New Uncle Drew Video and Merchandise are a Slam Dunk!

New Uncle Drew Video and Merchandise are a Slam Dunk!

I grew up playing basketball and have been an avid basketball fan ever since. So when Lapine became an official Uncle Drew Merchandise licensee, to say I was excited was an understatement. Lapine was given the responsibility to brainstorm the ideal merchandise for basketball fans. What would fans want to wear? Where should it be sold? Pepsi created and provided Lapine the ultimate logo for the merchandise and we got to work. Using our Digital Marketplace resources and Consumer Insights expertise, Lapine presented the hottest trends in merchandise and the perfect fit for Uncle Drew fans. Lapine sourced and created the merchandise as well as developed a web shop where Uncle Drew fans are always just a click away from ordering the historic ballers merchandise. The merchandise ranges from the most stylish hooded sweatshirts, to hip flat brim hats with the simplistic logo of Uncle Drew’s face profile. The next step was how to spread the word about the new Uncle Drew video, as well as the new merchandise and web shop. There was one very obvious place for the launch of the new Uncle Drew merchandise, the 66th NBA All Star game in New Orleans.  Stepping off the plane and being welcomed by All-Star weekend signs and posters of all the greats cemented the decision to have Uncle Drew represented at the event. Pepsi took over a popular pizza shop down the street from the Smoothie King Center, and transformed it into a retro Uncle Drew Pop Up Shop.  There was Uncle Drew merchandise to buy, old school basketball posters surrounded the walls, and cups and plates with Uncle Drew’s profile on them, Pepsi... Read more
New Year, New Tech: What to Look for at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017

New Year, New Tech: What to Look for at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017

With the New Year comes the annual Consumer Electronics Show, showcasing the best and brightest new technologies on the market. This year’s show, the 50th anniversary, will be held from January 5-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Though different tech sites point to a variety of anticipated trends, all seem to agree that CES 2017 will have a great mix of brand new and updated technologies. Wearable tech is predicted to revamp its image to better align with consumer’s needs. Consumers no longer want wearables that simply track their activity, interested instead in pieces that actually train and motivate them to reach their goals; smartwatches like Garmin’s Vívoactive HR that provide real time coaching on the go, and even wearables for children that teach healthy habits, like Garmin’s Vívofit Jr. This change comes as consumers look for products that carry through on their promises of helping them lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle, rather than tracking what they already do. Digital assistants and artificial intelligence, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home, are sure to be a key focus of CES 2017, as expanded capabilities make these technologies increasingly integrative in consumer’s day to day lives. Digital assistants are moving beyond simple command-based actions to more automated and predictive behaviors like replenishment of everyday necessities when supplies start to run low. Artificial intelligence is serving to streamline consumer’s lives by compiling their behaviors across all apps and programming to better understand their needs. Home robots and companion robots will undoubtedly command a great deal of attention; combining artificial intelligence and home monitoring with an added personality factor. Digital assistance technologies are... Read more
The Gatorade Fuel Lab Experience

The Gatorade Fuel Lab Experience

I’ve received all kinds of requests over my tenure at Lapine, so when I was on a Gatorade conference call and the question was asked, “Can Lapine build a vending machine that could output customized bottles?” I gave the answer I learned from a mentor and said “Anything is possible with time and money”. After discussing the true need, I learned what Gatorade really wanted was to create a mobile experience where people could engage with the brand and ultimately create a personalized bottle as part of the experience. Over a three month period we worked with Gatorade and their partners to figure out a way to make their ask a reality. There were countless planning hours where so many details were discussed. Still when we went to the kickoff event at SxSW in Austin, I was in awe to see the massive undertaking this was from start to finish. So many pieces had to come together to make the Gatorade Fuel Lab happen – from getting electricity to places where it normally is not found to navigating last minute deliveries when the roads were closed for the festival. Our Lapine team was there 4 days before the event started, which allowed us to see an empty warehouse space turn into a showcase for Gatorade innovation. Not sure if the pictures do justice to the coolness of this experience. At the end of the day, we turned a vision into actuality – that’s one of the aspects I love about our job. We get to be at the start of brainstorming ideas and developing strategies to see it to a tangible end, usually with merchandise and social media feedback. And this time, we also... Read more
Stare Worthy Socks

