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Will Travel for Likes

Image via  On The Roofs

Image via On The Roofs

By now, it's well-known that millennials tend to value experiences over possessions. After all, you can get dozens of great Instagram and Snapchat shots on a trip to Havana, but sharing any more than a couple choice pics of your new ultra-hip Proba rug becomes an obvious humblebrag.

So how are millennials utilizing their vacation time for maximum social media impact in 2017?

The main challenge for a traveling millennial is avoiding overexposed locations. As more and more of the world gets snapped and filtered, enterprising young travelers find themselves needing to push the boundaries to get a photo that hasn't been seen before - even if it means taking their lives in their hands.

A better way to find some fresh experiences off the beaten path would be to use an app like Kindred, which connects travelers with friends-of-friends living in their destination city. With a local guide, the likelihood of having a No Reservations-style food adventure increases dramatically, and they may even know the best place to snap some killer sunset timelapses.

Unfortunately, another option is to visit locations that won't be around - at least in their current form - for much longer. "Last-chance tourism" is predicted to be a major trend in 2017, as vacationers flock to picturesque, sinking locations like the Maldives and Venice, and the rapidly-disappearing Great Barrier Reef.

The ultimate shareable vacation, though, might be one few millennials can afford. Elon Musk's SpaceX recently announced that it is hoping to send paying passengers on a trip around the moon sometime in 2018. While figures have yet to be announced, it can be assumed that the passengers are paying well into the tens-of-millions for their round trip - but we expect the toughest part will be waiting until they get back to upload their pics.

Into the Heart of Shane Dawson Fandom

When YouTube phenomenon Shane Dawson held a book signing at the Barnes & Noble below our office, we saw the chance to learn a little about fandom, YouTube culture, and what drives Gen Z kids to sit in 95º weather for six hours.

Get to Know Gen Z


Globally, there are about 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 - the largest youth population in history. This is Generation Z, and their interests, aspirations and fears have already begun to shape our world.

From Snapchat to Tumblr, emoji to meme culture, Generation Z speaks in images. Understanding the coded meaning in a viral pic represents a form of social acceptance that transcends all borders. 

Gen Z is stressed – from the global refugee crisis to the new emphasis on STEM and Common Core education, this generation feels the weight of the world on their shoulders. And it manifests in unexpected ways – even in fashion, with the rise of cozy, reassuring looks like Normcore and Athleisure. 

Food is an obsession for this generation. They watched Millennials build food truck empires and transform Sriracha into a mainstream phenomenon, and they see it as completely natural to spend their disposable income on the most unusual, authentic, flavorful meals – and share them with their friends.

Ready to learn more about these second-generation digital natives?



Underground Retail with a Digital Twist

Underground Retail with a Digital Twist

For retailers, 2015 will likely be remembered as a turning point. This was the year that Black Friday shoppers, enticed by convenience and repelled by long lines, bought more online than in brick-and-mortar stores. 

But can a brand successfully integrate both worlds? A newly-opened retail concept here in NYC thinks they've cracked it, and we brought a camera down to their subterranean flagship to find out how.

YouTube Launches TrueView for Shopping

YouTube Launches TrueView for Shopping

We've seen some great ideas for expanding the influence of YouTube advertising content - see, for example, Geico's brilliantly unskippable ads - but now, the video service is launching a new type of ad that will allow users to jump directly into purchasing the products they see. It's called TrueView for Shopping, and Google hopes that it'll transform "micro-moments" - those times when we turn to YouTube to help us learn a new skill, for example - into opportunities to shop for the items we might be learning about.

They've already tested the system with Sephora, and have seen some significant results in consideration and ad recall. With web video booming, but no clear way to turn that growth into revenue, we expect to see some really interesting tie-ins between video and shopping coming down the pike.

Feline (or Canine) Bonding Time

Feline (or Canine) Bonding Time

Today's animal lovers are looking for new ways they can share bonding experiences with their favorite dogs and cats. Luckily, there are a lot of new products and services that can help make those dreams come true.  

Share A Meal  

Over the past few years, we've seen cooking meals for pets move from the fringe towards the mainstream. Now, ABC Cooking Studio, a popular Japanese cooking school, has partnered with Purina's cat food brand MonPetit to help cat owners take this culinary trend to the next level. At the school, aspiring cat chefs can receive hands-on instruction on how to create four delicious meals suitable for both kitties and their owners to enjoy.  

Like the idea of dining alongside a cat, but don't have one of your own? Spend some quality time with a feline companion at New York's first permanent cat café, Meow Parlour. The concept has proven popular enough that the café now recommends making a reservation in advance. And the trend seems to be spreading – Oakland, CA cat lovers can already check out Cat Town Café, while Washington D.C. residents will soon be able to patronize Crumbs and Whiskers.

Run With The Dogs

Every dog owner has wondered what Fido is up to when left alone at home. A new high-tech collar called Wüf (which recently had a successful run on Kickstarter and is now in beta testing) promises to provide the answer. The collar has two-way, bluetooth-enabled audio, so owners can talk to their dog remotely or soothe him when he starts barking. The Wüf app also gathers data to give owners a clearer picture of the dog's lifestyle and habits, from his activity level over the course of the day to the different places he goes, tracked via GPS.  

If you want to see everything your dog sees, check out GoPro's Fetch. This harness lets owners attach one of the popular rugged action cams right to a dog's back or chest, so you can really view the world through his eyes!

Gustavo Stecher - Graphic Designer

Gustavo Stecher is a graphic designer and branding consultant from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has designed iconography for the Argentinean Bicentennial and a variety of brands. He has also created systems of iconography for cities around the world, working with their inhabitants to identify the images and symbols that best represent their home.

Malin + Goetz

Malin + Goetz is a skincare company "founded on the principle of how to make skincare easy and uncomplicated." They combine sleek packaging and natural, hypoallergenic ingredients to create a functional line of skincare products that work for the widest possible range of consumers.

Joe Salina - Babycastles

Joe Salina is a core member of BabyCastles, a DIY video game collective in NYC. In our interview we discuss the state of games, the mindset of the digital native generation, and BabyCastles' participation in the Maze - a collaborative art installation currently on display at the Secret Project Robot gallery in Williamsburg.

Letha Hadady

Interested in learning more about the world of traditional asian medicine? Earlier in the winter we were fortunate to get a tour of Chinatown's grocery stores and herb shops with Letha Hadady, a renowned expert on Chinese herbs and healing.

Priya Raghubir - Prof. of Marketing, Stern School of Business, NYU

The interplay between logic and emotion is key to understanding how consumers conceptualize value and Professor Raghubir 's research is honed in at this nexus. With an eye on communicating value both short and long term, Raghubir's work touches on how reference points and consumer expectations can affect the possibility of purchase -- both positively and negatively.