📀Redbox goes beyond DVDs

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The Hustle

A new FTC report found more cigarettes were purchased in 2020 than in 2019 — the 1st uptick in 20 years — as tobacco companies spent $7.84B on marketing. Manufacturers sold 203.7B cigs in 2020, enough for ~618 for every person in the US. D.A.R.E. officers are losing their minds.

Today’s rundown:

  • Redbox: It’s much more than a DVD kiosk, and it just went public.
  • Candy Corn: It may be polarizing, but it sells.
  • Spritz Society: A pro meme-er is launching a sparkling wine.
  • Around the Web: A site for generating nonsensical tech jargon, simple Wikipedia, a 3.5k-year-old ghost depiction, and more.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
Redbox kiosk

Redbox just IPO’d, and it’s out to prove there’s more than meets the kiosk

We’ve all been there — marching out of a 7-Eleven, slurpee in hand, when you see it glowing in the distance: the Redbox kiosk, like a lighthouse in the storm of your Friday night.

The company, a relic of our pre-streaming past, hit the public markets this week in a SPAC deal that raised ~$88m, per Variety.

The move marks a new era for the kiosk king of DVD rentals

Which is timely — according to Nielsen, DVD and Blu-ray player ownership dropped from 90% in 2008 to 67% in 2018 (and only 57% among people ages 18 to 34 — a coveted demographic for advertisers).

While Redbox still operates ~40k kiosks, it’s broadened its offering to better fit modern consumption habits. New developments include:

  • Redbox Entertainment: Its production arm that acquires and releases a variety of genre movies at modest budgets
  • Redbox Free Live TV: An ad-supported channel that launched in February 2020 and has reached 1m monthly active viewers
  • Redbox On Demand: A streaming service that offers free viewing and the ability to rent or buy a list of titles

Together, the new offerings help Redbox work toward its goal of becoming a one-stop shop for entertainment.

But Redbox isn’t dumping its DVD collection quite yet

In December 2020, the firm launched Redbox+, an annual subscription that lets customers rent 12 to 24 DVDs at a time.

CEO Galen Smith says its hybrid approach makes Redbox unique compared to digital-only companies that never actually turn a profit.

Plus, given Gen Z’s budding interest in early 2000s nostalgia, Redbox may have a hidden goldmine waiting in the wings.

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SNIPPETS

Happy Halloween: Chipotle is opening a virtual restaurant on Roblox where it’s giving away $1m in free burritos. There is also a “Boorito Maze.” #ecommerce-retail

Aha!: “Carbon neutral,” “mitigation,” “tipping point.” Here’s a guide to understanding climate change jargon. #clean-energy

Adorable: “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic released a new AR app, “Pikmin Bloom.” As you go about your daily life, add a little cuteness by planting and growing little creatures called Pikmins. #emerging-tech

Get it? Tor?: A global sting called “Operation Dark HunTOR” led to 150 arrests. The suspects are accused of buying or selling illegal goods on the dark web. #privacy

Woof: Shiba inu’s value shot up 35% Wednesday, bringing its market value to ~$25B. It could surpass dogecoin, another cryptocurrency based on the same dog. #fintech-crypto

Google Pixel’s handy Call Screen feature — which blocks spam calls — will roll out in 7 new markets, including Australia, the UK, and Spain. Previously, it was only available to users in the US, Japan, and Canada. #big-tech

Candy Corn
candy corn

Candy corn is Halloween’s most polarizing candy, but people are still buying it

Candy corn was invented by Wunderlee Candy Company employee George Renninger in the 1880s, then popularized by the Goelitz Confectionery Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Co.). At the time, it was known as “Chicken Feed,” which makes sense because chickens eat corn, right?

Today, Brach’s Confections is the largest manufacturer of the treat, making ~7B pieces per year, per Fox Business. In 2018, Brach’s sold $73m+ worth.

This year, total Halloween candy sales have already hit $324m as of Oct. 4, up 48% from the same period in 2020, per the National Confectioners Association.

So it could be a big year for candy corn, assuming that Ferrara — the Chicago-based company that owns Brach’s — can recover from a ransomware attack earlier this month that’s been causing order issues.

Who eats this stuff anyhow?

