News 12.03.2024

Need to Know

SXSW 2024 daily recap, Headspace brings mindfulness to Meta Quest and why YouTube is the best place for ads targeting Gen Alpha consumers.

SXSW 2024 daily recap: Ethically insulated jackets, clinical trial trucks and bot phones for kids

SOLAMENT's innovative powder material absorbs sunlight, providing insulation and heat shielding, Japan SOLAMENT's innovative powder material absorbs sunlight, providing insulation and heat shielding, Japan

US – The 2024 edition of the SXSW festival encompassed various topics ranging from emerging technology and new film genres to music artists, beauty and wellness innovations, and civic engagement. Inside the Creative Industries Expo, a hub where innovations within these areas converge, visitors could browse hundreds of projects that ignited imaginations and pushed boundaries.

Solament™, for instance, is a pioneering material innovation company that has developed a solar concept akin to the warmth of a down jacket. This innovative powder material absorbs sunlight, providing insulation and heat shielding for comfort in varying weather conditions. The technology can potentially enable the ethical production of insulated jackets, replacing animal down feathers. The Japanese firm unveiled its new exclusive accessories, such as hats and scarves, at SXSW 2024.

Care Access, as a beacon of accessibility and efficiency, aims to ‘accelerate the future of medicine for everyone.’ The service, which was launched in Boston, encourages broader participation in clinical trials by offering remote consultations and testing through a mobile medical unit to advance medical innovation and reach underserved populations. Care Access currently operates in the United States, Canada and Brazil, with plans for expansion into the UK, Italy and the Netherlands.

Rhino, a travel app imagined in Texas, follows a similar trajectory in promoting inclusion through technology. It offers users a diverse array of user-generated content showcasing travel destinations and experiences, allowing them to choose based on their identity (women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, among others) and preferences. Similarly to our previous analysis of the rise of TikTok Travel Agents, users can interact with content creators and fellow community members via a social media-style platform.

Another standout was Bot Talk, one of Japan’s best-selling devices, according to representatives on the ground. This innovative communication tool lets parents and children interact via a bot-like phone, alleviating safety concerns. On 7 March 2024, Bot Talk launched in the US, citing the prevalent issue of child disappearances – approximately 28,000 cases reported in 2022 – as a primary motivation for expanding into this market.

Strategic opportunity

Emerging ethical startups like Solament™ and Amphico are increasingly recognised as providers of knowledge and technologies, rather than mere goods. Established brands and companies should seek partnerships with these innovators to resonate with the preferences of next-generation consumers and maintain alignment with evolving regulations and policies

Headspace XR lands on Meta Quest

Headspace XR, Global Headspace XR, Global
Headspace XR, Global Headspace XR, Global

Global – Headspace XR, the immersive mental wellness platform, expands its reach to Meta Quest 2, 3 and Pro devices, offering fully immersive VR and mixed-reality experiences. With hand tracking and controllers, users can interact naturally with added haptic feedback.

The platform aims to provide users with personalised experiences, allowing them to check in with their emotions and connect with friends in a virtual environment. By incorporating the five pillars of mindfulness – meditate, move, eat, sleep and play – Headspace XR offers a variety of activities to promote mental wellbeing.

Adding visuals and audio enhances mindfulness practices, making techniques like body scans and visualisations more accessible to users who may find them challenging in audio-only formats. Overall, Headspace XR provides a space for users to unwind, connect with their inner child and deepen their mindfulness practice in a playful and immersive way, a topic we explore further in our analysis of the Gen Z Digital Wellness Market.

Strategic opportunity

Away from gaming and entertainment, VR and mixed-reality experiences can also be a destination for wellness. Consider how to bring mindfulness, meditation and relaxation to digital worlds accessible through Meta Quest or the Apple Vision Pro. How can you market an experience through a headset as a tool to reduce stress and enhance overall wellbeing?

Evian water launches three new facial mists

Evian, Global Evian, Global

US – Natural mineral water company Evian is expanding its skincare offering with the launch of three new facial mists: Protect, Calm and Glow.

Protect contains wild indigo extract and organic cornflower extract to guard against everyday pollution and environmental stressors, Calm uses helichrysum and jasmine flowers to soothe sensitive skin and Glow is made with white peony root and white tea leaf extract to revive and nourish the complexion.

Formulated with floral extracts and evian natural mineral water, each product is organic-certified and dermatologically tested and works by delivering an ultra-fine microdroplet mist that can be absorbed by the upper layers of the skin. Each spray comes in a 100% recyclable aluminium canister and is available exclusively at Ulta Beauty in the US.

As demand for clean water continues to outstrip supply and water quality becomes a growing concern, the clean water market has expanded beyond health and wellness into the beauty industry. evian’s new facial sprays signal a continued growth in demand for products with the same high-grade quality as consumers would expect from drinking water.

Strategic opportunity

Clean water is a luxury not everyone can afford. If clean water is a key selling point for your brand’s product formulas, are you also collaborating with charities such as WaterAid or Just a Drop to help improve access to clean water around the globe?

Stat: YouTube is the number one place for Gen Alpha to see ads

Photography by Mart Production, Pexels Photography by Mart Production, Pexels

US – For a new report published in February 2024, Precise TV and Giraffe Insights surveyed 2,000 US-based kids aged 2–12 and their parents to analyse their video consumption habits. YouTube (81%) remains the top-watched platform for Gen Alpha, before video on demand (66%) and mobile or tablet games (55%). YouTube also provides more than twice the ad recall of other platforms.

Short-form platforms are also gaining popularity and relevance for advertisers targeting Gen Alpha. Some 14% of kids say the best commercials are on TikTok, while 10% say the same about YouTube Shorts. The report claims that 25% of kids have bought something they have seen after watching YouTube Shorts.

Pester power (the ability of children to pressure their parents into buying them products) continues to play a significant role in purchasing decisions. Wish lists and a child’s reaction to ads when co-viewed with a parent greatly impact purchasing decisions.

For more insights on Gen Alpha, join our Generations: Now and Next 2024–2025 webinar on 19 March 2024 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm GMT.

Strategic opportunity

Recognise YouTube’s significance as the primary platform for Gen Alpha and focus on developing targeted advertising campaigns to maximise ad recall. Can you capitalise on the rising popularity of YouTube Shorts and allocate resources to create engaging and memorable content tailored for this platform?

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