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A year ago we wrote about the curated subscription companies popping up, an e-commerce model that fit with three of our 10 Trends for 2011: Non-Commitment Culture, Hyper-Personalization and the Urgency Economy. These monthly services were focused around women’s fashion and beauty, (e.g., ShoeDazzle, JewelMint, Birchbox), but we expected that the idea would quickly expand […]

GIF (or Graphics Interchange Format) date back to 1987, and for most of that time the brief animations have been a tacky, unwelcome Web presence. But for a while now, we’ve been noting a comeback of GIF culture. Some artists are turning to them as a way to differentiate their work (Mexican photographer Ignacio Torres, […]

Smart stores are coming to Brazil. Earlier this year, Australian surf brand Billabong outfitted inventory at a store in the city of Barueri with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which transmit data through electromagnetic waves. The tags help the retailer run the store more efficiently—for example, they provide real-time inventory data and can help prevent […]

Last week we posted about how movie distribution is changing in the digital age. We’re also seeing new ideas for crowdfunding movies, giving filmmakers what they want most: the ability to make their vision a reality, without pressure from studios and others with a big stake. Here in Brazil, Eu Maior (Bigger Me) is a […]

Brazilians are sharing the love these days, via a wave of groovy street art themed around love and happiness. “Mais amor, por favor” (“More love, please”)—a phrase created by 24-year-old designer Ygor Maratto that was spread around Sao Paulo by graffiti and street posters—seems to be Brazilians’ motto. Another common graffiti message is ”O amor […]

In less than a year, the iPhone app Instagram has attracted 10 million-plus users, who use the free tool to apply various effects and filters to their photos and then share them via Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. Now, digital communities are forming around the behavior of posting pictures while mobile. Instagram users can create groups […]

This word cloud shows how young Brazilians today see their generation—as dreamers (“sonhadora”), but also very much as consumerists (“consumista”), as fighters (“batalhadora”), and as responsible, creative, communicative and happy. This was among the findings of the Brazilian Dream Project, an extensive study of 18- to 24-year-olds recently released by the Brazilian research company Box1824 […]

While Orkut has been the biggest social network in Brazil, Facebook is growing fast (we’ve already written about Facebook-inspired Carnival costumes). More than 1.9 million Brazilians joined Facebook in May, according to Facebook statistics portal Socialbakers, representing a monthly leap of 11 percent. (Only Egypt came close percentage-wise, with Brazil well in the lead on […]

Today, some dreams of fame revolve around making it big online, and it’s not just adults who dream of going viral but kids too. Ark Music Factory, now known for its 13-year-old client Rebecca Black, is focused on turning regular teens into YouTube pop stars. Producers Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey, who launched the company […]

Brazil as E-leader, one of our “100 Things to Watch in 2011,” is a phenomenon driven in part by the fact that social networking here is even more popular than in developed markets. At this year’s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, its pervasive influence was clearly apparent, from costumes to promotion of the celebrations. Beyond […]


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Things to Watch

  • 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

  • Marriott’s #LoveTravels
    June 11, 2014 | 1:45 pm

    Americans are now largely open to seeing LGBT characters or couples in ads, as recent JWT research confirmed, and thus “advertising is coming out of the closet, with visible and innovative LGBT Pride campaigns from a diverse range of brands,” writes GLAAD’s Rich Ferraro in Brandchannel. One of the more notable campaigns this Pride month is Marriott’s #LoveTravels, featuring portraits of people including gay NBA player Jason Collins, transgender model Geena Rocera and two dads with their kids. The campaign includes print and display ads and building wraps at five Washington, DC, hotels; a microsite details the individual stories.

    “This is one of the most diverse and inclusive campaigns to have ever run in mainstream advertising,” writes Ferraro. Meanwhile, rival Hilton has revamped its LGBT-focused site and is hosting a wedding reception at the Beverly Hilton for the co-plaintiffs in California’s Proposition 8 gay-marriage court case. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Vogue’s shoppable Instagram
    June 4, 2014 | 2:36 pm

    As we outline in Everything Is Retail, one of our 10 Trends for 2013 and Beyond, shopping is shifting from an activity that takes place in physical stores or online to a value exchange that can play out in multiple new and novel ways. Instagram, a platform ripe with potential, is among those new ways. Vogue’s Instagram feed is now shoppable for consumers who have signed up with rewardStyle’s Like to Know service; liking certain images triggers an email with instructions on how to buy featured items.

    RewardStyle tells DigiDay that more magazines will be signing up shortly. Other firms helping brands monetize Instagram include Soldsie and Hashbag. —Marian Berelowitz

  • Ethically sourced electronics
    May 29, 2014 | 10:45 am

    Last year’s launch of Fairphone, an ethically sourced and produced mobile phone, put a spotlight on the raw materials in our digital devices. Currently taking orders for a second batch of 35,000 phones, the Dutch company ensures that minerals come from conflict-free areas so they’re not helping to fund armed groups. Now a two-minute spot from Intel showcases the company’s commitment to using conflict-free minerals in its microprocessors. Intel’s website delves into the issue, and CEO Brian Krzanich also spoke on the topic at this year’s CES.

    Alongside sourcing sits labor issues, another ethical consideration that Fairphone addresses. Expect more tech companies to start improving their track record when it comes to how their products are made. —Will Palley

  • ‘Look Up’ and the ‘Heads-Up Movement’
    May 20, 2014 | 3:45 pm

    As noted in our new mobile trends report, people are developing a love-hate relationship with our phones. We’ll see a “heads-up movement”—something we forecast in our 100 Things to Watch for 2014—as people try to become better attuned to their real-life environment. The video “Look Up” from Gary Turk, a British writer-director, dovetails perfectly with this idea, with lines like “Look up from your phone, shut down the display, take in your surroundings and make the most of your day.”

    After its release in late April, “Look Up” quickly went viral; it’s now accumulated some 38 million views, approaching the numbers racked up by last year’s similarly themed “I Forgot My Phone,” and inspired a few parodies. —Marian Berelowitz

  • RIFT’s immersive ‘Macbeth’
    May 15, 2014 | 1:00 pm

    As we explain in Immersive Experiences, one of our 10 Trends for 2014, entertainment, narratives and brand experiences will are becoming more immersive and enveloping in a bid to capture consumers’ imagination and attention. An upcoming production of Macbeth, created by British theater company RIFT, puts the audience in the middle of the drama via an unusual overnight performance that runs from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

    Located on the top floor of an east London tower block, the show assigns audience members to rooms, where they settle down to sleep following the first several scenes. Overnight, characters visit the rooms to enact events from the play, with the final act taking place at dawn. Coincidentally, one of the best-known immersive theater pieces, Sleep No More, also takes inspiration from Macbeth. —Will Palley

    Image credit: RIFT

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