The Inevitable Extinction of Branding
Live From Social Media Week: Chicago IL
Matt gives a riveting keynote at Social media Week Chicago about the future of consumer product and brand buiLding titled "The Inevitable Extinction Of Branding"
Good to see a lot of familiar faces in the audience and thanks again to Social Media Week for having me back. I'm going to talk about a different topic today that I've been talking about all year, my background is I spent my career helping big brands market to teens and college students, that was sort of shtick. I started my first agency, Mr Youth, in 2002, it was fortuitous timing because Facebook was obviously invented on college campuses in 2004 so I was there from the beginning of Facebook having kids at Ivy League schools saying, "You got to get on Facebook?" Me asking, "What's Facebook?" Not being able to login, getting and getting that .edu address, still not being able to get in touch with them, looking at their domain registry, calling the phone, having Mark Zuckerberg pick up the phone, bringing him the first ads.
That was sort of what I went through when I was starting my agency so we've really been there since the beginning of social and I've seen such a whirlwind of change happen, change happen with brand marketers. Brand marketers not really understanding how to adapt to this change. I think a big thing we're going to see in a couple of years from now is when millennials actually fill the C-Suite because one of the most frustrating things to me is seeing Gen X, Boomers, people who did not grow up with the Internet in the household just continue to miss what's going on. Talk about the Evan Spiegel's and Mark Zuckerberg's of the world like these gods when the late 20 and 30 something's in their organization are seven floors below and actually never really have a voice.
For these people that did not grow up with the Internet in the household these things just aren't intuitive, they are still living in an old world and that really translates to every single part of marketing. And what I'm going to be talking about today is the extinction of branding. Which I know is a very controversial topic, I'm sure agency creative directors hate me right now if you are obviously in the audience. But it doesn't mean that you're out of business, it just means that things are evolving and we can't rely on the brand based messaging that we did in the past. So, what we're going to do today is talk about the evolution of branding from when we were all monkeys and we obviously all kind of grew up to having skinny jeans and iPhones and everything in between.
The reality is that branding has changed a lot but it really comes from somewhere, the origins of branding are actually really clear when you understand how branding got to be, how it got started, how it kind of got to where it is today, it really gives you a good foundation to where it's going. And when we talk about a world of social media, which obviously plays a huge role in selling stuff no matter what we end up calling, I think it's more important than ever before.
In 1962 JFK, who I'd really love right now in office, announced the Consumer Bill of Rights, JFK saw that we were entering an age of consumerism, that people were starting to buy lots and lots of stuff and JFK thought that he should create this Bill of Rights for consumers to protect them, so they know what they were getting, so they could expect good service, right, so they could see what was on the package and actually believe it was real. And he saw this happening because in this point in the early '60s television had really become mainstream, during my last Social Media Week presentation in LA I had a presentation called Instagram Killed the Television Star, which kind of talked through the origin of television and actually when it started.
I talk a lot about this era and the power of this era in the early '60s because in reality there was really not much else going on for the American family, people would come home after work and actually gather around the TV, imagine this happening today, right? No one having screens, everybody watching the same thing, imagine the dad and the six year old boy watching the Kardashians along with the mom and the daughter, right? Wouldn't happen, back then there was very limited options on what to watch, there was three networks and it was a huge opportunity and really visionary marketers like David Ogelby, Leo Bernett and Don Draper came up with the notion that, "Maybe we can spin out an actual business opportunity there." So they drew really cool cartoons and sold interesting sounding serial like Twinkles and all that you really had to do was buy a 15 to 30 second ad and you had the eyeballs, there was nowhere else the eyeballs actually had to go. Unless somebody was in the bathroom, or cooking food or getting dressed, their eyes were actually on the TV at that point.
It was an American fascination and it created a tremendous opportunity for brand marketers which left it for a very long time, it's something that Seth Goden, who's a great author and you should check out his stuff if you haven't already, coined the TV Industrial Complex. And what the TV Industrial Complex is is that you would buy ads, you'd sell stuff because people would see it and they'd want to buy it, because you'd sell it you'd get more distribution, then you'd sell more stuff, you'd sell it in traditional stores like Woolworth and Five and Dime, the Target's and Walmart's of that era. And it was a pretty easy calculation and for brands, if you had viable products, if you were the early iteration of P&G well then the world was kind of simple, right? And all you really needed to do was connect with consumers, decapitalize and create products the JFK would say, "This meets the Consumer Bill of Rights."
