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THE PULSE: Recent Top Reads, Mar. 2024

April 10, 2024
The Pulse - Recent Top Reads, March 2024

The Pulse brings the latest and greatest in the marketing industry to your inbox every week — and we spent March obsessing over the ways brands blend tech and pop culture to pop off. 

Like many of you, we’re living and breathing (i.e. learning about and playing with) AI these days. The influx of brands leveraging extended reality experiences accelerates by the day. While a year or two ago, AI was the whole moment, it’s now increasingly being integrated as a piece of the larger audience engagement puzzle. And we’re only going to keep trending that way as tools become more accessible. (More to come on that in our next blog. Spoiler alert!) 

And where AI isn’t the main move, campaigns are connecting with culture to make an impact. From engaging influencers to bold brand collabs, this approach is particularly critical in engaging younger audiences. Cutting through the clutter by creating trending, yet brand-relevant content, has become increasingly critical. 

Take a peek at some of the marketing industry’s latest and greatest innovators, as seen in our most-read Pulse articles from last month: 

Inside Coca-Cola’s Latest AI-Powered Pop-Up 

Coca-Cola’s Latest AI-Powered Pop-UpStill wondering if Coke Spiced lives up to all the hype? Lucky for attendees of the product launch pop-up, not only did they get to taste the flavor, but they got to see the flavor. Consumers were invited to generate a “visual manifestation” of what they tasted, felt and pictured when trying Coke Spiced for the first time. Their creations then filled screens across the space, making for a bright and bold experience.  

“Instead of explaining the flavor to guests and having them try it after, we had them try the beverage first and then tell us what it tasted like.” Read more from BizBash. 

Spotify’s ‘Song Psychic’ is like a Magic 8 Ball that Answers with Music 

Building on the annual content craze that is Spotify Wrapped, the streaming service has found a new way to leverage listener data for social sharing. Intro: Song Psychic. Simply ask the musical fortune teller a question, and receive your fate in the response of a song title. But is it as reliable as the trusty ole’ Magic 8 Ball? TBD. You’re On Your Own, Kid. 

Spotify’s ‘Song Psychic’ -  a Magic 8 Ball that Answers with MusicWhile Spotify hasn’t marketed this feature as an all-out AI experience, it feels nostalgic of the original chatbot days. An innovative example of brands breaking down one-way communication with consumers. More from TechCrunch here. 

Most Innovative Companies 2024: Taco Bell’s new strategy for global cultural domination 

Did you know that the term “Taco Tuesday” had been trademarked for over four decades?! But not anymore — eaters and eateries alike can rejoice after Taco Bell’s petition made it so the phrase can be “freely available to all who make, sell, eat, and celebrate tacos.” This was the move that kicked off an energized 2023 for America’s fourth-largest fast food chain, involving new menu offerings, big brand collabs and high-profile celebrity partnerships. 

According to Sean Tresvant, CEO of Taco Bell, “We shouldn’t just be a great quick-service restaurant brand, we should be a great global brand, period.” Read more from Fast Company.  

The Pulse Round-Up’s Very First Dishonorable Mention: The Botched Willy Wonka Event, Briefly Explained 

The Botched Willy Wonka Event, Briefly Explained Unlike the above-noted innovators and tech adopters, this one’s a little less awe-inspiring. “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” took socials by storm and left marketers with a lot to think through. It is said that the event heavily leaned on AI in promotion and production — which left ticket-purchasing guests not only disappointed, but frightened and furious. Instead of a “World of Pure Imagination” they were met with “a half cup of lemonade and two jellybeans each.” We’re not so sure Charlie and Grandpa Joe would have made it to the end of this one. 

As GPTs are on the rise, tales like this remind us to think critically about how we can leverage AI responsibly. For more on the Wonka gathering gone wrong, head over to Vox. 

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