UK – Howl is building from its origins as a queer-inclusive performance and art festival with a range of sexual wellness products.
Having launched in 2019, Howl has evolved into a sex-positive community and now a brand, with the launch of two anal lubricants, one water- and one silicone-based. With CBD a key ingredient, the lubes provide anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties.
In addition to its products, Howl also aims to empower and liberate people through online resources such as sex tips and virtual panels championing sex positivity. ‘We’re here to educate, destigmatise and normalise an outdated societal taboo of pleasure and connection,’ explains Samuel Douek, founder of Howl. It's also producing a zine to spotlight queer creators, with both the zine and proceeds from sales of its lubes supporting the charity UK Black Pride.
The normalisation of sexual exploration has prompted more people to turn to media outlets, YouTube and Instagram influencers for realistic, inclusive perspectives on sex as a form of Sex Re-education.
Odeuropa uses AI to revive historical scents
Europe – Odeuropa is the first European initiative to use artificial intelligence (AI) to investigate the importance of scent in relation to cultural heritage.
The project will explore references to smells such as disease-fighting perfumes, tobacco or the stench of industrialisation in historic literature. Machine learning and computer vision will train computers to analyse scented objects, develop an AI ‘nose’ and learn the ability to detect olfactory information through images.
‘Smells shape our experience of the world, yet we have very little sensory information about the past,’ explains Inger Leemans, project lead of Odeuropa. ‘Odeuropa will dive into digital heritage collections to discover the key scents of Europe and the stories they carry, then bring them back to our noses today.’
With scent a powerful tool for boosting awareness, moods and engagement, projects like Odeuropa could help everything from museums to brands and events to use the sensory appeal of fragrance for future marketing or installations.
Cartier uses trap music to lure China’s Gen Z
China – The luxury brand is combining art installations, trap music and viral dance routines to capture the attention of China's Generation Z.
Taking an omnichannel approach to promote its Pasha de Cartier collection of watches, the youth-orientated Make Your Own Path campaign features a series of art installations produced by Chinese creatives, with visits bookable only via Cartier's WeChat profile.
Focusing also on user-generated content, the brand has created its 'Pasha square and circle dance’, encouraging followers to recreate the moves on social media. Alongside this, Cartier has worked with local trap artist DJ Anti-General to host a Make Your Own Path Night Party, live-streamed on Weibo and WeChat.
Taking a phygital approach, the brand has purposely tuned into music, art and a dance challenge to target the specific interests of this new generation of luxury spenders.
Indeed, to win over Chinese youth, luxury brands will need to celebrate contemporary Chinese culture, while also shifting from real life-only interactions to anytime attainment that suits their Omnilux Lifestyles.
Make Your Own Path by Cartier, China
Stat: Consumers recognise the benefits of healthy fats
Consumers are moving away from the mindset that fats are an entirely negative dietary component.
A recent five-country study by analysts at New Nutrition Business shows that this is primarily being driven by younger generations, with 34% of 25–44-year-olds wanting to eat more healthy fats. Among US consumers, just 16% see fat as the nutrient most likely to cause weight gain – representing a significant shift from the 70% who held this belief a decade ago.
Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business, explains: ‘A steadily increasing number of consumers – driven by what they discover during their own online research and the loss of credibility of nutrition experts over the past 15 years – are making their own minds up and embracing the idea that fat can be good, particularly in relation to weight management, one of the biggest consumer motivations.’
As we explore in our Diet Hackers Community, consumers are increasingly making up their own minds about nutritional advice, changing their diets to meet the needs of both their body and their mental wellbeing.