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Last week saw three of the strangest brand tie-ups for a while.
The first was that Nike Starbucks shoe, retailing at $100, the second, a strained Wayne Rooney cameo (see below) in an X-Men adventure (and some blue-faced mascots at a United game), the third, green and red Angry Birds burger buns at McDonald's.
This got me thinking - what are the best brand tie-ups of the past few years?
The North America online audio section of our Statistics Compendium has seen some fascinating data added in the past few months.
Particularly in regards to how significant digital downloads and streaming are to US music fans in 2016.
Student.com has had quite a lot of press recently, what with $60m of investment from the founders of Spotify.
The website is new to me, so I thought I'd have a look through and pick out some points of interest.
In my right hand I have a mug of Brazilian coffee (Fruit and Nut Espresso).
The coffee was delivered through my letter box yesterday, courtesy of Pact Coffee, one of many coffee subscription services.
However, Pact doesn't like to think of itself as a subscription service. Its founder, Stephen Rapoport, believes many subscription services work for the business but not for the customer.
So, if the model is often abused, just what makes a good subscription service?
Service and product design are in the ascendancy, becoming increasingly important within marketing and engineering departments.
Ashley Friedlein makes the claim in his trends for 2016, citing the number of consultancies and systems integrators that have made design acquisitions (see this Wired article for how IBM is beefing up its design creds).
Service design follows naturally from a focus on customer experience (as a central tenet of that dreaded term, digital transformation).
The tide may already have turned towards big data, but the waves are about to get a whole lot bigger.
From watches and wearables, to beacons and smart home systems, connected devices are expected to exceed 38bn by 2020, and each one will generate valuable data about what consumers think and how they behave.
Are you excited by Apple Music? I think I’m excited by Apple Music. Let’s discuss whether this is a valid opinion or not.
One of the first subjects I really got my teeth into on the blog two years ago was digital music, both in its streaming and downloadable formats.
Last week, Starbucks and Spotify announced a partnership that will see the popular music streaming service integrated into Starbucks' 7,000 stores and its 10 million member strong loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards.
Large brands spend millions upon millions of dollars every year on celebrity endorsements.
For some brands, like Nike and H&M, writing large checks to prominent figures is a small price to pay for significant exposure and brand alignment with people who have their own powerful brands.
The latest update to our Internet Statistics Compendium collects all the most interesting freely digital data and trends published to the web over the past few months.
Like us, Mary Meeker strives to analyse online digital trends and publishes her own slideshows biannually (hosting them online here).
Amid a wealth of insight, Meeker’s recent stats collection highlights how online technologies are affecting traditional media. Her music consumption stats are particularly intriguing and relate to further research I’ve seen published lately.
Spotify began rolling out a brand new redesign for its users last week. It’s a sleeker, darker, apparently much improved revamp across all three of its platforms: web, desktop and mobile.
Apparently both YouTube and Apple will be launching similar subscription based streaming services this year so Spotify’s multi-platform redesign seems like an early attempt to set the pace.
I took a look at the previous incarnation of Spotify just over a month ago in Seven reasons why I love Spotify and 17 why I don’t. I use Spotify more than any other music platform (I actually use them all on an almost weekly basis) and I couldn’t function without its unlimited access to 20m songs and ability to sync playlists to multiple devices.
However I am profoundly aware of its limitations and frustrations. Just a few UX tweaks here or there could massively improve the experience.
There’s an argument to say that because Spotify never really had any competition, it didn’t have to worry too much about improving its functionality. However with Google Play, Beats Music and now iTunes and YouTube launching rival services, it’s time for Spotify to up its game.
Let’s see if the redesign has done just that?