News 10.08.2018

Need to Know

A sports bra that responds to movement, Monzo provides refugees with bank accounts, Americans support gene-editing in babies.

Clare simplifies paint shopping

Clare
Clare
Clare

US – The new brand offers a curated selection of just 55 eco-conscious paints and a fuss-free buying experience.

In an effort to make paint shopping easier, Clare encourages customers to complete an online quiz to determine their interior design preferences and narrow down the 55 colours available. Customers then receive sticker samples to test their preferred colours without creating mess, before receiving a simple at-home kit containing their chosen paint and any tools required.

Clare’s paints are also created with the environment in mind and are low in toxic air contaminants and hazardous air pollutants, contributing to healthier indoor air. In addition, prices remain low in comparison to other premium paint brands, at £30 ($39, €34) or £38 ($49, €43).

As explored in our microtrend Anti-choice Architecture, Clare is reducing the excessive number of options offered by the paint industry with a more curated menu of colours.

Reebok releases a shape-shifting sports bra

Reebok PureMove Sports Bra Reebok PureMove Sports Bra
Reebok PureMove Sports Bra Reebok PureMove Sports Bra

Global – The PureMove Bra responds to the wearer’s kinetic movement to give women more support when exercising.

According to the brand, one in five women avoid exercise because they don’t have the right sports bra, which led Reebok to make its first move into this type of apparel. After working with material innovators for three years to rethink the sports bra and exploring various science journals, Reebok eventually came across Shear Thickening Fluid, a liquid form that becomes solid when subject to movement and which has also been used by NASA in developing its spacesuits.

The result is a sports bra that introduces Reebok’s Motion Sense Technology, which treats the fabric with the Shear Thickening Fluid. It then adapts to the body’s shape, movement of the breast tissue and force of movement to keep the wearer comfortable.

With the launch of an in-house team dedicated to technological innovation, Reebok continues to mature far beyond its roots as a sneaker brand.

Refugees can now open a Monzo account

UK – Challenger bank Monzo has launched an initiative to allow immigrants and refugees to set up a bank account.

Many refugees struggle to provide the official documentation to open an account with regular banks, which makes it difficult for them to rent a flat, get a phone contract and settle into life in the UK. But Monzo is working to accept less traditional types of ID in its sign-up process. Refugees can now apply with just a Biometric Residence Permit and a smartphone instead of a passport or driving licence.

Tristan Thomas, head of marketing and community at Monzo, told the Evening Standard that the brand hopes to create a more basic account for these people: ‘it’s a limited version of the full current account, so you maybe can’t withdraw as much cash or you can’t get an overdraft.’ In addition, Monzo hopes to also provide bank accounts for homeless people through references from a shelter.

This isn’t the first time a bank has tried to use its technology to improve the lives of refugees. In 2017, Mastercard worked with Western Union to launch a research brief that looked at how digital technology could be used to create payment systems in refugee camps.

Monzo

Porsche turns eSports gamers into drivers

Germany – The luxury car brand is using a new competition to engage gamers with the prospect of driving a Porsche offline.

In a collaboration with e-sports company ESL, participants in the challenge will race in the Forza Motorsport 7 video game in a virtual play-off. A live final will host the top eight players, then the final four will take part in professional driving training before racing in a simulator game to determine the winner. The driver with the fastest lap time will be given the opportunity to drive one of its cars in the Porsche Master Cup Training.

By getting involved in the lucrative eSports market, Porsche is crossing the boundaries between offline and online driving, and bringing its luxury sports cars to a new, younger audience. In 2017, high-end watch brand TAG Heuer teamed up with the video game racing franchise Gran Turismo in a clever marketing stunt to reach young racing fans.

Stat: Americans support gene-editing to make babies healthier

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, seven out of 10 US adults support editing the genes of unborn babies, but only to treat a serious health condition.

In addition, 19% of respondents believe that using gene-editing to make humans ‘more intelligent’ is an acceptable use of the technology. Most, however, said they believed this would be taking things too far. The biggest worry for consumers is how this affects equality, with 58% believing it is very likely that gene-edited children will remain the preserve of the wealthy, an issue addressed at this year’s FutureFest.

In our Far Futures series, we explore how technology such as gene-editing and synthetic reproduction will affect how babies will be born in 2030 and beyond.

Thought-starter: Has the notion of luxury become meaningless?

The concept of luxury is losing its rarity and desirability due to overuse by ordinary brands and services. Strategic research director Sebastien van Laere asks how brands will thrive in a future where consumers look beyond this semantic saturation.

Regardless of where you live in the world, I’m sure you have encountered at least one of these phrases in recent years: luxury apartments, luxury soap, luxury pet food, maybe even luxury toilet paper. It seems that these days, luxury is everywhere and anything can be luxurious.

But if we look at the definition of the word itself, that shouldn’t be the case. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Luxury is an inessential, desirable item which is expensive or difficult to obtain, or a pleasure obtained only rarely’. But when the word is tacked on to an ordinary product or service, paradoxically, the very concept of luxury loses its rarity and desirability. Arguably, ‘luxury’ has become meaningless.

In order to connect their brand with new luxury audiences, companies need to navigate such cultural changes by adopting an anti-luxury approach.

Read the full Opinion piece here.

Air Inventions by Panasonic, Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
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