2PM - No. 788: Beating Heart

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Welcome to No. 788: The most clicked from Friday's member brief: understanding the social-shopping startup of the hour (Insider). The second most was the fiasco between HBO and Peloton (BuzzFeed).

DTC Power List: This week's biggest movers were NoBull, Everlane, Ten Thousand, Snow, Outer, and CrossNet. 



Scheduled Appearance, Surprise Outcome / New York Times: In two days, Peloton changed the conversation from a potential suit against HBO to a light-hearted response using one of HBO's own characters. "Peloton, a maker of high-end exercise equipment, was apparently just as surprised as you were by its appearance on “And Just Like That,” the new HBO Max limited series that picks up the story of “Sex and the City.”

2PM Analysis (750 words): Peloton has mastered the playbook for responding in moments of brand crisis. That playbook's name is Ryan Reynolds.

At the end of the first episode of the Sex and The City reboot, Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest clips into his Peloton for his 1,000th ride and when he dismounts, he has a heart attach and dies. Peloton was unaware of the plot line when HBO applied to use the company’s trademarks, instructor, and other intellectual property. The ordeal begs the question: does a company that doesn’t love its portrayal have any legal recourse? Before Peloton could entertain filing suit against HBO for the show’s impact on its stock price, Ryan Reynolds stepped in once again. (Read More)


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Brands are handing their customers to third-party marketplaces

ReCommerce / WWD: Toys R Us employed Amazon to run its online store for ten years (2000-2010). Retailers are making the same error. "In retrospect, it seems crazy that major players like Toys “R” Us and Barnes & Noble handed over their eCom reins to a third party. But today, dismayingly, too many retail executives are making the same mistake with resale. The truth is that resale is here to stay, just like eCommerce was — and for brands, controlling where and how their product is recaptured and resold, as well as its pricing and the customer experience, has never been more important."

UPS, Postal Service step up on-time holiday deliveries

Logistics Data / Wall Street Journal: After a difficult few years for the USPS, it's wonderful to see them winning. At least that's what the data suggests. USPS may be the only organization that can fend off the growth of Amazon Logistics. "On-time scores between Nov. 21 and Dec. 4 were 87.9% at FedEx, 96.1% at the Postal Service, and 96.4% at UPS, according to ShipMatrix. That compares with 94.9% at FedEx, 92.8% at the Postal Service, and 96.3% at UPS during a similar time frame last year. The scores measure whether a parcel arrives within the promised delivery time, which can vary by carrier."

Mirror struggles among crowded connected fitness space

DTC Fitness / Modern Retail: "Eighteen months after Lululemon’s $500 million Mirror acquisition, the connected fitness brand is struggling to scale. Per Lululemon’s latest quarterly earnings report, Mirror sales make up less than 3% of Lululemon’s total 2021 revenue. What’s more, Lululemon slashed Mirror’s revenue outlook by half." To be fair, Mirror is caught in the middle of a triangle of advantage. Stand alone apps are better at content, platforms like Peloton are better at cultivating on-screen talent, and Tonal is better at pure engineering. 

Does it make sense to categorize people by generation?

Sociology / New York Times: "Why is it that making sweeping generalizations about people on the basis of gender, race, sexuality or nationality is unacceptable, but stereotyping them based on arbitrarily defined “generations” is totally fine?" This presents a good question. We'd argue that psychographics are better measures of human behavior. It's why acronyms like CARLY and HENRY are thriving. 

Why Americans are rethinking where they want to live

Real Estate / Economist: In November 2020, we wrote: The second-order effect of the mass adoption of streaming and remote technologies is a digital electorate that may be unpredictable for quite some time. The American political industrial complex will have new behaviors to account for. It's beginning to take shape. "A two-hour commute a couple of days a week may be worthwhile, if it allows a bigger house and smaller mortgage payment. So might a move across the country, if one rarely has to travel to company headquarters. Adam Ozimek of UpWork, a freelancing platform, has estimated that some 14m to 23m Americans may relocate due to the rise of remote work, which amounts to between 9% and 13% of today’s workforce."

That big office building? It's an eCommerce warehouse now

Retail Real Estate / Wall Street Journal: This is another sign of the times. As eCommerce becomes more prevalent and remote work continues to eat into traditional office-going, office centers will need to find new use. "This is especially appealing for offices located in crowded cities where retailers face a scarcity of last-mile warehouses. Bridge, which bid on Allstate’s headquarters, is in contract to buy several office properties in a number of major U.S. cities and convert them to distribution facilities, Mr. Poulos said. Developers are also looking to turn suburban offices into schools or lab space, said JLL’s Mr. Ryan. In city centers, conversions of office towers into apartments and hotels are also becoming more common."

Vox Media, Group Nine Media in advanced talks to merge

Media / Wall Street Journal: We are beginning to see a realignment of sorts for the large, venture-funded media cohort. BuzzFeed is currently trading at an $832 million market cap and signs like this point to more consolidation. "The companies are discussing an all-stock transaction that would give Vox Media 75% ownership of the combined company, with the remaining 25% going to Group Nine Media, the people said. Vox Media Chief Executive Jim Bankoff would helm the company, the people said."


How soccer became every streaming service’s favorite sport

Streaming Economy / Bloomberg: Soccer has become the go-to sports property of the streaming era.

Harry's Labs makes acquisition of D2C deodorant brand Lumē

DTC Brands / TechCrunch: Harry’s Labs, the in-house incubator started by razor brand Harry’s Inc., announced Monday it agreed to acquire Lumē, the direct-to-consumer brand created to help control all-over body odor.



LTK, the social shopping platform founded in 2010 by influencer Amber Venz Box, is now valued at $2 billion following a $300 million round of capital led by Softbank Vision Fund. In a crowded and competitive landscape of social commerce and shoppable platforms, LTK has managed to carve out a unique position and cultivated staying power when other Instagram intermediaries have come and gone.

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