Jun 8, 2021

May Update: Pets, Roblox and the New Money

Here in the northern hemisphere it’s starting to really feel like summer, as many national lockdowns are coming to an end. Perhaps it’s best summed up by that master of advertising over the decades, Ireland’s own Guinness.

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Pet companies booming

The global enthusiasm for furry friends throughout the pandemic has not just helped to alleviate social isolation in lockdown — it’s been good for the bottom line, too. Pet-related stocks have beaten the performance of the US tech-focused Nasdaq Composite index over 12 months, reports The Financial Times. Shares in Chewy gained 77%, trouncing Amazon’s performance, Germany’s Zooplus is up 125% and shares in the UK’s Pets at Home rose by 75%. More than 3 million UK households bought a pet during the pandemic, fuelling food shortages, while US households spent £74bn on pet products. Have a look at our article on how animal charities have been able to make the most of online communities. 

The new money

May Update: Pets, Roblox and the New Money

New forms of money are making their mark. El Salvador is the first country in the world to make bitcoin legal tender, and eBay will be the first ecommerce platform to allow NFTs, for purchasing digital collectibles. The girl whose photo as a 4-year old in front of a burning building joined the ranks of “world-famous memes” over the last decade, has now found a way to benefit from it - earning $500k in the form of NFTs. Now a college senior, she plans to use the proceeds from the sale to fund her student loans and support charities.

Roblox keeps on building

May Update: Pets, Roblox and the New Money

It’s time we talked about Roblox. Well, I actually talk about it all the time at home as my two kids never seem to stop playing it. Its increased use during the pandemic brought it into many more homes, and is starting to be noticed by advertisers. This online game and game-creation platform which is played by over 50% of American kids, with 32 million daily active users (more than Fortnite) went public with a bang in March 2021. The platform is also Apple’s biggest daily earner, bringing it almost $1million per day (taking a 30% of the cut). With a younger demographic, you can never tell how it will stick as they grow older, but Roblox is worth watching, as it gives us a glimpse into how the gaming industry is evolving and how marketers can continue the change to immersive, branding experiences as opposed to ad exposures. 

In Other News

  • From April 30 to May 4, English football clubs and related organisations took the decision to boycott social media for four days. This was done in protest against ongoing racism within sports. NPR.
  • The Irish national healthcare system was attacked by a ransomware attack in early May, as a national service it has had crippling effects on the system at the worst possible time, and is expected to cost tens of millions of Euros to address. Reuters story.
  • Google’s new MUM is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT. Search Engine Land
  • Zoom reported amazing first-quarter results, but is showing signs of anticipating changes in usage and user behavior as the vaccines continue to roll out and the return to work really starts again. Yahoo Finance
  • At the same time, Airbnb’s fortunes seem to be rising as lockdowns come to an end, with a 52% year on year increase in bookings in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Twitter is launching a tryout of its new Twitter Blue subscription service in Australia and Canada, allowing users to undo tweets, digestible threads, and advanced customer service. Story on The Verge.
  • We were talking on the podcast recently about the rise of subscription services, including newsletters. Facebook has joined the gang of those trying to cash in on the success of Substack and will be launching its own carefully-controlled service, called Bulletin, in June. Read more at Vox.

In the Forum

Keep an eye on our community forum for a range of topics that are of interest to your fellow members. Some threads include:

And don't forget the Jobs Board!

And, finally

It’s hard not to be charmed by the Swiss Tourism Agency’s quirky commercial featuring tennis star Roger Federer trying to persuade a grumpy Robert de Niro to come and be in a movie about his beautiful country.

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Emma Prunty
Emma Prunty

As the DMI's Content Editor Emma works to bring our members insightful and topical content every week. She has worked in digital everything for over 20 years, from New York to Oslo and Toronto to Dublin, and is always on the lookout for the latest currents of where things are going next. As producer of our popular podcast, winner of the 2023 Memcom Podcast Award, she's always happy to hear from anyone interested in coming on the show to share their expertise. She can be found on LinkedIn.

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