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Staring cockeyed into the future

BY Rob Eder

“When Opti-Grab came out, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. And I bought a pair. And this is the result, ”a badly cross-eyed Carl Reiner says during his mock press conference in Steve Martin’s 1979 comedy classic “The Jerk.”

“This little handle is like a magnet. Your eyes are drawn to it, and you end up cockeyed.”

I remember thinking about that scene when I first heard about Google Glass a few years ago. Like the little handle Navin R. Johnson solders on to the bridge of Stan Fox’ glasses to keep them from slipping off his face, it seems like a great idea until Carl Reiner winds up on national TV announcing a $10 million class action suit against you.

Don’t get me wrong — particularly, any of you lawyers over at Google. I am not saying Google Glass is going to make you cross-eyed. But let’s just say I wouldn’t want to find out the hard way.

It’s just too much to look at less than an inch from your eyeball — kind of like when I was a kid and I thought it was a good idea to see movies like “Star Wars” in the front row of the theater. It’s just too much.

Which is kind of how I feel about the Apple Watch, too. Again, don’t take this the wrong way — particularly, the legal department in Cupertino this time — but it’s just an awful lot to pack into a screen that only measures 1.49 inches diagonally.

I think there is a big future for wearable technology, particularly as it relates to health care. But I am not convinced that watches or eyeglasses are the right application.

I know that the technology is going to continue to evolve at an alarming rate. I understand that the lousiest smartphone you can find is smarter than the computers that guided the Apollo moon landings.

And for that kind of money, I think a watch needs to look good. I am not alone. According to a survey of more than 1,000 consumers conducted by Carlisle & Gallagher, 53% say a wearable device should “look attractive.”

Smaller isn’t necessarily better when it comes to a watch face, but we are probably not too far off from the device itself to be able to self-contain into your watchband — or even just the buckle.

Frankly, if I am spending $10,000 for a watch, it better be a Breitling.

Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

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DSN, Mack Elevation launch New General Market platform

BY DSN STAFF

The New General Market Leadership platform — a Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum co-produced industry platform — kicked off before NACDS Annual Meeting with a special reception featuring guest speaker Michael Yormark, president of Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Yormark’s talk, “The Power of Authenticity and Experience in Reaching Today’s Diverse Consumer,” explored why real consumer intimacy and authenticity are core to creating an “emotional connection” with today’s consumers.

Yormark’s presentation was introduced by Rich Dennis, co-founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, a leader and pioneer in identifying and responding to this cultural shift, and a core partner in the development of the New General Market platform. Dennis shared Sundial’s history and vision for creating products for diverse consumers based on unique, unmet needs; focusing on fair trade practices, natural and certified organic ingredients; and doing business under the model of community commerce, sourcing ingredients from seven women’s co-ops in Northern Ghana.

The New General Market Leadership platform was developed behind a mission to bring together leading companies that have demonstrated commitment to building a strong community and thought leadership with a diverse consumer base.

Next up, the program heads to Chicago on May 27, for an exclusive one-day industry forum aimed at helping leading CPG companies forge strong, emotional connections with today’s changing New General Market consumer. Hosted by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum, the one-day forum will include a presentation from Sundial’s Dennis and Walgreens GVP/GMM for beauty and personal care Shannon Curtin, on their companies’ shared vision for connecting with today’s New General Market Consumer. In addition, the May 27 forum will focus on eight key pillars:

  • Identifying the New General Market — who are they, how do they think and what are their unmet needs?
  • More than just diversity of color or race, the New General Market is about diverse views.
  • How millennials are influencing and inspiring the New General Market.
  • Rethinking the in-store experience, product groupings and activation.
  • Creating authentic brand communities with the New General Market.
  • Building cultural competency and influence in a changing world.
  • Creating an holistic brand investment strategy with the New General Market.
  • Measuring success with the New General Market.

“We have brought together companies who are very open and have built relationships with consumers based on their aspirations and values — not just their demographic profile,” said DSN publisher Wayne Bennett.

Mack Elevation Forum managing director Dan Mack added: “We hope to spark a conversation with the industry … sharing how some of the top brands are building authentic, emotional relationships with today’s changing consumer and the in-store implications, product groupings and activation that are a part of that.”

Participating companies include Sundial Brands, Beiersdorf, Paris Presents, Wahl Home Products, Unilever, Fleet, Hello Products, Mentholatum, Kao Brands, Ansell, Combe, Dentek and others.

The collective insights from the forum will be summarized in a series of special DSN reports.

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Ad Age: Exclusive vitamin brand Olly shaking things up at Target

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — In a story of what good merchandising can do to lift category sales, Target generated more than $1 million in sales over the first two weeks its exclusive vitamin brand Olly was on store shelves, Olly founder Eric Ryan told Ad Age in a report published Wednesday
 
The brand is exclusive to Target for one year, according to the report, though an e-commerce site pitching Olly will debut in June, Ad Age reported. The brand is built on its promise, which delivers experience over ingredients, for example, sleep vs. melatonin or beauty vs. biotin. 
 
Ryan drew on his experience revolutionizing the cleaning-products category through design. "I could not find a worse aisle in the store [than supplements] that was difficult to shop or had more uninspiring brands," Ryan told Ad Age. "Shoppers would literally stress out trying to find something healthy for them. It's just a sea of confusion."
 
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