Welcome to Friday Fives, Vol. 272

The Working Assembly
4 min readSep 21

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This week, we’re contemplating commercial rebranding, spending money on TikTok Shop, breaking in our Birkenstocks, formulating feedback from an artificial client, and taste-testing black soda.

(ITSNICETHAT.COM)

Breaking Constraints on Commercial Rebranding

As a brand, reinventing an old identity can be difficult, and the utility of a minimum viable product (MVP) can often appear attractive. Unfortunately, constraints continue to tighten for designers. As a result, rebrands are starting to look the same, as tight timelines, murky pricing structures, and non-compliance to brand guidelines after hand-off incline designers and clients to play it safe with trendy designs proven to work. However, we’re inclined to believe that we need to eschew trends and help our clients be brave enough to create a design that fits their needs — even if it feels foreign to their current landscape. When in doubt, just take the path less traveled, right?

(NYTIMES.COM)

Hodgepodge Shopping Introduced on TikTok

On Monday, TikTok released a new Shop button which allows users to shop from the app’s home screen. However, creators who want to sell products can only choose from the items TikTok has available that sell an odd jumble of things primarily made in China. Many compare it to Shein, but creators say the commission potential is life-changing. Right now, it’s difficult to see this as anything but a ploy to keep us on the app longer, but we’d be lying if we said we’re not tempted to click on the shop button and make one impulse purchase. Or seven.

(FOOTWEARNEWS.COM)

Uniting Feminism and Comfort

As the movie was a 90-minute ad itself, it’s no surprise that the brands featured in Barbie are experiencing record-breaking success. Even though Gerwig scripted the shoe into the film herself as a commentary on patriarchal standards, the movie propelled a 110% increase in searches for Birkenstocks (so much so they are considering going public). Product placement is a $23 billion industry (a 14% increase since 2020), which means it’s nowhere near slowing down. With social media making it harder to grab a user’s attention, product placements force people to confront the product in a new context. But no matter which way you look at it — comfort always prevails.

(ADAGE.COM)

The Artificial Client Might Just Humble You

A new AI tool released by Dentsu Creative is the answer to every designer’s dream: more client feedback! All jokes aside, their new fun tool generates feedback on creative work from 3 different client personas. While the “Ruthless Critic,” “Idealistic Dreamer,” and the “Confused Creative” are meant to be more humoristic than serious, they are a testament to a new kind of creative capability that is currently untapped by AI. By amalgamating a combination of different open-source models, The Artificial Client can answer complex customer questions, test real creative work, and uncover insights. To any of our clients reading this, we love you. We’d never replace you with AI.

(EATTHIS.COM)

Soda with a Secret

Spooky season is upon us, and Fanta has come uber-prepared with a dark take on its orange soda. The flavor is a part of Fanta’s new “What is Fanta?” campaign that was released this summer, but what’s even spookier is that the brand keeps the flavor a secret, which we see as a brilliantly disturbing marketing tactic. With Coca-Cola revamping Fanta’s original taste, this might be one step in a larger strategy meant to modernize the established orange beverage — and what could be spookier than a flavor that turns your tongue black?

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The Working Assembly

NYC branding agency exploring the intersection of art, design, technology and culture. Partnering with emerging and evolving brands.