News 23.09.2022

Need to Know

WhatsApp makes its first foray in short-form content, On launches a shoe made from carbon emissions, and greater distribution of wealth is needed.

WhatsApp releases first short film

Naija Odyssey commissioned by WhatsApp, US

US – Global messaging giant WhatsApp is releasing its first short film later this month. Featuring NBA All-Star athlete Giannis Antetokounmpo, the film may mark a departure from the social media platform’s unusual product offering into entertainment, although it is essentially a branded content exercise.

The film, entitled Naija Odyssey, is a light homage to the classic Greek poem The Odyssey and Giannis’s Greek and Nigerian heritage. The 12-minute film ‘tells his origin story of many origins as he reconciles his roots, birthplace and sense of belonging between cross-cultural worlds’. Directed by Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada and edited by Oscar-winner Mikkel EG Nielsen, the film will be streamed on YouTube and Prime Video .

By casting Giannis Antetokounmpo, who announced an endorsement partnership with the brand earlier this year, WhatsApp is using the NBA athlete’s status as a Reliable Idol to draw attention to the platform’s positioning as a tool ‘connecting you to those who matter most’ just as its parent company Meta faces an anti-trust lawsuit in the US and criticism for spreading disinformation.

Strategic opportunity

Next-level partnerships between talent and brands must appear seamless and symbiotic, offer relatability – and encourage self-discovery in consumers.

On’s new sneakers repurpose CO2

Cloudprime by On, Switzerland Cloudprime by On, Switzerland
Cloudprime by On, Switzerland Cloudprime by On, Switzerland

Switzerland – Performance sportswear brand On has launched Cloudprime, the first trainer featuring a primary raw material derived from CO2.

The soles of sneakers are typically made of polluting plastics. This isn’t the case for On’s latest collection; the shoes are made of CleanCloud EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, an innovative material that absorbs carbon instead of releasing it in the fabrication process.

On partnered with tech company Technip Energies, carbon recycling expert LanzaTech and polymer specialised company Borealis for the material’s development. LanzaTech's proprietary technology captures carbon emissions from heavily polluting industrial sources such as steel mills. Using a combination of genetic engineering, biotechnology and AI, the CO2 is fermented into ethanol, which is then used to produce the CleanCloud EVA foam.

On’s new line is another example of the emission-to-textile innovations outlined in Carbon Wears and demonstrates how cross-industry collaborations can lead to scalable solutions to reduce the environmental impact of products.

Strategic opportunity

Following On’s footsteps, brands are rethinking how tech-enabled cross-industry partnerships can help mitigate the carbon footprint across supply chains.

Xydrobe to open a VR luxury shopping universe

London Xydrobe (pronounced ‘zai-drobe’) is rolling out what it bills as the ‘first immersive virtual reality luxury shopping experience, set to be launched in 2023.

Xydrobe, founded by the team behind the viral Harry Styles JW Anderson cardigan NFT, is not unlike a luxury department store, only set in virtual reality. To access the VR retail universe, shoppers will have to visit physical portals called ‘xydrobes’, located in several hand-picked global locations. Inside each one-person experience pod, visitors embark on a 360-degree browsing experience thanks to high-quality visuals, but also scent, surround-sound and temperature effects.

‘There are so many opportunities with VR technology for brands to further communicate their collections to their customers, from the inspiration to the craftsmanship of products,’ says Xydrobe chief brand officer Isabella Gallucci.

In fact, on the V-commerce platform, fashion houses will be able to tailor the look and feel of their space to their brand DNA, opening new enhanced storytelling possibilities specific to Meta-phygital retail markets.

The xydrobe, UK

Strategic opportunity

As V-commerce progresses, high-end brands should explore the potential of VR spaces in order to meet changing consumer retail preferences

Stat: Global wealth rises at the expense of equality

IOTA, Global IOTA, Global

While the wealth of the average person is increasing across the world, global inequality and wealth disparity continue to be major problems. According to research by investment banking company Credit Suisse, if we were living in an equitable world, every adult would have £88,700 ($100,000, €101,660) by 2024.

In 2021, aggregate global wealth increased by 12.7%, the highest annual growth rate ever recorded. Indeed, the wealth of the average adult rose by 8.4% from the previous year to reach £77,928 ($87,849, €89,280). But although poorer countries are making strides forward, wealth disparity and inequality remain rife in the global economy. Now, inflation, rising interest rates and declining asset prices threaten to make the situation worse.

While the report specifies the level of affluence required to make the world equitable, the reality is that the richest 1% of the global population hold 45.6% of the world’s wealth, up from 43.9% in 2019. With the cost of living crisis hitting those with less the most, there is a risk of even greater disparity.

Strategic opportunity

Equity and equality are not the same thing. How can businesses help employees from different socio-economic backgrounds by recognising wealth and power disparities?

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