Strategy Roundup | 4.16.21

Jourdan B. Gooden

On this April Friday, this refreshing Spring weather calls for a tall glass of the good stuff. Why not make it a Gin and Tonic? Why not make it a double? Why not make it Bombay Sapphire? Come on! And if it’s date night, and the conversation grows stale, how about a spicy twitter thread to pass the time?

West Elm Video Conference Backgrounds

For roughly a year now at Allen & Gerritsen, we’ve been working from home. Apart from a bedroom office that never seems to get enough natural lighting, my ceaseless desire to be able to afford a Peloton, and forgetting to unmute myself when it’s my turn to speak during presentations, nothing quite speaks to working from home like virtual backgrounds. Whether it’s on Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, I’ve developed a quirky fascination with digitally manipulating the appearance of my surroundings on camera. If this makes me weird, I suppose I’ll accept the traces of confidence that surface from telling myself that I’ve been accused of stranger things. And as certain as I am that those efforts will eventually fail, I’ll lean on the good folks at West Elm to compensate for the rest of my shortcomings.

West Elm has pulled images of their favorite real homes that feature their modern furniture and home décor and compiled the .jpeg files for our use during virtual meetings. I’ve kept 17 of the 24 backgrounds offered. Now go schedule a meeting with me so I can play with my new backgrounds! (Just kidding, don’t do that)

P.S. For those of you sulking in your misery of the blooming spring, warmer weather and modest extension of sunlight, fret not. If you’re cooped up in a corner awaiting pumpkin patches, steaming cauldrons and skeletons, West Elm has provided a few backgrounds for Halloween as well. You can check them out here.

Bombay Billy

For some of my creative projects, I put together a small team of engineers who are also such close friends of mine that I have to remind myself to address them publicly by the credentials they worked so hard to acquire. Every time I visit them, apart from the business on our docket, gin and tonic and sumptuous charcuterie are at the forefront of my mind. At this point it’s practically a formality to gather around the table for the pairings of highball cocktails in tall glasses and a delectable spread of Di Bruno Bros. cheeses and artisan crackers. The last thing on my mind, however, is Mr. William Sanford Nye breaking down the chemical compositions of my beloved gin and tonic as he explains why they make for such a favorable combination. Well, at least until now. In this new ad launched on National Gin and Tonic Day, Bill Nye Partners with Bombay Sapphire to Launch Bar Quality Ready To Drink Bombay & Tonic.

Bombay Sapphire Global via YouTube

There’s certainly a bigger picture here. When these types of stunts are pulled, so begins within me a push and pull of sorts. What’s the angle here? Is it nostalgia? Was it the perfect play for Bombay Sapphire to tap the science expert and role model that once earned my generation’s trust in the 90s? Perhaps it’s the undeniable capacity he possessed to establish himself as an iconic criterion and keep up with the progressions of cultural wave after cultural wave through refining his brand? Rest assured the speculative quest for understanding persists. But I’ll spare you. This YouTube comment sums things up.

Bombay Sapphire Global via YouTube
Bombay Sapphire via

Brand Accountability, Following the Money: A Thread

I previously wrote about the most recent presidential inauguration taking place at the US Capitol building. I floated the rather conventional idea that the Capitol was in fact still a crime scene. For the record, I’m no crime scene investigator, nor do I hold any sort of degree or certification in the field of criminal justice or the like. But I do know with acute certainty that what took place on January 6th, 2021 was clearly an insurrection. Also clear were the motivations of the sickening series of events that led to the loss of life and severe injuries incurred by innocent people on the day. These motivations were indeed catalyzed by the members of Congress who recorded votes as objectors to the presidential election results.

So, from this of course, brands scrambled to make decisions. It’s reminiscent of when George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day 2020 and the conviction to recognize Black people and our lives as human beings worthy of equity and respect spanned the world. Then, we saw the word “solidarity” fly from tongue to tweet to Instagram post with a fervid buzz. This time, we saw brands huddle, rally the publicists and take their respective stands against those very objectors. Well, at least that’s what they told us they were doing. This is The United States of America.

If we want to get to the bottom of anything, we follow the money. As for those brands that seemed to have trouble putting their money where their mouths were, politics writer Judd Legum constructed a thread tracking the filings of corporations to compare their promises to their actions. Here is the threadreader for what’s been courteously complied thus far. Here is the organic Twitter thread. This is the era of receipts. Brands should expect consumers to hold them accountable for their actions. This is a great example of just that.

Ramadan Mubarak

To all who celebrate, Ramadan Kareem!

Artwork by @yasmemez

This Week’s Picks

Reading: “How To Love A Jamaican” by Alexia Arthurs

Listening to: Lots of Giveon

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