1. Equinox commits to charitable causes with new campaign
The Commitment Collection by Equinox
US – Fitness brand Equinox is collaborating with various fashion designers, including the founder of Off-White Virgil Abloh, to launch the latest iteration of its Commit to Something campaign.
The collection of symbolic but impractical items includes Abloh’s sweatsuit crafted from medical scrubs in aid of the oncologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Truth Lipstick, created out of, among other ingredients, paper from The Washington Post.
The collection itself is not for sale but is instead designed to raise awareness for the seven philanthropic causes that it represents. Visitors to Equinox’s Commit to Something microsite will, however, be invited to donate to the chosen charities and several of the items will be auctioned off throughout the course of 2018. In line with our Civic Brands macrotrend, brands are increasingly realising the need to participate within the community rather than apart from it.
2. Little Duck Picklery wants to help foster good gut health
Little Duck | The Picklery, London
Little Duck | The Picklery, London
London – A new eatery and deli has opened in Dalston that specialises in fermented and pickled produce to help nurture ‘good healthy bacteria’. Founded by Tom Hill, Clare Lattin & Rory McCoy of Ducksoup and Rawduck, The Picklery includes its own fermentation kitchen allowing it to produce seasonal krauts, kimchi’s, kombucha’s, kefirs and drinking vinegars that can be purchased by weight.
In addition to the café and deli, The Picklery will offer monthly workshops on fermentation processes, such as kombucha production and pickling. ‘We believe that eating fermented foods everyday help towards a healthier mind and body,’ reads the site’s website, an idea that is echoed in our Gut Health Market which explores potential growth areas within this lucrative market.
3. Philip Morris acknowledges the dangers of smoking
UK – Cigarette manufacturers Philip Morris has launched a print ad campaign that acknowledges the dangers of smoking and signals its belief in a cigarette-free future.
The brand has placed full-page ads in The Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Times newspapers, which outlines its goal 'to stop selling cigarettes in the UK'.
The announcement encourages the 7.6m adults that smoke in the UK to quit completely, but acknowledges that some people will struggle and therefore recommends e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, which burns at a lower temperature than conventional products, as healthier alternatives.
In a similar vein, last year the US Justice Department ruled that America's leading tobacco companies fund a series of ads that highlight the health risks associated with smoking. As consumers become increasingly preoccupied with health, tobacco brands must look beyond profitability and seek to diversify their offering with a longer term view.
Philip Morris campaign
4. Watchmaker TID highlight the luxurious nature of time
TID Exploring Time 005 by Builders Club
Sweden – The watch brand TID is continuing its exploration of time, with a video campaign entitled TID Exploring Time 005. The two-minute long spot by Builders Club offers an elongated, lyrical look at a single moment in time. The film is part of a series by TID exploring the nature of time beyond the instruments with which it is measured.
In this vein, at our Luxury Futures Forum last year, Sandrine Deveaux, managing director of Farfetch’s Store of the Future posited time as the ultimate luxury experience. ‘Our time is actually luxury,’ she said. ‘The more time you give back to your customers, the more they will love you.’
5. Global Amazon Prime subscriptions reach record heights
The internet giant recently announced that more people subscribed to its Prime service during 2017 than in any other year. At the end of last year the company extended its same-day and one-day delivery services to include more than 8,000 towns and cities across America, tapping into the widespread desire for convenience. Another contributor to this growth in membership can be attributed to the brand's arrival in India in 2016, which has developed into the fastest growing market for Amazon Prime in 2017.
6. Thought-starter: Consumers demand clarity over ownership
With Apple facing backlash for intentionally reducing the performance of their older phone models, senior journalist Peter Maxwell asks whether tech companies need to be more transparent about the agency they have over consumers’ products post-purchase.
Widely held suspicion turned to outrage after it was proved that Apple’s phones didn’t merely feel slower as they aged, but were intentionally being throttled by the company in order to prevent them from abruptly shutting down.
Looking past the vitriol expounded by both commentators and consumers alike, the fact remains that the brand’s actions were entirely appropriate. A drop in performance is a reasonable trade-off for maintaining functionality. What is at issue here is the question of permission – Apple acted without consent.
This furore highlights a wider discrepancy between consumers and tech companies concepts of ownership when it comes to products that rely on remaining networked back to the manufacturer. As brands across sectors from automotive to household appliances retain ever greater command over the goods they sell, public anger about who has ultimate control over consumers’ possessions will only be resolved by greater transparency of intention.