America was also a lot different back then. Consumers were living in the version of the America Dream, they would go out to college, they would meet their spouse to be, they'd move out to the suburbs and they'd have that house and the white picket fence and the two car garage and 1.65 children and they would be there and they would be happy and life was simple. Which was why Don Draper lived in Austin in New York rather versus Dumbo or Soho or something like that.
Sprawl started to happen in the '70s and '80s as consumerism really started to take height, we were well past the industrial revolution and big companies were out there churning out great products for consumers at scale and the economy was really starting to take off and consumers now could afford big houses and they could afford their own yards and one day they'd be able to afford their SUV's in their cul-de-sac and they would put their Shania Twain CD in their car and roll into the cul-de-sac when all their neighbors would be jealous that they were the first one to get that first SUV.
In this era it was about greed because as Gordan Gecko said alongside a pre-meltdown Charlie Sheen, "Greed is good, greed works." And greed in that era meant accumulation of stuff, as much as you can have and why not? You had the SUV, you had the house, you had the attic, you had the basement, you had plenty of places to put it and stuff was getting cheaper and cheaper because at that point a lot of companies that were manufacturing were doing it in China so all of a sudden really started to drop. This actually also invented a complex which I coined called the Shopping Mall Complex as well. Which is that consumers would buy stuff, they would build up a credit card bill, pay it off, see somebody else they're like, "Wow, that's a great pair of Cavaricci's. I want to buy more stuff." And then pay their credit card bill, et cetera and the shopping mall complex created a lot of shopping mall complexes. With a lot of people with mullets as you see by the exit sign walking through, love that guy.
People would go to Tapeworld, the mall, Sam Goodie, were the place where people convened. Buying stuff was the shared passion, brands is how people represented themselves to society and what the shopping mall did in the '80s as it really started to explode is give people a community around shopping, remember no email, just yellow pages, no Google, just the Encyclopedia Britannica, right? There was no places for people to be able to talk with one another and share opinions and the mall was that communal space. Stuff was extremely important, it drove how people were perceived by others, it drove how people actually spent their time. And then it started to cross over into the entertainment world with one of my favorite artists of all time, Run-DMC, and their 1986 hit, My Adidas. Now, when Rev. Run and the crew wrote My Adidas, it wasn't really a branded entertainment activation that they were trying to get an ad edge, they really just love wearing Adidas shoes, right? And they wrote a song about it and of course the executives from Adidas called them and the next thing you know they had an ad deal with Adidas.
But this was a big crossover moment, it was a big crossover moment in entertainment and brands, a big crossover moment in urban culture and suburban culture because what started to happen is, this is when hip hop started to breed as a national phenomenon amongst not just the urban markets, but suburban markets and that crossover effect really started to happen. And it really peaked in 1997 when Snoop Doggy Dogg got on stage during Saturday Night Live wearing a Tommy Hilfiger shirt. Tommy Hilfiger at that point was a predominantly suburban white brand and Snoop Dogg took it and took his growing popularity at that time and actually was able to have this brand have mainstream crossover appeal and now we see it every day, right?
We see Diddy coming out with a vodka brand, we see Jay-Z coming out with who knows what? Every single day he's launching a new venture. It's commonplace today but back then it actually wasn't. Brands were status symbols, status symbols that were actually promoted as such. This is a 1997 ad by Oldsmobile where they flat out actually say, "You will look like you are in a upper middle class environment if you buy the Oldsmobile." That's really what the copy said, they were playing in people's innermost desires, insecurities on how other people would perceive them and Oldsmobile and so many brands back then thought they had the solution. And the solution was their brand will represent something that you can't represent on your own.
Okay, okay, that was amazing. So that was really happened it was at really the peak of consumerism and leading up to that point it was brands, brands, brands, brands everywhere. The shopping mall complex was in full effect, if you went into Walmart you'd see 80 different brands of different brownies, right? Not Duncan Heinz but seven different brands of Duncan Heinz and 10 different brands of Betty Crocker and they couldn't even stock them quickly enough, people needed to buy so much shit for their houses that they would actually push two shopping carts. We were peaking in consumerism. All good things, if you call this rampant consumerism a good thing, must end.
