January 7, 2011

Weekly Roundup: The new media landscape, men’s skin care in China and science is big in Brazil

Posted by: in North America

Note to readers: Due to office closures over Christmas and New Year’s, this roundup covers our must-read stories for the past two weeks.

-Everything CES 2011: Follow the Consumer Electronics Show on Ad Geek, a blog from JWT’s Kyle Monson. Wired’s Gadget Lab spotlights their top stories; for shorter attention spans, there’s a video wrapup. So-called smart TVs, which can run apps, are this year’s theme for television manufacturers, reports The Wall Street Journal. BusinessWeek suggests tablets are the new PCs.

-The year ahead in media: Today’s media landscape “looks profoundly altered and punished,” observes The New York Times, while The Wall Street Journal says digital technologies have “laid waste to traditional media.” Both forecast the changes that 2011 will bring.

-An HSBC senior economist on “What Awaits European Business in 2011,” in BusinessWeek.

-Mashable looks at five major trends we’ll see from tech startups in 2011, including private location services and the rise of object tagging. Business Insider lists 25 New York-based startups to watch (among them: Solve Media, pioneer of CAPTCHA advertising).

-Brazil is “an emerging power” in scientific research, says The Economist, and looking to become “a hot destination for seekers of science.”

-Wired looks at the newest wave of artificial intelligence machines, “built to accomplish specific tasks in ways that people never could.”

-The Atlantic takes a graphic approach to show how the recession “upended” life in the U.S.

-Films are starting to reflect the recession’s impact on the middle class, says The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, with more class consciousness onscreen.

-A Pew Internet survey finds that 65 percent of U.S. Internet users have paid to access online content. Music and software were most popular, followed by apps and games.

-“2010 was a very bad year for trying to sell music,” says NPR, which outlines some music-sales trends based on Nielsen SoundScan numbers.

-Now that “the first serious contenders for a mass-scale electric car are on the road,” a BusinessWeek cover story asks, “will they change the world?”

-Ad Age examines Best Buy’s steps into content creation as the company rolls out a multichannel network that includes in-store programming and an online magazine.

-The Economist looks at how “Britain’s embattled newspapers are leading the world in innovation” via several divergent strategies.

-Clive Thompson argues that “tweets and texts nurture in-depth analysis” in Wired.

-Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco outlines how Twitter culture shifted in 2010, becoming a source of entertainment in itself.

-Japanese Tweeters sent a record-breaking 6,939 tweets per second while ringing in the New Year.

-In Pakistan, inflation is pushing more young, poor women to get service-sector jobs, “pitting their religious and cultural traditions against economic desperation,” say The New York Times.

-Almost 7 in 10 Mexicans are overweight/obese, the highest percentage in the world, and CNN takes a look at the issue.

-A market for men’s skin care products blossoms in China.

-Facebook gains popularity among Kenyan, Nigerian and South African youth.

-The “culture of play” is fading for American kids, reports The New York Times, but a movement to restore playtime is gaining momentum.

-The Guardian takes a look at one family’s six-month de-teching stint.

-The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof argues it’s more important for American kids to learn Spanish than Chinese.

-NPR examines the rise of regional distilleries that craft small-batch spirits for discerning drinkers.

-The fastest-growing Web startups of the last three years—Gilt Groupe, Zynga and Groupon—have women as their core audience; Business Insider explores what this means for the Internet.

-Check out our annual 100 Things to Watch in 2011 list, a compilation that in part reflects broader shifts we’ve been tracking over the past few years, along with a little bit about what makes each item worth watching.

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Things to Watch

  • Nestlé’s animal-welfare standards
    August 28, 2014 | 10:00 am

    Nestle

    We wrote about rising concerns over treatment of the animals that people eat back in 2012 as brands including Burger King, McDonald’s and Hellmann’s pledged to institute more humane practices. We also included Humane Food among our Things to Watch for 2013. The trend recently picked up more steam with Nestlé’s announcement of animal welfare standards for its suppliers worldwide, following an investigation by the group Mercy for Animals.

    “The move is one of the broadest-reaching commitments to improving the quality of life for animals in the food system,” notes The New York Times, “and it is likely to have an impact on other companies that either share the same suppliers or compete with Nestlé.” Observed the influential blogger Food Babe: “People want to know where their food comes from, and in order to survive the next decade, the food industry will have to change.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Nestlé

  • Alternative waters
    August 19, 2014 | 1:59 pm

    Vertical Water

    With the coconut water craze going strong, watch for more variations on H2O thanks to consumer interest in more natural alternatives to soda and openness to novel products. Antioxidant-rich maple water (made from maple sap) is gaining attention, while almond water from the startup Victoria’s Kitchen has secured space at Whole Foods and Target. As the AP reports, there’s also cactus, birch and artichoke water—made from either water extracted from the plant or boiled with the ingredient in question—whose makers tout their vitamin and mineral content, as well as their infection-fighting properties. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Vertical Water

  • Smart mannequins
    August 13, 2014 | 5:01 pm

    Iconeme

    One of our Things to Watch in 2014, beacons have been popping up everywhere from airports to restaurants to museums. But the biggest pickup for these devices—low-cost transmitters that use Bluetooth to precisely track consumers’ mobile phones and send targeted content—has been among retailers. Now, British retailers including House of Fraser, Hawes & Curtis and Bentalls are testing mannequins outfitted with VMbeacon technology from the startup Iconeme.

