Need to know
30 : 01 : 18

30.01.2018 Auto : Hospitality : Retail

Consumers tire of Twitter, the foraging movement in craft beer, Cobe designs a wellness charging station for people and cars.

1. Volvo shifts towards a post-ownership model

Care by Volvo campaign by Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden

Sweden – The car brand’s latest campaign depicts a world dominated by consumerist excess, with ever increasing mountains of packages, baying crowds of sale-mad shoppers and semi-threatening delivery drones. The spot ends with the assertion that ‘by not owning things, you are not owned by things’ and introducing the automakers new XC40 model, which is available on subscription.

‘The message might seem controversial at first,’ Louise Ahlström, project manager at Volvo Cars, told Adweek. ‘But when we look at the future of cars, we see that people are more and more looking for access instead of traditional ownership. Already today we are used to subscribing to products and services. The campaign is about conscious consumption, that we should reflect more on the things we surround ourselves with.’

Volvo is not alone in moving towards a subscription-based business model, with marques like Bentley and Cadillac announcing similar schemes last year. Read our Luxury Cars On-demand micro for more.

2. Ace Hotel is creating a stripped-back sister brand

Sister City by Ace Hotel, New York. Photography by Brian W Ferry Sister City by Ace Hotel, New York. Photography by Brian W Ferry
Sister City by Ace Hotel, New York. Photography by Brian W Ferry Sister City by Ace Hotel, New York. Photography by Brian W Ferry

New York – Sister City is a new hotel concept and 'experiment in essentialism', which will open on New York's Bowery in autumn 2018. Unlike Ace Hotel, which has successfully marketed its lobbies and co-working spaces as for both locals and guests, Sister City is targeting tourists with practical needs.

Featuring 200 intimate and efficient rooms, a restaurant and rooftop bar, the hotel aims to refine the luxury experience to its most vital parts, rejecting the excess typically associated with high-end hospitality. ‘We are inspired by the philosophy of Less, But Better. The inherent satisfaction of having just enough. Sister City looks through a focused lens to truly anticipate what people need when they're traveling — comfort, beauty and human connection,’ says Kelly Sawdon, chief brand officer of Atelier Ace, the creative studio behind Ace Hotels.

By taking into account guests' needs and the most vital, useful aspects of a hotel stay, Sister City is applying the same disruptive approach to the sector as Public, Ian Schrager's latest venture.

3. Ikea’s CEO floats the idea of entering the rental business

Davos – Speaking at this year’s World Economic Forum, Jesper Brodin signalled that the company might soon look to adopt a more circular economy approach to its business. The brand is aware that many of its customers are growing more comfortable with the idea of renting rather than buying their household items, as well as mounting societal pressure for businesses to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their products throughout their lifecycle, not just until the point of purchase.

‘If the last decades were about mass consumerism, now we are getting towards mass circularity,’ said Brodin. ‘[For this approach to work] you build in an economic incentive, you build in a consciousness with consumers that they don't have to own it, but own this collectively in the world and recycle it.’

From the fashion to automotive industries, brands are increasingly making product rental a part of their offer in order to target a new generation of consumers uneasy about their environmental impact.

KUNGSBACKA by Ikea and Form Us With Love, Stockholm KUNGSBACKA by Ikea and Form Us With Love, Stockholm

4. COBE has designed a wellness-focused charging station

Charging stations by COBE, Denmark Charging stations by COBE, Denmark
Charging stations by COBE, Denmark Charging stations by COBE, Denmark
Charging stations by COBE, Denmark Charging stations by COBE, Denmark

Denmark – A future dominated by electric vehicles is going to mandate some significant changes to global transport infrastructure, not least the creation of dedicated charging facilities. Danish firm COBE has set out one vision of what these spaces might look like.

Dominated by a wooden, arboreally inspired canopy topped by solar panels and interspaced with vegetation, COBE’s design shares only passing resemblance to the petrol station forecourts they will usurp. While traditional vehicles take only a few minutes to refuel, charging an electric car requires much longer. COBE's founder Dan Stubbergaard therefore wanted to this extra time to be used meaningfully, hence his firm borrowing many of the tropes of wellness architecture for their solution.

‘We want to offer drivers a much-needed and meaningful break in a green oasis,’ says Stubbergaard. ‘The energy and the technology are green, and we want the architecture, the materials and the concept to be green as well.’ Forty of COBE’s station will be built across Scandinavia in the next few years.

5. Almost half of US consumers wish Twitter didn’t exist

A survey by The Harris Poll has revealed which social media platforms Americans would most like to 'kill' and which they want to keep 'alive'. Tinder arguably fared even worse than Twitter, with 43% saying they wanted to get rid of the dating platform and an almost equal number (42%) not being familiar with it. Only 15% wanted to see it continue.

Increasingly seen as a conduit for bullying and acrimony, not least because of President Trump's co-option of the platform, Twitter has become the poster child for what many perceive as social media's divisive impact on society. Read our Opinion on doxxing for more.

6. Thought-starter: Can foraging bring craft beer back to its roots?

With more craft breweries in the US now owned by major corporations, Foresight editor Daniela Walker asks if foraging could reinvigorate the category.

Craft beer is doing well. There are over 4,000 craft microbreweries in the US, but as more and more of them are snapped up by corporations, consumers have begun to question what craft even means.

Now the tradition of foraging, which has been wildly popular in restaurants and brought into mainstream consciousness by chefs such as Rene Redzepi of Noma, is offering a new route to craft for small-batch breweries. Most breweries – whether they are owned by larger companies or not – tend to use ingredients grown on industrial farms, but breweries such as Scratch Brewing in Illinois and Fonta Flora in North Carolina are using local ingredients found in their local vicinity.

For each brewery, which have beers made with foraged ingredients such as persimmons, the aim is to connect lovers of craft beer back with land, to help them understand that beer is an agricultural product.

For more on why educating consumers on the agricultural background of products is crucial, look out for our Educating Eating sector macrotrend – out later this week.

The Taproom from Tria, Philadelphia The Taproom from Tria, Philadelphia