And there were four things, four defining death blows that really hit this TV Industrial complex that hit this continual run up of consumerism. The first of which was the invention of the Internet.
Okay. We've come a long way. That was only 1994. Right? Think about that. It's 23 years ago. So where are we going to be 23 years from now? How crazy is that? How crazy is that to actually show to our kids. So the invention Internet was kind of a big deal, right? That was a big thing. When I was in college in 1997, 1998, it was first starting. It was very fortuitous timing. So I'm not going to talk about the whole history of the Internet, but that was one big thing. The other big thing, fast forwarding 10, 15 years with this huge financial collapse.
I'll get back to why the Internet played a big role shortly, but the financial collapse had really personal impact on people's view of consumerism because all of a sudden those homes which you thought were the bedrock of our savings were dropping. Parents were figuring out how they were going to pay the bills.
They were dipping into their 401(K) accounts. Many people who we all know and it made them re-question like what these brands are. So many of these companies that were behind these brands were starting to be seen as corrupt corporate empires. So that really shifted the meaning and the thinking. It's hard to believe in 2007 the iPhone was just invented. I mean, that really, really blows my mind. You're talking about 10 years ago, 10 years ago. That's it. There were no iPhones what? There's actually a story on the cover of Fortune Magazine 10 years saying, will anybody take down Nokia's dominance of the cell phone industry?
2010 Instagram was developed and actually made mainstream, no, not Facebook but Instagram. So those four things, Internet, right? The 2008 stock market collapse, the iPhone and Instagram told the story and it told the story of now consumers redefining their values. It told the story of them having access to things other than products to define your own personal brands. It told a story of them having platforms to show their experiences as a new form of social currency, not their Oldsmobile, not their Tommy Hilfiger or Benetton shirt. Right?
So now they had the power and the values to drive change and drive the beginning of the post TV industrial complex, which changed the world because the new status update became the status symbol. The status update is the new status symbol, right? So now it's not the Oldsmobile as a status symbol. It's the status update. It's what you're posting, it's what you're doing. It's the experiences, that was a big flip. Wouldn't it be able to happen without those four change makers. And along the lines of that, a lot of things change in terms of the geographic and psychographic layout of America.
Frankly, the American dream just took a very sharp u-turn because now it was the cities and continues to be at a growing rate where millennials see themselves settling down. [inaudible 00:16:16] becoming more accessible, there is better schools. Parks are becoming larger and more prominent. They're becoming overall safer. And in the 24 hour news cycle where we all want to be where the action is, it's not happening out in the suburbs. It's happening in the cities. And as a result we see massive gentrification and [inaudible 00:16:33] around the country and the creative class has come into cities and the inner city blue collar worker has now been pushed out and now they're actually the ones living in the suburbs. It's driving a livable boundaries, outwards and outwards of major cities in Brooklyn where there were shootings five, 10 years ago, there's $2 million townhouses being sold and it's not just Brooklyn outside New York, it's Oakland outside of San Francisco.
It's Wynwood outside of Miami, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Millennials don't want to leave the city and that has tremendous implications towards branding. First and foremost, they no longer having the big houses anymore. They're paying more money for a tiny 800 square foot studio or one bedroom. Where are you going to put all that shit? Right? Those two shopping carts of target would fill up that apartment and even know the lobbies have doorman buildings in New York City and San Francisco look like this. Some of these big boxes actually only have one tube of toothpaste in it, so don't be ... People are not buying as much stuff anymore. A big reason why is they just don't have enough space, which they also impacts branding.
Urbanization's also changed the retail footprint as we all know, because as millennials stay in cities, the prices on main street continue to escalate and businesses that once were able to afford to pay main street prices to have a location can no longer do it. Shopping malls are turning to baron districts where plants are actually growing through the floors because the affluent millennial base is not being pushed out there. Companies like Visa moving from Foster City to San Francisco or Pepsi using an innovation hub in New York versus purchasing New Yorker saying, if the millennials are there, we're going to want to chase them too, we need to chase the town.
In terms of reframing how consumers look at what's important, they're also changing the way they actually look at growing up. And I came up with this at 3:30 in the morning when I finished this deck. I couldn't go to sleep and I had this thing that popped in my mind, which is that I have two kids, right? They're 10 and 12, and to say they grow up quick is an understatement. I'm sure all of your parents here know kids grow up very quick, but actually, and they're growing quick than ever before but adults are actually growing up slower than ever before.
