1. Nike uses computational design to develop its new shoe
Nike Epic React Flyknit
Nike Epic React Flyknit
Nike Epic React Flyknit
US – Nike has announced the launch of Nike Epic React Flyknit, the first shoe to incorporate Nike React, a new type of foam created in-house by the brand's chemical engineers. Similar in premise to its Advanced Apparel collection, the Flyknit has been designed by artificial intelligence (AI), using running data gleaned from professional athletes. The brand fed pressure map data from its research lab through an algorithm, which used it to create a design that offers optimum comfort and stability.
‘[It] allowed us to make rapid, data-informed decisions on how to shape midsoles and outsoles to maximise the benefits of Nike React foam,’ explains Ernest Kim, director of Advanced Footwear at Nike Running.
For more on the rise of data-driven design, download our Fashion Futures report here.
2. Audi taps into the emotive side of driving
Cooling Down by Audi
Global – Audi’s new campaign, Cooling Down, moves away from the tired tropes that have grown up around car advertising, choosing instead to focus on the car post-race. Showcasing the car as it cools down in a trackside garage, the spot offers ‘no racing, no high-speed action, no music – just the car itself’. The ad, which is soundtracked by just the noise of the engine, has been designed to evoke the excitement of just having finished a race, appealing to viewers’ emotive rather than practical side.
In line with our Sci-Rides Design Direction, automotive brands are increasingly offering a more seductive, fantasy-led approach to car advertising, made to arouse excitement.
3. WhatsApp launches an app for small businesses
US – Traditionally a peer-to-peer platform, WhatsApp is taking heed of the way brands are now using the platform to communicate with customers and launching a new messaging app for businesses.
People are increasingly using the platform to shop, place orders and ask questions about a specific product, but as the brand notes: ‘The way this happens now on WhatsApp is pretty rudimentary.’
WhatsApp Business varies from the original in offering automated replies for frequently asked questions and away messages, as well as providing insights on metrics like read messages. The app is initially being introduced in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the UK, before being rolled out across the globe.
The launch shows how brands in the West are following China’s lead and recognising the importance of social media platforms in retail.
4. Hato designs a community-generated campaign for D&AD
Start With a Mark by Hato for D&AD, London
London – Graphic and experience design studio Hato has created an easy-to-use drawing tool used to produce designs in 3D. Named Start with a mark, the tool encourages a playful approach to design, inspiring users to give free reign to their imagination.
Developed for this year’s D&AD Festival, an annual event that celebrates good design and advertising, the tool will allow anyone with internet access to create a design and place it in the real world using an augmented reality (AR) feature. This means the entire festival identity this year will be crowdsourced by people both in the design world and beyond, an idea that design agency Kokoro & Moi also adopted for its community-led rebranding of Finland for its centenary year.
5. Brands in the UAE need to push organic credentials
Concerns over food safety are driving consumers in the UAE to increasingly search for organic products. Unsafe levels of pesticides in fruit and vegetables originating from Egypt, Oman, Lebanon and Yemen has prompted a ban on imports. There has been a corresponding spike in people seeking certified organic products, yet only 2% of food and drink launches in the UAE until October 2017 were positioned as organic.
6. Thought-starter: Is Revlon ready to get woke?
As Revlon unveils a diverse cast of new global brand ambassadors, strategic researcher Victoria Buchanan asks whether an industry that has always tightly controlled the message of its spokeswomen is really ready to marry makeup with social justice?
The beauty brand is just the latest example of the industry embracing activists in its advertising, but the two worlds have not meshed so smoothly.
The campaign comes at a time when the narrative of a new age of influence is becoming more unpredictable. Last year L’Oréal came under fire for ending a contract with trans model Munroe Bergdorf because of messages she shared on social media around white privilege. ‘Being an activist means calling people out,’ said Bergdorf in an interview after the incident.
Personal judgement aside, this represents the complicated relationship beauty now faces in engaging with women that have historically been kept out of the mainstream conversation.