News 30.08.2023

Need to Know

Ralph Lauren’s virtual retail space, Itaú’s emotional campaign bringing fictional women football players to life, and why Gen Z wish to align food habits with identity.

Ralph Lauren’s latest outlet raises the bar for virtual retail

The 888 House by Ralph Lauren, US

US – To mark the launch of the RL 888 handbag line, Ralph Lauren has revealed its first virtual store, inviting customers to discover the new collection in the immersive gamified landscape.

After four years, the American fashion house is gearing up for a return to the New York Fashion Week schedule in September 2023. Ralph Lauren is whetting the fashion crowd’s appetite with new launches ahead of the show – the RL 888 collection, available from the brand’s first 3D immersive digital store, The 888 House. Set in a landscape inspired by the Californian desert, the virtual shopping experience features a high-resolution surrealistic decor, allowing visitors to wander, discover products and place orders.

While virtual immersive stores have been proliferating in the luxury fashion landscape, for iconic brands like Ralph Lauren, they are a great tool to engage new audiences. Using tech-forward craftsmanship to highlight brand storytelling and exhibit know-how is a strategy we explore further in our upcoming luxury macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Businesses aspiring to refresh their brand image and court younger consumers can take cues from Ralph Lauren’s strategy. Pick the tech stack that works best for your business, and focus on making it simple but beautifully designed and seamlessly executed

Itaú turns to AI to bring fictional women football players to life

Itaú, Brazil Itaú, Brazil

Brazil – In a campaign released in August 2023 entitled Mas Que Una Copa (more than a cup), financial services firm Itaú revealed the faces of women football players who might have represented Brazil in the 1959, 1963 and 1971 Women’s World Cups. But this would not have been possible then, as Brazilian women were legally banned from playing football for nearly 40 years, from 1941 to 1979.

Joining forces with creative agency Galeria.ag, Itaú consulted with former players, historians, sociologists and other experts before feeding their insights and historical data to a generative artificial intelligence tool. The result is hyper-realistic and suggests to the audience that the national team that competed at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup owe their participation to their elders. The ad closes with a message reading: ‘Our team got this far because many women thought it was possible and fought for it.’

With this campaign, Itaú created imagery for invisible warriors, making this World Cup more than a cup for Brazilian players. As explored in our AI Optimism market report and our op-ed on AI and emotionally driven brands, generative AI can help brands express emotions and nostalgia in previously impossible ways.

Strategic opportunity

Look beyond the analytical and consider how AI can serve consumers’ emotional needs. Tech works best and lasts when it makes consumers feel good. What human need can you meet for your consumers using AI?

Stat: Gen Z feel pressure to align food habits with identity

Sweetgreen, US Sweetgreen, US

Global – Global communications firm Ketchum’s recent survey of 2,000 children and those aged 13 and above explores the distinctive food habits of Generation Z. The study reveals that 61% of Gen Z have encountered pressure since childhood to align their eating patterns with their identity and beliefs, causing negative emotions and anxiety. Despite these pressures, 62% of Gen Z respondents consider their eating patterns to be incorrect. Ketchum notes a disconnection between Gen Z’s food beliefs and their behaviour as a result of these unrealistic pressures.

Ketchum Food Consultancy president Melissa Kinch highlights how Gen Z have been raised with food as a vehicle for communicating values, leading to a sense of insecurity and negativity around food. While sustainability, animal welfare and LGBTQ+ rights are important factors for Gen Z in food purchases, practical considerations like taste and affordability often take precedence.

The study also finds that 68% of Gen Z respondents cook differently from their parents, indicating vastly different eating patterns. In addition, 55% report piecing together snacks into a meal on a weekly basis, a trend that has especially taken off as ‘girl dinners’ on TikTok. We explore TikTok’s influence on food and drink trends in the real world in TikTok Tastes.

Strategic opportunity

In order to better connect with Gen Z through food, companies should focus on simple communication strategies to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace of virtue signalling and values such as debunking food myths

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