So you kind of hit this point where you rushed to get to a certain age, maybe the perfect age, 23, 24. It's definitely not 42 what I am, but and then once you hit that age, you kind of try to hold on to it, right? So why are kids going up fast? Well, when they're born, instead of seeing their caring mother's eyes, a lot of times actually staring at themselves in this screen that they've actually never even seen before. I'm very active in this charity called Pencils of Promise that builds schools for underage children around the world. And I was in Laos, in Southeast Asia, and we went to a very small remote village where there's no running water and no electricity. And I had an iPhone and I showed it to a kid where the camera's facing inbound. And he had never seen his face before because they didn't have mirrors in that village.
Right? So let's think about that. Eight years old had no idea what he looked like. And this is a parent right now growing up, staring at their face. And when they're three to four, they're already learning to be social media hipsters, right? Being dressed up, having exposed to information and then having a status committees where they're going to circle back at 3.00 o'clock all with their devices. They're growing up very fast. But for adults, they don't go look at the Gordon Gekko accumulation of wealth and Lamborghinis and stuff as what they're doing. In fact, the modern day CEO doesn't really look much like Gordon Gecko, he looks more like Eric Schmidt. Eric Schmidt, as we know, is now the chairman of Google, formerly CEO and Eric Schmidt, every labor day you can find him at Burning Man. In fact, the reason he got hired as CEO of Google is that Sergey and Larry the founders of Google were always a Burning Man and as kind of a cultural test, they want to see how Eric Schmidt would do there.
And by the looks at the picture, it looks like he performed in flying colors. Imagine Gordon Gekko rolling up with his three piece suit at Burning Man wouldn't work. Right? He has no interest in getting all of the Eric Schmidt. And this is the new corporate America. So people are retaining their youth a lot longer and a part of retaining your youth is retaining experiences. Marriage is also continuing to get pushed back and pushed back because the people are Burning Man, right, they're probably not in a rush to get married at certain ages. And you see the data where for the first time ever, the average age of a woman getting married for the first time past 27, males past 30 people are in cities. There's more two income households. People are in no rush to get married. They're pushing that back, which enables them to act younger, longer in life.
Why does that matter? Why am I telling you that people are acting younger later in life? Well, because they're acting younger later in life, they're pursuing experiences more and those experiences are actually coming in the place of accumulation of brands. And that leads to this trend that I coined in my book YOUTHNATION called DIFTI, which stands for Did It For The Instagram. Did It For The Instagram means that people are so consumed with pursuing experiences, not even so much to enjoy them, but to prove to everybody else that they are actually there. To build their own personal brand. We all know the new autograph is the selfie. But what you might not know is that people in Russia are renting grounded private jets to take Instagram photos. Okay? So this is real information. Didn't make it up, but you know what, is it really any worse than people buying an Oldsmobile to look rich, right?
This is the Oldsmobile of the millennial generation, except it doesn't go anywhere. You just kind of go on and take a picture. People are eating at restaurants and like Black Tap in New York because they can take a picture of their Sunday and paying $22 for this Sunday, which is like Black Tap is a phenomenon. It's not even really about the food. And my daughter got one of these and I was trying to like take a little bite and she literally almost ripped my head off before because she didn't take the picture first. Because that's really what we waited in line to. I didn't wait in line two hours. I had a task rabbit side note. But a lot of people do happen to be running that day. People are going to museums like the Museum of Ice Cream in New York, LA, and Miami. Not to learn about the pasteurization of ice cream. It's actually not even really a museum.
There's 10 rooms and each of them allow you to take really amazing selfies and this sells out in every single market it goes to. This is DIFTI in a nutshell, right? They are not going to museum of natural history. They are not going to MoMA they are going to the Museum of Ice Cream where you don't learn anything about ice cream. There's apps, I wish I coined this phrase GTFO which stands for Get the Flight Out. Okay. What get the flight out does is on the Friday afternoon, it tells you the furthest place you could fly for the cheapest amount of money. Oh, it's $180 to fly to Columbia, guess we on the Columbia DIFTI. Right? YOLO. Take the picture. People are doing it so they can build their brands because they're seen, think about it.
