It wasn't planned.
Going into my Friday afternoon, I had no idea that I'd be sucked into two days of unadulterated couch lock. But as plans began to fall through, and the temperature plummeted to a bonus round of winter, I felt my desire for adventure wane.
For those less privileged with the gift of time this weekend, here are four noteworthy highlights from my media and culture binge:
1. Walmart sponsored the Oscars: Walmart made its advertising debut at the Academy Awards this year with a TV spot concept that pushed the limits of product placement. Many films are based on a book or true story, but what about a receipt? Walmart challenged 3 film makers (including Oscar-presenter Seth Rogen) to produce three 60-second short films based on a store receipt with bananas, paper towels, batteries, scooter, wrapping paper and a video baby monitor. Watch here.
2. Amazon and ESPN won an Oscar: You heard about Matt Damon's Manchester by the Sea, but did you know it was produced by Amazon Studios? Or that ESPN's OJ: Made in America documentary was the first TV series to win an Oscar? Streaming services pose a major threat to the traditional movie industry with their slim production budgets and foothold on the millennial audience. Netflix and Amazon are in an arms race to defy the status quo by racking in Emmy's, Sundance Awards and now an Oscar. Read more here.
3. Dolce and Gabbana Goes Millennial at Milan Fashion Week: Social media influencers were cast as the runway models in Dolce and Gabanna's Milan Fashion Week show. YouTubers, fashion vloggers and celebrity offspring brought their own millions of followers along for the journey. This is not the first fashion house to work with the young "it" crowd, but DG's millennial takeover represents a shift to democratize fashion and usher in a fresh, young audience. Read more here.
4. The Toy Maker on ABC: With the smashing success of Shark Tank, ABC couldn't resist a youthful spin-off hosted by Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet. The network partnered with Mattel Creations to invite amateur inventors to pitch their toy inventions to a panel of kid judges. The winner will have their toy brought to market by Mattel, including marketing and manufacturing support. The show premieres April 7 on ABC. Read more here.
These highlights add dimension to a growing trend across industries: democracy. For decades, creative direction for any major brand has been held in an (expensive) unattainable ivory tower. We're now seeing companies source content from untraditional, fresh creatives who resonate with the digital generation. Power to the people!