tv Story of Cool MSNBC September 2, 2018 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
what to watch for. >> congress back in town, can they avoid a shutdown? >> bob woodward's book comes out next month. >> i am personally watching the kavanaugh hearings that are coming up. that does it for us on "kasie d.c." we'll be back next week at 7:00. for now, good night from washington. this is an msnbc special series. cool. just a feeling? or something more? can you touch it or buy it? become it? who gets to decide what's cool and what's not? >> look for the person who's doing something that no one else has done. >> it's -- it's magic. >> every brand wanwants you to believe they have the edge on cool. >> cool spells -- >> they'll do anything to prove it. >> don't just try and sell me
something, you have to tell a story. that's what i want to be, there's where i want to go. >> you dwot to have something new or otherwise you go stale. >> wow. >> arhey there. ding, ding. >> in the fight for your love, showdown can get ugly. >> there's always a new startup coming after you. ♪ >> whether cool lives or dies cops down to how well it competes. taste makers and trend setters are locked in a battle for survival of the fittest. >> i think what makes rivalries cool, whatever the rivalry is, you're kind of in the middle and got to choose one. >> in 2006, one of the most iconic rivalries of all-time was
immortalized with an on-screen face-off. >> hello, i'm a mac. >> i'm a pc. >> hi, i'm an i.t. guy. >> what's going on, pc? >> this pc is getting an upgrade. >> hey, a camera, nice. >> personified the pc and the mac and these two characters, stodgy, stiff, uptight, uncomfortable with the pc. >> pc. >> okay. >> justin was young, successful, good looking. everything you would aspire to me if you bought an apple computer. >> i heard steve jobs saw me in a movie and felt like i reminded him of a version of himself. they approached me about it, they said there was a cool and an uncool architeetype. >> apple l's iconic ads didn't just poke fun at the competition. they represented an epic battle of the nerds.
>> being cool is very attractive and very addictive. even the nerds want to be cool. you want to be a cool nerd. >> bill gates founded microsoft in 1975. steve jobs started apple one year later. but their rivalry was already decades in the making. >> bill gates versus steve jobs. bill gates was the quintessential computer programmer kid. he grew up in seattle, washington, in a fairy privileged household. he was kind of checked out and removed socially from what was going on. we have a name for that today. the computer coding kid. >> by thepowerhouse, by licensi software to other companies. by 1980, microsoft was balling. raking in millions every year. >> bill gates was not charismatic, but he was a
really, really hard worker. very, very sharp. very, very bright. he was a kid who had his face pushed into the locker at high school and getting revenge on the entire world. he was a ruthless, ruthless businessman. >> everyone will use the computer as a very important tool. >> if gates was the uber geek, jobs was the renegade. in california's bay area where he grew up. he had a vision of using technology to tap human potential as he told a tech conference in 1980. >> what we're working toward now is the ability to amplify another human ability. >> steve's vision was very much a '60s hippy vision about using technology to empower people against the government, against corporations. even at that early age, in his late teens, early 20s, he was already bringing people into his orbit and launching apple. before apple computers would fill an entire room and ibm sold
companies and corporations gigantic machines that needed teams and teams of people to run them. there was no such thing as a computer for a person. >> back in the day, technology wasn't this commonplace thing that you carry around with you. >> when you're ready to travel, mcitosh can easily go along. >> being a nerd, a computer nerd, meant you were a very specialized sort of person. it was like being the person who knew how to repair rockets for nasa. steve jobs and bill gates. they had a shared common mission which is putting computing into the hands of the normal person. >> the race was on to get a pc on every desk in america. while bill gates was focused on building software, steve jobs had siz sighis sights on transf the computer's image all together. >> a computer was the very embodiment of uncool.
