Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-Stuart Elliott’s last ad column for The New York Times spotlights the top five changes on Madison Avenue over the past 25 years.

-In Ad Age, the 4A’s chief digital officer Chick Foxgrover forecasts four key 2015 trends among ad agencies.

-A World Bank analysis finds a sharp decline in people living in extreme poverty, thanks in part to rising incomes in India and China, via The New York Times.

-A new Pew study finds the widest wealth gap on record between upper-income and other Americans, with the top tier getting wealthier as middle- and lower-income families see no growth.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: The era of outrage, VR movies and the future of privacy” »

Rather than fear or fight the encroachment of the sharing economy, some automakers are embracing it by taking inspiration from this business model. Over the past few years, several major brands have invested in car-sharing schemes, including Daimler’s Car2Go (now in 30-plus cities, most recently Stockholm and Brooklyn) and BMW’s DriveNow, a partnership with car-sharing firm Sixt. Now several new ideas are popping up. In a premium twist, last month Audi introduced Unite, “a collaborative car initiative that refashions mobility as a personalized micro-sharing experience.” Launched in Stockholm, the program lets participants choose up to four people with whom to share a lease, using beacons and mobile apps for tracking usage, scheduling and coordination. Monthly payments are adjusted based on driver usage. Audi is reportedly planning two different car-sharing pilots in two U.S. cities but hasn’t disclosed details.

Continue reading “Car-sharing gets creative with new programs from Audi, Toyota” »

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.33.26 AM

Surfing is experiencing a renaissance, as we point out in our new Future 100 report for 2015: It’s now the ultimate mind-body pursuit for Silicon Valley CEOs, urban professionals and anyone seeking to unplug and be at one with the elements. Luxury brands are tapping into surfing’s new cachet—a recent Chanel No. 5 ad features a surfing Gisele Bündchen on a Chanel-branded board. And hip lifestyle surf retailers are cropping up (Saturdays or Pilgrim in New York City, for instance), along with niche luxury brands such as Finisterre in the U.K. Launching next year, Outerknown is a line from surf champion Kelly Slater in tandem with menswear designer John Moore; French luxury holding company Kering owns a minority stake.

Continue reading “New sustainable surf brand Outerknown: another sign of surfing’s renaissance” »

Ofcom e-commerce

Britons are by far the most prolific online shoppers in the developed world, according to the latest International Communications Market Report from Ofcom in the U.K., as this chart from the FT shows. On average, Britons spend an average of almost £2,000 a year on e-commerce, and an average of more than £3,000 apiece when considering only the online-shopper population. The availability of superfast broadband—which Ofcom says is more widespread than in other key Western European markets—is only helping to drive e-commerce growth.

Continue reading “Data Point: Britons are world’s most enthused online shoppers” »

Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-An Economist special report on luxury includes a look at experiential luxury, Millennial preferences and changing tastes in China.

-McKinsey’s latest Consumer Economic Sentiment survey finds that six years after the Great Recession, Americans remain reluctant spenders.

-In the last 15 years, the employment rate in the U.S. has dropped from among the best for developed nations to the bottom, with men bearing the brunt, reports The New York Times.

-The music industry is still dealing with the “culture of free” spawned by Napster more than a decade ago, writes The New York Times.

-Webbmedia Group lists its top tech trends for 2015 including deep learning, digital security, smart cameras and lendership, via The Wall Street Journal.

-Forrester predicts 2015 will be the breakout year for wearable tech, via Adweek.

-BBC explores how facial recognition might change your future shopping trips.

-Retailers are increasingly offering online ordering with in-store pickup and same-day delivery this holiday season, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-Fashion retailers are harnessing Big Data to provide customized experiences for each shopper, reports The Business of Fashion.

-Dark social sharing—when people send links or content through private messaging—is a prevalent practice that might provide better insight into consumer interests and preferences, writes eMarketer.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: Vine stars, dark social and culture of free” »

As we race to the finish line of 2014, we’re also starting to look to what’s next. At JWTIntelligence, our 10 Trends and later 100 Things to Watch have traditionally marked this transition. This year, in the spirit of newness—new branding, new CEO, new worldwide director of JWTIntelligence (that’s me)—we’re switching things up a little.

An evolution of JWTIntelligence’s flagship 100 Things to Watch, The Future 100 is coming out several weeks ahead of its traditional release. As you’ll see, it features a new look, new format and new feel. We are grouping items by themes, such as brands, luxury, culture and technology. And connecting the dots between the “what” and “why,” we’ve included a “Why it’s interesting” analysis with each item.

