Brands Rewrite History, Teach Science, and Give Fans a Home-Field Advantage
By Natalya Minkovsky
The Bronco Rides Again
In 1994, O.J. Simpson drove his white Ford Bronco down Interstate 405 in Los Angeles and into the pages of media history, as dozens of police cars followed in pursuit. The chase turned Ford’s popular truck model into an infamous icon – one that the automaker decided to retire in 1996. But almost 25 years later, the brand is looking to rewrite the Bronco’s story and drive it in a new direction.
Bring Back Bronco: The Untold Story is an eight-part serial podcast that explores the truck’s history and its role in American pop culture, with a special focus on the Bronco Underground – a team of Ford engineers, designers, and product development managers who have been working behind the scenes to relaunch the vehicle in 2021.
The podcast is hosted by former NPR business correspondent Sonari Glinton who once worked on a Ford assembly line. Bonus content includes annotated sketches and photographs, archival materials, an interactive timeline, FAQs, and recorded interviews. While car enthusiasts are the main target audience for the podcast, the journalistic storytelling should also please general history buffs and pop culture aficionados.
#[email protected] Hits It Out of the Park
Major League Baseball teams played in empty stadiums this season, and that means they needed to find new ways to rally the fans watching from home. From ballpark recipes to crossword puzzles and app-based augmented-reality ballpark tours, teams stepped up to the plate with a wide range of creative content activities and shareable assets aimed at keeping baseball lovers engaged. For kids, there were coloring pages, word search games, and other downloads, including a selection of printables to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day. Some teams even recreated popular game day activities, like the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pierogy Race. The New York Yankees offered printable decorations and signs, as well as at-home workout videos with star players and strength coach Brett McCabe. Depending on what MLB home team you root for, you might also find teacher lesson plans, walk-up music playlists, or even virtual backgrounds for your next Zoom meeting.
Homeschooling for Adults Who Flunked Home Economics
Consumers who want to sharpen their kitchen smarts without the risk of cooking up the next “Nailed It” meme are getting a helping hand from Whole Foods Market. The brand’s Home Ec 365 content initiative is a digital curriculum of four short courses. Each class focuses on one useful adulting skill, like customizing recipes by swapping ingredients, keeping kitchen appliances clean, or saving money at the grocery store (knowledge that any frequent Whole Foods shopper will likely find valuable). Hosted on the Teachable online learning platform and taught by influential social media foodies, enrollees receive quizzes to test what they’ve learned in each lesson, as well as discount coupons and a helpful “study guide” – a printable sheet of recipes and other relevant tips.
Tune in to Nature with Pukka Herbs and the Natural History Museum
When we hit pause on summer festivals, carnivals, and other in-person gatherings, tourist-centric venues turned to virtual experiences as a way to give their visitors a break from the monotony of social isolation. For example, London’s Natural History Museum partnered with organic tea company Pukka Herbs to organize a free, family-friendly digital festival called Tune in to Nature. The event immersed participants in the natural world with live programming, activities, and downloadable resources about plants, pollinators, and local wildlife, as well as a live natural history quiz hosted by the museum’s learning team. On social media, the museum extended the engagement by sharing festival visitors’ favorite nature photos taken during lockdown on its online Feel Good Gallery, while Pukka Herbs shared cooking demos of recipes that featured pollinator-friendly herbs like chamomile and mint.
MIT Spreads Viral Science Far and Wide
STEM-minded students don’t have to ace any standardized tests to sign up for this biology course at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic.” During the university’s fall 2020 semester, professors and notable guest speakers – including Dr. Anthony Fauci – will discuss the science of the pandemic, from epidemiology and immunology to vaccine and therapeutic development. While only MIT students can ask questions during the live Q&As, MIT has made the course available for free to anyone interested in surveying the livestreamed sessions or catching the classes on demand.