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If you’re in Pasadena next week, visit CatCon to see Uncaged: The Unbearable Weight of Genius Cat Art, an art show inspired by Nicolas Cage and his cat.

In today’s email:

  • “Lorcana”: Disney’s trading card game.
  • Chart: Hertz is going electric.
  • Digits: Plasma, funerals, and Hallmark.
  • Around the Web: Virtual hugs, food history, stunning astronomy photos, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Rob talk Disney’s big bet, Hertz’s electrification, Apple’s Super Bowl play, angry Googlers, and much more.

The big idea
Lorcana cards

Zachary Crockett

Disney’s move into trading cards

Walt Disney’s convoluted flow chart of revenue streams is getting a new addition.

Earlier this month, Disney released the first batch of trading cards from its upcoming game, “Lorcana,” and they’re already fetching $2k+ on the resale market, per Polygon.

Lorcana was designed…

… in collaboration with board game maker Ravensburger, and is set for a fall 2023 release.

Few details have been released about actual gameplay, but some hints have been dropped about the characters and setting:

  • Who: Disney representatives said the game will pull from Disney’s massive catalog of animated characters, but likely won’t dip into other owned properties (e.g., Marvel and Star Wars).
  • Where: “Lorcana” is expected to take place in a magical world, and analysts believe “Disney Mirrorverse,” a mobile game the company released in June, could provide a glimpse.

Disney said it hopes to attract both Disney fans who are new to trading card games, and trading card vets looking for a new game.

But why trading cards?

The market, which saw a sharp resurgence during the pandemic, is estimated at $6B+ globally.

  • Pokemon cards became so popular that Target stopped selling them over security concerns.
  • “Magic: The Gathering,” an OG card game, pulls in ~$1B annually.

Combining its classic characters into one overarching storyline could allow Disney to create a new Marvel-like multiverse that they can repurpose across films and video games.

Picture “Super Smash Bros,” but with Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, and Cruella de Vil.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Creepy: Paramount deployed one of the spookiest viral marketing campaigns in recent memory for Smile, placing creepy smilers behind home plate at televised MLB games.


Apple Music is sponsoring the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Former sponsor Pepsi notched 120m+ viewers during last year’s performance.

James Earl Jones, who has voiced Darth Vader for ~50 years, is stepping down in place of an AI program.

An electric G-Class Mercedes will launch in 2024. The current gas-powered base model starts at $140k, so brace for impact.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, referencing cost cuts, told employees, “We shouldn’t always equate fun with money.”

Netflix dropped its lawsuit against the creators of Grammy-winning show The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical after the cancellation of a London performance.

Instagram Stories under a minute long will now play continuously versus being cut into 15-second segments.

Trend spotter: The Trends team consistently spots emerging business ideas before they take off. But how do they actually do it? (Hint: it’s not a crystal ball.)

EVs ordered by Hertz

Singdhi Sokpo

The Hertz fleet is buzzing

For all the talk about EVs, only ~1% of cars on the road in the US are fully electric.

But recent moves by Hertz Global Holdings might help change that, per The Wall Street Journal.

In an effort to electrify 25% of its fleet by 2024, the rental car company — dogged by bankruptcy and accusations of poor customer service in recent years — has struck deals with GM, Tesla, and Swedish automaker Polestar.

The deals…

… should offer Hertz a couple immediate advantages, including:

  • Credibility from investors for supporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.
  • Recognition as the go-to rental car company of the environmentally conscious until competitors catch up.

Hertz’s partners could see long-term benefits as well. Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, said the deal will give renters a chance to “try before [they] buy,” which could stimulate EV sales.

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Free Resource

The self-starter’s guide to digital marketing

The truth is, the best ways to promote a business today are wildly different than even just a few years back.

If you lack a marketing arsenal fit for the times, let’s change that.

Anybody up for new skills should cop this textbook-classic digital marketing overview written by the pros at Podium, Similarweb, and HubSpot.

Topics and tools in this loaded intro include:

  • Social media and email marketing
  • Text message marketing guide
  • Organic and paid ads
  • Search, SEO, and auditing basics
  • Buyer persona templates
  • Competitive analysis

Nine beginner-friendly resources are linked in this ebook. Bookmark ‘em.

Digital Marketing 101 →

Digits: Plasma, funerals, and Hallmark

1) A US judge overturned a policy barring Mexicans from crossing the border to sell plasma. The US accounts for 60% of global plasma collection, being the only country allowing donations up to 104x a year, and Mexican citizens account for 10% of it.

2) Death is a good business — in the US, ~19k funeral homes comprise the $23B industry. Increasingly, private equity firms are rolling up the homes and raising prices.

3) With winter, so come the holiday movies. This year, Hallmark is dropping 40 originals. Female leads can make up to $300k. Male leads, $200k.

4) Universities partnering with LinkedIn released findings from a five-year study on 20m users that expands on our understanding of how weak ties to others positively affect job mobility more than strong ties.

5) Belgium-based artist Dries Depoorter’s latest project, “The Follower,” with 10k+ likes on Twitter, uses AI and public livestreams to identify videos of Instagrammers posing for a photo they later post on social media.

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🕶️ On this day: In 1933, gangster George “Machine Gun” Kelly reportedly shouted, “Don’t shoot, G-men!” as he surrendered to the FBI, coining the nickname for federal agents.

🍲 That’s cool: Explore the intersection of history and food in this interactive kitchen.

🤗 Chill out: Visit “The Nicest Place on the Internet” for endless virtual hugs.

🌃 Wow: See the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022 competition.

🐈 Aww: And now, cat ASMR.

quiet quitting meme

For more, follow Sara on Twitter.

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Gotta catch ‘em all” Dent.

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