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The pandemic has hit checkout-aisle impulse purchases hard

Do you need to worry about how fresh your breath is when you’re at a distance from everyone around you and wearing a mouth-covering mask?

The answer is, no, you don’t. As the Hershey Company, one of the major players in the gum market, elegantly put it, “The functional need for breath freshening continues to be impacted by social distancing.”

The pandemic has seen many business winners. But for so-called “impulse products” like chewing gum, that rely on consumer impulse and well-positioned sale points, it has been a sticky period. These products sell best when targeting people at till points…


Trend Mill

The fast-food giant’s revamped packaging shows it’s still too timid to fully adapt to the times

This is shaping up to be the year of the fast-food rebrand. First, Burger King unveiled a sharply executed redesign on January 7, announcing a total revamp across the entire brand, from its logo and packaging design to an updated digital and social media presence. It was an immediate smash hit, nodding back to the company’s classic 1969 logo while signaling the brand’s transition into a more digital-friendly brand. Less than a month later, on February 16, Burger King’s archrival McDonald’s followed suit and revealed a fresh new take on its product packaging. …


Trend Mill

The second coming of the ugliest shoe ever to be worn

A variety of colorful Crocs brand foam slippers on display for sale.
A variety of colorful Crocs brand foam slippers on display for sale.

Crocs — the colorful, comfortable foam clogs that break almost every rule in fashion and evoke divisive and visceral reactions from customers and critics alike — are back from the dead. The shoe company that was once the butt of everyone’s jokes, described by a wide array of critics and commentators with such language as “vermin” and “the ugliest shoes ever invented” — and in fact voted one of the top 50 worst inventions by TIME in 2010 — was the only major footwear brand in the spring of 2020 to enjoy a rise in sales. Between March and October…


Trend Mill

The fast food giant’s redesign proves you can jump on the latest design trends without losing the soul of your company

The “Home of the Whopper” just had its first major redesign in 20 years, and it somehow manages to both effortlessly play to customer nostalgia while embracing new digital-first design trends. On January 7, Burger King announced that it had made sweeping changes to its brand, from its logo and packaging to its menus, merchandise, and decor, right down to its social media, leaving not a single burger unflipped. It plans to launch this updated imagery worldwide over the next few years.

The company is seeking a more natural, old-fashioned look, with minimal noise and colors like red, brown, and…


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When shutdowns lift, it’ll be competing against unprecedented pent-up demand for eating outside of the home

Emily Griffin reads a recipe for a Blue Apron meal while unpacking her box at her Lisbon Falls home.
Emily Griffin reads a recipe for a Blue Apron meal while unpacking her box at her Lisbon Falls home.

At its peak in 2015–2016, Blue Apron was delivering over eight million meals per month and raking in over $1 billion in annual sales. Within just five years of its inception, it was employing 4,500 people and was valued at over $2 billion.

It looked set to dominate the meal kit market, helping meal prep delivery overthrow traditional shopping and home cooking. But then the bottom fell out of the box: The market quickly became saturated with competitors like HelloFresh, and in response, Blue Apron overspent to acquire customers and retain them. After a disastrous IPO in 2017 and facing…


Trend Mill

Brands have stopped ‘disemvoweling’ themselves

Conceptual image of colourful falling letters, casting shadows on a white wall.
Conceptual image of colourful falling letters, casting shadows on a white wall.

From creating new words like “Kodak,” forcing words together like “Facebook,” or intentionally misspelling phrases like “Krispy Kreme,” companies have a long history of picking phonetically fabricated — and occasionally nonsensical — brand names. For the past two decades, one particularly popular business trend was for companies to drop vowels from their names; if you glanced at a list of tech firms circa the early 2000s, you might be forgiven for assuming the humble vowel was going extinct. Flickr, Grindr, and Tumblr all launched within a few years of each other, each one seemingly forgetting to bring the letter “e”…

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