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One way in which gamification, one of our 10 Trends for 2011, is manifesting today is brands incentivizing good behavior in consumers through tangible rewards. Nike’s “Bid Your Sweat,” an award-winning effort from JWT Mexico, demonstrated that every runner’s effort counts: An online auction let participants bid on the brand’s products using the kilometers they […]

As more consumers cut down on meat, a trend we spotlighted in our February report on food, new meatless options are sprouting up. San Francisco-based Beyond Meat has been getting a lot of buzz for its “freakishly realistic” chicken substitute, made with soy, pea powder, carrot fiber and gluten-free flour. Created by two scientists after […]

Last year JWT New York launched a partnership with TechStars, the No. 1 startup accelerator program, as a part of the agency’s ongoing innovation efforts. A few weeks ago we talked to the co-founder of Wander, one of the startups from TechStars’ spring 2012 group. Another startup from that group is Smallknot, a crowdfunding site […]

Bernie DeKoven has made fun his career: He studies and lectures on the benefits of play, designs games and authored The Well-Played Game. He calls himself a fun theorist and named his website DeepFUN. When we talked to DeKoven while researching our July trend report, “Play As a Competitive Advantage,” he explained how he came […]

Last year JWT New York launched a partnership with TechStars, the No. 1 startup accelerator program, as a part of the agency’s ongoing innovation efforts. Over the next few weeks we’ll spotlight a few of the startups from TechStars’ spring 2012 group. Wander, “a place for people to share the places they’ve been, the places […]

We talked to Ira Liss while researching our recent “Social Good” report and the rising importance of gamification in motivating social responsibility. Liss is behind AOK, which calls itself a “social game for social good”; its digital platform lets players post about and share “Acts and Observations of Kindness” (thus the name AOK) and earn […]

Social media has become a virtual watercooler for workers, as we’ve written, a phenomenon that some companies see as a drain on productivity while others recognize some advantages. This infographic from mindflash, based on an informal global survey by Proskauer, looks at how employers feel about social media use at work. Slightly more than half […]

Our new “Social Commerce” report looks at Facebook commerce and other ways in which retailers are using the social graph to engage consumers. As noted in this excerpt from an infographic by Social Media Influence, the first F-commerce transaction was $34 spent on 1-800-Flowers. That was two years ago, but as of April, only around […]


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Things to Watch

  • Crossing ‘the digital divide’
    March 19, 2015 | 4:24 pm

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    In a piece on an 82-year-old going online for the first time, The Washington Post called attention to a rising issue—the divide between those who use the Internet and those who don’t (13% in the U.S., and 41% among senior citizens).

    Continue reading “Crossing ‘the digital divide’” »

  • Incremental saving and giving
    March 11, 2015 | 1:51 pm

    Call it progress or just laziness—apps are popping up that harness our small change and put it to better use. Acorns, dubbed “the Tinder of investing,” links to a user’s debit or credit card and rounds up to the nearest dollar on every purchase. The app then takes that spare change and invests it in a portfolio of the user’s choice—portfolios range from low to high risk (and reward). Or users can opt to let Acorns choose for them based on their age, goals, income and other factors. Meanwhile, apps like Qapital and Digit facilitate regular small transfers from checking to savings, and banks themselves are getting on the incremental savings bandwagon. (See: Bank of America’s Keep the Change and Wells Fargo’s Way2Save.)

    Continue reading “Incremental saving and giving” »

  • Augmenting sleep
    March 9, 2015 | 12:02 pm

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    Digital platforms are already integrated into our every waking minute—now they’re moving into our sleep. A spate of apps and devices aim to aid and facilitate better sleep, from ambient lamps to a lucid dreaming sleep mask to an app that wakes you up with a phone call from a stranger.

    Continue reading “Augmenting sleep” »

  • The sharing economy grows up
    March 3, 2015 | 3:30 pm

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    Hotel giant Starwood has bought in to the sharing economy. The group, which owns W Hotels, St. Regis and Sheraton, has announced a partnership with car service Uber in which every dollar spent by a guest on an Uber car earns points toward free rooms and other perks.

    Continue reading “The sharing economy grows up” »

  • Digital immersive exercise
    February 25, 2015 | 4:04 pm

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    Equinox’s new revved-up cycle class speaks to a growing exercise trend—digital immersion. This month the gym brand unveiled Pursuit, an immersive cycling concept, to limited U.S. gyms. Equinox describes the program as “an immersive studio cycling experience that uses groundbreaking gaming and data visualization to drive competition and inspire peak performance.”

    Continue reading “Digital immersive exercise” »

  • Science fare
    February 20, 2015 | 2:07 pm

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    The worlds of science, gastronomy and art are continuing to cross-pollinate—from edible conceptual art to molecular gastronomy “lab cafés” to synesthetic dining events. Café ArtScience in Cambridge, Mass., is a recent example. Opened late last year by David Edwards, a Harvard engineering professor, the café serves whiskey “fogs” through a special carafe that turns the liquor into vapor (which means consumers don’t take in any of the calories and feel none of the intoxicating effects).

    Continue reading “Science fare” »

  • Aman’s authentic-luxe travel
    February 11, 2015 | 1:06 pm

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    As travelers continue to seek out authentic and unique experiences, hospitality brands keep raising the bar on hyper-localized offerings and exceptional access. Aman, for instance, is introducing a phinisi-style sailing ship in Indonesia, marrying the brand’s ultra-luxe sensibility with regional tradition. With an outdoor lounge and bar, the option to travel by motor, and air-conditioned cabins, the ship brings every modern comfort to an age-old means of navigating the Indonesian archipelago. Another Aman property, meanwhile, offers a dip into paleontology: Guests at Amangiri in southern Utah can join an official dig at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, working alongside fossil experts for a half-day. The cost of getting one’s hands dirty starts at $600. (Resulting Instagram images: priceless.) —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Aman

  • Adidas’ ‘virtual line’
    February 5, 2015 | 6:55 pm

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    Adidas’ new Confirmed app cleverly harnesses the fervor of collectors who normally line up for limited-edition shoes, moving fans onto a mobile platform. App users create an account, then get push notifications when hot new releases are on the way. Interested buyers in a given metro area—only New York City at launch—indicate their size and, if approved, receive details on where and when to pick up the shoes. An Adidas exec calls it a “virtual line.” In addition to collecting data on these super-fans, the app lets Adidas control which influencers get various styles, drives traffic to selected stores, builds additional buzz and cuts out secondary-market sellers armed with bots that secure advance orders. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Bloomberg

  • Adventurous play
    February 4, 2015 | 1:09 pm

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    Kids will slide through a “Tunnel of Terror” and get slimy on “Mount Mud” in Tough Mudder’s new obstacle course for the 7-12 set. The endurance-challenge purveyor is partnering with European soft drink brand Britvic on Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, with events planned for the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland. The concept caters to parents looking to pry kids away from screens and get them moving—there’s now a CrossFit offshoot for kids, starting with preschoolers—in ways that are challenging and fun.

    Continue reading “Adventurous play” »

  • Rivals joining forces
    January 26, 2015 | 7:19 pm

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    Not long ago, a collaboration between two rival companies would have been seen as a counterintuitive and perhaps desperate measure. In 2015, however, BMW’s partnership with Volkswagen on fast-charging electric vehicle stations makes the automakers look self-confident, open and serious about sustainability and the common good.  Continue reading “Rivals joining forces” »

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