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09 : 08 : 22

McLaren steps into the footwear sector, MTV’s music awards welcomes a metaverse category, and influencer marketing explodes on TikTok.

McLaren applies its automotive expertise to apparel

HySpeed by APL and McLaren, UK
HySpeed by APL and McLaren, UK
HySpeed by APL and McLaren, UK

Los Angeles – Luxury automotive company McLaren is dipping its toe into the footwear sector. Through a collaboration with Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), the company is introducing its performance expertise to the world of sneakers.

The APL McLaren HySpeed is inspired by McLaren’s supercars and hypercars and comes equipped with APL’s signature Load ‘N’ Launch technology, which is designed to maximise vertical lift. The shoe comes in five distinct colourways and features a three-piece cushion heel padding and an outsole inspired by performance tyres.

Given that both companies are known for their commitment to performance, speed and efficiency, the partnership was a natural crossover. ‘It perfectly embodies both our own and APL’s DNA and design philosophy. APL has developed new technologies specifically for this shoe – inspired by our ground-breaking work,’ says Goran Ozbolt, acting design director at McLaren.

In the past, automotive companies have partnered with luxury fashion brands to create capsule clothing collections that apply eco-credentials. Looking ahead, this collaboration points to a future when performance-driven companies can align with different industries to create new innovations.

Strategic opportunity

When pursuing cross-sector collaborations, take inspiration from McLaren and align yourself with a company that also expresses your core values and DNA

This media brand is rolling out an ethical coffee line

Crooked Coffee by Crooked Media, US
Crooked Coffee by Crooked Media, US
Crooked Coffee by Crooked Media, US Crooked Coffee by Crooked Media, US

US – Progressive independent media company Crooked Media is adding an ethical coffee line to its portfolio of services, marking its first move into the food and drink sector. Operating under the name Crooked Coffee, its first product is What A Morning, which plays on the brand’s popular What A Day newsletter and podcast.

The new range was developed in partnership with coffee company Akira Coffee and women’s voting organisation Register Her. This initial launch includes a medium roast and a dark roast, both available in whole bean or ground versions, but the company also plans to unveil new blends, products and philanthropic partners later this year. By creating a product that its audience will enjoy in tandem with its media content, Crooked Media is diversifying its revenue streams while also bolstering its values-driven credentials.

‘It was important to us that this consumer product launch was authentic to Crooked values – bold, responsible and contributing to the greater good,’ says Crystal Ponzio-Busto, senior vice-president of marketing at Crooked Media. In this way, the company is using Elastic Brand strategies to enhance its original product offering.

Strategic opportunity

Brands in the media and entertainment space should take inspiration from this venture. Consider how a games brand might create snacks or meal kits that complement game play

MTV’s latest awards celebrate virtual artists

US – Recognising the growth of talent showing up in metaverse spaces, entertainment brand MTV has introduced a Best Metaverse Performance category in its upcoming Video Music Awards. The new category arrives alongside existing categories such as Best New Artist and Song of the Year. Some of the nominees include popular global artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, BTS, Charli XCX, Blackpink, and Twenty One Pilots.

Each of these artists have been nominated in recognition of virtual performances on platforms like Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft. While the metaverse remains a nascent space, such initiatives demonstrate its ongoing potential in appealing to mainstream audiences. Particularly with younger music fans, the metaverse category is likely to re-ignite interest in tuning into such awards ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the opportunity of being given an award in recognition of metaverse performances is also likely to incentivise more musicians and production companies to continue investing in meta-tainment futures.

House I Built by Snoop Dogg

Strategic opportunity

Reflect on how metaverse-focused competitions or awards ceremonies can bolster interest in sectors such as gaming, films and tv series

Stat: Influencer marketing spending soars on TikTok

Social Tourist by Dixie & Charli D’Amelio for Hollister, US Social Tourist by Dixie & Charli D’Amelio for Hollister, US

In the past decade, well-known social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram have attracted the most influencer marketing investment. But now, companies such as TikTok threaten their dominance. According to research by Insider Intelligence, TikTok is set to surpass YouTube’s influencer marketing spending by 2024.

Influencer marketing, where popular social media users are paid to promote products, is a key strategy for companies to reach engaged audiences. While Instagram continues to dominate influencer marketing expenditure, TikTok is expanding quickly and has already eclipsed Facebook, one of Meta’s less popular platforms. The recent furore over Instagram’s shift in its algorithm – where the company has tried to emulate TikTok’s feed – is leading some analysts to predict that the app will soon surpass Instagram too.

TikTok’s ability to uplift micro- and nano-influencers is considered one of the app’s biggest competitive edges, something which platforms like Instagram have not been able to achieve. As a result, there is still reason to believe that TikTok is the future of global marketing.

Strategic opportunity

Instead of trying to emulate TikTok’s approach, companies should focus on their USP and point of difference. Run a survey to understand what your users value most about your platform

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