News 18.08.2021

Need to Know

Nike spotlights staff expertise to drive retail footfall, SpaceX and GEC say lift-off to outer space advertising and Indians are snacking to relieve stress.

Nike champions store staff as brand ambassadors

Ask Our Athletes by Nike

London – The activewear giant is shifting the spotlight towards its shopfloor staff in a bid to stimulate footfall across its bricks-and-mortar retail spaces. Through its Ask Our Athletes campaign, Nike focuses on the talent and expertise of seven Nike employees from across the brand’s London branches. Shown through a series of short films, each staff member showcases the ways they bring their athletic experiences into their work.

Here, Nike is promoting its workforce's expertise to inspire physical shopping after a period of digital-only transactions. ‘Nike stores aren’t staffed by your average retail worker, they’re staffed by athletes – people who love sport and love the brand, and have extensive knowledge of both,’ says Matt Lever, chief creative officer from BMB, the agency behind the campaign. ‘We wanted to showcase how their passion influences and informs the experience for every customer.’

At a time when the future of bricks-and-mortar retail remains uncertain, the decision to highlight employee expertise is likely to encourage more customers to re-embrace in-person shopping. For more, we examine why retail staff are the new influencers, in particular for fashion, food and luxury brands.

Strategic opportunity

Retailers should elevate the voices of their local teams to boost customer loyalty. Consider ways you can use your talent through both physical and digital brand touchpoints such as live-streaming or social media content from the shop floor

This climate crisis campaign uses war-time language

Zero Hour! by Among Equals Zero Hour! by Among Equals
Zero Hour! by Among Equals Zero Hour! by Among Equals

UK – Non-profit branding and advertising agency Among Equals is aiming to broaden support for the UK’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill), through a campaign inspired by 1940s propaganda. The Zero Hour! campaign eschews conventional environmental design cues to instead use graphics and phrases that work across the political spectrum.

Among Equals worked with a cross-party alliance to identify themes that would best engage audiences. ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re hard left or hard right, people like British nature,’ explains Emily Jeffrey-Barrett, co-founder of Among Equals. ‘The second theme is World War II – a huge moment of challenge on one hand, but on the other a time for nostalgic national pride, particularly for the centre and the right.’

By referencing such emotionally stirring themes, the campaign recognises the need to appeal to groups with contrasting ideologies and backgrounds. Elsewhere, we’ve been tracking how designers are applying techniques from dynamic fonts to haptic materials as a way of addressing the climate crisis.

Strategic opportunity

Brands and advertisers hoping to reach diverse audiences around environmental topics must remain inclusive of multiple mindsets. Be aware that people respond to different emotional cues and calls to action

SpaceX and GEC power intergalactic advertising

Global – Amid growing interest in space travel, Elon Musk’s aerospace firm SpaceX is partnering with Canadian technology start-up Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) to launch a digital billboard into orbit. Planned for 2022, the CubeSat advertising satellite will feature a screen on one side, along with a 'selfie stick' that will capture live-stream footage of adverts with Earth in the background.

Anyone can purchase advertising space, available in the form of tokens that can be bought using cryptocurrencies. ‘There might be companies which want to depict their logo… or it might end up being a bit more personal and artistic,’ says Samuel Reid, CEO and co-founder of GEC. ‘I’m trying to achieve something that can democratise access to space and allow for decentralised participation.’ Through this approach, the companies are opening this unconventional method of advertising to a broader range of brands and individuals.

While questions around commodifying space mean orbital advertising remains a controversial topic, these unexpected advertising opportunities have been in discussion for some years. For more, read our interview with StartRocket.

StartRocket, Russia

Strategic opportunity

With advertisers already fighting for our attention, in the future brands will need to create a statement to stand out from competitors. Reflect on how your brand might take up space in extreme locations on earth – and beyond

Stat: Indians turn to snacks for emotional comfort

Make Them Crazy by Future Farm and Soko explores a humorous take on meat and wellness Make Them Crazy by Future Farm and Soko explores a humorous take on meat and wellness

According to research by Mintel, Indian consumers are seeking emotional comfort through snacking moments – a behaviour that has become particularly prominent throughout the pandemic as a way to de-stress and relax.

The study reveals that a majority of Indian consumers snack to relieve boredom (77%) and stress (76%). Since the start of the country’s first lockdown, nearly two in five consumers (39%) say they have increased their snack consumption.

According to Mintel, with nine in 10 Indians saying they have suffered some form of stress during the pandemic, some 38% are showing interest in food with added functional benefits to ease stress. Rushikesh Aravkar, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, says: ‘Brands can appeal to consumers by highlighting emotional wellbeing through notions of comfort, nostalgia and familiarity by way of marketing and brand communications.’

While the healthy snacking market continues to thrive, Mintel's findings show there is growing demand for mood-boosting foods or those that support holistic wellbeing – an idea we examine in Total Tastes.

Strategic opportunity

From ingredients to packaging, brands can cater to people’s emotional needs by positioning snacking moments as a time for pause or rest. Advertising can also get creative, by tuning into the nostalgia of many comfort foods

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