They're seen by their peers, by a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, by maybe a potential employer, right? To society as somebody that's being worldly that's out there that actually can impact the way they're perceived in the world. If you meet with a client and you look them up afterwards and you're like, "Holy shit, they're verified on Instagram." You kind of meet, you look at them a little bit differently, right, so that matters. It matters more than we would even admit. It's costing young kids after they post on Instagram to refresh with the fervor of a fortune 500 company to see how many likes they have, which is obviously a downside of this, right? We don't want children gain their self-worth by other people's opinions of them, but in some way through clothing and brands, they are kind of always getting that anyway.
This is Tough Mudder. Anybody to Tough Mudder in the audience? Okay. See a couple of you guys, you paid $300 to climb through freezing cold dirt water under barb wire, right? There's a great fitness company here in Chicago called Bally's. It was the gym, they had good machines. You have a monthly membership, you get a good workout and you leave. Well, guess what? Bally's is now bankrupt, right? Bally's is not the model because that is not a lifestyle experience. This along with [inaudible 00:24:21] and with SoulCycle, Barry's Bootcamp, that's a new fitness and it has Instagrammable moment build in. This is why people are approaching these experiences and this why Tough Mudder is now a global phenomenon.
This is all ushering in a completely new approach to selling stuff and the most fascinating conversation I have with brands right now is this sort of internal battle, a dichotomy between the fact that they know that they cannot rely on Walmart and Target and big-box retailers to sell their shit, but they're also scared that do they go direct or go somewhere else, that Walmart's going to be mad. That's literally like am saying, "We don't want to make Walmart mad." Right, so they have a decision to make because if they just rely on these big-box retailers, if their biggest meeting every year is going down the [inaudible 00:25:10] and seeing how many inches that they have in a world where millennials are not going to have cars, are not going to have SUV and Walmart's actually aren't even really in cities right now, then what's actually going to happen in those brands and oh by the way, Walmart and Target and all the big-box retailers are sneakily squeezing in there great value muster right next to the French's mustard right? They are saying you know what? We're going for ours.
We're going to go to the end. We're going to have private label brands. So brands are scared to get theirs or distribution when the big-box retailers are coming up with private label themselves and the biggest issue for brands is they have no consumer data. If you've sold through Target and Walmart for your entire journey, you don't even know who your customer is. You know who the Sally buyer is down in Bentonville, right? And as long as she keeps buying, you're going to move products because consumers are there, but you actually don't even know your consumers because you have no data, you've never sold directly and even Amazon doesn't even really know where you get the customer data. So that's huge for brands because it actually makes brands and everything, holy shit. Is this whole strategy over with? Because when mom walked into the isles and sold Tide or Gillette or Edge or you name the brands, oh I've heard of that before, I'm going to buy it based upon the brand.
Where are the aisles now? Where's the brand pop out? And obviously when consumers are prioritizing experiences over stuff, why would they spend an extra $2 on mustard anyway, right? They're not going to instead of the new muster. Utility is defining everyday brand. When I look at the top 10 brands that are most valuable that was recently announced, what really is fascinating to me is you don't see Hershey's Chocolate or Ford Motors or a Coca Cola. You don't actually see brands where a brand preference actually matters, am I going to have Coke or Pepsi? because in reality for consumers, it really doesn't have brands that are winning or the brands actually preventing access to this stuff the consumers want. Whether it's data through Verizon or AT&T, or whether it's access to knowledge and information through a Google or access to the world through an Apple. Those are the brands that are actually winning the utilitarian brands, not the brands of yesteryear. Right? In the age of consumerism where if you were having certain types of jeans on or certain type of logo, it might dictate how you're seen.
And a lot of big product categories. Let's think about the two plates that where consumers traditionally spent the most amount of discretionary expenditures. Cars first, right? People live in cities. They're not buying a fucking car. And I get in arguments all the time where people and only people from automotive manufacturer saying, "Oh, they're still buying their car." If you live in the city and it's 800 hours to park and then you have to pay for gas, tolls, insurance and the car, obviously you're talking about $1500, $1,800 a month, right?