this was the cold mind of the dehumanizing us. putting everything on punch cards. they take that understanding of the computer and stand it completely on its head. all these people who appear to be brainwashed staring at a screen with a gigantic man's face talking. then along comes a woman dressed like an olympic athlete swinging a hammer. literally destroying the, you know, the tools of the mass society. that's a great brand image. >> by the mid 8 0s iss, apple put two computers on the market. in 19 84, jobs pulled back the curtain on a revolutionary
product. >> we're introducing the third industry milestone product, mcintosh. >> it initially caused a lot of buzz. a big splash. people were amazed by this graphical interface no one had seen before. so easy even a kid could use it. unfortunately, it was underpowered and overpriced and almost failed. >> for all the hype, for all the articles, for all the love fests over the mcintosh, not that many people owned a computer. >> a year after mcintosh hit stores, weak sales and infighting in apple cost steve his job. meanwhile, back in seattle, bill gates seized the moment. for the next decade, microsoft released a series of operating systems and in 19 95, they unveiled the crown jewel. >> the key is to make it easier to use your personal computer and let you get at more of the
power that's there. >> windows 95 was the first time that microsoft really got the graphical user interface right. it was much more stable than previous versions. it was much easier to use and it was much better looking. it made the windows pc for the first time as easy as a mac but it was a lot cheaper than a mac, so this is nearly the last nail in apple's coffin. >> steve jobs, he runt read was to surrender. >> steve. >> he returned to apple in 1997 and the company was on the verge on bankruptcy. jobs needed -- >> steve jobs always understood that his product was more than just the hardware. it was more even than the software. it was the story and that part of his job as a celebrity ceo was to tell a story about his product than embodied who those people, his customers, most
wanted to be. and they wanted to be cool. >> steve was much more comfortable being in front of the camera so, therefore, you attach this human quality to mac and people believed in jobs and believed he would fix things and solve things and make great products. >> this is imac. >> the bulbous seethrough mac was a breakthrough in computing, the first computer people want to put in their living rooms. didn't want to hide it away. hay wanted it put it out and display it. >> with the imac, apple won out the competition with a simple message. to be yourself. to be cool. you needed a mac. >> i knew this day would come, pc. >> in 2006, after 20 years after facing off against microsoft, jobs was still using that rivalry to define his brand. >> come on, big operating system. big operating system. >> when apple adds 66 mac versus pc. but ironically, the joke started
to backfire. >> had him and we lost him. >> if you watched them, what you ended up thinking was that kind of slightly overweight homely guy playing pc was actually kind of hilarious and great and i wanted to hang out with him and the guy playing apple was just a jerk. >> i agree with you, malcolm gladwell. i would hear that in different forms, oh, you think you're cool. i'd rather hang out with this guy. me, too. >> after being labeled publicly as uncool for so long, microsoft finally struck back. >> microsoft hired this very buzzsy outside agency to create an ad campaign basically to counter apple's ad campaign, and from a business perspective, this was a pretty risky thing to do because this could totally backfire on them. i mean, microsoft was by this point kind of the butt of everyone's joke but it didn't backfire on him. >> i'm a pc, and i am not alone. >> i'm a pc. >> pc. >> pc. >> pc. >> pc. >> i'm a pc, and so is my mom. >> individuals who are
legitimately cool, are young, are sweet, stood up and said, i'm a pc. young people everywhere got this image that, oh, it's actually pretty cool to be a pc. does beg the question, was this rivalry which played out so publicly even material for these companies financially? or did it just happen out of the, like, dirty rivalry that existed between these companies? >> we, the consumers, were drawn to the drama and took our sides. but ultimately, both apple and microsoft benefitted from their relationship. as adversaries and equals. >> you'd see many pictures of the two of them together sharing a stage, being quite amicable. >> we kept our marriage secret for over a decade now. >> because they knew there was more than enough playground to play in. >> so much of what is cool comes o ut of the world of technology. there's come a point in our culture where we have now acknowledged the paradox that the uncool are the coolest. >> with every product is an epic
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stay with their families until their 40's. ♪ in the quest for cool, perhaps no object has attained greater symbolic power or generated more heated rivalries than the sneaker. >> sneakers have developed into something far greater than i ever imagined. sneakers are the one thing that you can make a statement about who i am, what i care about, what i'm into. >> i bought a pair of amex 90s until this day, no one has ever commented on my feet more than when i was wearing those. and, yes, shallow as it is, it made me feel great about myself. >> the sneakers that i'm wearing right now are cool. >> why are these cool?
