News 05.02.2024

Need to Know

Apple celebrates Chinese Gen Z in new film, Les Mills launches gym-friendly pasta and why Gen Z have replaced YouTube with TikTok.

Apple’s new Shot on iPhone film celebrates Chinese Gen Z’s resilience

Little Garlic by Apple. Directed by Marc Webb, China

China – In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Apple's seventh annual Shot on iPhone film Little Garlic, takes a poignant look at the insecurities Gen Z face in China, transcending cultural boundaries. Directed by Hollywood’s Marc Webb and featuring Chinese star Fan Wei, the 15-minute short follows the transformative journey of a young girl, Wei, grappling with identity and societal pressures, cleverly using her shape-shifting abilities to avoid her true appearance. Her nose, which her grandfather calls ‘Little Garlic’, is slightly larger than those of the people around her.

Little Garlic not only marks the Year of the Dragon, but resonates globally, addressing the universal challenges faced by the younger generation in an era dominated by social media. Wei faces anxiety and lack of confidence as she sees her peers rejecting those who don’t look like them, who don’t present a perfect physique on social media and who fail in the corporate world.

Crafted by TBWAMedia Arts Lab Shanghai, the film uses the capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, employing 5x optical zoom, Action mode and Cinematic mode. The tech giant’s commitment to storytelling is emphasised with an accompanying behind-the-scenes video showcasing the film’s creation.

In Emerging Youth: China, we previously analysed how Gen Z consumers in China are struggling with high unemployment rates, doomerism and the pressures of social media and beauty standards.

Strategic opportunity

Recognise and address the universal challenges faced by Gen Z globally, particularly on issues like body image and societal expectations. Develop marketing strategies that promote inclusivity and diversity, resonating with the younger audience’s values

Fitness brand Les Mills launches Spaghetti Legs pasta

New Zealand – Fitness brand Les Mills has launched a limited-edition line of wholewheat pasta, with the tagline ‘get sweaty, then eat spaghetti’.

To celebrate the brand’s new Les Mills Functional Strength workout and the Spaghetti Legs pasta, Ben Main, the workout’s co-creator, hosted a live lower-body workout on the Les Mills Instagram channel on 31 January 2024, in which participants had the chance to win the special-edition spaghetti while exercising.

Spaghetti Legs pasta is the latest activation in Les Mills’ Choose Happy campaign, created in collaboration with creative agency nice&frank, to make working out more joyful. Not only are Les Mills’ workouts created to boost mental and physical health, but they often focus on bringing people together socially, through Mass Movement, whether in-person or via Instagram live-stream.

‘We’re all about making fitness more joyful and this is a fun way to bring people together, build community and celebrate a food that’s been scientifically proven to boost happiness,’ said Main.

January is a month typically filled with campaigns and activations from the health and fitness industry. By subverting expectations and launching a pasta product as a fitness brand, Les Mills creatively cuts through the noise, demonstrating the benefits, and necessity, of being an Elastic Brand.

Spaghetti Legs by Les Mills, New Zealand

Strategic opportunity

Avoid getting boxed in by your industry by looking to embrace the unexpected when it comes to campaigns or new product launches

Walmart and Unity revolutionise in-game transactions for physical products

Walmart, US Walmart, US

US – Walmart and Unity, the leading platform for real-time 3D content, have unveiled plans to empower Unity developers by integrating Walmart’s commerce application programming interfaces (APIs) directly into games and apps. This collaboration allows creators to seamlessly sell physical items within real-time 3D experiences across more than 20 gaming platforms, unlocking novel connections between virtual and physical lifestyles.

Tom Kang, vice-president and general manager of Metaverse Commerce at Store No 8, the incubation arm of Walmart, said in a press release that they want to ‘connect the physical and digital realms in a way that only Walmart can’. The integration aims to enhance user engagement by enabling in-game transactions for physical products, eliminating the need for players to leave the virtual environment to order the item on the online store or buy in real life.

Unity president for Create solutions Marc Whitten emphasised the innovative potential: ‘This announcement paves the way for new innovation in commerce for games and other virtual experiences.’

Walmart has successfully tested immersive commerce in online worlds, with experiences like House Flip and Avakin Life integrating Walmart commerce APIs, allowing players to purchase real-life counterparts of in-game items. In Gastro Gaming Market, we analysed similar activations where gamers could order real food by visiting virtual restaurants within a game directly.

Strategic opportunity

Could you explore partnerships with platforms like Unity to integrate commerce APIs, creating immersive experiences for customers without them having to stop the game to make a purchase?

Stat: Gen Alpha now favour TikTok over YouTube for daily video watch

Photography by Vanessa Loring, Global Photography by Vanessa Loring, Global

Global – In a new report entitled Born Connected: The Rise of the AI Generation released in January 2024, parental control software maker Qustodio found that children aged 4–18 spent an average of 112 minutes daily on TikTok’s short video app in 2023, surpassing YouTube’s dominance in the kids’ streaming landscape. Despite YouTube remaining the largest streaming app globally, young people spent 60% more time on TikTok in 2023, marking a significant shift in online viewing habits.

In terms of streaming services, children spent 27% more time watching content, with YouTube Kids setting records at 96 minutes per day. Netflix, despite price rises, retained its second-place spot, while time spent on Disney+ and Hulu fell.

In social media, TikTok remained the most popular app globally, with use of Elon Musk’s X surprisingly increasing after Twitter was rebranded. The study, which encompassed over 400,000 families and schools worldwide, also examined the adoption of novel technologies such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, revealing that almost 20% of kids globally accessed the site in 2023, making it the 18th most-visited site of the year.

For more insights on young consumers, head to our Gen Alpha section.

Strategic opportunity

Given the shift in children’s preferences towards TikTok, could you explore how to create or repurpose engaging and child-friendly content made for YouTube into short-form video content to increase engagement and discovery?

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