Or you could push a button and have an Uber take you anywhere you want. And when you do, you really don't care what brand of the car is taking you, right? They're usually Camrys, but whatever you get in it, it doesn't really matter, right? When you're Airbnbing, you don't pick the bedsheets, you should be able to, but you don't. You don't pick where you buy the cups from. You don't buy anything. You're using somebody else's stuff. Those brands don't matter. The brands, Uber and Airbnb are utilitarian brands. Even things that people would never think they would rent versus buy like clothing. People are now accessing, Rent the Runway. It's all over right now, right? Rent a $75 dress instead of spending $1,000 on a Diane von Furstenberg dress, which you'll probably only wear it once anyway. Take the $925, take a beautiful Insta, spend the money at a club or a restaurant. No one's going to know that you actually don't own it, I promise you. That's why Rent the Runway is exploding.
And this whole real estate phenomenon, the price of the main street going out is impacting business models. You have Glamsquad saying, "We're not going to pay main street prices for a salon. We're going to let women push a button and we'll have a team of people come to our house and do hair makeup for us before we go out at night." And we actually don't even need to actually pay these main street rates. These are new models. These are new models that big brands need to obviously consider because the medium ultimately might become the utility that matters. So phase one was obviously the brand and say two was the medium or the utility, which was it could be the iPhone or Google, et cetera.
I believe the medium is one point of view. What do I mean by that? I mean, and I actually, it's funny, I tweeted this, I almost swallowed an AirPod backstage was fucking nuts. Like he was trying to mic me and I put one in and I'm like almost like logic. I would've become a robot. I don't even know what could have happened that really just happened. I just got a really death flashbacks. So, but the AirPods are in my opinion, going to the future of the phone, right? And you can call me crazy, but look at that Katie Couric video, right? So and it's going to happen quicker than we think because the rate of change is accelerating. And in the world where you have AirPods and most of what you do is involved looking at a screen, well then what will brands do? Right.
And that we're already starting to see it with, well, v-commerce or voice technology in the home, which the best companies in the world of investing in Amazon with Alexa, Microsoft with Cortana, Google with Google Home, Apple with Siri. Why? Because they know that actually the ease and ubiquity of ordering without leaving your couch might actually even triumph brands. And that's what I mean by the medium, example. And this comes from the Great Scott Galloway of L2 who actually found this, that if you use Amazon Alexa and you say, Alexa, order me Duracell batteries. Alexa will say, "I will sell you AmazonBasics batteries." And you say, "No, Alexa, sell me Duracell batteries." Alexa will say, "I will sell you AmazonBasic batteries." What Amazon is betting is that the ease and ubiquity of not having to leave your touch or even type to order batteries trumps the value of a multi-billion dollar brand like Duracell or Energizer.
What does that tell you about the power of brands? Amazon basics isn't the brand, it's just the thing, right? The brand doesn't exist and maybe that's okay and yes is a low involvement category, but there'll be toothpaste and toothbrushes tomorrow and up and up and up and up. And who are the biggest brand marketers? Well, it's P$G, Unilever, Kimberly, Clark, J&J, et cetera. These are the companies and the automotive manufacturers with Uber. What are they all going to do? Right? What's the solution? So some of them are playing with some of these new models. This is the Amazon dash button, which is, this is Amazon, so this isn't really the solution of Tide, but that's how Amazon saying, okay, you'll have your loyalist, you just get this button on their washing machine and then every time they want they push a button and that sends a signal that you get more Tide in the house.
Okay, good step. But if I were a CPG manufacturer, I would actually take after Apple and not just be a software company, but be a hardware company. Meaning if I were Tide, I would make washing machines. I would make small washing machines. I would call the biggest real estate developers in New York, Chicago, and LA and say, we will give you these washing machines for free. Most millennials really only wash wineglasses I found out. But even if they're watching other shit, it doesn't need to be the big washing machine. Some people use it as storage. Oh, we did research on this, but so if it's in a drawer, give it away for free. Right/ It's a smart device in every time it runs out, it only takes Tide. Now all of a sudden these guys don't have to build the brand at all, right?
Their advertising budget goes away completely. And there are a hardware company, they have an intravenous selling model. Think about how many businesses, all you agency people, I know you're going to steal that and take it away. That's cool. Just tag me on that shit. But that's the new model. Don't be a software company, be a hardware, invest in the infrastructure. And then you had the interviewees model or maybe a company like Windex should buy Handy, which is an app where you push a button and you have cleaning people come to your house. So maybe Reckitt Benckiser right? The CPG brand makes a lot of cleaning products should basically buy this company and then every time the cleaners come they just use their products and that's how they'll get their product sold. And maybe Ford should build a car just for Uber or try to create their own Uber. Good luck.
