Sunnier Side Of The Home Office – October 28, 2020

"And as a comedian, I’ve tried to use my characters to get people to let down their guard and reveal what they actually believe, including their own prejudice." 

- Sasha Baron Cohen speaking at the last year's Anti-Defamation League. His new movie "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" was released last week. 

Brands Fighting For A Piece Of The Pie 
By: Jade Spadoni

Raise your hand if your diet has become mostly pizza during this pandemic. I know, I can’t be the only one. It’s true, this year, diners are embracing the convenience of carrying out or baking at home a delicious pizza. Restaurants and frozen pizza brands alike have seen a rise in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frozen pizza has become a go-to grocery item this year and sales across the category have risen 18.1% (according to data from Chicago-based IRI). 

Pizza is one of the easier dishes to carry out or have delivered, which is key while more people are spending time at home. Now, with the increase of pizza sales, restaurant chains are now fighting for a piece of the pie. Claiming their spot in the oven, Panera Bread has announced the addition of flatbreads to their menu. By utilizing what they already have on-hand (i.e. plenty of bread, cheese, and toppings), the chain will use their ingredients in a fresh new way – creating delicious flatbread pizzas and satisfying the desires of their customers. 

Panera’s Chief Brand & Concept Officer, Eduardo Luz, shared with Ad Age that the brand saw promising feedback during the initial flatbread testing in 2019 into 2020. However, the restaurant industry was disrupted by the pandemic, and the shift into delivery and carryout had to be made. The shift was welcomed by the brand and the sudden spark in delivery and carryout made it even more compelling to launch pizzas during this time – especially when Panera’s delivery is growing at a triple-digit rate, while rapid pickup and drive-thru orders are up double digits. 

Panera Bread announced its newest menu item on social today and so far, the response has been positive. 

Facebook Takes A Leap Into Cloud Gaming
By: Sergio Saucedo

Facebook just announced the release of its cloud gaming service. The new service (currently only available in the U.S.) would allow gamers to play a variety of free-to-play games without the need to download anything to play.

Back in April, the brand first launched Facebook Gaming as a standalone app where users could create and watch live streams for games. However, this push into cloud gaming is Facebook’s next step towards expanding its presence within the gaming industry. Since most gaming companies have stuck to their area of expertise whether it’s game development, distribution, or streaming to name a few, Facebook is looking to offer more of an end-to-end experience. In the long-run, this could help to bring more people into the gaming universe, but it could also build a more loyal user base within Facebook. Especially for those who want to consolidate their entire gaming experience into one place.

Note: The service is currently only available on Android or through your web browser on a computer. 

Shopify Teams Up With TikTok
By: Jessica Bedussi

We’ve all been there. Scrolling on your second hour of TikTok, when you stumble upon a cute sweater, coffee mug, or gadget you just have to have. The process to find the item and purchase is complicated. You hope the brand or influencer added a link in bio to search, but most of the time you’re on your own trying to find and purchase what you see.

That is until this week when TikTok announced an integration with Shopify to make it easier for their 1 million merchants to sell on the platform. Now these merchants will be able to create in-feed shoppable ads and track conversion. Users will be able to browse products and shop without leaving the app.

Shoppable features have gained momentum across social platforms recently, with Instagram leading the way. Instagram offers shoppable tags in posts, videos, Stories, Reels, and IGTV. These features have had huge success for brands like Adidas, who saw a 40 percent increase in online sales thanks to Instagram.

As Shopify extends to TikTok, it will be interesting to see how this rolls out to influencers who primarily affect purchases on TikTok. And if organic videos can match the shoppable success on Instagram.

Halloween is a few days away and Pinterest continues to be the social destination for inspiration. Research has found that there are 228 million searches each year for Halloween-related content on Pinterest and 940 million ideas will be pinned for Halloween this year, up from 273 million in 2015.