Need to Know
08 : 02 : 19

The Dali Museum creates a virtual ambassador, Ikea trials furniture rentals and consumer taste for fermented foods continues to grow.

Diesel takes aim at the clichés of social media

Be A Follower by Publicis Italy for Diesel

Italy – In a world of influencers, the fashion brand is encouraging its customers to Be a Follower.

Diesels latest ad campaign features a host of real Instagram influencers, who exaggerate and poke fun at their digital personas. The campaign consists of a series of vignettes, with each showing the influencers in awkward situations, such as struggling to undress or travelling with piles of suitcases. The scenes are juxtaposed with clips of carefree followers.

By highlighting the pitfalls of the Insta-famous, Diesel is emphasising ‘where the real power exists: in the hands and feeds of the followers’. Rather than glamourising the influencer lifestyle, the brand is encouraging its customers to embrace the simplicity and freedom that comes with dressing and living as they wish.

As consumers grow more aware of influencers’ lack of authenticity, some brands are turning to their own employees as more authentic brand ambassadors.

Petal offers credit for low-income citizens

Petal, US Petal, US
Petal, US Petal, US

US – Petal hopes to solve the catch-22 situation of applying for a credit card with no credit score.

To extend credit to people who have been locked out of the system, such as immigrants and low-income workers, Petal uses machine learning to analyse its customers’ digital financial records, including regular rent payments, cash flow and history of prepaid debit cards. From this information, it can provide a credit line of up to £7,730 ($10,000, €8,830).

‘People with no credit history in the US are often treated like they have bad credit history,’ explains founder Jason Gross. As a result, Petal has no annual, over-limit, late-payment or international fees, which means customers are not penalised if they experience money struggles. The app also advises them on money management decisions.

FinTech companies are waking up to the inequalities of their industry and finding ways to offer banking services to the unbanked, such as the Monzo initiative in 2018 when it launched digital banking for refugees.

Ikea is testing a furniture rental service

Switzerland – The retailer has announced it will begin testing a new rental model for several furniture categories, starting in its Swiss market.

The trial is the first in a series of tests that Ikea hopes will lead to subscription services for different types of furniture. As the business attempts to become more environmentally friendly, the leasing strategy is part of Ikea’s wider efforts to promote services that prolong the lifecycle of its products. Trials will begin with office furniture, such as desks and chairs, before expanding to include kitchens.

‘We will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture,’ Torbjorn Loof, CEO of Ikea’s parent brand, Inter Ikea, told the Financial Times. ‘When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else.’

With this new model, Ikea joins the ranks of smaller furniture brands that are developing products and services that don’t rely on ownership. Read our Furniture as a Service microtrend for more.


A deepfake Salvador Dali welcomes museum visitors

Dali Lives at The Dali Museum, St Petersburg

Florida – An installation at The Dali Museum will digitally resurrect the artist so that he can guide visitors around the institution.

From April, patrons will encounter a virtual version of Salvador Dali on a life-size screen, who will greet them upon entry before following them on multiple screens throughout the museum’s exhibits. ‘This technology lets visitors experience his bigger-than-life personality in addition to our unparalleled collection of his works,’ says Dr Hank Hine, executive director at The Dali Museum.

The Dali Lives project has been created in collaboration with advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Using deepfake technology, the process involved pulling content from millions of frames of interviews with the artist and overlaying it onto an actor’s face. To make sure the voice matched, audio was then provided by an actor.

Cultural institutions are not the only ones exploring the potential of virtual ambassadors. In our Avatar Employees microtrend, we look at how artificial intelligence and avatar design are creating a new workforce for media and financial brands.

Stat: Appetite for fermented foods surges

According to restaurant management platform Upserve, fermented foods are increasing across restaurant menus. With a 149% increase in 2018, fermented options have emerged as the biggest food and drink trend across its US customer base in the past year.

This growing appetite for these cultured foods is fuelled by their functional properties and health-related benefits, as well as their range, which includes vegetables, dairy products and an array of drinks. One of the most popular products in the US is kombucha – the fermented, slightly effervescent tea-based drink that has quickly attracted interest across small restaurants and large retailers.

Discover what’s next for fermented food and drink with our dedicated listicle.

Thought-starter: How will retailers flourish in Africa’s e-commerce boom?

Increased internet access and a booming youth population are driving the continent’s unique and burgeoning online retail market, says foresight writer Alex Hawkins.

Africa’s online retail economy is at a tipping point. While the continent’s 55 nations present diverse and legitimate challenges for retailers, platforms and brands are stepping up to connect the world with Africa's globally minded consumers.

For international brands and retailers, a number of disruptor platforms are becoming the conduit for the fast-growing African e-commerce market – with minimal risk. Acting as important intermediaries, they are helping consumers and brands to overcome obstacles such as language, cultural values and the lack of universal payment systems such as Visa and Mastercard, while solving logistical issues such as last-mile delivery.

Yet global entry into this dynamic market remains low, largely due to perception. ‘At the moment, 90% of US and UK retailers don’t sell in Africa,’ says Chris Folayan, CEO of Mall for Africa, an e-commerce platform that enables consumers in 17 African countries to buy products from international retailers. ‘Retail [as a sector] needs to look at Africa in a different light.’

Read the full African E-commerce Market here.

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