“Instagram is by far the most used social media outlet for my age group,” writes Andrew Watts, a University of Texas at Austin sophomore, in a popular Medium post that offers “A Teenager’s View on Social Media.” Pew’s Social Media Update 2014, released last week, confirms a strong and growing interest in Instagram among U.S. Millennials: More than half (53 percent) of Internet-using 18- to 29-year-old Americans use Instagram, up from 37 percent in 2013. Across demographics, Pew reports that half of all Instagram users check the platform daily.

Continue reading “Data Point: More than half of U.S. Millennials using Instagram” »


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 year-end office closures, this double-edition roundup covers items from the past three weeks.

-Our own Lucie Greene writes about some CES highlights in Campaign; Fast Company, Wirecutter and ZDNet are among the many publications listing standout finds at CES. The Wall Street Journal asks some marketing execs at CES what caught their attention.

-The Internet of Things was a key theme at CES, with numerous exhibitors showcasing connected products, as the L.A. Times reports. And The New York Times highlights the potential privacy and security threats posed by these products.

-Automakers are flooding in to CES, as Businessweek notes, while another big CES theme was self-driving cars, as The New York Times reports.

-The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese companies were a more prominent presence at this year’s CES.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: CES and more CES, robotification and producerism” »


Women are gradually becoming more influential as business leaders: In 2014, Fortune’s list of most powerful women in business featured “an all-time record of 24 large-company CEOs,” including IBM’s Ginni Rometty, General Motors’ Mary Barra and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi. But there’s clearly still a long way to go, and entrenched gender inequality within certain key industries will mean a dearth of future potential leaders. Last year the spotlight fell on Silicon Valley’s male-centric culture after Pinterest engineer Tracy Chou wrote a Medium post on the scarcity of women in tech. She called on tech firms to disclose their gender ratio, and many did so—pointing to a glaring imbalance. Fewer than a quarter of Microsoft employees are women, for instance, and Intel has about the same ratio.

Continue reading “A boost for women in tech (and beyond)” »

Rachel Pashley headshot

In our upcoming report 10 Years of 10 Trends—which takes a fresh look at 10 trends we’ve featured over the past decade—we spotlight changing gender dynamics and the rising power of women. We discussed this trend with Rachel Pashley, JWT London’s global board planning director and author of the study “The New Female Tribes,” an attempt to chart modern womanhood, describe global female diversity and find a more meaningful and positive language with which to describe women. Pashley is in the process of turning the study into a book. She described some key findings from her research into women around the world, her thoughts on which marketers are doing well in targeting women and what more brands should be doing, and the problem with “fempowerment” messaging.

Continue reading “Q&A, Rachel Pashley, global board planning director, JWT London” »

Austerity Index Q3 2014

Austerity policies in the U.K. are set to continue for at least the next five years. But while austerity continues to affect everyone in the U.K., it appears that it is weighing on women more than on men. According to J. Walter Thompson London’s seventh quarterly Austerity Index report, women are less likely than men to have noticed the effects of the national recovery, despite employing more money-saving tactics and reporting spending less on necessities each week. Only 28 percent of women feel the British economy is in a recovery, versus 41 percent of men.

Continue reading “Data Point: British women hit harder by austerity than men” »

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Some good news to close out the year comes from the World Bank: Global poverty has dropped significantly over the last few decades. In the recent report Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity, the World Bank says the number of people in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.25 a day) has halved since 1990, according to the latest figures. From 2008 to 2011 alone, China and India combined saw an estimated 232 million people rise out of extreme poverty. The World Bank is working toward a goal of reducing extreme poverty to less than 3 percent of the global population by 2030.

Continue reading “Data Point: Millions rising out of extreme poverty globally, but no progress for America’s low-income families” »

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” »

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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” »


New: The Future 100

JWT AnxietyIndex

Things to Watch

  • 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” »

  • Virgin Hotels
    January 21, 2015 | 1:42 pm

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    Taking a cue from private clubs like Soho House—which now has outposts from Berlin to Chicago and Toronto—and cool hotel hangouts like the Ace, the first hotel under Virgin’s affordable-meets-aspirational banner houses a Commons Club. Offering “exclusivity for all,” the Commons hosts a “roundtable of ideas and indulgence” at a nightly social hour and includes a restaurant, bar and study area. Virgin marketing also taps into easyHotel lingo with the promise of no surprise fees and free wi-fi.

    Continue reading “Virgin Hotels” »

  • Google’s Ara phone
    January 16, 2015 | 11:51 am

    A new video from Google shows the latest prototype of its modular phone, which will launch this year in Puerto Rico. Project Ara emphasizes personalization—“What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story?”—but the sustainability implications are also important.

    Continue reading “Google’s Ara phone” »

  • Nike taps into urban exploring
    January 5, 2015 | 1:13 pm

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    The city is the new terrain for Nike’s rebranded all-conditions gear, now named NikeLab ACG. Taking a cue from the urban exploration trend (“urbex”)—which involves venturing into unseen and generally off-limits structures and documenting the adventure—Nike says that “For today’s athletes, the city is the ultimate landscape,” complete with “modern obstacles” and many microclimates. Images show an intrepid explorer on a rooftop amid skyscrapers. The urban environment is now as challenging, intriguing and adventurous as the natural landscape.

  • 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

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