TV’s dominant personal brand
used to be Oprah; today it is
Shonda Rhimes. (See page 66.)
No other media company has
expanded its identity so dramatically. It’s now known for
serious news (not to mention
cooking videos) as much as
With high-profile creative-class
partnerships (Kanye West, Raf
Simons) and an emphasis on
style along with performance,
it’s carved out a unique space
in a crowded field.
Game of Thrones may be
winding down, but the network remains the quintessence of bingeable prestige
Who knew a sleep startup
could make so much noise?
(See page 72.)
Its breakthrough idea: exercise
as communal, sweat-soaked
enlightenment. Not just a
gym—it’s a lifestyle.
The Swedish retailer has transformed cheap furniture into
covetable entry-level design.
Come for the Poäng chair, stay
for the meatballs.
In the right hands, just about
any product can take on real
social significance. As Chobani
churns out ever more varieties
of yogurt, it also spreads a
message of inclusiveness and
What do Marvel, Star Wars,
and singing princesses have in
common? A parent company
that prioritizes quality, appeals
broadly, and pushes forward
while respecting its past.
finally, the FDA—to embrace
mass-market genetic testing.
(See page 86.)
Contemporary culture’s loud-est, fastest communication
tool may not have the most
users in the social media world,
but it’s undeniably the center
of today’s news marketplace,
a vital global watercooler for
anyone to engage with real-time information and opinion.
—By Claire Dodson, David
Lidsky, Kim Lightbody, and
TROUBLED TRANSI T PIONEER
Execs are fleeing, founding CEO
Travis Kalanick is out, and some
users are souring on the company
due to allegations of sexual harassment and worker mistreatment.
Customers want decency along
with disruption. (See page 25.)
BANK ON THE BRINK
After a scandal involving fake
customer accounts (with real fees)
destroyed public confidence in the
brand, the company ousted its
CEO. Luring back customers will
require a major goodwill deposit.
MAJOR CARRIER, BIG HEADACHE
No one loves airlines, but when a
video went viral of a passenger
being dragged off a plane earlier
this year, and United’s response
was notably tone-deaf, the company came to represent everything people hate about modern
A LEAGUE UNDER PRESSURE
Concussions and bad player
behavior have been denting the
NFL’s reputation for years. In
2016–2017, ratings took a hit as
well, due in part to cord-cutting
and endlessly proliferating entertainment alternatives.
THE PREPPY RETAILER UNRAVELS
Falling sales, closing stores, and
designs that missed the mark:
A brand that once helped define
affordable luxury no longer has a
place in tastemakers’ closets. —RP
ON THE RUN