Say, Man, Let’s Get Really Toasted for a Change.

Does anyone really need a $400.00 toaster? I’m not sure. I mean I make my toast in the oven using the broiler because I don’t want a toaster sitting on my counters and my cabinets are filled with other stuff. Even if they weren’t I’m not sure I’d buy a $400.00 toaster. Never the less, if I were in the market for a toaster and money was no object, this is the toaster I would probably pick.

This is the BALMUDA toaster from Japan. Why is it worth $400.00? Let’s take a look and see. This toaster until recently was a Japan-only product designed to create the best toast in the world by adding water into the toasting process. That’s right water, and if you think it will make your toast soggy, you’d be quite wrong.

The water serves a special purpose, it uses steam technology and precise temperature control to bring out the best in every kind of bread. By pouring a small bit of water into the toaster at the beginning you allow the air to heat more rapidly while creating a layer of steam that envelops the bread as it toasts the surface. This traps inner moister in the bread and keeps the flavor from escaping. The end result is the best toast in the world according to BALMUDA. At 400 bucks it better take Wonder Bread and make it taste like something crafted by Italian bakers with centuries of history behind them.

The BALMUDA gives you four choices for toasting, one for each one hundred dollars you spend on the toaster. Sandwich Bread, Artisan Bread, Pizza, and Pastry modes. There is also an oven feature for cooking things like au gratin potatoes. Oven mode doesn’t use steam.

From a design perspective, the BALMUDA toaster looks great. A clean minimal design with easy to read controls. A small footprint of 8 by 14 inches. 3 color choices, black, dark gray, and white. There is a set of instructions across the top at the back of the toaster and that’s about it.

From a toast perspective I’m going to have to take BALMUDA’s word for it because I don’t own this toaster, won’t be buying this toaster, and haven’t had any toast made with this toaster.

There is a guy on YouTube that swears this is the greatest invention of all time. He has one, and he makes some serious toast with some serious Japanese bread in his video. I have to admit, the toasted bread looks pretty amazing, and I’m sure it smells great too. I’m still not convinced anyone needs a $400.00 toaster, although during the stay at home order during the Covid 19 pandemic, it might actually make life feel better.

Where Businesses are Advertising is Changing

The advertising and marketing industry has been stood on its head in the last month thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic. The economic situation is unpredictable, and the timeline for normalcy seems to be weeks if not months away. The changes that advertising and marketing are experiencing now are manifesting themselves in some very specific ways. 

Because so many cities and states are sheltering in place or have limited exposure rules, there is very little incentive to advertise at all. What is the point of doing a media buy if your target audience is missing during the local commute drive time? Why buy outdoor if the volume of traffic on freeways and local roads has been reduced by two thirds? If the audience isn’t there, the reason to advertise vaporizes.

Yes, people are watching TV, either trying to escape the nonstop news about the pandemic or get more information about it. The problem is, a large portion of popular content is gone. Every major sporting event in the United States has been canceled or delayed. The Olympics are on hold. Live event shows have been postponed, and all of these will remain in limbo until things have settled down and returned to normal.

Typically when a crisis forces people to stay home media consumption skyrockets. The Nelson group has found that it doesn’t matter what the source is consumption goes up, whether it’s live TV, streaming, internet, mobile gaming other channels. And while the news is attracting a larger audience base these days, most advertisers don’t want to position their product or service in relationship to the news on the Cover 19 pandemic.

So, Who is Advertising Changing?

The hospitality and entertainment industries for sure. Retail as well. These venues in many cases simply can not open their doors to the public. And those that continue to advertise are now being extremely sensitive with their messaging. You don’t want to come off as though you don’t care or understand the nature of this crisis. Pitching a product or service against the backdrop of a global pandemic could have long-lasting ramifications for your brand.

And What is Being Advertised?

Covid 19 has disrupted more than our socializing and work habits. It has made it more difficult to ship and receive goods. The global supply chain for many products has been ground to a halt or slowed significantly. Look at what Amazon is doing. They have refocused on high demand items, and restructure shipping priorities to hone in on medical supplies and household staples while slowing the shipment of nonessential goods. If an economic downturn settles in over the next few months, we might begin to see a shift in consumer demand and what brands decide to promote as well.

With he world in such an unsettled state at the moment, how can marketers and advertisers make effective marketing strategies and move forward?

What Does the Data Tell Us?

