• More Woes For Travel Brands As Europe Reinstates Restrictions
    Airlines and hotels are taking another hit as Europe has voted to reinstate a ban on travelers from the U.S. “The United States didn’t get to stay long on Europe’s safe travel list — the country was removed by the European Union a little more than two months after it was finally added following a seemingly endless 458-day ban on travel from the U.S. to Europe,” per Afar. Each country in Europe ultimately has the final say on what its requirements are — and will be — for travelers entering its borders regardless of the European Council’s recommendations. 
  • 'Little Black Box' Inventor, Marketer Don Poynter Dies
    Don Poynter’s first big hit was whiskey-flavored toothpaste. Other contraptions he invented and marketed included a talking toilet, the Go-Go Girl Drink Mixer and the Little Black Box. “His line of novelty items was wide-ranging,” per The New York Times. “Jayne Mansfield posed for him so that he could make a shapely, sexy hot-water bottle.”
  • Grocer Giant Eagle First Of Kind To Accept Venmo Payments
    Giant Eagle and GetGo are "the first grocery and convenience store chains in the United States allowing customers to pay with PayPal and Venmo at the register," according to Progressive Grocer. "Pittsburgh-based  Giant Eagle operates more than 470 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana," with GetGo a convenience store division.
  • Sweetgreen Set To Buy Restaurant Tech Start-Up
    In "a major commitment to automating its operation," fast-casual restaurant chain Sweetgreen is buying Spyce, a "Boston-based start-up specializing in developing automated solutions for the restaurant industry," per Chain Store Age. Deal is expected to close in third quarter of this year.
  • Poll: Fewer Americans Drinking Booze
    It's not a huge drop, but "The Gallup survey published Thursday found just 60 percent of U.S. adults said they drink alcoholic beverages, down from 65 percent in 2019," according to The Hill.  "Americans' average weekly number of drinks also dropped from four to 3.6, Gallup found. Beer was the most-often consumed alcoholic beverage in America, with 39 percent of respondents saying they drink it."
  • New Balance V. Michael Kors: New Lawsuit
    "New Balance is testing its legal hold on the letter 'N' in [a] suit against Michael Kors," alleging "a design on the shoe's side is 'virtually identical and confusingly similar to the New Balance N Marks,'" according to Retail Dive. "Moreover, New Balance said both brands often engage in collaborations, and Michael Kors' proclivity for collaborations make it more likely that consumers could be misled into thinking New Balance is involved in the shoes."
  • Delta Air Lines To Charge Unvaccinated Employees More For Insurance
    Delta Air Lines will charge employees who decline to get a COVID-19 vaccination an extra $200 per month for health care insurance. Some employers including the state of California, Tyson Foods, CNN and United Airlines, are mandating vaccination while others are expected to impose surcharges such as Delta’s to cover the increased costs of health care stemming from hospital bills those workers incur when they become infected.
  • Wendy's Expansion Includes Partnering With Walmart
    Wendy’s expansion includes limited brand extensions in Walmart units. The fast food restaurant chain last week opened a new Hamburger Stand unit in a Heath, Ohio, Walmart and plans a Wendy’s Snack Shop format later this year in another Walmart. The Hamburger Stand has a more limited menu than a traditional stand-alone restaurant.
  • Tiffany & Co. Creative Features Beyonce, Jay-Z, Basquiat
    Beyoncé and Jay-Z share the limelight with a never-before-seen painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat in Tiffany & Co.’s signature robin egg blue. “Tiffany recently acquired the spectacular artwork, which had been in the possession of a private collector since the early 1980s, adding another surprise and layer of storytelling to a vast, yet nuanced advertising effort, which is to break in print next month,” per WWD.
  • Social Media Skewers Pfizer's 'Comirnaty'
    Social media pundits wasted no time in weighing in on Pfizer’s choice of a vaccine name. While the FDA may have given the shot full approval, the public was less kind. Writer Drew Magary likened it to “a Philly resident trying to say “community.” CNN editor Ariel Edwards-Levy implored everyone to “not lose sight of the fact that ‘Comirnaty’ is an objectively hilarious brand name.”
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