News 09.11.2018

Need to Know

Mexican citizens take control of city planning, Givaudan addresses hair-ageing and how Bitcoin is damaging the planet.

Ad hails curious kids as Generation Voice

Generation Voice by Spark, New Zealand

New Zealand – A campaign by telecommunications company Spark offers a humorous look into how voice technology will affect children growing up.

The video features children aged 4-7, the age that Spark claims is when they ‘begin to grow curious’. Unlike previous generations, they can now request answers from voice assistants on eternal questions such as: ‘does the internet turn off at seven every night?’ and ‘can a stork really carry a baby?’, with the power now in the hands of these youngsters.

Spark hopes to celebrate the powerful impact voice technology will have on the next generation. ‘Today’s kids are going to grow up with voice assistants as a normal part of their lives, just like 90s kids did with mobile phones, and 80s kids with the internet,’ says Mike Davison, creative director at Colenso BBDO. ‘Voice is another leap forward in the opportunities this generation is going to have.’

When the media questions whether kids should play with Alexa, consumers are often sceptical. However, Spark is taking a more light-hearted approach, offering an optimistic perspective on how children will benefit from technology.

Mexico’s public collectively cancels a new airport

New Mexico City International Airport by Foster and Partners, Mexico City New Mexico City International Airport by Foster and Partners, Mexico City

Mexico City – A public referendum has cancelled Foster + Partners’ new airport for the Mexican capital, which was midway through construction.

Although the airport has been in development since 2015, earlier this year the public started a proposal to cancel the project due to environmental and overspending concerns. The proposal formed a large part of López Obrador's presidential campaign, who, after winning the election, announced a referendum to decide the fate of the airport.

A large majority (70%) of voters opted to scrap the airport, which Obrador has respected. ‘The decision taken by the citizens is democratic, rational and efficient,’ he announced. As an alternative to the costly airport, Obrador has suggested transforming the partially-built construction into a sports and ecological centre to better serve the city.

Brands and governments must recognise the importance of the public in their decision-making processes, and encourage consumers to club together as Collective Stakeholders.

Web Summit 2018: An app that monetises ethical purchases

London – Showcased at this year’s Web Summit, Almond app addresses consumer inertia around sustainability by providing monetary rewards for responsible purchases.

Founded by food and drink entrepreneur Olly Bolton, the blockchain platform allows users to earn cryptocurrency reward tokens by scanning the Almond Matrix Code – similar in functionality to a QR code – on participating brands’ products, which can then be redeemed through PayPal as fiat money.

The platform’s Almond Trail provides complete supply chain transparency by tracking all of the product’s raw materials and estimating the total carbon footprint based on the user’s location.

According to the brand, more than half (52%) of an individual’s carbon footprint is derived from the products they purchase but up until now consumers have not had the tools available to them to understand their own impact. In this way, Almond is able to reward brands for being socially responsible by driving new consumers to their products.

For more on how brands are using apps to encourage sustainability, read our Sustainable Spending microtrend.

Almond App

This beauty ingredient could reverse hair ageing

Darkenyl by Givaudan Darkenyl by Givaudan
Darkenyl by Givaudan Darkenyl by Givaudan

Bangkok – A new product by Givaudan features Darkenyl, a hair re-pigmenting ingredient to counteract the hair whitening process.

Givaudan, the flavour and fragrances manufacturer, has worked with skin experts to develop the ingredient, which combines two synergistic molecules to boost hair stem cells proliferation and protect the hair from ageing. Following a clinical study which found that volunteers had up to -56% reduction of white hair after using Darkenyl, the company has added the ingredient to its S3D Colourblack hair product.

With 59% of consumers worried about hair ageing – with higher numbers in Japan and China – and 60% concerned about hair colour loss, according to the brand, beauty consumers have previously struggled to find products that scientifically reverse white hairs, often resorting to dye.

Although beauty brands have long promoted anti-ageing formulas for the skin, hair ageing is a sensitive issue that is under-addressed by brands.

Stat: Bitcoin has a major global warming problem

According to a study by a team of researchers in Hawaii, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change last week, Bitcoin could push global warming above 2°C in as little as two decades.

The process of ‘mining’ Bitcoin demands substantial energy resources, with heavy hardware requirements. To investigate the timeframe for Bitcoin’s impact on climate change, the researchers compared the projected growth of Bitcoin to the historic uptake of technology such as dishwashers and the internet, in order to determine how pervasive it will become in the near future.

Although cryptocurrencies have seen success in competing with financial institutions, many experts have expressed concerns over their environmental impact. Read our macrotrend Morality Recoded for more on why technology companies must consider future impacts before mindlessly innovating.

Thought-starter: Is teenage rebellion still relevant?

Our latest macrotrend, Anxiety Rebellion, explores how Generation Z are turning emotions into actions and challenging existing societal structures like finance and business.

The internet is rife with reports about how risk-averse today’s teenagers are. They’ve gone from Generation Z to iGeneration to Generation Sensible, a term backed up by the likes of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which noted that illicit drug use by US teenagers fell from 22.6% in 2007 to 14% in 2017.

This risk-averse attitude is closely linked with the anxiety that has become prevalent among today’s youth. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly a third of US adolescents aged 13–18 will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

For previous generations of teens, anxiety could be attributed to teenage angst – a temporary cocktail of the hormones and emotions that come with growing up – but Generation Z are fighting this stereotype. Rather than allowing themselves to become trapped in a web of anxiety, teens are speaking out against practices that cause them unnecessary pressure and turning their worries into productivity.

Reevaluate your perception of teens with our youth macrotrend Anxiety Rebellion.

Off The Block magazine by Francesco Loy Bell, London, 2018
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