JWTIntelligence’s 10 Trends report will be published and available for purchase immediately after the holiday break, on Jan. 5. The report will celebrate a decade of 10 Trends forecasts at JWT, identifying 10 of the most important macro trends we’ve spotted since the report launched, from De-Teching (2011) to Everything Is Retail (2013) to Cooperative Consumption (2008). These trends, which are essentially shaping the decade, have been written from a 2015-and-beyond perspective and are underpinned with JWT SONAR™ data across 12 markets.

Looking forward to the future!

E-commerce is fast reaching a tipping point into mobile commerce. “Mobile commerce adoption is far ahead of expectations,” reads a report out today from Criteo, a performance marketing technology company, which says mobile currently comprises 30 percent of e-commerce transactions globally. A majority (53 percent) of these transactions are coming from smartphones, not tablets. And order values from mobile are reaching desktop levels, especially (in the U.S.) for fashion, luxury, sporting goods and health and beauty purchases.  

China is heading toward a massive m-commerce market, given that it’s home to 500 million smartphone users: This week, Alibaba reported that 54 out of every 100 payments processed by its Alipay affiliate in 2014 (through October) came from mobile devices, compared with just 22 in 100 last year. In the third quarter, Analysys International reports, online shopping transactions through mobile devices in China more than tripled from 2013. In India, meanwhile, Flipkart reports that while fewer than 10 percent of orders, transactions and visits came from mobile in 2013, by late 2014 those numbers were all above 50 percent. Amazon has said that more than 40 percent of its traffic in India stems from mobile devices.

In the U.S., IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark reports that for the first time in the U.S., mobile traffic on Thanksgiving surpassed that from desktops as consumers prepared for holiday shopping. On Black Friday, mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013.

Consumers are quickly taking to the smartphone to browse, shop (for groceries, luxury purchases and anything in between) and also pay for goods in physical stores. Brands will need to make every step of the consumer journey easily accomplished on mobile, as well as fast and fun. With the fashion app Spring, for instance, it’s easy and enjoyable to browse on the go, and transactions can be completed with a fingerprint, thanks to Apple Pay integration.

Data point_12.09.14

While it seems that Americans are somewhat misinformed, at least according to the Index of Ignorance, a large majority of Americans believe the Internet and cellphones make them better informed and improve their ability to learn, while increasing their capacity to share ideas and creations with others. According to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,066 Internet users, three-quarters say access to the Internet has made the average American better informed.

The largest majority of respondents (81 percent) feel better informed about which products and services to buy than they did five years ago thanks to digital technology. Indeed, the ability of consumers to research products, prices, corporate practices and more—often at point of purchase—has given rise to a highly savvy, confident and demanding consumer.

Around three-quarters of Americans feel better informed about national and international news and pop culture, although digital tech is making less of an impact on the local level: Only 49 percent say they are better informed about civic and government activities in their community, and 39 percent about their neighborhood and neighbors. People also feel the Internet has improved their ability to share ideas and creations: 72 percent of Internet users agree, compared with only 55 percent in 2006, likely due to the proliferation of social media over these years.

Despite the potential for information overload—which is helping to spur an impetus to unplug from technology at times—most Internet users don’t seem to be fazed by this prospect: 72 percent say they like having all the information the Internet can provide at their fingertips, versus 26 percent who feel overloaded.

Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, this double-edition roundup covers items from the past two weeks.

-Shoppers are less impulsive and more focused and savvy, thanks largely to e-commerce, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-More retailers are providing faster shipping over the holiday season for shoppers “who’ve become increasingly finicky and impatient,” reports the Associated Press.

-The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the challenging economics of e-commerce for retailers.

-McKinsey outlines the future of the shopping mall, and Smithsonian charts the death and rebirth of the American mall

-Brick-and-mortar clothing retailers are especially challenged this holiday season, writes the FT.

-The Economist names its innovation-award winners.

-The “cashless society” is well on its way, says The New York Times.

-MIT Technology Review explains why smart glasses will be an important technology, even if Google Glass is “going nowhere.”

-“Personal transportation is on the cusp of its greatest transformation since the advent of the internal combustion engine,” reports the Los Angeles Times from the LA Auto Show.

-Campaign reports on JWT London’s new “Elastic Generation” report, which examines the 50-plus generation.

