News 06.01.2020

Need to Know

Shiseido allows customers to grow old virtually, Sherlock Studio makes insect snacks appealing and Everledger enables blockchain for Alrosa diamonds.

R/GA Tokyo simulates ageing experience for Shiseido

Beyond Time by Shiseido and R/GA Tokyo

Japan – Innovation agency RG/A Tokyo and beauty brand Shisedo have collaborated on a virtual time travel project to allow customers to experience the impact of ageing.

Hosted at S/PARK – Shiseido’s Global Innovation Centre in Yokohama – the Beyond Time activation is an interactive installation combining data, technology, art and brand purpose. Allowing two users at a time to enter the space and view each other from opposite sides of a digital mirror, the experience of time passing is presented instantaneously and non-linearly. The first of its kind, the activation is the product of decades of Shiseido skin research, combined with facial data capture and processing technology.

With nine out of 10 Japanese citizens fearing the effects of getting older, according to Shiseido, the project was created to help normalise and embrace the ageing process, a consumer mindset shift that we explored in depth in our macrotrend The Flat Age Society.

Crunchy Critters rebrand tackles insect ‘ick factor’

Crunchy Critters rebranding by Sherlock Studio, UK Crunchy Critters rebranding by Sherlock Studio, UK
Crunchy Critters rebranding by Sherlock Studio, UK Crunchy Critters rebranding by Sherlock Studio, UK

UK – Sherlock Studio has created a new visual identity for Crunchy Critters, presenting the unusual insect-based treats in a playful and tasteful way.

With products that combine ingredients such as worms and crickets with more familiar flavours like dried beans and smoked paprika, the snack brand has been trying to reposition its offering to attract a wider consumer base.

Its updated aesthetic replaces the previously transparent and unmediated packaging designs, using pop colours and a sans serif typeface to give a grab-and-go look. Richard Ford, strategy director at Sherlock Studio, explained: ‘We didn’t try to mask the fact that these products are based on insects. By tackling the ‘ick factor’ head on, we hope the brand will play its part in changing consumer attitudes in the longer term.’

Crunchy Critters is one of many food brands innovating to offer experimental designs and flavours, like Future Chocolate, which imagines how edible insects could enhance the chocolate experience.

A WeChat mini-program introducing Blockchain to diamond shoppers

China – World-leading diamond producer Alrosa has joined forces with Everledger on a pilot to introduce blockchain technology into the Chinese market.

Created as a WeChat mini-program, the platform will offer information on the source and credentials of each diamond purchased to almost 1bn WeChat users. Introduced as the first product from Everledger after taking investment from China’s Tencent, the motivation for the project is to allow Alrosa to showcase diamonds and offer full traceability from mine to consumer.

The service will be offered as a white-label API for jewellers and retailers in China, enabling an additional and more bespoke consumer interaction. Its accessibility via smartphone also gives greater autonomy to customers, allowing them to check an individual diamond’s provenance and unique certificate information, as well as purchase diamonds and attest to ownership through the Everledger blockchain platform.

The introduction of blockchain into the diamond market is empowering Chinese retailers to ensure the transparency of Alrosa diamonds’ origin, characteristics and ownership. For more, read our Blockchain Fashion microtrend.

Alrosa

US shoppers are opting for direct-to-consumer brands

American shoppers are increasingly making purchases from direct-to-consumer brands, with 40% having done so in the past year, according to a survey by communications agency Diffusion. In this group, 14% said they had bought between 1% and 19% of all of their products from DTC brands.

Purchases made in this way were especially prominent in the health and beauty sector, with 35% of transactions being DTC. Meanwhile, 34% of apparel and 26% of technology and gadget purchases were DTC. Many customers considered cost (48%) as a leading reason for choosing non-traditional retail, as well as the appeal of fast, free shipping and easy returns (43%).

As consumers increasingly shift their habits away from traditional buying, a crop of third-party platforms are offering new ways to filter through the growing number of digital brands. For more, read our DTC Directories microtrend.

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