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McDonald’s billboards double as beehives, Ecover creates soap from beer by-products and voice assistants are improving customer experience.

McDonald’s turns billboards into beehives

McDonalds bee hotel by NORD DDB, Sweden

Sweden – To celebrate World Bee Day, a number of McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden have replaced their regular billboards with signs that double as beehives.

A number of McDonald’s franchises in Sweden already host beehives on their restaurant rooftops, but the converted billboards extend the initiative to include wild bees. The boards are permanent wood installations with drilled holes that are designed to attract bees. All McDonald’s franchises are invited to order their own bee hotel boards and customise the messaging.

Working with creative agency Nord DDB, McDonald’s has also started a collaboration with advertising giant JC Decaux to create habitats for wild bees on the back of billboards that would otherwise not be used. As bees are most comfortable if their nests are in a south-facing position, six large bee hotels have been mounted on the back of north-facing billboards in Järfälla outside Stockholm, with hopes of scaling up the initiative in 2020.

As we explore in our Civic Ads microtrend, businesses today are considering the potential that advertising space has to benefit society as a whole.

Hyundai creates an electric scooter that charges itself

Hyundai electric scooter Hyundai electric scooter
Hyundai electric scooter Hyundai electric scooter

UK – The car company has unveiled a prototype scooter designed to tackle the last mile of a commute.

The concept scooter could be mounted onto future Hyundai or Kia cars, where it will automatically charge using the electricity produced while driving. The scooter reaches a top speed of 20km per hour, and it can travel up to 20km on a single charge. Weighing 7.7kg, and folding to the size of a backpack, the product is designed to be both portable and easy to use in an urban environment. In the future, Hyundai hopes to integrate a regenerative braking system, that uses kinetic energy from the brakes to power the vehicle up to 7% longer.

‘We want to make our customers’ lives as easy and enjoyable as possible. Our personal electric scooter makes first- and last-mile commuting a joy, while helping to reduce congestion and emissions in city centres,’ says DongJin Hyun, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Team.

As more consumers look for ways to avoid congestion in their daily commute, micro-mobility brands are beginning to flourish. Look out for our forthcoming microtrend here.

Ecover transforms waste beer liquid into soap

UK – Ecover has worked with a Belgian beer manufacturer to upcycle waste ingredients into washing up liquid.

The B-Corp washing up liquid company’s latest formula includes at least 25% wasted water and ethanol from the non-alcoholic beer-making process. Non-alcoholic beer production mimics that of alcoholic beer, with the additional step of removing the ethanol at the end. The filtered ethanol is mixed with spent water from the production process and sent to Ecover’s zero-waste factory for re-use. The product was launched as part of Zero Waste Week to show the utility of circular ingredients.

‘We’ve challenged ourselves to think about how we could use ingredients that already exist and are currently wasted – viewing waste as an opportunity, not just a problem,’ says Tom Domen, long-term innovation manager at Ecover. ‘In the same way that we have encouraged people to rethink plastic, we want people to rethink their throwaway culture.’

Consumers are becoming increasingly attuned to the catastrophic effect that home cleaning chemicals have on the environment, driving a growing interest in eco-friendly cleaning brands.

Stat: Voice assistants are transforming customer service

Consumers are increasingly using voice assistants to research and buy products, and to reach out to customer service, according to a recent report from Capgemini. The report explores how both organisations and consumers are embracing voice assistants, with the figures showing that among those now using voice assistants, 40% have started doing so in the past year.

From reducing costs to streamlining interactions, customer service is an area in many businesses that is benefiting from the rise of voice assistants. In the retail sector, 52% of consumers have interacted with customer service via their voice assistant in 2019, up from 37% in 2017. For more on the future of customer experience, explore our dedicated vertical.

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