Freedom so we can all toast to the value we hold so dear. This Bud’s for freedom. This Bud’s for you.” The beer brand is also donating proceeds from every case sold to Folds of Honor, supporting educational scholarships for the spouses and children of the country’s fallen and disabled service members.

Tropicana serves cereal with OJ—literally
A lot of people start their morning with a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. That perfect pairing was the inspiration for Tropicana’s latest product “innovation”—cereal you serve with orange juice instead of milk. Tropicana Crunch was an apparently short-lived promotion tied to National Orange Juice Day (because why shouldn’t orange juice have its own day), first teased on social media a couple of weeks ago and hosted at TropicanaCrunch.com—where consumers could request a box of the cereal made with honey almond clusters. According to Tropicana, 15 million Americans have tried the orange juice and cereal combo at some point in their lives. “If that’s so, I have some questions for those Americans. I just want to talk,” wrote Mashable’s Tim Marcin, who tried the cereal. “I ate it. It was gross,” he wrote. But as a marketing stunt, Tropicana Crunch seemed to be a hit, with the company posting that the cereal was “all gone” on the same day it was available.

NBC introduces “frame” ad format for Peacock
With streaming services considering advertising options to generate revenue in what has become a very crowded market, NBCUniversal is introducing a “frame” format to Peacock that can be sponsored by an advertiser. The frame unit will surround the show, and could even enable viewers to shop for the product or service being advertised, reports Variety. “The majority of Peacock customers are opting for our ad-supported experience, and we remain focused on collaborating with our brand partners to develop innovative, personalized ad experiences that continue to enhance the customer experience,” said John Jelley, Peacock’s senior vice-president of product and user experience. While the frame could be seen as an example of “a new level of aggression,” by broadcasters / streamers looking for ad revenue, Variety noted that versions of the frame format have been rolled out by broadcasters with live programming such as sports.

David Brown