April 5, 2013

Weekly Roundup: Healthier fast food, Facebook’s evolution and Hollywood’s latest challenge

Posted by: in North America

Find our roundups collected in magazine form on Flipboard, the iOS and Android app; download the app to view it here: http://flip.it/XJ72P.

-The Economist reports that “Africa’s equity markets are hot,” thanks to the continent’s rapid growth.

-Nielsen’s “Blueprint for Media Strategies in Africa” report formulates profiles of today’s consumers in sub-Saharan Africa.

-Unemployment in the Euro zone continues to rise, and The New York Times takes a look at some ramifications.

-An Economist special report explores China’s Internet.

-The New York TimesMark Bittman examines the rise of healthier fast food and considers the appeal of today’s new options.

-McKinsey explores how Big Data could transform America’s health care sector.

-The Economist takes a look at how companies are using Big Data to inform hiring decisions.

-The New York Times spotlights the e-commerce companies “trying to build premium brands at discount prices by cutting out middlemen,” in line with Cutting Out the Middleman, one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2013.

-The Wall Street Journal reports that lenders are starting to consider online reputation in determining creditworthiness.

-The New Yorker examines the rise of bitcoin and how it points to growing distrust of the global banking system.

-The Guardian’s animated guide to the future of search considers how mobile phones, Google Glass and social networks are changing our search behavior.

-Vanity Fair takes an in-depth look at Facebook’s future and sees “a marketing model that could have the rest of the world scrambling to catch up.”

-The Economist takes a look at how some British charities are evolving for the digital age, devising new ways to solicit donations.

-The authors of Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity write in The Wall Street Journal that companies need to help make consumers’ lives less complicated.

-A Huffington Post columnist considers why Millennials are the most stressed-out generation.

-The New York Times takes a look at the “Emily Posts of the Digital Age,” a new crop of arbiters helping people through 21st-century etiquette issues.

-The Wall Street Journal reports that businesses are increasingly embracing and adapting consumer-focused technology.

-The Wall Street Journal examines how Hollywood storytellers are addressing the challenges presented by “a world filled with unglamorous smartphones, texting and social media.”

-More companies are adopting “postcubicle” office design that encourages collaboration, reports The Wall Street Journal.

-The Economist reports on retail clinics and other new models for convenient health services in the U.S.

-The Economist examines biofabrication: creating living tissue using 3D printers.

-Bloomberg takes a look at the rise of high-tech and high-priced kitchen gadgets.

-NPR reports on smart lunchrooms (one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2011) that encourage kids to eat better.

-The Atlantic laments that “Artisanal won’t die.”

-The FT examines how “designers are finding ways to counter today’s throwaway culture” by focusing on repairing rather than replacing objects.

-A study by the Association of National Advertisers finds that tight budgets are the “new normal” for American marketers, Brand Channel reports.

-As Ad Age reports, ad dollars are migrating to mobile faster than anticipated, per an eMarketer forecast.

-A new report charts the rise of pay-TV cord-cutters in the U.S.

-The Wall Street Journal spotlights the new category of anti-aging hair care products.

-“Ugly Is the New Pretty,” reports New York, in a look at how “unattractive selfies took over the Internet.”

-The New York Times takes a look at how Egypt’s tumultuous political and economic situation has affected tourism.

-A new study links China’s air pollution to early deaths for its citizens, reports NPR.

-NPR reports that guinea pigs are appearing on more American menus.

-We released our latest trend report, “13 Mobile Trends for 2013 and Beyond.”

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Things to Watch

  • 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

  • American Eagle Outfitters’ recycling boxes
    June 19, 2014 | 3:45 pm

    American Eagle

    In a bid to create a more closed-loop production cycle, retailers including Puma and H&M are partnering with I:CO, a Swiss reuse and recycling firm that sets up collection points in stores for used clothing and shoes. The latest retailer to link up with I:CO is American Eagle Outfitters, which has added collection boxes in all its North American stores. Customers who participate in the “Live Your Life. Save Your Planet” initiative get a $5 credit toward AEO jeans. Any proceeds gleaned from the program will be donated to the Student Conservation Association.

    “The vision is for all products to be designed with future uses in mind, so materials can be 100% reused in a truly endless cycle,” explains a post from I:CO on American Eagle’s blog. An array of brands are taking steps toward a similar vision, as detailed in our upcoming report on the circular economy. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: American Eagle Outfitters

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