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The Hustle

General Mills’ Monster Cereals has a new mascot for the first time in 35 years. Carmella Creeper, a zombie DJ and long-lost cousin of Franken Berry, will join Count Chocula and the gang this Halloween repping a caramel apple-flavored marshmallow cereal.

In today’s email:

  • All the singles, ladies: Women spent big this summer.
  • Come for the meatballs: How Ikea tricks you into buying more.
  • Sambas: Adidas’ timeless shoe is thriving.
  • Around the web: A quick game, a beguiling pup, a funny website, and more.

👇 Listen: Birthday tidings for Google, Elon borrows $1B from SpaceX, and the Chinese government bans iPhones.

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The big idea
Collage on colorful background, from left to right: Margot Robbie as Barbie behind the wheel of a pink car, Taylor Swift flexes her arm, Beyoncé Knowles sings into a microphone.

Women’s spending power is the story of the summer

Economically, it’s been a summer for the girls. Just looking at women-targeted entertainment alone tells the story:

  • Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has made $1.38B+ since its July release.
  • Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour impacted inflation rates in the UK and Sweden — and may gross $2B+ by the fall.
  • Taylor Swift’s Eras tour is projected to generate $4.6B in US consumer spending.

This boom in women’s consumer spending has been attributed to post-pandemic “revenge spending” habits — but it’s actually been in the works for some time.

Women have held economic power for years…

… They were just spending it differently. Major economic and demographic shifts over the last decade have impacted how women now spend their money, per The Wall Street Journal:

  • More women opting to have children later in life, if at all
  • Higher female workforce participation and wage increases compared to the prior decade
  • Evolving household gender roles

In other words, women have more money and agency over how they spend it than ever before, and female audiences are spending on goods and experiences that align with their personal interests.

That’s good news for everyone

This trend has propelled Beyoncé and Taylor Swift to top-grossing tours; it has also pumped millions of dollars into local economies:

  • Beyoncé’s Philadelphia show resulted in a 30% search bump for the area’s restaurants, and a 193% surge for its nail technicians.
  • Swift’s Cincinnati stop generated $92m for local businesses.

The key takeaway from this summer shouldn’t be turning every last toy into a movie, but far more simple: When customer groups feel seen, heard, and understood, they show up in a big way.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Adorable: “Stray,” Annapurna Interactive’s video game where you play as a cat in a decaying city full of robots, is getting an animated feature. Annapurna Animation head Robert Baird described the genre as “hopepunk,” or optimism against tyranny.


The European Commission named six Big Tech companies — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance — as “gatekeepers,” and will hold them to stricter rules under the Digital Markets Act.

Ethan Sutin, co-founder of Squad, an app acquired by Twitter in 2020, is suing X, alleging the company fired him to avoid paying him in full for the deal.

Polestar plans to launch not just its first SUV, but a new smartphone in China in December. The Swedish EV maker has partnered with Chinese smartphone maker Xingji Meizu on the device.

Disney is expected to initiate a buyout of Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu this month, according to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. The deal would give Disney full control of the streaming service and make Comcast ~$30B wealthier.

Gamer grub: Japanese noodle maker Nissin Foods is releasing soup-free, caffeinated Cup Noodles — the latest unexpected product launch — to help late-night gamers stay awake and keep their keyboards clean.

The Panama Canal, plagued by drought, has become so congested that one shipper paid $2.4m in an auction held by canal authorities to jump the line. While the winner is unknown, big spenders are typically liquified petroleum or natural gas carriers.

Reese Witherspoon sold a 70% stake in her fashion and lifestyle brand, Draper James, to private equity group Consortium Brand Partners for an undisclosed amount. Witherspoon will remain a partner and board member.


Being an entrepreneur? Not easy. Being an entrepreneur without a lively online presence that drums up all the opportunities? Well, that’s damn near impossible. Learn how to supercharge your personal brand with 10 easy reads.

A meatball of exaggerated size sits on a purple sofa and wears a gold crown.

Watch: How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff

If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you know it feels different — an overwhelming maze of household goods staged in hyperrealistic showrooms.

  • They also sell meatballs, which is… well, ultimately kinda weird for a furniture retailer.

But Ikea remains an industry leader, with sales growing year over year. That’s because its eccentricities are intentionally engineered to prompt unplanned purchases and get people coming back for more.

Take the store’s design, for instance:

  • Most retail stores are organized on an open floor to let customers roam freely. But in stores like these, customers typically only see ~33% of available products.
  • Ikea has a different approach, ushering customers into a one-way maze that winds through the store, exposing them to the entire Ikea catalog.
  • Every once in a while, that maze takes a sharp turn, adding an element of suspense and curiosity — and helping people forget why they came to the store in the first place. In that state, people wind up making unplanned purchases.

This may help explain why six out of 10 Ikea purchases are impulse buys — and why you ought to watch this full video.

How do the store’s self-assembled furniture and food options trick us into buying more? Come bask in Swedish craftsmanship and craftiness.

Watch full video →
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Repackage your business with the strategy guide that sums up how to brand like the champs — by auditing your content, nailing the design, and deepening user experience.

Explained in the ebook:

  • Evaluate your brand
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  • Monitor engagement

About four in five buyers buy based on trust — but you’ve gotta earn it.

Brand identity guide →
Foot work
Feet wearing black Adidas Sambas with white ankle socks.

Your childhood sneakers are keeping Adidas afloat

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and one middle schooler’s sneaker is now the shoe of the summer.

The Adidas Samba, first introduced in 1949 to help soccer players train on icy fields, is having a renaissance.

What was once a humble, affordable sneaker popular with athletes and kids at recess is now a high-fashion status symbol.

  • Celebrities like A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, and Bella Hadid were photographed sporting Sambas as early as 2021, and Jonah Hill created his own sneaker.
  • Collaborations with fashion brands like Wales Bonner cemented the sneaker as a must-have.
  • The hashtag #adidassamba has 534m+ views on TikTok and the shoe has taken off on social media.

They’ve sold out multiple times on Adidas’ site, and Google searches for the shoe are at an all-time high.

On resale sites like StockX, some Sambas are selling for as much as 8x their original prices. ($800+ Sambas, anyone?)

This comes at a good time…

… for a brand that recently hit a massive roadblock.

Adidas needed to fill a Kanye-shaped hole after the company cut ties with the rapper and Yeezy sales dropped $441m YoY.

The brand had its hands full with $1.3B of unsold stock, and its North American market saw sales decline 20%.

But Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden remains optimistic: He says that the Sambas are part of a new franchise for the business, and that it “can be millions and millions of pairs.”

To kick off the next era…

… Adidas is going all-in on its (new) favorite child: It launched a Samba pop-up in Shanghai and hosted aSamba Cafe with Pharrell Williams during Paris Fashion Week.

Now for some Adidas trivia: The first Sambas looked more like leather hiking boots, and the shoes only came in black until 2011.

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🗞️ On this day: In 1813, a newspaper reported on “Uncle Sam,” leading to its use as a nickname for the US. Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who shipped supplies to the US Army during the War of 1812; they were labeled “U.S.” for “United States,” but referred to as “Uncle Sam’ by soldiers.

💊 Haha: Someone made an entire website for Devlin MacGregor, the pharmaceutical company in the 1993 thriller The Fugitive.

🖼️ Art: Pictures of Paintings is like walking through a virtual art gallery (and it’s very pretty, too).

🔪 Cure boredom: “Slices” is a simple game in which you slice an object so that only one dot appears in each portion.

🐕 Aww: And now, how to get your way.

Friday afternoon meetings meme

Do the right thing today: hit “cancel” on everything on deck tomorrow. (Link)


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