nobody has them. nobody, nobody has them. >> trainers, kicks, or tennis shoes, whatever you call them, you got to have them. ♪ well, you and everyone else. >> there are a number of dig different conventions that are getting bigger and bigger. this is an opportunity for people that have that shared passion to buy and sell sneakers, trade amongst themselves. there's a kind of an obsession that develops. >> every year, thousands of sneakers heads gather to pay homage to a precious commodity. this is a passionate front line of an estimate ed $55 billion industry. >> just one giant convention where everybody loves the same thing, everybody can talk, buy, sell, trade shoes and just for the love of shoes. >> nowadays, when people look at
you, they always look at your shoes so that's, like, one way to tell your personality. >> these right here go for $ 600. mini real estate. >> turns out sneakers have always been about one thing. status. >> fashions have changed much more than sports since the early 1900s. >> the first customers of sneakers were the upper classes and emerging industrialist classes. ♪ they wanted to have footwear that expressed that they had something that nobody else did which was the opportunity to play. everybody else is working all the time. so early sneakers were expensive because rubber was expensive. and they were used for sports like lawn tennis, maybe croquette. so, in fact, the beginning of the sneaker is a story of status. >> by the '50s and '60s,
sneakers were made of canvas and worn by kids. >> hard to define what makes sneakers cool. when i was growing up, athletes made shoes cool. dr. jay wore the converse one store and practically invoeente the slam dunk. whatever he was wearing was super cool. >> by the begin of my career, i wore dress shoes to the office. in about 1994, i stopped. there was a huge generational shift somewhere in that period where casualwear began to assert itself against the formality of the previous ex-hundreds of years. the sneaker suddenly plays a functional role outside of the field or the court or the track. the minute something becomes part of your public self and has a clear function, it opens itself up for these rarefied and distinctive formulations like,
cool. >> adidas, nike, puma, converse, vans, oh, they all grapple for apex cool status at one point or another. but the original rivalry was between siblings. the dossler brothers came from humble beginnings, running the family shoe business out of an old factory in germany. >> in the 1930s, rudy dossler and odi are working together making athletic level footwear. they'd already had success with putting shoes on athletes at previous olympics. and in the immediate post-war period, they had a very severe falling out. so they broke their association and odi went on to create odi dassler, blend of his name, and rudy created puma and they have been rivals since that time. >> when i was young, one of the things that you did when you got
some money is you go buy a fresh pair of sneakers. for me and my peoples, and my brothers and sisters, you had to make a choice between pumas and adidas. >> it was adidas that got the upper hand. by playing the exclusive card. >> it was at this point that adidas in particular becomes cool. it's available in only exclusive outlets in the united states and the price point was quite high. >> cool is not just looking at the product in isolation, it's how does this product have meaning compared to some other product? so is adidas cool? well, that depends, how does it fare against nike? ♪ >> nike started out as a niche athletic shoe company. founded in portland, oregon, by runner, phil knight and his coach, bill bowerman. nba rookie who defied gravity. you may have heard of him.
michael jordan. >> without michael jordan, there is no sneaker community, there is no sneaker craze. what a lot of people don't know is that michael jordan was first approached by adidas to do a deal and wound up getting a better deal at nike. >> on the court, jordan seemed endowed with superhuman powers. powers that translated to dollar signs. >> ready, and, action. >> tapping into his extraordinary talent meant creating a brand just for him that everyone could have a piece of. >> in 1984, the young rookie, michael jordan, signed with nike and the air jordan brand is started. ♪ playing in the playground >> when i was a kid, wearing my nikes just walking down the street, you felt cool and it wasn't because i believed if i put these on, i'm going to jump as high as michael jordan, but because you felt a part of something higher than yourself.
>> strong. versatile. stylish. air jordan quickly became an icon. ♪ play that beat >> so intoxicating that new editions have made the news and sparked a riot. >> or you'll be arrested. >> not everybody got on the air jordan bandwagon. >> me personally, i thought there was nothing cool about them. i didn't understand people selling their souls to the devil just to get a pair of jordans. to me, i was like, what's the big deal? >> was adidas cool because adidas was cool? or was adidas cool because he was rocking them? >> nike's rival would not come from the top of the superstar pack, they came from the street where sneakers lived. street where sneakers lived -right away, i could tell his priorities were a little unorthodox. -keep going. stop. a little bit down. stop. back up again. is this adequate sunlight for a komodo dragon?
