News 18.03.2024

Need to Know

BMW introduces a colour-shifting chameleon car, tongue-in-cheek gelato brand Sweet Cheeks puts hedonism on the menu and a snapshot of Gen Alpha’s digital behaviours.

BMW unveils i5 Flow Nostokana colour-changing car technology

BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, Global

US – At Frieze Los Angeles, BMW unveiled the latest iteration of its colour-changing technology, the BMW i5 Flow Nostokana.

First proposed six years ago by research engineer Stella Clarke, the technology has evolved from just being able to switch between black and white to displaying 32 colours able to render the Ndebele patterns of South African artist Esther Mahlangu, the first woman to create a BMW Art Car in 1991.

Millions of tiny capsules of E Ink, the technology used in e-readers, react to electric chargers, mixing to change colour. Surprisingly energy-efficient, E Ink’s ‘bistable’ nature means that it holds its colour state even without electricity; the colour change requires about 20 watts over the 12 seconds for the entire body to transform, then no further energy to maintain.

The technology is still a prototype but sets the bar for the future of hyper-personalisation in the automobile industry and reflects a shift in consumer preference towards more colourful cars, as covered in Automotive Advertising Futures.

Strategic opportunity

As colour-changing technologies grow in popularity, explore collaborations with artists to infuse unique cultural elements into your products, appealing to consumers’ desire for hyper-personalisation

Sweet Cheeks gelato unveils whimsical and indulgent rebranding

Sweet Cheeks visual identity by Bravo, Singapore Sweet Cheeks visual identity by Bravo, Singapore
Sweet Cheeks visual identity by Bravo, Singapore Sweet Cheeks visual identity by Bravo, Singapore

Singapore – In a bid to carve out a distinctive niche in Singapore’s thriving ice cream market, Sweet Cheeks has unveiled a whimsical rebranding with help from brand designers Bravo. With a logo that is a nod to the gooey texture of gelato and a packaging as playful as the brand’s flavour profiles, Sweet Cheeks aims to make every pint a journey of discovery.

Using cutting-edge AI technology, Bravo crafted landscapes that serve as portals to gelato fantasies, each flavour a planet in its own universe. The re-imagined website invites visitors to explore these dream-like realms, sparking conversations and inspiring exploration between floating ice cream scoops. According to creative director Edwin Tan, the mission was clear: ‘We wanted the brand to celebrate the joy and simple pleasures that gelato brings to people’s lives.’

New flavours include toasted cereal vanilla milk, blue pea chrysanthemum and Valrhona chocolate, a ‘not so plain’ trio of vanilla, balsamic strawberry and charcoal honeycomb. Through this creative partnership, Sweet Cheeks Gelato invites customers to embark on a whimsical journey of shameless indulgence.

For more iced dessert insights, head to our analysis of Innovators Revolutionising the Ice Cream Aisle.

Strategic opportunity

Explore unconventional flavour combinations to align with shifting consumer preferences. Consider doubling down on awe-inspiring unconventional tastes to distinguish your brand in a saturated market

Mercedes-Benz unveils branded residence development in Miami

Mercedes-Benz Places, Miami, US Mercedes-Benz Places, Miami, US

US – German automotive giant Mercedes-Benz is making waves beyond the roads, announcing its foray into real estate with the development of its own ‘urban oasis’ in Miami, Florida.

Set to make its debut in 2027, the venture is designed to redefine urban living through exclusive residences that embody the essence of Mercedes-Benz. The 67-storey building, which will be created in a partnership with renowned real estate firm JDS Development Group and acclaimed design agency SHoP Architects, promises to be a stunning architectural statement.

Beyond luxury residences, Mercedes-Benz Places Miami will set a new standard for urban living, offering a plethora of amenities, including a hotel, health and fitness facilities, retail outlets and office spaces. With a focus on sustainability, the development will also rejuvenate surrounding outdoor areas in collaboration with urban landscape designers Field Operations.

Mercedes-Benz’s venture into the real estate realm confirms the rise of branded living that we forecast in our Luxury Recrafted and Home States Futures: Residential Retail macrotrend reports. For luxury automotive brands, the next step is to translate their craftsmanship and identity into way more than vehicles to connect with their consumers beyond the wheel.

Strategic opportunity

Explore opportunities to extend brand identity and craftsmanship into lifestyle experiences beyond the core product, tapping into the emerging trend of branded living and offering consumers a holistic brand experience

Stat: Understanding Gen Alpha’s online habits

Photography by Julia Cameron Photography by Julia Cameron

US – As the oldest Gen Alpha are turning 10 years old, their online habits are moulding the future. Following on from Morning Consult’s March 2023 survey, a new US study reveals high social media usage, affinity for video content and growing VR headset ownership.

The latest report delves into Gen Alpha’s media consumption patterns, device preferences and entertainment predilections, and sheds light on their daily interactions with technology. Notably, half of Alphas stream videos daily, with even the youngest group, aged 0–4, actively engaging. When it comes to devices, tablets are ubiquitous among Alphas, with 49% owning one. But desktop computers and VR headsets claim the lion’s share of their screen time. YouTube and Disney+ emerge as favoured platforms, with 60% and 54% of this generation, respectively, using them.

Despite uncertainties surrounding childcare and education costs, parents increasingly express optimism about Gen Alpha’s future. We delve deeper into this young generation in our upcoming Generations: Now and Next 2024–2025 report.

Strategic opportunity

Businesses interested in capturing Gen Alpha’s loyalty should invest in building immersive brand experiences that they can engage with seamlessly on tablets and desktops, but also through VR, gaming and the metaverse

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