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Dieline’s Friday Wrap-Up: Planters' Mullets, Tepache, and Malcolm Gladwell in the Middle

by Bill McCool on 08/12/2022 | 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.


I don’t know that I should give out my secret sauce for finding editorial content and stories for Dieline, but I can tell you that it involves an unhealthy amount of Instagram. Aside from LinkedIn and their extremely cringe missives from CEOs and founders dressed up as Bachelor-style “vulnerability,” it’s the best place to discover new designers and beautiful projects. 

So I would like to add myself to the chorus of voices that are not Kardashians and say, once and for all, “make Instagram pictures again.” I don’t want Reels or full-screen photos. I don’t wish to have a TikTok-aping experience. I don’t even post stories, dammit. Just give me the straight, OG 2010-style Instagram pics, please. 

Anywho, here are your hot, freshly-baked links.

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Italians Mad at Dominos

Chef’s kiss of a title from The Daily Beast here, hence the linkage, but Dominos announced that they would finally close their remaining 29 stores in Italy. 

Don’t get me wrong here. I share David Chang’s fandom for Dominos—when you have kids and you definitely don’t want to cook after a long day, Dominos is a bonafide savior. But if the delivery giant thought they ever had a chance in Italy, then they’ve got brass cajones dipped in soundproof padding because what were they thinking, and why didn’t they listen to, oh, I don’t know, everyone?

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All Hail Tepache

This is all to say that tepache is delicious, and shout-out to our own Rudy Sanchez for this piece detailing what might be the next big thing in the beverage space.

It’s also incredibly easy to make, but maybe don't try preparing it in the middle of winter, especially if you live in New England and your kitchen rarely climbs above 64 degrees.

Tie Dye or Moldy Bread?

Nuff said. This fashion trend item from Pablo Rochat is on point.

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Wesley Willis Haircare Tips

I was fully prepared for the mullet to be relegated to the dustbin of history for the rest of my years, save for the occasional European footballers' (sorry, SOCCER player) panache for a party in the rear.

Alas, the mullet is back, but with any luck, this campaign from Planters might kill it just as swiftly. Teaming with mulleted musician and maybe-comedian Oliver Tree, the beloved nut brand embarked on a campaign for their latest offering, Sweet & Spicy Dry Roasted Peanuts, a taste that can apparently only be described like a mullet— “sweet in the front, spicy in the back.” Or, as a Planters’ press release said, adopting with their own personal fetch, “swicy.” 

Now, I hate to play Debbie Downer, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a mullet’s front and back described as “sweet” and “spicy,” as the accurate industry terminology is “business in the front, party in the rear.” Anyhow, it seems like a bit of stretch, Mr. Peanut.

Folks can buy a carbon copy of Tree’s mullet and a jar of the Sweet & Spicy nuts for a limited time (today only, actually)

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The Updike Rainbow Connection

Fun read from Rachel Berger over at AIGA Eye on Design on why novelist John Updike designed some of his own book covers. As it turns out, Updike was passionate about print and even had a gig as a hot metal typesetter before publishing his first book.

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Spacemen Animal Collective

I didn’t know that my song of the summer would be a Randy & the Rainbows sampling tune from the new Panda Bear and Sonic Boom album, but the Animal Collective alum and Spacemen 3 founder got me smitten.

You can pre-order the album here, and if any of you can drop me a line on who designed the record cover, I’ll forever be your huckleberry.

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Rum Runners

Good on you, Studio Chong, for this gorgeous redesign of the rum brand The Public Spirit. Also, thumbs up to the brand, as every bottle sold will feed four folks in need.

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10,000 Gladwellian Coffee Shops

If you have a friend who insists you read any Malcolm Gladwell—say Outliers or The Tipping Point—treat them with suspicion. The keynote conference mainstay has made a nice career by positioning himself as the Billy Nye the Social Science Guy for the NPR and New Yorker set by misreading data, dabbling in pseudo-science, and saying that cannabis will turn you into a homicidal maniac.

Gladwell ruffled feathers this past week when he extolled the virtues of working in the office on the Diary of a CEO podcast, going so far as to tear up about how workers need the validation of being a part of something and “belonging.” He additionally claimed that it’s in workers' “best interests” to return to their cubicles and commutes, giving up on the freedom of pajamas and typing while reclining in bed, something I am doing this very second. It's a curious golden chestnut from the same asshole who once wrote that he “works in coffee shops for a living.”

If you want to return to the office, great! Have at it. No one’s stopping you. If you need to show up and work in person with your team, that’s A-OK. But if you don’t really need to be there and you can do your job from the comforts of your couch, then you shouldn't have armchair sociologists telling you it's time to get back to work.

Anyhow, kudos to Vice’s Edward Ongweso Jr for this lovely string of factual burns:

For years, Gladwell has presented himself and his work as sober looks into the contours of human behavior and routine, but he’s always been criticized for either oversimplifying or mischaracterizing the substance of his claims and observations. For example, there's The Bomber Mafia, his ahistorical and amoral history of American aerial warfare, and his first Substack post—sponcon for driverless cars that did not disclose that he was a paid spokesperson for General Motors, which owns Cruise, a self-driving artificial intelligence company.

Is it any surprise that he would then lend his energy to side with bosses and management to bravely say that working in an office is virtuous—while at the same time collecting as many checks as possible by seemingly rarely showing up in one.

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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 bill@dielinemedia.com

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