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heartburn and gas? ♪ now fight both fast new tums chewy bites with gas relief all in one relief of heartburn and gas ♪ ♪ tum tum tum tums new tums chewy bites with gas relief from the moment they hit the market, nike's air jordans dominate the the sneaker world, but would be challenged, not by an upstart, but by some ogs. ♪
>> when we did the my adidas song, i didn't just want to do a song about, yo, i'm dmc, i got money and i got more sneakers than you. we wanted to do a song about our favorite sneaker. by us loving our adidas so much, it was like these sneakers were part of us. everybody always wants to know why my adidas and not my pumas or my nikes. nike, like, didn't even raise an eyebrow to me because it was only about adidas. >> dmc introduced hip-hop sound and style to the mainstream during the '80s and '90s and he drew inspiration from an unlikely source. a 50-year-old european shoe brand. >> it was a subtle expression of strength and power. but adidas superstar, the pro
model, they were invincible. you could get one pair of adidas, all you needed was a toothbrush and some soap. and you could have one pair of leather adidas shell-toe sneakers survive for maybe two years if you took good care of them. we related the shell t-toe to o durability of surviving in the ghetto, in the hood, in the main streets of new york city. >> shell-toe, no laces, is one of the iconic symbols of hip-hop culture. it represents run dmc. one of the greatest groups of all time ♪ one, two, three >> in 1986, adidas is in the toilet bowl as far as sales in america. 2% market share. a curious executive flies over and goes into this run dmc show.
performs "my adidas." 18,000 kids hold up adidas. and the executive sees this and he's blown away. and it changed the way brands look at artists. hip-hop artists in particular. to be a part of their advertising campaigns or be a part of their brand campaigns and they got the first endorsement deal as a result of it. >> they say my adidas was the start of sneaker culture, but i say it's the start of the awareness that the whole culture existed in the first place. >> we took the beat from the street and put it on tv. it gave all of those sneaker experts, all those sneaker wizards, all those sneaker psychos, a platform. so we kind of opened up the door
to the basement and let the culture out. >> this thing called hip-hop, it went from the streets of new york to the rest of the globe. >> hip-hop was cooler than anything that came before it and being young, i wanted to be about something different. to me, whatever run dmc was rocking at the time was cool. so shell-toed adidas and up, no shoestri shoestrings, oh, my god, that's crazy. i didn't want no shoes with shoestrings in them. about a year and a half after that. >> adead d dedadeed da deedeed dd adid adidas, nike, whatever. the sneaker wars have been good for everyone. >> the sneaker market today is a benefit of those wars that came out in the '80s. >> this rivalry for cool will actually just give us more options. >> 100.
100. >> hey, 100. 100. >> 100 for these right here. >> the sneaker giants' never-ending fight has given us more choices. and elevated the shoe from possession to obsession. >> well, there's an expression in the sneaker world, you know, o one to rock, one to stock b. sneaker head will buy two pair, put one on ice in the closet and sell it a couple years later and that will pay for the other pair. >> it sort of inculcates innumerable young men into the system whereby they can collect numbered series of shoes. if you have a one and then you have a two, you create anticipation for the three. and so it sets up that idea that you can collect, that you can desi desire, that you can wait for the next release. it also allowed men to now play with the idea of self-expression through fashion starting at their shoes. >> and self-expression will play
a part in another heated rivalry. one that unfolded in living rooms across america. >> we'll be back in just a moment. moment ring] ahoy-hoy. alexander graham bell here... no, no, my number is one, you must want two! two, i say!! like my father before... [telephone ring] like my father before... ahoy-hoy! as long as people talk too loudly on the phone, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. there are roadside attractions. ♪ and then there's our world-famous on-road attraction. the 2019 glc, starting at $40,700.
