Lowdown: Early Outlook for Holiday Shopping Is Merry

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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.

Christmas decorations at a Walmart.
Christmas decorations at a Walmart. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Early predictions are reporting cheer for this holiday shopping season --despite the typical pullback in consumer spending on September and October due to a presidential election. Deloitte expects a 3.6% to 4% increase to more than $1 trillion in total holiday sales this year over last year. The consulting firm also anticipates a 17% to 19% increase in e-commerce sales to more than $96 billion compared with last year. Meanwhile, after surveying over 1,000 U.S. consumers, AlixPartners found that 83% plan to spend the same or more this year, and 32% plan to start holiday shopping earlier than last year. And some digital holdouts remain -- AlixPartners said 8% of those questioned do not plan to use any online resources to research products, and 6% will not make e-commerce purchases.

Shifting gears … While mass-produced, fully-functioning self-driving cars could still be years away, automakers this year have aggressively been touting driver-assistance technology in their advertising. The latest comes from Kia. In a pair of new spots by David&Goliath, the automaker gives a humorous take on distracted driving, while plugging features such as "lane-keep assist" and emergency braking. Take a look:

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Chobani has named the six smaller food companies that will be the first to go through Chobani Food Incubator, its new mentoring and support program. While the program is meant as a way for the startups to learn from the Greek yogurt maker, it also gives Chobani a chance to get an inside look at up-and-coming business trying to challenge the broader food industry. Other food marketers such as General Mills and Kellogg also search for early-stage food companies to partner with and potentially acquire. Chobani said that more than 400 companies applied for its program. The six companies it selected are Banza, a maker of chickpea pasta; Chops Snacks, which makes jerky; Cissé Cocoa Co., a maker of products such as baking mixes made with organic chocolate; Jar Goods, which sells jarred tomato sauces; Kettle & Fire, a maker of grass-fed bone broth; and Misfit Juicery, which makes cold-pressed juices, often with discarded produce. The inaugural class will run from October through March 2017, based out of Chobani's New York City office with access to the company's plants, R&D and sales offices. Chobani said it is giving each team $25,000 with no strings attached, equity-free capital and will cover travel and other expenses, At the end of the six months, the participants may showcase their products at the EXPO West Natural Foods Conference.

Dunkin' Donuts' most famous ties to the NFL are with its local team, the New England Patriots. That relationship includes videos featuring Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox singing summer songs about iced coffee. Now, the chain has hooked up with another NFL star who is "Running on a Cold Brew." Odell Beckham Jr. raps about drinking Dunkin' Donuts cold brew coffee in a new video. "Known for his incredible play making abilities, we wanted to showcase Odell's musical talents, which may be less well-known to fans," Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement. The new video also features songwriter/producer Kovas. Both the new video and the earlier ones featuring Gronk and Big Papi were created by SapientNitro. And Dunkin' already had a relationship with the Giants. Do you remember when Eli Manning manned the drive-thru lane in 2012? If not, here's a refresher. Dunkin' said it currently has no plans for another music video featuring Mr. Gronkowski or any other NFL players for 2016.

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Frye is infusing its old-school heritage with some new-school tech. The 153-year-old boot brand will open a new format store in San Francisco next month. The brand worked with New York-based the Science Project to create the 800-square-foot shop, which boasts a "Maker Wall" of leather swatches and RFID technology, and an inspiration board that will change on a quarterly basis. Frye will also allow local businesses to display their products in its new store. The Science Project has melded digital innovation with brick-and-mortar in similar instances for retail brands Uniqlo and Perry Ellis.

Shifting to the other foot, Sperry has named Horizon Media its agency of record. The boat shoe purveyor, which was founded in 1935 and is owned by Wolverine World Wide Inc., will display new products in coming months. Horizon will handle all media planning and activation, minus search and e-commerce. Last year, Sperry spent $15.3 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

MillerCoors CMO David Kroll.
MillerCoors CMO David Kroll.

Lastly, MillerCoors CMO David Kroll is gaining some new responsibilities as result of an organizational change. Blue Moon and Leinenkugel's, which had been housed in the brewer's Tenth and Blake craft and imports division, are being moved to MillerCoors' mainline operations, meaning Mr. Kroll will now oversee marketing. "With Tenth and Blake's acquisitions of Saint Archer, Terrapin, Hop Valley and Revolver, our craft portfolio has grown exponentially within the past 10 months. Thus, we've decided to focus Tenth and Blake on these strategic new partnerships in order to ensure their effective integration into the broader MillerCoors system, as well as providing the care and attention they need to expand the right way," MillerCoors said in a memo to distributors.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli