What in the World—Week of October 2

State Farm takes advantage of the Swift effect

With the NFL, sports media, and football fans still coming to grips with the Taylor Swift effect this week, State Farm pulled off a trick play of its own Sunday.

The face of much of the brand’s advertising, Jake from State Farm, took in the Philadelphia Eagles’ game with Donna Kelce, mother of Eagles lineman Jason. Last week, Swift was with Donna at the Kansas City Chief’s game to watch her new boyfriend Travis, who is Donna’s other son.

“I also have a superstar in my corner. @JakeStateFarm,” wrote Jason on X on Sunday. State Farm Jake was pictured enjoying chicken with ketchup, and we’re assuming the ranch was being delivered. The stunt was the work of Maximum Effort, the advertising and production company started by Ryan Reynolds who, along with his wife Blake Lively, was with Swift Sunday as she watched Travis play for the second week in a row.

Swift’s presence dominated game coverage, and quickly spawned a new social media meme as Swifties playfully teased (ie. broke the brain of) NFL-addicted husbands and boyfriends about Swift’s fame compared to that of the NFLer.

Could AI be coming to your smartphone

Jony Ive, the designer famous for leading Apple’s development of the iPhone, is working with OpenAI—the company behind ChatGPT—to create an “iPhone of artificial intelligence,” reports the Financial Times.

Though no deal has been finalized, discussions are characterized as “serious,” and SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi San is reportedly willing to back the venture with $1 billion in funding.

With smartphone innovation having plateaued, and interest in AI exploding, Silicon Valley is looking for the next big thing in consumer electronic devices, said FT. “They hope to create a more natural and intuitive user experience for interacting with AI, in the way that the iPhone’s innovations in touchscreen computing unleashed the mass-market potential of the mobile internet.”

Snapchat launches agency focused video game

Snapchat is literally playing games with ad agencies these days. The social platform just launched “Agency Adventure,” a retro-style, 16-bit videogame that is intended to educate players on the value of Snapchat, while also rewarding the winning agency with a $4,500 donation to charity on their behalf.

The game takes place in a fictional agency, where players are starting their first day as a new business coordinator. “They are able to select the type of brief they want to work on, interact with non-player characters, and navigate through various agency departments,” reads the overview provided by Snapchat.

“For bonus experiences, make sure to check in with your colleagues, connect with the Snapchat rep, read the post-meeting notes, and explore the yoga room.”

Fruit of the Loom brings back ‘Fruit Guys’

After a 12-year absence, Fruit of the Loom has brought back its “Fruit Guys”—now known as “Fruit People”—and they are all about social media to help connect the brand to younger consumers.

The original Fruit Guys—Apple, Green Grape, Leaf, and Purple Grape—began appearing in TV advertising in the 1970s and were used into the early 2000s. The 2023 version will see the Fruit People—both grape characters are now played by women—working with Fruit of the Loom’s “chief TikToker” in humorous videos that play off social media trends.

“Fruit of the Loom is focused on engaging a younger audience who wants stylish clothes that are well-made and well-priced,” said Bryse Yonts, director of brand communications for Fruit of the Loom. “We want to bring Fruit of the Loom into its next chapter by taking the best parts of our past and reshaping them for this next generation.”

The new content, which launched on TikTok and will come to Instagram’s Reels, is produced by creative agency GSD&M.

Lululemon rides with Peloton

Lululemon is giving up on its foray into devices with the Mirror, but has signed a new partnership with a giant of connected fitness in Peloton.

As part of the new deal, Lululemon will make co-branded clothing with Peloton, with Peloton’s fitness content being offered to users of the Lululemon Studio Mirror. Lululemon only acquired Mirror in mid-2020, launching the “nearly invisible interactive home gym,” in Canada a year later.

The Canadian athleisure wear pioneer will stop producing content and will reportedly stop selling Mirror by the end of the year. “Though Lululemon will keep offering service and support for the Mirror indefinitely, the pact helps it move on from a difficult business,” reported Bloomberg. “The device had been a cash burner for the company, which has laid off employees working on its device and content.”

David Brown