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hi, your hour's top stories. a private burial for senator john mccain. the end of a week-long remembrance of the two-time presidential nominee. a missing man formation flying overhead to honor the navy pilot at the end of today's ceremony. the democrats are demanding the release of 100,000 documents of judge brett kavanaugh's time in the george w. bush white house ahead of his confirmation hearings on tuesday. the trump administration is claiming executive privilege to keep them secret. now back to "story of cool." of" ♪ since americans first turned on the tv, the rivalry for higher ratings has been constant.
by the 1950s, americans could tune into the major networks or channels that came over the uhf, ultra high frequency. uhf was unreliable and full of some strange stuff. one staple caught on. the after-school dance party. ♪ i got a girl she looks just fine ♪ >> every big city had sort of an after-school tv teen dance show where kids danced and day played the newest hot music usually hosted by local djs. >> it was very simple times. innocent kids. one of the worst things we ever did was sit in the back of the chevy and make out t. the dances that we did for the jitterbug, the chacha, the slow dance, the stroll. it was the '50s, so nobody was really outrageous.
>> in 1957, a local philadelphia dj persuaded abc that the dance party could go national. his name, dick clark. the show, "american band stand." >> hi, once again, this is dick clark welcoming you back to "american band stand." >> almost immediately, "band stand" became a hit. >> best known for mainstream, teen pop stuff. watch kids dance, they played a record. artists would come on a couple of show and do whatever their top 40 hit was. >> i was on the show from '56 to '60. dick clark was very nice. he always had that young, refreshing, clean-cut look that i think the parents appreciated. >> establishment's going to get a little stirred up over that. >> in just a few years, "american band stand" was
attracting 20 million viewers. it was only a matter of time before rivals started following in their tracks. >> what i thought "american band stand" was like were all these white kids trying to do what black people were doing all along, dance. ♪ ♪ soul train >> "soul train," to me, was like seeing the gods on tv every saturday morning. it was unique because it showcased some of the baddest, soulful, afro-wearing black people in music. >> "soul train" was great because you could see artists in real life for the first time, you could actually see the artists get down, see people dance, see the fashion they was wearing, seeing the crazy outfits. you knows, all that kind of stuff was, like, magic.
>> i saw the show and my heart skipped a beat. i mean, it really did. i was, like, oh, my god. >> when it hit the air in 1971, "soul train" was revolutionary. a nationally syndicated tv show that put black musicians, entertainers and dancers in mainstream america's face. >> right on time for a beautiful trip on the soul train. >> the mastermind behind "soul train," don cornelius, worked as a reporter at chicago radio station, wciu. did a little djing on the side. ♪ satisfied by 19 70, wciu let him host dance parties at their downtown chicago studio and televise them. >> don cornelius definitely charted his own path in every way, whether it was through the show, itself, that he syndicated with his own money, or whether it was his own personal styling. >> don, himself, is a classic kind of cool guy. immaculately his hair and his glasses and so forth.
laid back, in control, confident thing. there was a kind of like, hey, man, what's going on? >> and you can bet your last money it's all going to be -- >> "soul train" introduced america at large to these african-american artists that would never get exposed anywhere else because it's not like they were getting on grammys or getting any mainstream television opportunities. so "soul train" opened up and kicked down a door for that. >> coming out of the '60s, civil rights movement and early '70s, the panthers. so young black people are scary, they're protesting, they're political. the show was political can a small "p." it showed the joy, the fun, the style, the music of young black people of the era. it helped normalize black life in a time when most of the media images were very limited. >> by 1973, "soul train" was the most watched show on syndicated tv. and itspredecessor, "american
band stand," was on the outs. >> as "soul train" was gaining steam, dick clark's "band stand" was losing stream. ratings were going on. dick clark was not happy about it. >> he said, i'm going to do "soul train," myself. >> he decided to replicate "soul train" with a show that he named "soul unlimited." it had a black host, buster jones. >> hello, thank you so much. let me get untang eled from the cord here. >> had black dancers and artists but didn't have the sat me feel. don cornelius was upset and dick clark was equally upset with him. >> "soul unlimited" brought in dancers from "soul train" and booked the same fans as "soul train." for many, the resemblance was too close to, you know, "soul train." >> corrective of businesspeople
including jesse jackson got to abc and basically were able to get abc from stop dick from making the show feeling quite honestly you're going to destroy a black tv show, this is is not going to look good for abc, this is going to have big ramifications. >> "soul unlimited can " didn't up to its name. it was canceled. "soul train" lived on until 2006. for "soul train" dancers like scooby doo, the party never stopped. >> unbelievable, to feel that cool, to feel, to be cool, because i never was before. >> scooby doo. >> the mid '70s, scooby and his crew introduced audiences to the pop and lock. a new style of dance emerging in l.a.'s black nightclubs. and today, just off las vegas' sunset educating a new generation in the fundamentals of funk.
>> the timing, the rhythm is very important that it's there. so, watch, here, ha, ha, ha. okay? that's how it's done. pow. you put in all together but you have to do that one thing to make it a lock. that's to stop. boom. lock. hurry up. a lot of people that are here right now at my class, they come from around the world. that means a lot to me. i never thought i would ever be in a position to hear from someone that they are appreciating what i'm doing. i was just having fun. you know, feeling good. i was just trying to be myself. >> today, in clubs all around the world, the signature moves of the '70s live on, giving
inspiration to new styles and subcultures. a testament of "soul train's" lasting legacy. >> that show started something in 1971 or '72 that people still do at parties. that's amazing. that shows you how durable some of the things were. >> peace and soul. >> cool has shaped every aspect of our culture. the way we move. the way we dress. even the way we eat. for years on my own. i couldn't do it. i needed help. for me, chantix worked. it did. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. chantix, without a doubt, reduced my urge to smoke. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix.
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that's why they're making it simple, man in cafe. and they know it's expensive. yeah. so they're making it affordable. thank you. you're welcome. that's a prop apple. now, you might not believe any of this since this is a television commercial, but that's why they're being so transparent. anyways. this is the end of the commercial where i walk off into a very dramatic sunset to reveal the new esurance tagline so that you'll remember it. esurance. it's surprisingly painless. in the battle of the brands, we all take sides. how do we choose? that's the question two researchers at cal tech set out to answer. >> we started scanning the brains of students to see if we can discover certain pattern in
the brain that revealed what's going on when we look at cool products. and from there, we realized that it's an area called medial prefrontal cortex that is activated when people look at cool things. >> it's essentially the part right behind your forehead. it's part of the brain that has evolved the most from our ape ancestors. it's actually part of our brain that originally was used for foraging like when we had to go out and look for food, right, are we going to, you know, eat this berry if there's maybe something else that's better? >> ifsurvival, then can food be co cool? what and how we eat is changing constantly. taste makers are vying to satisfy appetites. >> food is a huge part of pop culture now, trying to eat local and sustainable, and that's what's really trendy right now. >> now i'm going to the farmer's market where i can get food that was bought from local farmer that was handmade, that was
canned, like, two hours ago. farm to table. nose to tail. fish culturing. taking butchering class. sir rau sriacha, can't live without it. kale definitely not. >> the biggest rivalries are generational not long ago, slow food was out and fast food was in. ♪ >> their deeds have written an epic chapter in u.s. history. on the home front, women enlist for less glamorous, less hazardous, but equally important work in industry. >> during world war ii, women left kitchens for the workplace. and everything changed. >> all of a sudden, there were two working parents in every household, and it was a very dig different dynamic so we needed an ease of cooking to be able to allow us to be out in the workforce. >> from cake mix, to tv dinners, food got faster. >> promises to revolutionize the
american dinner table. >> but the true revolution began in 1955 when restaurants supply salesman ray kroc franchised a california burger joint and took the golden arches across the country. three years later, mcdonald's had sold 100 million hamburgers. fast food became a way of life. >> fast food is convenient. >> now serving family communities from coast to coast. >> it's cheap. >> it's america's greatest food value. >> you don't need to clean up. >> with no fuss or dishes to do. >> it became a huge part of our culture. >> mcdonald's was a runaway success. and soon, rivals were flooding the airwaves. hungry for a piece of the action. but billions of burgers, fries and shakes later came the afterburn. >> there has been a bit of a turnaround. maybe all this fast food while it has allowed us to eat more conveniently, hasn't been great for the environment and possibly
has not been so great for our bodies. >> we've always wanted fast, easy, food in the past, right? now we all want healthy, tasty, fast food. we want the same service, but we want to eat healthier. >> the new healthier. the new cool, slow. locally sourced, organically grown, a multi-billion dollar industry. >> finding artisal food has been a discovery process for this generation as we're learning it actually tastes better. >> fast and cheap, healthy and delicious, we want it all. keeping up with changing taste is the main challenge for culinary innovators. >> what people are looking for today, they are looking for authenticity. they are looking for simpler. they want to know where that
food came from. how was that animal treated along the way because that matters to me, right? >> you wouldn't think it. the man is talking about authenticity and simplicity, is the head chef of mcdonald's. in 2014 for the first time in its history, mcdonald's revenue declined. and kudrow was looking to reverse that trend and keeping up with the competition. >> it's vibrant and very fresh, produce forward we were looking to get to. we're definitely onto something that would be right in the wheelhouse of california. >> when mcdonald's first started out, we were truly innovative, created a whole new space that wasn't there. the customer is evolving. the only way to stay cool is to continue to evolve with them. >> the fight for the top of the food pyramid, it remains to be seen whether fast-food can keep up with changing tastes.
