Need to Know
16 : 03 : 22

Sony introduces a hybrid audio experience, a South Korean skincare brand rethinks bodycare and sake consumption falls among Japan's youth.

Sony’s headphones blend online and offline sound

Sony LinkBuds
SONY LinkBuds, Global
SONY LinkBuds, Global

UK – In an innovative departure from noise cancelling technology, Sony’s new LinkBuds aim to integrate noise from the outside world rather than block it out completely.

The unique design of the ear buds forms a ring with an opening that lets in noise from the wearer’s surroundings. Voice pick-up technology, which relies on AI trained by more than 500m voice samples, prioritises voices over ambient street noise. Meanwhile, adaptive volume control allows wearers to adjust the volume depending on outside inputs.

LinkBuds usher in a new frontier of audio technology that discreetly blends online input and the physical environment for a ‘never off’ listening experience. The move invents a new mode of subtle, integrated connectivity for socialising, working, gaming, cycling and beyond.

Following our Connective Audio trend, Sony shows how audio can enhance, rather than shut off, real-world environments.

Strategic opportunity

Hardware lags behind when it comes to connective audio experiences. How can you build social sound into everyday technologies?

Krave pushes the boundaries of bodycare

Krave Beauty, US Krave Beauty, US
Krave Beauty, US Krave Beauty, US

South Korea – Beauty brand Krave is bringing its signature skincare approach to the world of bodycare. Its latest product, Great Body Relief, is designed to protect the skin barrier, the outermost layer of the epidermis that is vulnerable to irritants, bacteria and pollutants.

The reparative body lotion marks the company’s first product launch after two years, following the brand’s international breakthrough with its hero product, the Great Barrier Relief face serum. After raising awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy skin barrier, the brand is now applying the same care and protection to the body, a lesser served area. The Great Body Relief prevents breakage in the skin barrier, which can lead to breakouts, irritation, and redness. It also nourishes the skin deeply without leaving any greasy residue.

As the Skintellectual movement gains traction, consumers are waking up to the importance of protecting the body’s skin. No longer an afterthought, Krave is Rethinking Bodycare, taking a more body-centric approach to skincare.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers are refocusing their attention on areas of the body that have previously been overlooked by skincare companies. Is your beauty offering meeting their needs?

This Web3 platform turns fans into film producers

US – Shibuya is a direct-to-community video platform that allows people to determine entertainment storylines through tokenised ownership.

Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Shibuya has been described as Kickstarter meets Netflix. To crowdfund the production of long-form visual content – from films to television series – Shibuya sells non-fungible tokens (NFT) called Producer Passes, a far cry from the traditional methods that dominate the industry. Allowing NFT owners to weigh in on production decisions, voters will be credited as producers and awarded fractionalised ownership of the final product.

Shibuya’s first release, White Rabbit, for example, will be developed by releasing a series of instalments with alternative endings. Producer Pass-holders will vote on their preferred ending, and those who voted on the winning ending will be rewarded with higher ownership shares.

Shibuya amps up our Digital Fandom Market by merging blockchain technology with choose-your-own-adventure entertainment. The platform points to a future of fandom-led production, liberating the industry from a central authority.

Shibuya, Global

Strategic opportunity

Fans and users have become a major force guiding entertainment content. Media brands should strive to integrate fans into all elements of decision-making

Stat: Sake falls out of favour with Japanese youth

Empirical Spirits, Copenhagen Empirical Spirits, Copenhagen

Sake, the historic Japanese drink made from fermented rice, may be losing popularity among the country’s youth. According to a recent study by the Tatenokawa sake brewery, 70% of young Japanese consumers have not drunk sake in over a year.

The research shows how changing consumer attitudes may be damaging the drink’s appeal. Young women, for example, were the least likely to have consumed sake in the previous year, with 74% of women respondents saying they hadn’t. There were also gender differences in drinking habits, with women preferring to drink sake with family or friends, and men preferring to drink the spirit alone.

To appeal to younger generations, sake and other alcohol brands will need to address the drink’s negative stereotypes. Among respondents, young people cited hangovers, cost, health reasons and negative associations with work events as reasons for not drinking sake. The industry could take inspiration from the Modern Mezcal movement, which transformed the historic Mexican drink into a contemporary phenomenon.

Strategic opportunity

To entice younger consumers, alcohol companies should introduce youth-orientated flavourings and packaging to dispel traditional connotations

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