Continue reading “Two-Week Roundup: End of the impulse buy, data artists and ‘the new age of cultural manias’” »

We’re always examining the latest startups to inspire our trends coverage—a great way to see areas in which brands are innovating and the problems that are being solved. At a recent showcase of the six startups participating in the BBC’s innovation lab, there were a lot of great ideas, and refreshingly, they were all well developed, since the BBC needs them to be actionable. The BBC set up the lab two years ago with the intent to invest in viable startups at the intersection of technology and media, developing them and using their tech internally, while acting as mentors. A roundup of what we saw:

Seenit is a B2B online tool intended to help companies easily harness user-generated video content and foster co-creation in real time. Seenit’s native app helps anyone with a smartphone participate in crowdsourced video projects, providing a simple template that asks a short series of questions, dictates video length and standardizes file formats to MP4. Content is uploaded to an editor tool, which the company can use in real time to view and splice clips.

It’s been used in projects for Bacardi (see above), a Hunger Games premiere and at the Monza racetrack. STA Travel is incentivizing its “Travel Experts” to upload video of adventures booked through STA using the Seenit app, which both promotes their affiliates and further vests their customers in the brand experience.

Why it’s interesting: Seenit is both a tool and an incentive. It offers all the tools necessary to produce slick content using rough smartphone video captured on the ground—straight from a brand’s intended audience. The co-creation premise taps into people’s need to create and share, and the software provides effortless structure that steers unbridled creativity in a meaningful way. The current work with brands like Bacardi is brilliant. Using projects like this as a model, brands could also consider layering iBeacon technology and/or further incentives, such as QR-coded rewards, to continue the customer brand journey.

Seenit is working on white-labeling the product; expanding to B2C, targeting the “pro-sumer” (examples include the stag party); and developing an editor network that allows the business to outsource work to contracted editors worldwide.

Continue reading “At BBC’s innovation lab, startups at the intersection of tech and media” »


New: The Future 100

The Future of Payments & Currency

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • Tears become… streams become…
    December 17, 2014 | 1:50 pm

    Artists and performers are increasingly creating multisensory pieces that immerse and envelope audiences, who in turn are embracing these one-of-a-kind experiences. In New York, the latest example is the performance and installation tears become… streams become…, a “field of water that harnesses light, reflection, music and sound” by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon and French pianist Hélène Grimaud.

    Continue reading “Tears become… streams become…” »

  • The Glade Boutique
    December 11, 2014 | 5:16 pm

    More marketers across the spectrum are creating novel pop-ups and activities that add dimension to the brand and satisfy consumer interest in experiences. These experiences are also increasingly interactive, immersive and multisensory, as our past trend reports have discussed. In line with these trends, a Glade Boutique holiday pop-up in New York City’s Meatpacking district, created with fashion designer Pamela Dennis and interior designer Stephanie Goto, features five rooms themed around “scent-inspired feelings,” like relaxation and “energized” (complete with an Oculus Rift virtual thrill ride).

    The pop-up is a departure for the mass-market candle brand: It has no outside signage, just a keyhole with a neon sign asking, “What will you feel?” Inside, with white walls and polished concrete floors, there’s all the cues of a groovy concept store. Visitors walk past a terrarium to the “Feelings Lounge”—sofas arranged around an objet-bedecked coffee table—then find the new collection of candles covered in bell jars for sampling the scents, akin to the merchandising format of ultra-luxe candle brand Cire Trudon. There’s also a backlit installation made up of hundreds of Glade candles.

  • Cheap-phone wars
    December 3, 2014 | 11:54 am

    Obi Mobiles

    Mobile brands are creating cheaper, stripped-down smartphones for emerging markets, competing with domestic brands producing their own low-cost phones. The field is getting more competitive with Obi Mobiles from former Apple CEO John Sculley, which targets young, image-conscious consumers. Obi launched recently in India, the Middle East and Singapore, and plans for further expansion in 2015.

    Obi will be taking on Chinese up-and-comer Xiaomi, which is entering five new markets this year. Meanwhile, Google launched the Android One OS in India last month in tandem with several domestic brands, which are pricing the phones at around $100. Prices will get lower still, at least for the most basic smartphones: Mozilla has announced plans to sell phones that use its Firefox OS in India and Africa for just $25. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Obi Mobiles

  • Snapcash
    November 19, 2014 | 4:54 pm

    Disruption in the payments sphere is opening the way for social media brands to act as intermediaries between consumers and their money, as we note in our report on payments and currency. Facebook is said to be planning a P2P payments feature for Messenger, South Korea’s KakaoTalk announced a PayPal-like service in September, and Line is creating a mobile service that will let users make on- and offline purchases. Now, Snapchat is partnering with Square to enable payments between users, as explained in this video’s energetic retro musical number.

