What in the World—Week of January 30

Nike and Tiffany team up
Nike and Tiffany generated a lot of social media buzz over the weekend after confirming an apparent collaboration by posting a Tiffany blue Nike shoe box. Speculation about a collab picked up speed last week, and on Friday, Hypebeast posted a photo of black Air Force One Lows with a swoosh in the jeweler’s iconic blue. It reported the shoes will be released in the spring at a price of $400. While it’s the first time Tiffany has stepped into the shoe category, it is in keeping with recent brand strategy, said WWD. “Tiffany has engaged in an increased number of brand collaborations since its 2021 acquisition by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton,” explained WWD. “The jeweler has teamed with companies including Supreme, Fendi and Patek Philippe, as well as artist Daniel Arsham and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.” It would also be a good move by Nike, reported GQ, with the jewellery industry booming. “[T]he entire industry has a projected 8.5 per cent growth rate that will send its value to a whopping $518 billion by 2030. Naturally, Nike wants in on that.”

Could Google be broken up in DOJ legal case?
It could take years to play out, but the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Google could have an enormous impact on the ad industry if it is forced to spin off some of its ad tech, according to experts analyzing the case. The suit deals with the inscrutable world of ad technology, but in essence the DOJ’s claim is that since its acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008 and AdMeld in 2011, Google has grown into a dominant force on both the buy and sell side of online advertising, controlling 26.5% (US$278.6 billion) of the digital ad market in the U.S. “It’s like you’re buying a house from a realtor who’s also representing the seller,” Joel Cox, co-founder of ad tech company Strategus, told Gizmodo. “Competition in the ad tech space is broken, for reasons that were neither accidental nor inevitable,” said the DOJ in the lawsuit. In a $1,000 ad buy, “ad exchanges and other middlemen take $300 to $500 of that,” said Dina Srinivasan, a fellow at Yale University. In financial markets, “brokers that sit in the middle like RobinHood and the NYSE take less than 1% on transactions, similar ad exchanges and brokers take up to 30-50%.”

Molson Coors in the Super Bowl? Bet on it
Now that we know the two teams in the Super Bowl, the world can turn its attention to what matters most: the ads. Molson Coors is getting early buzz for its unusual deal with DraftKings that will let viewers bet on some details of the brewer’s Super Bowl ad. This will be the beer company’s first time in the Super Bowl in 33 years, having been shut out by AB InBev’s exclusive rights deal. The campaign began with ads asking consumers which brand, Miller Lite or Coors Light, should be featured in the Super Bowl ad (which cost $7 million for 30 seconds, reports The Wall St. Journal). During the NFL’s Conference Championships on Sunday, a new spot confirmed that fans will be able to “bet” what’s in the ad: what type of dog is featured behind the bar, and the number of people with facial hair, for example. Consumers will get a chance to win a share of a $500,000 cash prize pool, though—unlike an actual bet—there is no cost to enter, they only have to create a DraftKings account to play. While last year’s big game became known as the “crypto bowl” for all the crypto advertising, it seems like sports betting will dominate this year, said WSJ.

Oreo takes Martha Stewart into the metaverse
While AI and ChatGPT may feel like the hot new thing for marketing early in 2023, Oreo is taking us back to “yestermonth” with a new metaverse experience being promoted by Martha Stewart. The occasion is the launch of a limited-edition cookie called the Most Oreo Oreo, which includes the “most stuf” levels of crème filling. The “Oreoverse” is hosted on Meta Horizon Worlds, and lets consumers play cookie-themed games for a chance to win prizes. A Mondelez release said that Stewart, who they described as a “metaverse novice,” and her gardener and good friend Ryan McCallister, would stream an inside look at the Oreoverse. “The two embody the Oreo brand’s playful spirit and, through their Oreoverse experience, we hope to show just how much fun Oreo fans can have together in our most playful world yet,” said senior brand manager, Julia Rosenbloom. “The two of us have had our fair share of adventures over the last 10 years and have been able to navigate just about anything together, especially in the garden,” said Stewart.

A new form of AI that can write music
Speaking of artificial intelligence, Google has created an AI capable of generating music in any genre based on text descriptions of “significant complexity.” However, Google has no immediate plans to release it, according to a report by TechCrunch. MusicLM was “trained” by being given 280,000 hours of music to learn. “It’s hard to overstate just how good the samples sound, given that there aren’t musicians or instrumentalists in the loop,” said TechCrunch’s Kyle Wiggers. “Even when fed somewhat long and meandering descriptions, MusicLM manages to capture nuances like instrumental riffs, melodies and moods.” The new music AI was the subject of an academic paper published last week. The researchers found the AI poses ethical challenges including copyright concerns. “During an experiment, they found that about 1% of the music the system generated was directly replicated from the songs on which it trained—a threshold apparently high enough to discourage them from releasing MusicLM in its current state.”

David Brown