Stare Worthy Socks

“Oh thanks honey, just what I needed, more navy socks for work. You’re so practical.” Socks as a holiday or birthday gift do not exactly induce shrieks of excitement, as I’m sure many boyfriends and husbands can attest to. However, what was once the tell-tale marker of a romance gone stale has recently undergone a colorful makeover, one that has transformed socks into a desirable gift after all and perhaps the perfect item for your next promotional program. Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1997, are clinging to their youth more than any other generation to date. In fact, experts declare that Millennials are afflicted by “Early-Onset Nostalgia”, a condition which makes them yearn for a romanticized past, namely their youth, and welcome any reminders of that past. Examples of these nostalgic urges can be seen in almost any arena, from social media hash-tags like flash back Friday or throw back Thursday, to the now popular vintage tees rocking mascots and logos from the early 90’s. Mad Libs, the childhood favorite, has even successfully launched an app version of the game to capitalize on the Millennials taste for all things nostalgic. Colorful socks provide the perfect way for Millennials to cling to their youth. It’s as if to say you can put me in a corporate job and put me in a stuffy suit but I will still retain my boyish affinity for mischief with colorful, traditionally inappropriate socks. Socks that, like their boyish streak, stay mostly hidden until a change of position from standing to seated exposes a cheeky flash of ankle covered in neon sharks or pink... Read more
Food Frenzy: Fancy Food Show NYC ‘15

Food Frenzy: Fancy Food Show NYC ‘15

Who would have thought that on a Monday in June in the blazing heat, there would be 1,800,000 air conditioned square feet somewhere in the world filled with every type of chocolate, cheese, meat, cookie, spice, sauce, country, and person imaginable. Well I did, after attending the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York City. 2,727 booths and 25 countries under my belt, as well as the stomach that experienced them fondly, I sit at my desk two weeks later, writing this blog post after having finally digested offerings from the many vendors. But, what is still running through my mind are some of the trends and products that stood out at the show, and that will make a larger impact on the shelves of retailers and the pantries of consumers moving forward. A trend that was noticeable throughout the show was the idea of keeping food simple, as consumers are demanding transparency when it comes to what they’re eating. There is a push for products that contain fewer and more familiar ingredients, with Simply Gum being a perfect example of a product that fits this mold. It comes in 6 flavors and uses only 6 different ingredients, all of which are 100% natural, the only brand to be labeled as such in the US! This is an awesome item to gift as it fits with consumer’s healthy eating desires. Another one of the hottest trends currently is spicy food, with both new sauces and spices adding to the category. Torchbearer Sauces displayed a range of flavors at the show, from chipotle barbeque and... Read more
Apparel Trends to Watch

Apparel Trends to Watch

One of the most tried and true forms a promotion can take is apparel. In fact, it is reported that 31.5% of distributor revenue in 2013 was from apparel – a whopping $6.45 BILLION dollars. While mainstays of this category, such as t-shirts or hoodies, may seem done to death, promotional apparel is becoming more and more reflective of retail apparel and as such adopting a refreshed and often innovative look and feel. Take a look at this roundup of some of this year’s apparel trends, with insight from industry leaders Vantage Apparel and Advantages Magazine, and get inspired for your next promotion! All About Performance Performancewear has come to take over the apparel world in the last few years. Instead of the day-to-night look, now in demand is gym-to-street, meaning people are looking for upscale workout gear that can double as everyday clothes without screaming you just came from the trainer. On the flipside, it’s a great way to trick your friends into thinking you’ve been hitting the gym big time. This Ath-leisure style is seen in leading brands like Lululemon and Under Armour. In the promotional world, look for polos and quarter zips in performance fabrics to be big. Expected to grow in popularity are compression tops and performance headwear, as well as biometric (fitness tracking) clothing as improvements to technology continue to be made. Design-centric Design and fabric choice are two more ways that promotional apparel is becoming more retail-centric. Bold geometric prints and pops of accent color in the form of contrast stitching, pockets and zippers add a unique appeal to a promotional piece. These... Read more
Pantone Inspiration at the Oscars

Pantone Inspiration at the Oscars

The Academy Awards are, to many, considered the most fashionable night of the year. ABC dedicated two full hours of programming before the awards even started to showing off the stars and honorees arriving on the red carpet in their finest. This would have been almost as long as the Oscars broadcast itself – if the show hadn’t run roughly 15 hours over. Seriously, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to see that final award – even though we all knew Birdman was going to get it. Thanks to the #AskHerMore movement, focusing on the couture worn last night instead of the performances is a bit taboo. However, as a trend blogger I would be remiss not to dedicate some time to the fashion. Color of the Year? One of the first interesting things to note is the major lack of Marsala, Pantone’s Color of the Year, on the red carpet. In stark contrast from years past when the Pantone prediction was popular, Marsala was almost non-existent amongst the key players. Although many went with bold red, the distinct brownish-red hue was missing. One celebrity that did dress in the color was David Oyelowo from Selma, who looked sharp in a Marsala-toned Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo. In other Color of the Year news, Grand Budapest Hotel won the Oscar for Best Costume Design – costumes that heavily featured 2014’s COTY, Radiant Orchid. At least Pantone nailed it with its 2014 prediction! Spring 2015 Report – Soft & Cool Although Marsala was not prevalent at the awards, many of the other colors featured in Pantone’s 2015 Spring Color Report... Read more
Healthy Lifestyle for the New Year

