News 07.04.2022

Need to Know

A Coca-Cola drink that offers access to digital realms, San Francisco’s biophilic highway solution and the global art market faces growing demand.

Houseplant’s playful rebranding makes cannabis collectable

Houseplant by Seth Rogen rebranded by MA-MA and Pràctica, US
Houseplant by Seth Rogen rebranded by MA-MA and Pràctica, US
Houseplant by Seth Rogen rebranded by MA-MA and Pràctica, US

US – While many cannabis brands centre on a wellness aesthetic, Houseplant is breaking the mould with a new brand identity inspired by toys and collectibles.

Its updated packaging takes inspiration from toy brand Lego, with stackable and collectable cannabis tin jars. The identity, by design studios Pràctica and Ma-Ma, also combines a punchy typeface with modern visuals.

This playful visual refresh allows Houseplant to stand out in an ever-more saturated market, while its stackable and re-usable jars hint at a more sustainable approach to packaging. ‘We wanted to leverage Houseplant’s playful identity and design as something that could be collected and re-used over time,’ says Javier Arizu, co-founder of Pràctica. ‘The stackable nature of the jar was conceptualised with this in mind.’

Through this redesign, Houseplant veers away from its vintage-inspired roots, evolving to broaden its appeal. Similarly, we’ve been tracking the ways that CBD has embraced luxurious cues to become a more covetable product.

Strategic opportunity

When creating packaging for products in oversaturated markets, consider how aspects such as collectability, re-usability or labelling that unlocks rewards can boost shelf appeal

Coca-Cola captures the flavour of gaming

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, US Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, US
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, US Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, US

Atlanta – The multinational beverage company’s latest drink, the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, aims to recreate the flavour of the internet and comes with a slew of digital features.

The limited-edition beverage, part of the brand’s experimental Creations platform, was formulated as an ideal gaming refreshment. According to a press release, the drink's flavour mimics the sensation of powering up a game.

The packaging of the drink, which comes in shades of neon violet and green, acts as a portal to digital realms. By scanning the QR code on the can, drinkers can access a bespoke island on Fortnite that has been developed with gaming company PWR. When players arrive on the island, they'll encounter four sensory-inspired multi-player mini-games where they can interact with other gamers and consumers.

Bridging the physical and the virtual worlds, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte takes a multi-sensory approach to both beverages and the metaverse – similar to how the perfume industry has embraced Digital Fragrances.

Strategic opportunity

Until taste and scent can be duplicated in digital realms, consider how food and drink companies can create internet-inspired delicacies that bridge the physical and virtual experiences

This highway tunnel boasts ecological benefits

San Francisco – With San Francisco’s Doyle Drive deemed unsafe in recent years, the city is unveiling an innovative tunnelled solution to conceal the highway.

The Presidio Tunnel Tops is located near the famous Golden Gate Bridge and will feature gardens displaying 180 varieties of native plants. It will also provide 14 acres of walking trails, outlook points and picnic areas.

As a space for ecological diversity, the Presidio Tunnel Tops will also reconnect the Presidio neighbourhood to the city’s waterfront, marking the first time that pedestrians can cross the space in more than 100 years. This solution simultaneously benefits local communities, animal and plant life, while providing a cultural centre for locals. ‘[A highway] shouldn’t be a barrier. It can be a public asset, even an ecological asset,' says Richard Kennedy, a senior principal at James Corner Fields Operations, the landscape design studio behind the project.

Such strategies can also provide inspiration for other cities, considering how connective assets can establish more equitable urban spaces that allow future generations, nature and businesses to thrive.

Presidio Tunnel Tops images by James Corner Field Operations, US

Strategic opportunity

Future urban planners should reframe conventional approaches to derelict sites, and consider how existing structures can be rethought for civic and environmental purposes

Stat: Global art sales exceed pre-pandemic levels

some·place by Lana Hopkins, Sydney and Los Angeles some·place by Lana Hopkins, Sydney and Los Angeles

With strong sales across the world, the art market is picking itself up after its sharpest recession in 10 years. In 2021, global art and antique sales leapt by 29%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

According to UBS and Art Basel’s annual Art Market Report, digital collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) fared particularly well last year. Art sales on the Ethereum, Flow and Ronin blockchains reached a staggering £8.5bn ($11.1bn, €10.2bn) in 2021, up from £22.9m ($30m, €27.5m) in 2020. But not all auction houses, gallerists and dealers benefitted from the NFT windfall, as many digital art sales were conducted on separate platforms that fall outside of the traditional art world.

Auction houses showed the strongest growth in the traditional art sector, a factor that’s been attributed to the industry’s existing digital offering and ability to live-stream sales remotely. In 2021, public auction sales grew by 47% to reach an estimated £20.1bn ($26.3bn, €24.1bn).

The art market’s recovery in 2021 highlights the importance of digital infrastructure to its future prosperity. As NFTs enter the sector, these findings also show how Eclectic Connoisseurship is evolving to include new asset classes.

Strategic opportunity

Art galleries and dealers must ramp up their digital services and offerings – or find ways to creatively collaborate in this space – or risk falling behind auction houses and Web3 players

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