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when it comes to rivalries, nothing like vodka. the most popular spirit in america. there's clearly something to it. but what? >> vodka's ethol alcohol. i de i dare anyone to taste test it. there is no difference. >> and it's the same product. you wouldn't know it by looking at them. in this rivalry, not what's in the bottle, it this is the bottle. >> the first time anybody is aware is when absolut did what
they did. it is the coolest thing. they took unknown artists and interpret the bottle and never said what it is or does. interpretation of the bottle. >> in 1979, a swedish vodka maker came to the shores and made the absolut brand phenomenal. >> it was embracing and also sophisticated. that was much more appealing to a strata of people, young consumers willing to pay more for a brand of vodka they may not have been able to identified as premium in a blind taste test. >> you ask people, why do you buy, you know, absolute vodka?
>> i like the way it tastes or triple distilled. that's the bar defense for, really, i think it's the coolest thing. something is happening in the market and advertising, this is the current vodka and the coolest one. >> worked like gangbusters and took it from nothing to billions of dollars. >> if you can capture cool in a bottle, in theory, you can sell it. >> even a bottle that pushes the limit might not be enough to stand out from the crowd. in the rivalry for your vodka dollars, there's one more ingredient. >> i take pride of being an ambassador. >> and to the celebrity. >> puff daddy has his own vodka, right? when we say it's puff daddy's vodka, is he -- i'd love to know what his recipes are. dan akroyd's vodka, to what extent are they in the
distillery. >> this is an idea my people came up with and it's been a real success. >> when you see brands and artists come together, that's exactly what the celebrity stands for, that's exactly what the brand should be doing, it's magic. >> probably the only reason they're drinking, they're thinking, my god, dennis rodman has vodka, whatever he does it has to be good. he loves to party. i have to be the most coolest planet on the planet. if not -- >> packaging, celebrities, image when applied at just the right moment in just the right way, they give products an edge over the competition. in a changing marketplace, do rivalries still matter? >> we're in the kind of end stages of these battles between these entrenched monoliths with
massive distribution platforms. does coke or pepsi signify anything? i think it signifies nothing. does anyone look at someone drinking budweiser and say, you should be drinking millers? i don't think so. >> as humans cool like myself, you can spot it immediately when they're making up a story and telling you bull -- just to sell you a product. tell me why i should care about that product. >> i think more than ever, cool is about individuality and authenticity. you think about it every single day, a billion people on this planet are doing their own brand on instagram and facebook and defining themselves. >> having a plain old product is not enough. what are you doing for your customers and community that's different than just product. >> it feels like there's excess amount of product in the world. that's not a good thing. the competitive part of it
forces people into real innovation, technology, that's out of competition. >> whatever fuels the next great relativeliry, be it a new idea, or just a need to win, we, the consumers, will be the judge of who comes out on top. this is an msnbc special series. >> cool. elusive. essential. iconic. >> cool is -- >> knowledgeable, authoritative, confident. >> it's the confidence that a person have in hisself. >> original. >> kind of wafer thin. >> cool is who you are, it's created. >> it's one of those