Healthy Lifestyle for the New Year

At this point, if you’re like me, everyone is finishing off all of their Christmas and Hanukkah leftovers, fending off your family member or friend for that last homemade cookie or latke, hoping to get one more taste of holiday bliss. While it’s certainly acceptable to be over-indulging with adult beverages, seafood, red meats and savory desserts this time of year, your waistline and overall energy level might not exactly be where you want it to be. Heading into the New Year, some of the keys to maintaining a high level of both mental well-being and physical fitness include a reformed and healthy appetite, regimented exercise and a consistent pattern of sleep and relaxation. Here are some ideas to jumpstart the New Year and the new you that I plan on adopting. One of the ultimate keys to shedding your unwanted holiday weight is your eating patterns and the types of foods you are consuming.  After gaining 6-8lbs of “bad weight” since Thanksgiving, I will be starting a clean eating initiative as I enter 2015 and one of the first tools I will be grabbing to assist in this effort is the SmartPower Duet® Blender/Food Processor from Cuisinart®. This seven-speed, multi-function gem gives you the ability to effortlessly create food or beverage options that should help remove yourself from your recent patterns of gluttony.  The supplied recipe book provides an encyclopedia of healthy choices ranging from fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, healthy soups and salad dressings, to grilled chicken stir-fry. After reforming your diet, another integral part of your new health initiative is getting into a habit of consistent cardiovascular... Read more
2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

Marsala. It’s not on tonight’s dinner menu – its Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year. The earthy, reddish-brown hue (Pantone 18-1438) seen most recently on Pantone’s Spring 2015 Color Report has pushed itself forward and is expected to be the breakout tone in the upcoming year. Marsala takes the place of Radiant Orchid, 2014’s Color of the Year. Radiant Orchid is a pinkish-purple hue that was meant to inspire a luxurious and fanciful frame of mind. The bright color was seen everywhere from high fashion to kitchen appliances. For 2015, Marsala is a color that hopes to evoke confidence and stability. Comprised of a deep, almost earthy color palette, Marsala shifts from the make-believe of Radiant Orchid and returns back to the natural, organic state seen in 2013’s Color of the Year, Emerald. Because of this natural base, Marsala is an extremely versatile color. It can serve as an “elegant, grounded” statement color, creating dramatic combinations with warm neutrals like taupe and gray. Marsala also works well as a strong accent color or “unifying element” amongst many colors in natural palettes, such as greens and aquas, ambers and blues. 2015’s Color of the Year also transforms based on its finish. With a matte finish, Marsala develops a raw, organic quality that translates well to textiles. The richness of the color naturally lends itself well to textured fabrics in the home such as rugs and curtains, as well as upholstered goods. When finished with sheen, Marsala takes on a more glamorous and luxurious look. This iteration of the color will be seen in home appliances and accessories, as well as... Read more
It’s Turkey Time!

It’s Turkey Time!

Happy Holidays everyone! I must have done something right my first trip around the blog because I was graciously invited back to contribute.  Well, I am ecstatic that I am back because this is quite possibly my favorite time of the year with Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas time on the horizon. Copious amounts of food, football from sunrise to sundown and most importantly quality time with my family highlights this day to give thanks.  This time of year gives us a chance to step back, remove ourselves from our careers for just a moment and realize how we all got here in the first place; from the support of our loved ones. Well now that we have established why this time of year is so special, let’s dive into one of the cornerstones of this holiday: the food!  Turkey, ham and roasts of all kinds are prevalent at the dinner table, which is perfect because Nordicware® has introduced a brand new line of oven-to-table roasters. With the Extra Large Roaster with Rack, every Thanksgiving chef has one of the key components to cook a feast.  Made of sturdy cast aluminum and manufactured in the USA, this item is an essential tool to make the day a little more delicious. I certainly know my mouth is watering the more I talk about it. In my eyes, Thanksgiving is not a time for one to be counting calories, so for those a little less health conscious this holiday season, go pick up a Rotisserie Turkey Fryer from Waring Pro®.  My uncle serves up both a roasted turkey and... Read more