The struggle of boys and men, and useless swag.
WELCOME TO THE·BY·PRODUCT. A WEEKLY RECAP OF WHAT IS GOING DOWN & WHAT IS COMING UP ON THE INTERNET. THIS WEEK WE QUESTION WHY BOYS AND MEN ARE STRUGGLING. WHY DID KIA DO THAT? AND DOES ANYONE REALLY NEED ALL THAT CONFERENCE SWAG? THE ANSWERS FOLLOW BELOW IN THIS WEEKS COLLECTION OF LINKS.
THIS WEEK’S HOT TAKE
VIRGIL LIVES ON IN ALL OF US.
CATEGORY: RETAIL CHAINS
If a dark haired man is piling a mound of chocolate chips and coconut flakes atop your Chocolicious fro-yo at the 16 Handles in Times Square, he might just be the CEO of the entire chain. / Via Fortune
CATEGORY: DAD SHOES
It has been trending for quite sometime, but the Dad shoe is hitting harder than ever. One of the more sought-after sneakers of the moment looks like something my 60-something uncle would wear to mow the lawn.
A pared-back version of Japanese running brand Asics’ Gel-Kayano 14 model, produced in collaboration with JJJJound, a Canadian blog turned minimalist clothing brand, these shoes are mostly silver and gray and a bit clunky in shape with mesh-paneling along the toe. Their sexiest descriptor may be “drab.” / Via WSJ
CATEGORY: GEN.Z VC
“Gen Z VCs” has become a catch-all term for a burgeoning cohort of investors in their twenties, part of a generation born after 1997, keen on infiltrating venture capital’s ivory tower.
At funds that specialize in early-stage companies or consumer-facing startups, it’s crucial to be on the vanguard of “Gen Z culture.” Many, as a result, have employed recent graduates to the task. “It’s my job to do everything I can so that my general partners have access to founders they’re interested in within a week or two,” said Emily Herrera, a 23-year-old investor at Night Ventures, an early-stage consumer fund based in New York. / Via Dirt
CATEGORY: 80s NOSTALGIA
Adidas Originals has partnered with Los Angeles-based brand Sporty & Rich for an apparel and footwear collection. The collaboration draws inspiration from Adidas’ archives and vintage sportswear references, while mixing them with Sporty & Rich’s ethos of rest and replenishment. Sporty & Rich’s founder Emily Oberg looked to ‘80s Adidas campaigns to influence her design process. / WWD
CATEGORY: TIK TOK
TikTok is on track to make nearly $10 billion in ad revenue this year, and with users spending an average of 96 minutes a day on there — nearly five times what they spend on Snapchat, triple the time on Twitter, and twice as much as Facebook and Instagram — that number is only going to climb. However, many suspect that TikTok’s numbers are inflated, making anecdotes like this one far less powerful:
Last month, Tiffany & Company shared a sleek black-and-white video featuring the pop superstar Beyoncé dripping in gems and surrounded by nightclub revelers. The minute-long jewelry ad was posted on Instagram, where it drew 1.6 million views. A week later, Tiffany posted a different video on TikTok, the viral short-video app. That ad showed the social media personality Kate Bartlett talking directly to viewers from a bathroom and then trying on small trinkets at a Tiffany store. It has been watched more than 5.2 million times. / Via NY Times.
CATEGORY: NO SWAG
After a two-year hiatus, conferences are starting back up. Many of us are excited to put on our best work outfits and gather with colleagues in person. But is anybody looking forward to a return of the cheap swag–the ugly water bottles, flimsy pens, ill-fitting t-shirts–we used to lug home in pre-pandemic times?
For decades, companies have taken advantage of live events to hand out promotional products. Sometimes, they use swag to attract new customers or to entice prospective employees; they might gift branded goods to employees or clients to cultivate loyalty. All of this has given birth to a global industry that pumps out a whopping $64 billion in swag, sold by suppliers like 4imprint and Crestline, which will take a brand’s logo and slap it on almost anything. / Via FastCo
CATEGORY: NEW LOGO, WHO DIS
Last year, Kia decided that it was going to bring the brand into the 21st century. And it did exactly that by revamping its logo into something a bit more modern—gone is the old circular logo and in is the new look. There's just one problem: people can't seem to actually read it on a car. / Via The Drive.
CATEGORY: OH MAN
Why are men and boys struggling? What should we do about it? Those questions are top of mind this week due to the Brookings scholar Richard Reeves and his just-released book, Of Boys and Men, which proceeds from the proposition that “men at the top are still flourishing, but men in general are not.” Men are struggling in school, in the job market, and in family life; they are the gender most likely to end up in prison and most vulnerable to “deaths of despair.” / Via The Atlantic