The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
Helen Mirren is the latest makeup pitchwoman to embrace the no-makeup look. Ms. Mirren, 71, signed in 2014 as one of the faces of L'Oreal Paris and is featured in the 2017 Pirelli calendar without heavy makeup alongside Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman and Penelope Cruz. She told the BBC: "I think it would be wonderful if it became a fashion. Things are always cyclical, so I suspect we might have reached saturation with the whole selfie thing and maybe we're moving in another direction. It would be great if we are, without being puritanical, because I love makeup, dressing up, so I don't want to be 'Oh we've all got to go without makeup.'" She joins Kim Kardashian, of Kardashian Beauty fame, who allegedly attended Paris Fashion Week in October with no makeup, wearing only moisturizer. Chrissy Teigen, Alicia Keys and Beyonce (another face of L'Oreal) also have made notable "no makeup" appearances in the past year.
If you are tweeting about a New Year's Eve kiss, chances are that you are in a bad mood. Marketing technology company Amobee found that between Dec. 26-27 there were more than 18,000 tweets around the phrase "New Year's Eve kiss." But the sentiment surrounding the phrase was 97% negative. Why? Because "people tweeting about a New Year's Eve kiss are really stressed out that they're they're not going to get one," according to Amobee. As for brands in the matchmaking business, the best time to start New Year's Eve campaigns is the Friday before Christmas because that is when the singles search for New Year's Eve dates intensifies, Amobee found. So how are brands doing? From Dec. 23-28, Match.com's New Year's related digital engagement increased 187% compared with a similar period last year. Tinder's engagement jumped 177% and eHarmony saw a 45% increase, according to Amobee.
Looking beyond the holiday and into 2017, industry watchers are making their predictions for the new year. In the food sector, one of five trends NPD Group is keeping an eye on is the continued development of what it calls the "blended meal," in which people essentially mix a bit of true at-home cooking with items that come somewhat or fully prepared. "Opportunity exists all along the preparation spectrum, from meal kits to restaurant delivery," NPD Group said. It also predicts that "the definition of meal occasions will evolve. People aren't adding new eating occasions to their day, but how meal and between-meal occasions are composed will continue to change." NPD Group noted that for several years running, Americans have sourced 80% of their meals from home, but dollars between at-home and foodservice dining are split 50/50 between the two. And Nielsen reports that sales of produce where some of the work has been done (pre-cut, pre-seasoned, side dishes and food trays), grew strongly. Sales of such fruits rose 9.4% and sales of such vegetables were up 8.9% in a recent period.
Meanwhile, clean label and healthy trends are expected to keep chugging along, with companies continuing to move away from some artificial ingredients toward ones consumers place more trust in. Organic products remain hot, with Nielsen reporting that U.S. volume sales of products with an organic claim on packaging rose 13.1% over the 52 weeks ended July 30. And according to Nielsen, 48% of U.S. consumers choose local, natural and organic products when possible, so "there is a huge growth opportunity for retailers and manufacturers who offer organic product assortments." Plus, keep an eye on foods that offer alternatives, such as meat substitutes and dairy milk alternatives "based on nuts and pulses," according to Maria Mascaraque, health and wellness analyst, Euromonitor International. Also at Eurmonitor International, Alan Rownan, ethical labels analyst, said "there will also be an enhanced focus on the intersection of corporate social responsibility and sourcing, for those that look to gain a competitive edge through ethical initiatives and increased supply chain transparency."
Here's one last look back at Christmas and how Duracell might have saved the holiday -- at least for some parents in Chicago and the Upper Midwest who forgot to lay in a supply of batteries. The Berkshire Hathaway brand joined urban logistics firm Postmates to provide home delivery in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis to folks to put in orders via DuracellExpress.com on Christmas Eve. The service, outlined in a video from Wieden & Kennedy, New York, was promoted through geo-targeted ads on social media as well as publicity managed by Citizen, including TV appearances by former Cubs catcher David Ross, who also distributed toys to economically disadvantaged children via Toys for Tots. The idea was to remind people not to forget to buy batteries, but also to provide last-minute fill-ins for those who did. A third of consumers nationwide forget to buy batteries for Christmas gifts, said Ramon Velutini, VP-marketing of Duracell.
Dove has launched a customized animated message generator for moms to boost their daughters' confidence at LoveYourHair.Dove.com. The app lets moms upload photos of their daughters to generate messages they can share on social media. It's all about combating hair shaming, part of a "Love Your Hair" campaign launched last year to combat societal pressure that eight in 10 women feel to wear their hair a certain way, according to the Unilever brand.
Goodyear -- which is the title sponsor of the Cotton Bowl Classic -- has made sculptures of the mascots of the two competing teams made entirely of tires. The statues of the University of Wisconsin's badger and the Western Michigan University's bronco will be unveiled Thursday in advance of the game. The brand teased the effort in a Facebook video below.
Lastly, one executive move to report this week:
Del Frisco's Restaurant Group named Brandon Coleman III as its first chief marketing officer. He will lead marketing strategy for Del Frisco's three chains: Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak house, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Del Frisco's Grille. Mr. Coleman was most recently management consultant and CEO of Brava Partners, a management consulting firm he founded in 2014. His prior restaurant experience includes serving as CMO of Romano's Macaroni Grill. "Brandon is a leader who excels at building and enhancing brand equity to help drive immediate and lasting results," Norman Abdallah, who was named CEO of Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in November, said in a statement.