Need to Know
12 : 01 :18

12.01.2018 Fashion : Mobility : Auto

Audi helps halt road traffic accidents, Chinese consumers steer growth in the ride-share market, and how brands can bin plastic packaging for good.

1. Adidas unlocks Berlin’s subway system with loyalty scheme

EQT Support 93/17 Berlin by Adidas EQT Support 93/17 Berlin by Adidas
EQT Support 93/17 “Berlin” by Adidas EQT Support 93/17 Berlin by Adidas
EQT Support 93/17 “Berlin” by Adidas EQT Support 93/17 Berlin by Adidas

Berlin – The sportswear brand is teaming up with Berlin’s transport authority BVG to offer customers a year’s worth of free subway travel when they buy a pair of limited-edition trainers. The shoe design incorporates BVG’s multicoloured seat upholstery pattern and the annual pass is assimilated into the tongue.

The trainers are priced at £160 ($216, €180) compared with an annual ticket that costs £643 ($871, €728), saving the buyer a considerable amount of money. Brands such as adidas and WelectGo are working with public transport bodies to offer consumers free rides in exchange for brand engagement.

By limiting the number of shoes made, adidas is helping to create a sense of frenzy and desirability that taps into the growing Hype Market.

2. CES 2018: Foreo uses technology to improve single-use masks

UFO by Foreo, Las Vegas UFO by Foreo, Las Vegas

Las Vegas – The Swedish beauty technology brand has announced its latest product, the UFO, which is designed to address the masking phenomenon that has been so popular in the past few years.

The device is loaded with single-use microfibre masks – the company is launching both day and night mask options – and then uses four different treatments to activate the ingredients within. While most masks require at least 20 minutes to penetrate the skin, UFO's combination of methods including LED light therapy, cryotherapy, thermotherapy and T-sonic pulsations, means that it only takes 90 second to complete a treatment.

‘No one has thought to put all of these therapies into one device,’ a Foreo spokesperson told LS:N Global. ‘We wanted to take the single-mask process and turn it into a multilayered, yet efficient, experience.’

While K-beauty has taken the Western world by storm, Foreo's UFO fits in with the trajectory of time-pressed consumers expecting more effective products, in less time.

3. CES 2018: Nissan develops technology that uses brain waves to assist with driving

Called B2V (brain to vehicle), the prototype system was revealed by the car manufacturer at this year’s CES. B2V measures and interprets signals from the driver’s brain to help the car anticipate when they are about to turn, starting the manoeuvre before they have adjusted the steering wheel. This increases the driver's reaction time by between 0.2 and 0.5 seconds, potentially increasing their ability to avoid obstacles. Nissan also believes that the technology could be used to help train autonomous vehicles, and even allow them to adjust their driving style to the passengers’ preferences.

‘When most people think about autonomous driving, they have a very impersonal vision of the future, where humans relinquish control to the machines,’ explains Nissan’s executive vice-president Daniele Schillaci. ’Yet B2V technology does the opposite, by using signals from their own brain to make the drive even more exciting and enjoyable.’

B2V by Nissan, Las Vegas B2V by Nissan, Las Vegas

4. Audi helps prevent drivers from being distracted by their phones

Safety Code by Audi

Germany – Car manufacturer Audi has created an open-source code that blocks motorists from going online on their phones while driving. The Audi Safety Code can be added to any website by the site host. It analyses GPS data and prevents anyone in a vehicle travelling at more than 20km per hour from browsing until they verify that they are not the driver.

The accompanying ad campaign, created in collaboration with Swedish digital agency Åkestam Holst, explains that driving while using a phone increases the risk of an accident by 300%, yet eight out of 10 drivers continue to do so.

In taking responsibility for both creating and open-sourcing the code, Audi is taking a civic-minded approach to driving that goes beyond its remit as a car manufacturer.

5. Chinese consumers share a passion for Uber

China is driving growth in the Ride-share Market as new research shows that consumers are increasingly choosing to use Uber or its Chinese equivalents Didi Chuxing and Dida Pinche rather than private transport. In 2017 Uber highlighted the problems with congestion in Asia, as the number of vehicles on the road causes gridlock, a problem that the brand claimed could be solved through ride-sharing.

6. Thought-starter: Why can’t brands pack in their plastic obsession?

Following the Prime Minister's commitment to reducing plastic waste over the next 25 years, senior journalist Peter Maxwell asks why more brands aren't altering their packing strategies to stand out from the crowd.

One thing that May’s announcement demonstrates is that plastic pollution is something that private enterprise finds it almost impossible to wean itself off without government regulation. Indeed, it is forecast that there will be a 40% rise in global plastic production over the next decade.

While brand initiatives often pay lip service to tackling this issue – see Wetherspoons’ recent ban on drinking straws or Pret’s experiment with reusable glass bottles – they rarely represent a holistic, wholesale reappraisal of their approach to pre-packaged products.

But with increasing awareness among their customers that the plastic that covers their groceries is now massively infiltrating the food chain, superfluous trays, troughs, lids and sachets are starting to turn the public’s collective stomach. How long before this nausea starts to be the difference between the food industry's winners and losers?

For more, read the full op-ed here.

Filtered water station by Pret A Manger, London Filtered water station by Pret A Manger, London