But I think those are the options. We're talking about different business model. We're talking about marketplaces, hardware, utility, we are not talking about brand building. Now, some brands are still going to live. Tomorrow's brands are going to built though direct and they're going to be built with utility or not built at all. I love and absolutely love this model of this company Brandless. It just raised $50 million. What Brandless does is they're saying, we're going to just sell the best possible product for the lowest possible price. Like Maple Syrup, like people love Aunt Jemima, but really not that much that they're going to be willing to spend $5 versus $3 when maybe Brandless is going to say that they're going to have better quality ingredients. So every product Brandless sells is called Brandless and it costs $3 and that's the new model in the world where they're just waving the flag on brands, right?
And they raised 50 million instantly, very sharp people behind it. And there are some brands are going to be built, but they have to be built with purpose and a lot of them have to be built without the legacy infrastructure. I love Warby Parker, so many things of what they do is so smart. One thing they do is their retail stores, which was built after the digital infrastructure. It's a mirrored approach on both sides of the retail store. It's the same products on both sides, right? Less is more, simplicity. With the new iPhone X, they use a depth sensor to sense your face and know what type of glasses you could use. That's a utility. So they had built a brand, there brand matters and they only go direct. They control the consumer experience. They control the data. This company Away, which I love, started by two women in their late '20s.
Now they are $20 to $30 million a year in revenue, $200 suitcase with an iPhone charger next to it, right? That's a utility. That's the brand. The iPhone charger, that triumph to me, the brand, right? Or Samsonite, it was just the iPhone charger, that's the utility, that brand name they could kind of do without, but they went to market versus, and now every brand has the ability to go direct with platforms like Shopify, et cetera that actually go direct to consumers. And lastly, all media will soon become addressable, which basically means that Joe's Pizza will be able to advertise during the Superbowl, the people that live within one mile of Duluth, Minnesota, right? And not just Papa John's or Domino's will be able to advertise, right? The TV is going to become a giant iPad hanging on your wall. Ask an eight, 10 or 12 year old kid that didn't know what ABC is, and they will tell you it's the alphabet.
If you ask them of Foxes, they'll tell you it's an animal, right? They do not know what TV networks even are. No idea what it is. But brands are spending 80% to 85% of their budget on TV networks, right? The kids don't even know what it is. They wouldn't even know how to tune in. They're going to YouTube. They know who their people they follow. So while Apple TV might look like this today where you have a bunch of networks tomorrow it's going to look like this, where you're going to have the sports leagues because live continues to dominate. You're going to have shows like Billions or whatever the show was of choice. Those shows are probably go direct to consumers and not have to rely on the big networks to distribute and you're going to have to YouTube stars the individuals because people are brands and brands are people.
And these individuals are really what have the audience, the individuals now control. Not the big corporations, right? It's happening from the sidewalks and not from the boardrooms. And in this world where the individual gets to control, they are kind of the brand, so the new brands are people. The new brands are not stuff. That's what the insight that I've kind of learned. You see stars at companies drive their businesses. So far you see Richard Branson drive Virgin. You see Gary Vaynerchuk yesterday blow off of them and so hold those people along the lines to buy his sneakers. And he's a marketer. It's incredible. He built a name as a brand that transcended the business success. So those people are now driving things and in that world, that to me is the brand that matters, which is why when the Kardashians post things, it doesn't matter what the brand is, no one ever heard of it.
People buy it because the Kardashians brand matters more than actually to consumers brand itself. So that's the evolution. In some ways the evolution is going to kind of go backwards I think. I think that we're going to have to look towards utilities because when the caveman was in a cave and he was looking for wood, he wasn't looking for doorframe wood, he just needed a wood to start the fire, right? He had to cook his food. And that's really what mattered. And the closest easiest wood that he could get was closest easiest way that he could draw hieroglyphics, which are now known as emojis, on the side of the cave. That is how they would actually build stuff, the brands in that matter. And I think we are coming full circle actually going back there again. So that's what I have for you guys. If you have questions you can hit me up @MattB.
