What in the World—Week of May 8

Yung Gravy partners with Dr. Pepper

Hip-hop star Yung Gravy, who Canadians last heard in a campaign promoting KFC gravy, has teamed up with Dr. Pepper on a song and video promoting its latest product, Strawberries & Cream.

The star unveiled the vaguely suggestive “Strawberries & Creamin'” on his TikTok and YouTube channels. It’s described as an “homage” to Dr. Pepper’s new product.

In a release, the brand said that the star, known for songs including “oops!” and “Betty,” has a “dedicated following that matches the fervour of Dr Pepper’s network of passionate fans.”

The trippy two-minute video shows a computerized Gravy, clad in a suit matching the colours of the new Dr. Pepper can, singing lyrics like “Dr. Pepper a forbidden fruit, creamy smooth no substitute.” He also collaborated on a merchandise collection that includes a gravy boat (natch), a silk shirt, and vinyl-inspired drink coasters.

“Yung Gravy’s playful energy and distinct persona have captivated his audience,” said John Alvarado, Dr. Pepper’s senior vice-president of brand marketing. “[A]nd we can’t wait to see what Dr Pepper and Yung Gravy fans think of the new track and merchandise line, which leans into both our brand and Yung Gravy’s creativity and uniqueness.”

Strawberries & Cream debuted in February as a permanent addition to the Dr. Pepper lineup.

Bud Light is buying upset distributors a (case of) beer

Anheuser-Busch is using a time-honoured tactic in an attempt to win over distributors angered by the fallout from its recent partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney: It’s buying them a beer. Actually a case of beer.

According to Business Insider  (citing reporting by The Wall Street Journal) the beer giant is giving every employee who works with its wholesalers a free case of Bud Light. The company has also promised to increase marketing spend on Bud Light in response to recent sales declines.

Many of the brand’s wholesalers are family-owned businesses, and they have been dealing with the fallout from the partnership with Mulvaney, which erupted after it sent her beer cans featuring her face to celebrate her “365 Days of Girlhood.”

According to Business Insider, Bud Light’s U.S. sales are down 21% compared with the previous year.

The New York Post, meanwhile, reported that Anheuser-Busch sent a letter to distributors aimed at dispelling misconceptions of the partnership with Mulvaney. “This can is not a formal campaign or advertisement,” said the Post, quoting the latter. “Our new Vice President of Bud Light and all of us at Anheuser-Busch are committed to reminding all of our consumers why they love Bud Light and why they’ve made it the #1 beer in America.”

A weekend feast fit for a king

Proving once again that there’s nothing quite like a Royal event to get Britons to eat, drink and be merry, research from the Centre for Retail Research suggested that the coronation of King Charles would lead to spending of £200 million (about $337 million) on food and drink alone.

According to the BBC, Tesco was on track to sell 675,000 pork pies and 300,000 pots of clotted cream, while Aldi reported that its scone sales were up 150%. Booze sales were also expected to be up markedly, with Tesco indicating that it expected to sell 180,000 bottles of Pimms, and Asda forecasting a 25% spike in beer sales.

Meanwhile, dozens of brands went purple and gold or otherwise tweaked their branding to include Royal imagery like Buckingham Palace, crowns and bunting.

According to Marketing Beat, Burger King removed the word “Burger” from its sign in London’s Leicester Square, while Heinz offered limited-edition bottles of “Tomato Kingchup.” The Alzheimer’s Society created a line of “Unmemorabilia,” including a mug bearing the message “A day one in three of us won’t be able to tell our grandkids about.”

In total, the Coronation was expected to add more than £1.4 billion to the UK economy over the three-day long weekend.

Samsung’s irregular heart rhythm notification receives FDA clearance

Samsung announced today that the Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification feature for its Galaxy Watch has received clearance from the FDA. Along with an existing Electrocardiogram (ECG) function, the feature proactively monitors heart rhythms suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib) directly from users’ wrist.

When activated in the Samsung Health Monitor app, the feature will check for irregular heart rhythms in the background via the Galaxy Watch’s BioActive Sensor. If a certain number of consecutive measurements are irregular, the watch warns the user of potential AFib activity, prompting them to take an ECG using their watch for a more accurate measurement.

The Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification feature will be available as part of the consumer electronics company’s new One UI 5 Watch, coming first to the upcoming Galaxy Watch devices later this year, and later expanding to previous editions of the timepiece.

“This is yet another example of how Samsung prioritizes proactive safety solutions and enables users to receive a more holistic understanding of their cardiovascular and overall health,” said Hon Pak, vice-president and head of the Digital Health Team at Samsung Electronics.

Kanye break-up continues to drag down Adidas revenues

The acrimonious break-up with rapper Kanye West continues to drag down profits at Adidas. Speaking during an earnings call on Friday, Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden said that the loss of West’s Yeezy brand is “of course hurting us,” reported the BBC.

Adidas said that the loss of Yeezy reduced the company’s first-quarter sales by £350 million (C$590 million), although Gulden pointed out that sales were up by 9% when the impact of the Yeezy business was excluded.

Adidas cut ties with West in October, after the rapper made several anti-Semitic comments on his social channels and in interviews. At the time, his Yeezy brand was a major source of revenue for the company.

Gulden told analysts that the company’s losses could reach US$700 million this year if it decides not to repurpose a reported $1.3 billion in unsold Yeezy stock.

“The company still has to decide what to do with the remaining products, and whether it will sell them or scrap them,” said the BBC, which quoted Gulden as saying the company is getting “closer and closer” to a final decision on what to do with the merchandise.

Chris Powell