    After users (U.S. only and 18-plus only) enter debit card info, they simply send a cash amount within a text. While Snapchat’s recent data breaches may give some users pause, the P2P payments space is a smart place to be as young consumers get accustomed to services like Venmo that make it easy and even fun to pay friends. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Payment in a heartbeat
    November 11, 2014 | 5:26 pm


    Our recent report on the future of payments and currency spotlights the rise of biometric payments—using a unique physical characteristic to authenticate transactions—which promise to greatly improve security and help remove friction. So far we’ve seen systems that rely on fingerprints (e.g., Apple Pay) and the palm’s unique vein payment (see Quixter). Now, the startup Bionym is exploring ways to harness its Nymi wristband, which uses the wearer’s unique cardiac rhythm as authentication, for payments.

    Bionym is linking with MasterCard and the Royal Bank of Canada for a test in which an NFC chip in the wristband enables contactless payments. The company, which is looking to license its technology into other wearables, recently raised $14 million in a Series A funding round and has racked up 10,000 preorders for the Nymi. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nymi

  • Vegetable co-stars
    November 4, 2014 | 6:31 pm


    “Vegetable co-stars” is one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2014—the idea that veggies are gaining a higher profile on restaurant menus—and more star chefs are indeed embracing this trend. José Andrés and his ThinkFood restaurant group plan to open Beefsteak (as in tomatoes), a vegetable-focused fast casual eatery in Washington, D.C., next year. The Washington Post also points to chef Roy Choi’s new greenhouse-like Commissary in L.A., which says it serves “good food and drink based around plants as the foundation.”

    “Chefs around the country, and the globe, are pushing meat from the center of the plate—and sometimes off it altogether,” notes The Wall Street Journal, citing examples like Alain Ducasse revamping his menu at the posh Plaza Athénée in Paris. Catering to a growing group of diners looking to eat less meat, vegetable-heavy dishes also offer new opportunities for creativity. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Plaza Athénée

  • Xiaomi zooms ahead
    October 30, 2014 | 4:44 pm

    Xiaomi, which we included on our 100 Things to Watch in 2014 list, is now the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The young company has seen triple-digit year-over-year growth in smartphone shipments, per IDC, surging ahead of both LG and Lenovo. Often described as the “Apple of China,” Xiaomi released its first phone just three years ago; its latest, Mi4, is an iPhone clone that runs on a modified version of Android.

    The company is expanding beyond China into India and Singapore, and planning to enter a slew of other growth markets, including Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico. For more on whether Chinese brands can succeed on the world stage, see our report Remaking “Made in China.”Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Xiaomi


  • Money & messaging apps
    October 23, 2014 | 11:13 am


    Given the primary function of mobile messaging apps and their technical capabilities, money transfer and payments are an alluring proposition, as outlined in our new report on payments and currency. Snapchat filed two trademarks in July that indicate a potential move into peer-to-peer payments. The recently announced Line Pay will let Line users make purchases through their Line accounts, send funds to each other, and split costs using a “Dutch Pay” feature. Line Pay will launch in Japan and, as Tech in Asia reports, serve as “an entrance to new industries” thanks to integration with the new Line Taxi service and Line Wow, for food delivery. In South Korea, KakaoTalk launched the PayPal-like Kakao Pay in September, and a remittance service, Bank Wallet Kakao, is in the works. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Line

  • The #TimsDark Experiment
    October 14, 2014 | 3:46 pm

    To entice customers into tasting its new dark roast, Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons, with the help of JWT Canada, created a surprise immersive experience. A store in Quebec was wrapped in material that blocked all light from the outdoors. Patrons entered warily and, once inside, heard a staff member (who was wearing night vision goggles) guiding them through the dark. At the counter, customers were handed a cup of the dark roast—the brand’s first new blend in 50 years—with the darkness heightening their sense of taste. When the lights came on, the patrons saw they were on camera.

    The #TimsDark Experiment has garnered YouTube views and some press attention, and shows how creatively imagined immersive experiences—one of our 10 Trends for 2014—can encourage consumers to engage with a brand.

  • Bitcoin bank Circle
    October 7, 2014 | 4:40 pm


    In late September, the startup Circle launched a web app that effectively functions as a bitcoin bank. Using a debit card or bank account, users transfer funds to Circle, which converts the money to bitcoin at no fee. Circle also insures this money at no cost. The company aims to make bitcoin more accessible via consumer-friendly design and is aiming to take on traditional banks and companies like PayPal, as The Guardian reports. Next up: Android and iOS Circle apps.

    Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire gave a keynote at the Inside Bitcoins conference in April, citing the need for a “killer app” to bring bitcoin into the mainstream. Now Circle seems to be taking the lead, and others are sure to follow. —Nick Ayala

    Image credit: Circle

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