WEEK. 17.01.20

For £58, you can sniff Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina

The latest must-have from Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘wellness platform’ Goop is a candle labelled This Smells Like My Vagina.

From almost any other brand, a product with such a bluntly biological description would invite ridicule – for Paltrow and her notorious venture, it’s practically routine. After all, Goop has previously talked up vaginal steaming, paid a six-figure fine for making unsubstantiated claims about its vaginal jade eggs and invented something called “sex dust”.

Products like the £58 candle are a gift for PR teams and feature writers (“Will men be able to find the wick?” – Elle couldn’t resist), and the fact that it sold out immediately proves once again that the Oscar winner’s distinctive marketing tactics – spurious claims wrapped up in new-age babble with a celebrity co-sign – are highly effective.

For those of us who were late to the vagina candle party but retain a burning curiosity about the product experience, Goop likens the scent to “geranium, citrusy bergamot, and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed”. Borrowing a title from Gwyneth’s filmography – Thanks for Sharing.

Greggs and Just Eat serve up home delivery

A ground-breaking deal between Greggs and Just Eat means we no longer have to brave the British high street for a steak – or vegan – bake.

For the first time, the nation’s favourite baked goods will be available for home delivery across the UK. Greggs is launching the service in Bristol and Birmingham this week, with several other cities already on board following successful trials.

Due to the success of its vegan products, you could say the Tyneside-based baker is on a roll, turbo-charging a phase of relentless expansion that has seen hundreds of new stores open. It also aims to achieve national coverage with home delivery by the end of year.

Greggs’ tie-in with Just Eat shows how even traditional high-street names are jumping on trends in response to changing consumer habits. The fact that Just Eat won’t make much money from the partnership, according to industry analysts, also attests to the growing power of the Greggs brand.

But it’s not all good for Greggs at the moment – the chain’s only outlet in pasty mecca Cornwall has been forced to close after the local people branded it “Satan’s franchise”.

Burberry creates digital rat for Chinese New Year

Quick game of Ratberry, anyone? Chinese New Year is almost here again and Burberry is celebrating with an online game starring a cute rodent.

Building on the B Bounce game it launched last year, Burberry’s latest effort invites players to control central character Ratberry (does he look more mouse-like though?) as he bounces between platforms collecting gold coins and Chinese lanterns.

Image Source: Burberry
Image Source: Burberry

The luxury brand acknowledged the “growing appetite for gaming among younger consumers”, and Burberry isn’t the only the high-end fashion name taking an interest in this world. Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Dior have all recently released branded games for the Chinese market, where the typical luxury consumer is particularly receptive to gaming.

Meanwhile, Chinese New Year continues to grow in importance for brands, with everyone from Michael Kors to Manchester United chasing a piece of the action. Notably, Nike produced its first ever spot for the occasion this year, promoting a new line of CNY-themed footwear.

Dating innovation Blindlee is dick-pic proof

Start-up Blindlee is aiming to shake-up the dating market with an app based on video calling.

Dating remains a hotbed for innovation, despite Tinder’s dominance, which means singletons everywhere can bask in the knowledge that some of our finest tech brains are busy cooking up new ways to monetise their horniness.

Image Source: Blindlee
Image Source: Blindlee

Based in London, Blindlee shares some creative DNA with the notorious Chatroulette – single users are randomly matched for a three-minute ‘ice-breaker’ video call. Crucially, however, the app takes a precautionary measure by blurring the screen to start with (so users can’t be ambushed with a live ‘dick pic’ or similar).

Co-founder Sacha Nasan told TechCrunch that Blindlee represents an alternative to online dating’s “fake and superficial aspect”, adding that he wanted to “make the process more transparent and safer, but also fun”.

In tech language, we could be seeing a “pivot” to video in online dating. The under-30 demographic being targeted by Blindlee are those who have grown up with smartphones, FaceTime and internet video culture. Time will tell whether it’s an effective chemistry-channelling medium.


WEEK has been compiled by Alex Theaker, Matt Duxbury and Fabi Burnett.

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