d i g i b y t e s | February 2020 Edition

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Modern Nostalgia

Nostalgia sells. It’s why studios continue to re-make such classics as Coming to America (Why?!) and Candyman (Ok, I’m in). We’re in that space where blasts-from-the-past are used too often in bad faith, though a few brands are lighting the way with thoughtful nods. Who doesn’t have fond memories of reading the back of a cereal box while enjoying a sugar overdose? Well, Magic Spoon has done the unimaginable. They’ve re-visited childhood favorite cereal brands and removed all of the gluten, and most of the guilt — dramatically reducing sugar and carbs while retaining the memorable taste of Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs. [Visit the Magic Spoon site]

Considerations

By introducing a value add to an oldie-but-goodie that is relevant to today’s nutritional standards, Magic Spoon is enjoying rave reviews (over 4000 published on the site alone) and selling out of popular flavors. Mind you, each box of cereal costs a whopping $10, but pricing incentives, savvy marketing, curiosity and nostalgia all support this digital success. What new and relevant spin can you bring to an oldie-but-goodie for your customers?

Gender Neutrality in AI

Google Cloud AI is removing the ability to label people in images as “man” or “woman” with its Cloud Vision API. A Google spokesperson explained, “Given that a person’s gender cannot be inferred by appearance, we have decided to remove these labels in order to align with the artificial intelligence principles at Google, specifically Principle #2: avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias. After today, a non-gendered label such as ‘person’ will be returned by Cloud Vision API.” [Source]

Last spring a team of linguists, activists and marketers also created what they claim to be the first ever gender-neutral AI voice, called Q. After a listen, Q totally sounds like a man to me. [Listen to Q here]

Considerations

In fashion, although more brands are designing gender-neutral clothing lines, I’ve yet to spot a department store website or floor plan that calls out anything other than Men’s and Women’s departments. In our work, are we offering up gender delineations that maybe don’t need to be there? In our audience segments/personas? Brand language? Visuals?

Quantum Internet Is Coming

Stay with me here. It’s worth concentrating on this paragraph. It’ll make for great dinner conversation. MIT Technology Review announced that physicists in China have forged a mysterious quantum connection between particles, called entanglement, over 30 miles of standard optical fiber, setting a new record. A quantum internet would allow ultra-secure communication of sensitive messages. One entanglement technique is to encrypt a pair of digital keys, a technology known as quantum key distribution (QKD). If two people both have these keys, they can talk without fear of being snooped on, because an eavesdropper would change the state of the keys and be found out. [Source]

Considerations

Many pieces of this project are still underway. Scientists think we’re at least 10 years away from a true quantum network, yet an obvious PR push is in play this month. Are there innovative projects we’re working on that we are waiting to announce? Spreading the word could bring partners to the table.

by Nicky Battle
Senior Vice President, Engagement Strategy


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