Dieline Friday Wrap-Up: Choco Tacos, Fake Land Plots, and AI Ketchup
by Bill McCool on 07/29/2022 | 5 Minute Read
The Friday Wrap-Up is a newish column from Dieline where we talk about some of our favorite stories of the past week from the world of packaging and branding, whether it’s from Dieline or elsewhere. Expect a few shout-outs, fun, weirdness, and maybe even a little music.
It’s Friday, y’all. And do I have the links?
Yes, we have the links.
It was a week dominated by Web3 noise and hijinx, and while we said goodbye to a dear friend (you’ll see below), hope springs eternal, and we witnessed seemingly sentient machines draw ketchup on their own. Oh, and there were even fake avocados, which I would totally smash.
Anywho, give out some clicks below!
Sayonara, Choco Taco
I haven’t had a Choco Taco in nearly 20 years, maybe because I'm an adult now, and I no longer need such novelty-aisle staples. Still, the Unilever-owned Klondike officially put down the nutty-buddy-in-a-shell-creation this past week, though skeptics among us believe it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt. Anywho, get your petitions ready.
Here’s a doozy from Jasper Kraven published in The Baffler, a travelogue about two friends driving across the country in a Penske truck to deliver a lifesize statue of Harambe the gorilla to 1 Hacker Way at the behest of The Sapiens, a crypto-enthusiast duo hawking "bananas" a la Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters:
This was the culminating moment of a grueling journey, one fueled by rich people’s money and our own naivete. It felt strange to be at the global headquarters of a company that had snatched up so much of my time and monetized my memories. I picked up a stray banana, unpeeled and ate it, and became suddenly angry with Zuckerberg and his lieutenants. Social media had stricken me with professional and personal anxieties, FOMO, and an abject need to be liked. What I’d gained in return was unclear. The Sapiens’ stunt felt like a righteous if reductive protest against this system. And yet the irony wasn’t lost on me that a prank meant to indict the evils of social media relied on existing tech platforms to make it go viral, all in support of a new platform of digitally mediated existence. The Sapiens are upstarts with a vision, and, critically, they’ve pledged not to monetize data in their metaverse. But they’re still angling to digitize the world, distract its inhabitants, and get wealthy in the process.
Manifest Metaverse Destiny
Interesting article from Fast Company on the sustainability nightmare that is Web3. If you were worried about a bunch of over-enthusiastic tech-bois stoked on their maybe-racist apes, wait until you read this chestnut about virtual parcels of land going in the metaverse. Because if you thought buying a house was close to impossible, wait until you hear about the gas fees on digital-only places and spaces:
In April, the largest land rush in the brief history of the metaverse raised approximately $320 million from the sale of 55,000 parcels of virtual land in Otherside, an immersive world created by Yuga Labs, stewards of the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection of NFTs. The newly minted community cemented BAYC’s ascent from monkey JPEGs to a metaverse franchise in its own right—a trajectory any Web3-curious brand would kill for. But the stampede carried other costs, including an estimated $181 million in “gas fees” to pay for the electricity necessary to issue titles on Ethereum’s blockchain. At least one buyer paid eight times in gas fees what his plot cost in “ApeCoin.”
Seaweed, But, Like, Not the Band
Designers are rightfully stoked about the potential of seaweed as a plastic-free packaging material (amongst many other things), but Sway co-founder Russell Reed writes that fools shouldn’t rush in and that investment needs to cover all aspects of the value chain:
It’s an exciting time to be an innovator working in this space, where it feels like a seaweed renaissance is emerging. But I see a concerning phenomenon in the industry’s investment trends. The largest number of deals are being made for applications like ours, which purchase seaweed for use in innovative products. This means less venture capital is reaching companies involved in other stages of product development, including farming, processing, infrastructure, and conservation.
Draw Me Like One Your Ketchup Bottles, Jack
We’ve been living in the web of DALL-E and its sometimes nightmarish creations for a few months, but since DALL-E 2 opened for business a few weeks ago, it feels like the design community is abuzz with all things AI. Unsurprisingly, Heinz got a foot in the door and was one of the first brands to play in the beta sandbox, asking the on-demand artist to “draw ketchup.” To no one's surprise, DALL-E drew Heinz’s signature bottle and their well-known keystone, proving that even AI is biased on saucing its fries.
As You Wish Dept
While KAWS was resurrecting General Mills’ beloved Monster cereals this past week, I stumbled upon this completely fake-but-should-be-real Columb-o’s, a parody cereal based on the greatest TV detective to ever sleuth, Columbo. While I’m not sure this seemingly spritely Peter Falk by Sodano would make the cut for a Saturday morning staple (and cartoon—can you imagine!?), you have to love the “Just One More Bite” copy and the promise of a free toy jalopy with every purchase.
Also, it’s time for one go-getter Hollywood producer to greenlight my million-dollar idea, a reboot of Columbo starring Natasha Lyonne as the titular character (and the only kind of reboot I can get behind).
Got a news tip for us? Questions? How about some high praise or mean-spirited criticism? Or maybe an odd fact or statistic? I want to hear from you! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org