Dutch Design Week 2019: Exowombs and brain stimulators
Eindhoven – VPRO speculates on how our lives might radically change in 2039.
At this year's Dutch Design Week, broadcaster VPRO created a living room experience to showcase some of the speculative future artefacts they commissioned for their original television series, ‘The Future Is Fantastic’. Inspired by the research of visionary scientists, the aim was to make people think about the ethical implications of oncoming technological innovations.
The Robojudge for example, is introduced in an episode about AI, ‘to question if we would accept a judiciary verdict given by a robot instead of a human’. They also showcased a brain headset which allows at least two people to communicate purely through their thoughts and emotions. The stimulator aims to keep deviant behaviour limited by reinforcing feelings of empathy. The future of reproduction was also addressed with an exowomb installation that prompted attendees to consider a future where humans were born from an artificial uterus.
For more on how neuro-experiences will become more accessible read our Experience 2020 macrotrend.
Flamingo’s latest product is for women with pubic hair
New York – The female grooming company has launched Mons Mist, a conditioning spray for pubic hair.
The new product is described as an innovative emulsion that uses oils to hydrate the hair and skin, subtly exfoliating to help prevent ingrown hairs during regrowth. As well as being pH-balanced, the Mons Mist contains fruit acids and lactobacillus ferment, a natural bacterial strain.
To celebrate the launch, Flamingo teamed up with graphic designer Paula Scher for The Bush 2020, a campaign that takes inspiration from political manifestos. With slogans such as ‘this is a pubic service announcement’, the tongue-in-cheek branding is further enhanced by a physical headquarters in New York, which offers programming to create an open dialogue for women to discuss the topic of pubic hair, and a free hotline.
As well as providing grooming options for women who choose not to shave or wax, Flamingo is disrupting the feminine hygiene industry by broaching topics previously seeped in stigma. For more, read our microtrend The Vagina Reconsidered.
Versed launches a skincare hotline
Los Angeles – Skincare brand Versed has launched an SMS text messaging service for its customers.
The purpose of the Skincare Hotline is not to sell consumers Versed products directly, but instead to educate them. Employees will handle the service manually, fielding questions related to general concerns, such as the difference between an oil and a serum, or when to apply particular products. They will not, however, provide medical advice.
If the service gains traction, it will allow Versed to build more in-depth customer profiles and identify gaps in common knowledge, continuing its mission as a data-driven, community-led brand. ‘We want to develop a strong connection with people, and SMS allows us to dig into those needs more,’ says Melanie Bender, founding general manager of Versed.
In future, the service could provide an additional channel for direct sales, according to Bender. ‘There’s the ability to layer in [opportunities] to purchase product or interact with bots, so we certainly see potential to build off of this.’ In this way, Versed shows how brands are experimenting with new use cases for Text Commerce.
Stat: Britain’s growing taste for unusual spirits
The UK is experiencing a huge boom in the niche alcoholic drinks category, according to professional services firm RPC. The analysis found that the number of registered trademarks for spirits and liqueurs reached 2,482 in 2018, up from 2,210 in the previous 12 months. The firm has linked the rise to the upsurge in craft spirits, as independent distillers increasingly try to capture consumer attention by launching innovative flavours and unusual colours.
This has been driven by the rising number of distilleries in the UK, which increased 21% from 170 in 2017 to 205 in 2018. ‘Consumer demand for new flavours and experiences has contributed to increased innovation and diversification of product lines – we are seeing all kinds of exciting new infusions,’ says Ciara Cullen, head of food and drink at RPC.
As British drinkers seek out more unique alcoholic concoctions, brands are responding, leading to the rise of a new breed of Post-category Spirits.