Need to Know
23 : 11 : 18

An advert scripted entirely by AI, anti-brand Italic sells unbranded luxury products and Twitter trolls John Lewis.

Lexus reveals the first luxury ad to be scripted entirely by AI

Driven by Intuition, Lexus UK

Europe – The car manufacturer is exploring new ground in film-making with the release of an advert written by artificial intelligence (AI).

The unique collaboration between AI and Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald aims to test the boundaries of how humans and machines can work together creatively. Commissioned as part of the brand’s ‘Driven by Intuition’ campaign, the result is a minute-long film showcasing the responsive features of the new Lexus ES.

The AI was ‘trained’ with 15 years’ worth of car and luxury advertisements that have previously won Cannes Lions international awards for creativity. ‘The charmingly simplistic way the AI wrote the story was both fascinating in its interpretation of human emotion, and yet still unexpected enough to give the film a clearly non-human edge,’ Macdonald explains. As AI continues to transform the creative landscape, brands need to rethink how they can harness its potential.

A new marketplace for unbranded luxury goods

Italic, Los Angeles Italic, Los Angeles
Italic, Los Angeles Italic, Los Angeles

Los Angeles – Italic is a new members-only marketplace that lets consumers buy unbranded products made in the same factories as luxury brands.

From bed linens to handbags, Italic partners with luxury manufacturers to hand-select the design, materials and finishes of its exclusive products, which are then sold directly to consumers. Customers have to become members to gain access and, due to limited quantities, can only buy two items a month.

Launching with 100 introductory products, Italic will sell goods made by the same factories as brands such as Burberry, Prada, Givenchy and Ritz Carlton. By removing brands and labels from the process, consumers can access these high-end products without the mark-up. Italic stipulates on its site, ‘All products exclusive to Italic. No brands’, positioning it as a type of ‘anti-brand’.

Discover how the luxury market is evolving to be less ostentatious and pitching itself at a more accessible price point in our Uneasy Affluence macrotrend.

thredUP’s first clothing line is made to be resold

US – Remade is the first affordable fashion collection designed to be resold instead of landfilled.

The fashion line is made up of affordable investment pieces and is backed by data collected by thredUP. This ensures that the collection is designed based on demand without the fashion guesswork that results in production waste. ‘At thredUP we know exactly what resells. With that data, we want to help consumers buy clothes that can be resold instead of discarded — a mindset shift which is ultimately good for wallets and the planet,’ says James Reinhart, thredUP’s CEO and founder.

To prime the garments for eventual resale, each piece comes with a Buyback Promise, ensuring it will be accepted and resold on thredUP, with sellers earning 40% of the original value. In addition, a QR code on the label can be scanned to reveal an item’s history so that it can be priced accordingly when resold.

By approaching the Recommerce market with Demand-led Design, thredUP is continuing to fuel fashion’s circular economy.

Remade by ThredUp, US

Twitter trolls John Lewis with its Christmas ad

#NotARetailStore ft. @JohnLewis, Twitter UK Christmas Film 2018

UK – Virginia-based lecturer John Lewis, who has been tweeting from the @johnlewis handle since 2007, stars in Twitter’s latest ad.

Every year, Lewis – who has twice as many Twitter followers as the retailer – receives 50,000 tweets intended for the store. Although Lewis’ quick-witted responses have not been acknowledged by the John Lewis brand itself, Twitter has chosen to spotlight the case of mistaken identity in its own Christmas ad.

The playful video takes place during Lewis’ annual festive ritual, where he cleverly responds to tweets about the retailer’s latest Christmas ad. The ad ends with the tagline ‘This Christmas. Join the conversation. Even if it’s by mistake.’

Twitter is using its knowledge of online troll culture to take aim at the much-hyped John Lewis Christmas advert. Read our macrotrend Backlash Brands to find out why you shouldn’t be afraid of referencing fellow brand campaigns.

Stat: Number of HNWIs in emerging markets is set to double

While the global HNWI population of 4.1m adults represents only 0.1% of the adult population it commands over a fifth of the world’s wealth (source: Euromonitor). Although developed countries will see the highest rise in their HNWI populations, emerging and developing markets are also predicted to see huge growth. These countries, which include India, Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia will see a total of 658,300 HNWIs by 2030, an increase of 312,300 HNWIs from 2018.

Nearly half of this growth will come from China, which is set to continue robust economic growth, strong income gains and a rising number of entrepreneurs. However, Vietnam is set to generate new millionaires at the fastest pace in the world, at 203% between 2018 and 2030. To understand the consumer behaviours of this emerging demographic, meet our Young Vietnamese Luxurians tribe.

Thought-starter: Is gaming the next frontier of health and wellness?

As competitive gaming broadens its appeal, both amateur and professional gamers are looking to the health and wellness industry to give them an edge.

While gamers have often turned to high-sodium snacks and caffeinated energy drinks to power them through long sessions and tournaments, they are now looking for more beneficial energy substitutes.

At the highest level, professional game play requires the sort of reflexes, endurance and concentration necessary in few other competitive activities. With more than 30 US colleges now offering eSports scholarships, according to, not to mention the ever-increasing tournament prize pots, maintaining a healthy mind and body is becoming common practice.

In particular, gamers are fast catching on to the advantages of nootropics. ‘It is an industry dominated by the need for an edge in mental acuity, reflexes, alertness and awareness, so it seems like a natural fit for nootropics companies to expand their reach,’ explains Matthew Oster, industry manager of consumer health at Euromonitor.

Alexander Zavoloka, CEO of Berlin-based performance nutrition start-up Runtime,agrees: ‘As eSports awareness increases, teams place a greater focus on the wellbeing of players, and nutrition has become a major focus, as it has been with traditional athletes.’

For more, explore the full eSports Nutrition microtrend.

Runtime, Berlin
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