Retail

From groceries to placemaking, retailers are reinventing their post COVID conversation with shoppers as retail itself becomes more immersive, expressive, dramatic and hyper-personalised.

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16 : 12 : 21

Peloton sets a new standard in brand reactivity, Nike invests in streetwear NFTs and mental health becomes top sick leave reason in UK.

Peloton spins bad press in its hyper-reactive ad

He's Alive by Peloton, US

US – Following Peloton’s surprise role in the first episode of HBO series And Just Like That…, quick-witted ad agency Maximum Effort took on the challenge of crafting a viral response in just 48 hours.

When the much-anticipated follow-up to Sex and the City made its debut last week, cult fitness brand Peloton found itself the subject of a social media frenzy, resulting in its stock plummeting. Just two days later, however, the brand re-emerged with its response – its Unspoiler Alert ad, which showcased a happier ending for Mr Big, the character who abruptly dies at the end of the episode.

The bold marketing stunt represents a collaboration between Peloton and Maximum Effort, an ad agency run by actor Ryan Reynolds that's renowned for tongue-in-cheek campaigns that are ideated, shot and produced in record time. Ironically, Peloton was satirised by Maximum Effort back in 2019, but the recent ad shows their new-found power as co-conspirators.

Whirlwind marketing campaigns are becoming ever-more relevant in today’s fast-moving culture. To find out how brands can speed up their advertising in order to survive, read our Q&A with ad agency disruptor 10 Days.

Strategic opportunity

As the adage goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Take note from Maximum Effort and use advertising as a creative tool to acknowledge cultural moments and control the narrative of your business

LightVision is a multimedia meditation headset

Resonate LightVision. Designed by Layer, US Resonate LightVision. Designed by Layer, US
Resonate LightVision. Designed by Layer, US Resonate LightVision. Designed by Layer, US

UK and US – While a growing number of people are exploring digital platforms as a way to support their mental wellbeing, US start-up Resonate is banking on hardware, launching a meditation headset that offers instant respite from daily stressors.

Created for Resonate by UK strategic design agency Layer, the LightVision headset features an LED light matrix that converts videos of the natural world into biomorphic patterns, complemented by a soundscape. Visible even through closed eyes, the ever-changing sequence of lights and shapes instigates a meditative state, no matter what the user’s previous experience with meditation.

With its textile-wrapped casing and metallic details, the LightVision headset points to a future of wellbeing devices that eschew medicalised design in favour of fashion design cues. The portable nature of the headset also aligns with the emergence of self-guided psychonautic therapy, while highlighting the potential of multimedia synthetic spas.

Strategic opportunity

Consider how your brand can create wholly immersive wellbeing experiences by combining light, vision, sound and scent, whether at home or in a therapeutic space

Nike makes investments in the metaverse

US – Sportswear behemoth Nike has acquired digital collectibles platform RTFKT. Accelerating Nike’s digital transformation, the acquisition is likely to have major implications for the digital collectible community as well as the fashion industry at large.

Known for its digital sneakers and virtual streetwear drops, RTFKT is well placed to join the Nike brand, which has recently been showing great interest in gaming and Web 3.0. In October, the sportswear brand launched a digital space, Nikeland, inside gaming platform Roblox. By purchasing RTFKT, which sold 600 pairs of virtual sneakers for £2.3m ($3.1m, €2.7m) in March 2021, Nike is planting its flag in the digital fashion realm.

'Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities,' explains John Donahoe, president, and chief executive of Nike.

With 50% of US consumers planning to purchase a digital asset in the next 12 months, according to The Business of Fashion, Nike is well placed to appeal to the continuing rise of Crypto-cliques. As one of the largest and most recognisable brands in the world, the acquisition also helps further legitimise and establish NFTs as an emerging asset class.

Nike and RTFKT, UK

Strategic opportunity

With growing interest in digital assets and collectibles, fashion brands must consider the new product categories that will drive future spend among their customers, from virtual garments to NFTs and digital fan experiences

Stat: Mental health absences rise among UK workers

Google Aotearoa Office. Designed by Warren and Mahoney, New Zealand Google Aotearoa Office. Designed by Warren and Mahoney, New Zealand

Mental health concerns have become the leading reason for UK employees to miss work in 2021, increasing companies' sick leave costs by 31%, according to employee wellbeing advisor GoodShape. Surpassing even Covid-related absences, the findings are a stark reminder that workplaces must do more to cater for the emotional wellbeing of their employees.

Accounting for 19% of all lost working time in the UK, poor mental health has contributed to costs of £43bn ($57bn, €51bn) for employers in 2021. In all sectors excluding transport, logistics, consumer retail and workplace services, mental health has caused more sick leave absences than Covid-related illness (16%). Of particular significance, the research found that more than half of employees who take two or more mental-health related sick days will go on to leave their job entirely.

As the Omicron variant poses new challenges for workplaces and managers, employers must learn to safeguard their employees’ wellbeing even when they are working remotely. To learn more about bringing emotional and spiritual care into the workplace, read The Future According to Sam Moyo.

Strategic opportunity

Even when working remotely, companies can invest in the emotional infrastructure necessary to improve employee wellbeing. Consider how flexible hours or meeting-free days can help to ease workplace pressures

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