With the ground shifting on a day to day basis it’s easy to look past the data and simply react to the need at hand. “How quickly can we get this?” “We need X right now.” Being reactionary at this point in time is going to yield fewer gains than looking at your data and building a strategy based on it. Especially data that is updated daily and analyzed. Looking at end-of-week or end-of-month analytics will be too little to late. That historical information might mean very little in rapidly changing circumstances.

Update Your Approach

So much of what we do and know has changed in the last month or so. Your team’s focus has probably changed, as well as how they are producing and executing. Content and messaging have shifted as well. Media buy is probably focusing on different channels in an attempt to have the greatest impact from your spend. This is where your data becomes mission-critical. Why? because it can show you if you are being effective or if you are failing. Even the best creative will fall short if it isn’t delivered in a channel that reaches the right audience with the best impact. Using tools like Twitter Enterprise can help you understand how your brand is being perceived, how your product or service is being angered with during all of this. 

During periods of uncertainty, it’s imperative that your team pays attention, asks questions, and listens closely to what your target audience is saying in order to be responsive, and present relevant and engaging content.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball.

In times of crisis, it’s easy to get distracted and become more reactionary to the situation. Remember the phrase “Cooler heads will prevail”? There is so much truth in that statement. It’s easy to get caught up on everything that is happening in the world these days. Keeping a level head and your eye on the ball is a really good approach to the situation. Concentrate on the things you can control. Be that reassuring.

It all comes down to this, if you are in the business of advertising or marketing, pay attention to your data and analytics and use that information to provide relevant contentment and messaging to your target audiences. You should be doing that anyway, but now more than ever. The Covid 19 pandemic is altering the way we do business and will continue to do so long after we get the “all clear” message. This has the potential to reshape the marketing and advertising industry for an extended period of time if not permanently. 

Think about this. Most of us are working from home. How many businesses are going to see this as a chance to reduce overhead and allow people to continue to work from home after the pandemic ends? (refer to paragraph two and think about the impact over a longer period of time)

6 Minutes of Meditation to Help Ease Your Pandemic Woes. “As Above”

Everyone is just a bit stressed right now, and understandably so. We are for the most part all working from home. In some cases like mine, unable to see loved ones in person do to their location at an assisted living facility. There is the stress of not being able to socialize in person, which goes against the very nature of being human. Some of us are worried about finances, whether or not we will catch the Covid-19 virus, will I have enough toilet paper to last me, or will I have to go to the store and risk infection just to maintain my hygiene…

Let the video below help reduce your stress level by taking you to a place of tranquility and peace for 6 and a half minutes. If you have a large smart TV I suggest firing up the Vimeo app on it and watching this with the sound cranked up. If you don’t, make sure to watch this full screen on your computer or device for the best visual impact.

Oh, and by the way this was done in almost one single shot filmed on the 8mm2 (0.3 square inch) surface of a chemical reaction – making it a one of even more impressive.

“As Above” is a short film exploring the tight link between the microscopic world and immensity of the universe. Illustrating our universe’s never ending dance of destruction and creation, in which life can emerge…

As Above was made of one single shot filmed on the 8mm2 (0.3 square inch) surface of a chemical reaction.

The environment in which we live, is at the constant mercy of the ever changing flow of planets, stars and galaxies… As well as the composition of the microscopic world.
“As Above” is an invitation to contemplate the beauty of this perpetual movement of which we are part of… And perhaps invite the viewer to reflect on his position in the universe and the preciosity of life.

In the same ways, recent events have shown us that a microscopic virus could have a destructive
impact on humanity… A destructive impact counter weighted by a positive impact on our planets
global ecosystem.

Credits

Created by Roman Hill
Music by Thomas Vanz
Co-produced by Nano-Lab

Thanks to “Google Arts and Culture”, You Can Virtually Tour Your Favorite Art Museums.

I would rank the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as one of the top 10 in the United States, and I’m not just saying that because I work there. I’m saying it because it has such an amazing collection that is on par with other art museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, LACMA, Cleveland Museum of Art, San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, and so many others.

With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing right now, no one is going to any of the museums mentioned above. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your art on though. Thanks to Google Arts and Culture you can visit hundreds of art museums and in many cases take a virtual tour. I just did a walkthrough of the Uffizi in Florence Italy. And you dear reader can take that tour as well or visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to see why I say its one of the top ten in the country.

Take the Virtual Tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

We might be staying home, and keeping our distance from others for the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel cooped up. While it’s not the same as actually being at your museum of choice, it’s a pretty good alternative.