February 1, 2023

Cuppa 12: Puma invests, Unboxing Experiences, Birchbox, Livestream Shopping, Metaverse

Sasha Jeppesen
Head of Creative

Welcome to the latest issue of Cuppa, a quick-fire newsletter for internet-first brand builders. Filled with analysis on the art, science and culture of building breakout brands in a digital age, it's quick enough to read over a cuppa. (Or something stronger, if you're still recovering from that Meta video...). To get it direct to your inbox every other Tuesday, subscribe here.


Puma invests in 17-year-old Mikey Williams

I don't know much about basketball, but I do know that brands place a lot of money into ambassadorships with NBA athletes. So when news broke that Puma signed a multi-year contract with a high-schooler, who is still 3 years away from even being eligible for the NBA draft, it caught my attention. This type of deal has never happened before in the influencer and basketball landscape. It signals to me that investing in “potential influence" is going to become a more popular tactic. So often brands wait until a talent hits the mainstream to pounce with their offer, and then it's just a competitive bloodbath to see who gets the deal. It also makes the relationship blatantly transactional from the start. Investing early creates stronger relationships and longer-term success. So in instance, when Mikey becomes the next NBA all-star, we know who he'll be making a shoe with.

Is Zara is finally investing in its brand?

Recently I was standing in the never-ending returns line at Zara - IYKYK - and I became mesmerised by a video playing behind the counter. It had a mood. It had personality. It was luxurious. Things I've never associated Zara with. As it turns out, this might be part of their new strategy to move beyond the fast-fashion category.

Why Apple invests so much in the unboxing experience

Are you having a hard time explaining to your team the value of good packaging? I've got the Twitter thread for you. Penned by Trung Phan, this thread breaks down why Apple (the packaging OG's) invests so much time into building an unboxing experience.



Acquired for $45M, Birchbox is now betting on personalised healthcare  

Best-known for popularising the beauty subscription box model, Birchbox has been acquired by women's health startup FemTec Health. With Birchbox's successful subscription operations (300,000 plus subscribers) and FemTec's BiomeAI platform to make personalised health recommendations, together they might be the ones to make the subscription healthcare model mainstream.

Sephora is hacking Google search to make Black Beauty visible

Black Beauty is behind many of the trends, products, and styles we love. However, when you Google search Black Beauty, you are met with pages upon pages of search results highlighting a fictional horse. This is strange since Black people spend a whopping $1.1 billion on beauty products annually. So to fight the search engine bias, Sephora has executed a tagging and search strategy that influences the algorithm and brings Black Beauty to the top of search results.

Do you have a livestream strategy?

Viewership for livestream shopping hasn't accelerated as quickly as predicted in the west, but experts believe there's still promise. Waves of investments in tech are being made and consumers are becoming used to using video platforms like TikTok for product inspiration. Mainstream status for the format might still be five to ten years away, but brands are already prepping for the minute it takes off.

6 influencer marketing tips from an influencer

Bookmark and refer back to this Twitter thread before engaging in influencer campaigns to keep your outreach methods and content briefings in check.

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Brands are already prepping for the minute it takes off


Flox, an app to help friend groups meet

I'm a sucker for following the success of new social-networking apps. Will they go mainstream? Or will they be a flash in the pan moment (cough, Clubhouse, cough)? The latest app I've got my eye on is Flox. With a modern solution to platonic networking and a waitlist of over 20,000, their future looks promising.

3 perspectives on the metaverse to make you think

Last Thursday's rebrand announcement was a lot to take in, and the general reaction has been negative - with a light sprinkle of memes to ensure things didn't get too dark. But if you're like me and don't like getting too doom and gloom about big tech, here are three viewpoints on the news to help balance things out: 1. How meta could revolutionise healthcare. 2. It's all just a PR tactic. 3. Focus less on FB and more on the value extraction from the Metaverse.

Modern doomsday prep kits: great design or opportunistic?

When I think of disaster prepping, I usually think of survivalist-type men in the woods building bunkers. To challenge this stereotype and make emergency prepping more approachable a new wave of companies has arisen: ones that are using modern design to cater to a more style-conscious clientele. But they do come with Kardashian-approved price tags, leaving room to debate whether or not they are actually helpful to those who need them most.

Sasha Jeppesen
Head of Creative
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