Waxwork drinkers, Europe’s new tech prince and logos that look like something else

Planet Business: Box office blues, the sequel

Madison Avenue man: A wax statue of Mad Men’s Don Draper has been hanging out  at a New York steakhouse to make it seem less empty. Photograph: Kevin Hagen/AP

Madison Avenue man: A wax statue of Mad Men’s Don Draper has been hanging out at a New York steakhouse to make it seem less empty. Photograph: Kevin Hagen/AP

 

Image of the week: Forward moves

Say hello to advertising creative Don Draper of Mad Men, propping up the bar in wax form at the Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn, New York, where restaurants these days are open for indoor dining at 25 per cent occupancy, encouraging restaurateurs to come up with inventive ways to make them seem less empty.

This steakhouse has, courtesy of loans from Madame Tussauds, turned to celebrity waxworks to provide some atmosphere. So Don (Jon Hamm) can, these days, be found thinking deeply and attempting to change the conversation in Brooklyn rather than in his natural Manhattan habitat, though he is still clutching his old-fashioned and wearing only a metaphorical mask.

In numbers: Plot twist

$700 million
Receipts for 2021’s global cinema box office leader – Chinese time-travel comedy Hi, Mom – have surged past this sum, overtaking previous number one Detective Chinatown 3.

71%

Slump in box office takings in 2020 compared to 2019. Despite the booming Chinese market, Covid-19 closures and restrictions are expected to keep big-screen revenues well down on their pre-pandemic level.

300%

The year-to-date share price performance of Odeon cinemas owner AMC Entertainment (as of Wednesday) courtesy of the same Reddit-inspired buyer pile-on that fuelled a spike in GameStop shares.

Getting to know: Sebastian Siemiatkowski

Sebastian Siemiatkowski (39) goes by the handle @klarnaseb on Twitter, where his bio declares he is trying to be “the nightmare of the bank establishment worldwide!” The Swedish founder and chief executive of payments company Klarna “looks like a Disney version of a tech entrepreneur prince”, according to a 2020 profile in Elle magazine, which swooned over his “uncanny ability to create desire” through an ecommerce version of the old buy-now-pay-later temptation.

This week Klarna Bank, which he started aged 23 and also offers savings accounts and other banking services, raised $1 billion at a valuation of $31 billion – triple what the fintech company had been deemed to be worth just last September. Investors “agree with us”, Siemiatkowski said, that “this credit card industry is actually at its core flawed”. More pertinently (or ominously), people are starting to use Klarna as a verb.

The list: Logos that look like something else

Everyone’s a critic, which is why every seemingly anodyne corporate branding decision is fraught with risk. Here are some logos that have been met with responses not anticipated in the brainstorming sessions.

  1. Amazon. The tech giant has quietly adjusted its main shopping app logo after a January redesign featured serrated-edge parcel tape that was deemed by some to resemble a Hitler moustache.
  2. London 2012. Back in the glorious utopia of 2012, there was little to worry about except whether or not the messy logo for the Olympic Games might, if you really squinted, be just too much like a Nazi swastika for comfort.
  3. Airbnb. The accommodation platform has gamely stuck with the 2014 logo it calls the “Bélo” – a symbol of belonging, apparently, but also one that looks distinctly anatomical.
  4. Pepsi. In 2008, it paid big bucks for a fashionable “tilt” of its red-white-and-blue colours that left its logo looking a lot like that of Korean Air.
  5. Eir. Its 2015 logo was variously deemed to look like a worm, a drunk octopus, a long-armed man on a Segway, a child riding a blow-up dinosaur and someone trying to reach the top shelf.
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