Need to know
06 : 10 : 17

06.10.2017 Travel : Finance : Food & Drink

In today’s daily digest: Japan’s new digital currency, an LGBTQ publication from Condé Nast, avatar brand partners and other stories.

1. Essence Cuisine takes a clinical approach to clean eating

Essence Cuisine by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, London Essence Cuisine by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, London
Essence Cuisine by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, London Essence Cuisine by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, London

Revolving around a full plant-based and free-from food concept, the restaurant aims to demonstrate that vegan food can be as diverse as animal-based diets.

While the concept of a vegan restaurant is nothing new, the interior of the space sets it apart. The restaurant in Shoreditch in London was designed by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, known for his previous work with Acne Studios, and implements design cues from minimalist and sci-fi aesthetics. Featuring a rough cement plaster finish and a concrete bar, the brand describes the design as ‘an overall masculine tone which is set in contrast to the vibrant food and splashes of personality’.

Kiev-based Orang+Utan is another restaurant that favours a minimal aesthetic over details traditionally associated with healthy eating establishments.

2. DONG Energy changes name as part of green commitment

DONG Energy is becoming Ørsted campaign film by Wieden + Kennedy

As part of a complete strategic transformation ‘from black to green energy’, the company name is to be changed to Ørsted. Alongside the new name, a new logo and overall brand identity are also being introduced.

‘Our vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy,’ says Thomas Thune Andersen, chairman of the board of directors at DONG Energy. ‘To avoid causing serious harm to the global eco-systems, we need to fundamentally change the way we power the world.’

In recent years, DONG Energy has been working to reduce its use of coal. Since 2006, its carbon emissions have been reduced by 52%, and by 2023, they will have been reduced by 96% compared with 2006. Brands have the opportunity to re-invest their message with meaning by applying Ground Zero Branding and starting again, something we outlined in Backlash Brands.

3. Japan to introduce digital currency J Coin by 2020

Designed to help move Japan on from its heavy dependency on cash, which still accounts for 70% of the value of the country’s transactions, J Coin will be launched to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is being spearheaded by a consortium of banks that include Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank.

The move follows an overall shift to embrace digital money in Japan. Earlier this year, leading retailers in the country began accepting bitcoin as legal currency and the consortium of banks involved estimates that the adoption of a new digital currency could add £67.4m (¥10bn, $88.8m) to the economy.

As more and more consumers warm to the idea of a fully cashless society, see how a new visual language around money is evolving in our Fluid Capital design direction.

Photography by Andre Bens Photography by Andre Bens

4. Condé Nast announces platform for LGBTQ community

Them by Condé Nast Them by Condé Nast

The platform, Them, was launched to cover a range of voices from different sectors through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.

The publication reflects a shift in mindset among young consumers that focuses on fluidity of gender and identity, something we discussed in our Gen Viz macrotrend. According to Gallup, 4.1% of American adults identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in 2016, an increase of 1.75m people compared with 2012.

Them is the first platform from Condé Nast’s new incubator, created to develop new brands and businesses for the company’s audience. ‘There is a cultural revolution happening that is – as always – spearheaded by young people who believe in fighting for equality, and we want to create a space that reflects this moment,’ says Phillip Picardi, chief content officer of Them, in a press release.

5. Overnight tourists spend the most money in Dubai

Despite coming fourth in Mastercard’s annual Destination Cities Index in terms of visitor numbers, Dubai is the leading city when it comes to tourist spend. Not only did overnight tourists spend £21.6bn ($28.5bn, €24.2bn) in 2016 – compared with £12.9bn ($17.02bn, €14.5bn) in New York – but Mastercard also predicts further growth of 10.2% in the city by the end of 2017, compared to 1.5% growth in New York.

With the largest mall in the world, Dubai has transformed itself into a retail leader, but it also aims to become a capital of culture and a hub for knowledge-based innovation. For more, see the city's plans to launch the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation next year.

6. Thought-starter: Why avatars make the perfect brand partners

The appeal of using avatar characters, free of human foibles, as brand ambassadors is obvious, argues senior journalist Maks Fus Mickiewicz.

Coca-Cola has just signed its latest celebrity ambassador deal. Alex Hunter is a professional footballer who has had a meteoric rise to fame, from playing football on Clapham Common in South London to being called up for the England team. Rumours around his love life abound. Except there is a catch. Alex Hunter does not exist, at least in a traditional sense.

The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar ambassador is a video games character that has been designed for EA Sports’ Fifa 18. Buy a copy of the game and you will be able to follow the protagonist’s story, and even customise his tattoos or haircuts. The partnership has been marketed as a 15-hour ad entitled The Journey. It is in fact the game from beginning to end.

The campaign is one of many that are beginning to recognise the significance of the video games market, especially when it comes to connecting with younger audiences.

Read the full Opinion piece here.

Uplifted Alex by The Coca-Cola Company and EA Sports, US Uplifted Alex by The Coca-Cola Company and EA Sports, US