Need to Know
10 : 12 : 19

The ads that let you play with your food, Alexa gets an emotional update and why young Americans are reaching financial independence later than ever.

A cocktail incubator by day and a bar by night

The Tasting Room, Chengdu
The Tasting Room, Chengdu
The Tasting Room, Chengdu

Chengdu – Creddie Workshop is an R&D space for bartenders that doubles as a cocktail bar.

By day, the space is designed for bartenders to develop and test new cocktails using a variety of ingredients. By night, it transforms into the Tasting Room, a bar that invites the public to taste the new cocktails being developed in the workshop. Each concoction has its own ID card featuring the recipe and research notes from the bartender.

The workshop also provides technical consultancy, drink menu development and training for other bars and bartenders around the city. By shifting from a daytime workspace to a night-time venue, the bar offers cocktail-makers the chance to gain real feedback from customers.

The bar is developing the concept of Edible Incubators, spaces that foster collaboration to create new food and drink products.

Panera’s AR tool lets customers play with their food

Panera Panera
Panera Panera

US – The popular bakery-cafe has unveiled an augmented reality (AR) campaign that lets customers digitally interact with items on its menu.

Amid consumers’ resurgent interest in carb-based goods, Panera is avoiding some of the stale activations previously seen in the AR field by providing greater menu transparency. Created for mobile use, the AR campaign was launched to be both fun and purpose-orientated. Functioning across platforms including Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, Panera’s AR tool gives users insight and education on calories, carbohydrates and other nutritional content, with content that’s shareable across social platforms.

‘AR can impact our business in many ways and give our customers tools to empower their overall eating experience,’ says Scott Nelson, vice-president of marketing at Panera. ‘This is an entertaining piece of content, but it is useful, purposeful and helps us continue to push on overall category innovation.’

With advancements in reactive new technologies changing the state of physical consumer touchpoints, Panera is demonstrating how brands can innovate, surprise and educated through Programmable Realities.

Alexa is now able to express emotion

US – Amazon’s latest voice-tech capabilities allow the AI tool to express human-like personality traits, from happiness to disappointment.

With curated text-to-speech functionality, the Alexa emotions update means it can adopt intonations relevant to specific content; an excited tone in response to a trivia question, or an empathetic tone for announcing disappointing sports results.

While the brand has previously experimented with personas, launching a ‘newscaster’ voice for US customers in January 2019, new accents and characteristics are also in development. Users are responding well to the tech, with the ‘music style’ – a radio presenter-like voice – perceived to be 84% more natural than Alexa’s standard voice settings.

As people seek more intuitive interactions with tech, they’re increasingly aware of the sensory drivers of the products they’re engaging with. We explore the rise of artificial emotional intelligence in our E-motional Economy macrotrend.

Amazon Alexa

Stat: Young Americans struggle to be financially independent

Young Americans are reaching financial independence later in life than their predecessors, according to a study by Pew Research Center. The study found that it is a milestone that most Americans (64%) think people should reach by age 22. However, just 24% of young adults were financially dependent by the age of 22 or younger in 2018, compared to 32% in 1980.

The new survey highlights the extent to which many young American adults rely financially on their parents. Some 45% of 18–29-year-olds have received a lot or some financial help from their parents in the past 12 months. However, 55% of American adults say parents do too much for their young adult children.

Although young adults are deemed entrepreneurial and financially responsible, the study shows that financial independence is hard to achieve in today’s fraught economic climate. For more, read our Generation Z Money Market.

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