Brach’s recently looked at sales data to determine which states buy the most candy corn:

1. California

2. Texas

3. Florida

4. New York

5. Michigan

Meanwhile, the states that buy the least include:

1. Alabama

2. Hawaii

3. Nebraska

4. Vermont

5. Wisconsin

If you haven’t had any candy corn yet, don’t despair. The treat is made in a variety of holiday flavors, including — this is not a joke — Thanksgiving Dinner + Apple Pie and Coffee.

Recently, brave taste tester Heather Martin’s review of the candy went viral. She called the stuffing flavor “an unrepentant violation of the Geneva Convention,” and the green beans option “unforgivable.”

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Spritz SZN
Spritz Society cans

Spritz Society is breaking into the soon-to-be $3B+ canned cocktail market

There’s a meme Instagram account called @BoyWithNoJob.

It has 1.6m followers and chances are you’ve seen it. (A recent nugget of wisdom: “Delete ‘lol’ from the end of your sentences and just say what you need to say.”)

When you have an audience that big, you can launch products:

Enter Spritz Society…

… a spritzer wine cocktail that recently hit markets, per PureWow. Founded by Ben Soffer (the man behind @BoyWithNoJob), the brand is jumping into the fast-growing canned cocktail market.

According to CNBC, this category of the alcohol market is still small (3% of total) but growing fast (+50% from 2019 to 2020) and projected to reach $3B-$4B in the next few years.

The value prop

Aside from leaning into a built-in audience, Soffer’s brand has higher end inputs: Spritz Society is made from 100% white wine whereas many canned cocktails contain malt liquor.

Spritz Society comes in 4 flavors (Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Pineapple, Lemonade), and like any ecommerce brand worth its salt, has a subscription option.

This playbook has been executed to great effect before: In 2019, another popular Instagram meme account — @TheFatJewish — sold its wine brand, Babe Wine, to alcohol giant Anheuser-Busch InBev.

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TRENDS

9 community-sourced business ideas

It’s not just the Trends team brainstorming the next winners.

Our members do plenty of deep-diving themselves. They’re catching opportunities from the rabbit holes you’re too busy to dig into.

A few favorites from our latest community roundup:

Cohort-based courses are crushing: Learning in tandem with a community is leading to 80%-90% higher completion rates than its solo/DIY counterparts. Trends member Rachel points to course creation platforms like Maven and Mighty Networks to cite the big opportunities in digital education.

Real estate inefficiencies are leaving a lot of value on the table. Jared waited 5 weeks on a title insurance surveyor while trying to close a sale, and Scott doesn’t see why you can’t “try-before-you-buy” with new homes. Since that’s the way everything seems to be going.

The comeback of direct mail is not sexy, but very much upon us. Seth (who hosts a podcast with Shark Tank creator Kevin Harrington) highlights why there will be a ton of demand for new direct mail services — think, VR integrations, voice-activated CTAs, trigger-send postcards.

And there’s a lot more where that came from.

Get hot market reports and growth hacks galore when you try one week of Trends for just $1.

Try now →
AROUND THE WEB

🗽 On this day: In 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. The gift from France was originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

🤓 Useful: Simple English Wikipedia contains 197.7k+ articles written with basic English words and short sentences. It’s ideal for children, people who are learning English or speak it as a 2nd language, and anyone who just wants a quick, easy read.

​​📱 TikTok tips: Want to trend on the popular short video app? Read this step-by-step breakdown.

💩 Haha: Make Bullshit generates nonsensical tech jargon. Click the button to get phrases like “aggregate extensible infomediaries” and “synthesize leading-edge e-markets.”

🎃 Art: Gourdlandia in Ithaca, New York, is where artist Graham Ottoson grows gourds to turn into a vast art collection, including lamps, masks, and more. If you can’t visit IRL, check out the galleries.

👻 Spooky: According to British Museum curator Irving Finkel, a 3.5k-year-old Babylonian tablet may feature the earliest depiction of a ghost. The back of the tablet describes how to perform an exorcism.

🔒 How to: In the 1st of a 2-part series on digital safety, Ars Technica explains the basic security steps everyone should be taking with their online devices.

Pic of the day
Redbox meme

Pay if forward! (Source: Memedroid)

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