Are we doing a Q&A people? Okay. I guess we're doing a Q&A. We have eight minutes left. Any questions? Is there somebody who ... Should I just pick? Yeah. Okay. Okay. Anybody in the cheap seats back there? Right there, Toby? No. Okay. Yes. Back there. 100% and I think like my whole thing on purpose driven marketing is just fucking do it. If you actually want to do something good then do it and people will find out about it. Don't make it a campaign. Right. So I think if a company really wanted to do well by their people and by their customers and by the world, then do business that way and don't actually make it part of an outbound messaging campaign. But since it's your point, a lot of brands can't lean to the brand itself, grabbing on anything they can and a lot of them are doing it in a very cheap, superficial ways. Yes. Back there. I am Great. Oh Great. I can hear you perfectly well though.
It's not going to be on the recording.
Here's this guy. Give this guy a raise. He's like Carl Lewis flying up the steps. My God. Insane, the GOAT.
My question is, this sounds a lot like CPG. And I know there's some good comparisons about Airbnb's totally owning like the hotel industry.
It sound a lot like what? I'm sorry.
Airbnb owns like the hotel industry and it's replacing hotels to an extent, but a lot of the examples in here sound very CPG focused and I'm just curious, what's the level of extinction for brands that are experiential or hospitality focus like Carnival versus Norwegian and nothing's really replaced that kind of experience yet. So what's the branding extinction for things like that?
I would argue that Airbnb is kind of a step in the direction of the brand really not mattering because people will get Airbnb as a platform versus like, so Weston has their heavenly beds, right? So and Doubletree has their cookies when you check in, right? Or they have their own status points and things like that. Those brands actually means I am the consumers. When you go to Airbnb, every single house looks completely different. Every experience is completely different. And I'm not saying brands are gone forever, it's not a binary thing yet. And I think that some brands could be smart about it. I actually think you look at these platforms. I think a big opportunity is building brands on top of platforms. So woman care about bedsheets, clean sheets, clean towels, right? Clean stuff in the kitchen.
Research shows over to when they go to Airbnb and that's why they never let their families stay there because like the sheet's smell is disgusting. The guy didn't care, just pop it out. But usually the woman says, "No I'm not staying in the shit hole." Right. Well if you could create a brand that goes on top of Airbnb that had a luxury, so you knew it was certified by that brand, well then you might trust Airbnb more, but the platform still exists under it. So I think a lot of new brands are actually going to be built on top of the platforms versus being built as a standalone because they could leverage that infrastructure and just extract insights for the consumer that work moving forward. Anything else back there? Yes.
Where do you see the future of traditional media like TV and radio who are constantly ... I work in radio by the way, who are constantly looking for-
No. Cumulus. Who are constantly looking for ways to attract advertisers and the cut is lower and lower every single year.
Yeah, sure it is. I think that there's a rise of down funnel metrics when it comes down to it. I think now once TV becomes addressable, I don't think CPMs is going to be known as a metric that really matters anymore. I mean with all the ad fraud and viewability issues anyway. I mean, I don't really know how a company's ever connected CPMs to sales. I just think there's some book deep down inside of these big companies that says it did maybe like 30 years ago or during the Don Draper era. But I don't think it does really anymore. I think great products win, which is why so many big brands of this era never advertised at all. Right? But to answer your question, I think the advertising industry, I think media companies need to embrace performance based models to show that they can sell stuff. And if they can't then they need to find a new line of business because it's all measurable right now.
And I think that it's slow to embrace, you see P&G is really leading the way, where Pritchard's like, "No more digital. Sorry, I don't know how to measure. I'm not going to do it anymore." And the reason why is that they're seeing that people aren't going to Target or Walmart anymore. They used to buy all their products, now they need to figure out another way. So you're not going to blow money on TV anyone, good for them on doing it. Right? So I think no matter what business, because I think the car is going to become one giant docking station. When you drop your iPhone in there and then it's going to know who you are, it's going to play the music you like, it's going to know who you like to travel. And the ads that are going to play to you or stuff that you like based upon the data of the consumer, via Facebook, et cetera. Well, in that world, there's an opportunity for direct response. Right? And if you're on radio, that's where I'll go.
Cool. Looks like we're out of time. Thank you guys so much. You guys are amazing.