    A “smart mannequin” enables nearby shoppers with a related mobile app to get details about what it’s wearing and how to find the products in the store or buy them online. The big question is whether customers will be motivated to opt in; skeptics say the technology doesn’t yet provide enough real benefit. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Iconeme

  • De-teching apps
    August 7, 2014 | 10:55 am

    De-teching—the idea that more people will choose to temporarily log off—was one of our 10 Trends for 2011, and in our 2014 trend Mindful Living, we discussed the idea that digitally immersed consumers will try to use technology more mindfully. Perhaps ironically, several new apps aim to help people do so.

    Moment tracks phone use and alerts users when they reach their self-imposed daily limit. Pause is “designed to help us reconnect with real life”; it encourages people to use Airplane Mode and engage in real-world activities, and attempts to turn this behavior into a game among friends. Finally, Menthal is part of a research project out of Germany that helps users find out, “Are you in control of your smartphone? Or is your smartphone controlling you?” —Marian Berelowitz

  • Intuitive eating
    July 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm

    Veggies

    As spotlighted in our 10 Trends for 2014 report, people are becoming more interested in Mindful Living, including the notion of eating more mindfully. And with consumers showing declining interest in dieting, the idea of “intuitive eating”—paying closer attention to the body’s hunger signals rather than following a strict regimen—has been steadily gaining traction. Recent media mentions include articles in Fitness and New Zealand’s Stuff, and a Refinery 29 writer is blogging about adopting the practice. With a recent analysis of studies finding that intuitive eating can be a successful strategy for people who are overweight or obese, watch for more consumers to embrace this anti-diet philosophy. —Allison Kruk

    Image credit: Theresa Kinsella

  • Chinese mega-cities
    July 24, 2014 | 1:15 pm

    Tianjin

    China, home to the world’s second largest rural population, is expected to add close to 300 million more urbanites by 2030, when Shanghai and Beijing will likely account for two of the world’s Top 5 mega-cities, according to new UN research. “We are observing one of the most significant economic transformations the world has seen: 21st-century China is urbanizing on a scale 100 times that seen in 19th-century Britain and at 10 times the speed,” notes a new McKinsey paper on cities and luxury markets. China’s wealth will be concentrated in these urban areas: Over the next decade, McKinsey expects Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Shenzhen, in addition to Hong Kong, to join the list of “top luxury cities.” —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Jakob Montrasio

  • Brands + Google Glass
    July 15, 2014 | 6:09 pm

    SPG

    As Google Glass makes its way into the hands of more people (last month it became available in the U.K.), brands are experimenting with the new possibilities that the platform affords. In March, Kenneth Cole became the first to launch a marketing campaign—the “Man Up for Mankind Challenge”—through a Glass app. Users were challenged to perform and document good deeds for the chance to win a prize.

    Starwood’s new Glass app, billed as the first such app from the hospitality sector, lets people voice-search its properties, view photos and amenities, get directions and book rooms. An array of other marketers have turned out apps for early adopters, from Sherman Williams’ ColorSnap Glass (easily create a paint chip that mirrors anything in view) to Fidelity (delivers daily market quotes for Glass wearers). —Tony Oblen

    Image credit: SPG

  • Ugly produce
    July 10, 2014 | 2:45 pm

    Intermarche

    Ugly Produce, on our list of 100 Things to Watch in 2014, is proliferating in Europe, thanks in part to government efforts to reduce the 89 million tons of food wasted in Europe each year. In France, Intermarché has been getting buzz for creating a produce section dedicated to “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”; a whimsical ad campaign reportedly drove a 24 percent rise in store traffic.

    U.K. supermarket Waitrose recently began selling packs of tomatoes that are misshapen or have fallen off the vine naturally. And in Portugal, Fruta Feia (“Ugly Fruit”) is a cooperative launched in late 2013 that sells unsightly produce that would have gone to waste. Per The New York Times, the group already has a waiting list of 1,000 customers. In line with one of our 10 Trends for 2014, Proudly Imperfect, watch for ugly produce to catch on with both retailers and shoppers. —Jessica Vaughn

    Image credit: Intermarché

  • The $1.25 Cube
    July 3, 2014 | 12:30 pm

    As we outline in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond, entertainment and narratives are becoming more enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An immersive project from JWT Israel, a winner of the Cannes Chimera challenge, aims to help people experience what it’s like to live in extreme poverty. Once it’s created, the cube will create a multisensory experience that uses tools like augmented reality to simulate sights, sounds and smells and elicit certain feelings. Participants can exit only when the person in line behind them inserts $1.25, a metaphor for the collaborative efforts needed to fight poverty. The aim is for the cube to travel to international events like the Davos conference in order to influence global leaders. —Hallie Steiner

    Image credit: JWT Israel

  • Google’s Android Auto
    June 26, 2014 | 3:00 pm

     

    Android

    The connected car is rapidly becoming a reality. Fast 4G LTE connections are turning vehicles into hot spots that come with a data plan, while Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are making their way onto dashboards. This week Google introduced Android Auto, with the first compatible cars expected by year-end. Apple’s similar CarPlay, which turns the car into a platform for an iPhone’s content, was announced in March and is included in new Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models.

    Car-based app ecosystems will provide relevant info (traffic, maps, vehicle diagnostics, restaurant suggestions) and entertainment, combined with safety precautions like voice control. As we outline in our mobile trends report, connected cars—complete with Internet hot spots, a suite of apps and sensors that communicate—will eventually link up with drivers’ homes, mobile devices and other gadgets to form a seamless system. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Android

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