Your daily mix of foresight & futures

You can scour the Internet in search of the latest consumer trends and cultural shifts, or you can let us do it for you. T&T provides a daily snapshot of the world’s most intriguing happenings and what they mean for the marketplace tomorrow.

homme2

HommeMystere is an Australian lingerie store that specialises in lingerie for people who were assigned male at birth and identify as male. It’s recently garnered a lot of attention because the lingerie is designed in a way that is typically thought of as a style reserved for women.

There’s not a boxer or y-front in sight on their website. This is all about luxurious bras, chemises, suspenders and underwear briefs made of satins and silks and decorated with lace and bows.

I see this as a refreshing, gendernormative-busting service that is enabling people to experience their gender in whatever way they desire. The buzz that has been created is hopefully another step in opening people’s minds about the variety of gender expressions and experiences that exist around the world.

To learn more about shifting gender norms, watch our Global Energies LIVE webinar: Dynamic Identities (available to Global MONITOR subscribers).

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09/30/2014

teleport

After years of being teased as the future of entertainment and gaming, virtual reality seems actually poised to hit the scene! And even if you’re not a hardcore gamer, you may get to experience it sooner than you think. Brands like Marriott have begun developing customized experiences to harness the impressive potential of VR. The hotelier is currently developing a VR experience called the Teleporter that lets users “travel” to various desirable locales around the world. For now, the experience is being targeted towards tech-savvy young travelers, whom they hope to entice with visuals of their newly renovated, social-centric hotels. But the brand, along with developer Framestore, is looking for more ways to incorporate virtual reality in the future, aiming to deliver truly immersive, memorable experiences for all.

Link: wired.com

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09/26/2014

free poelpe

This summer Under Armour kicked off their “I Will What I Want” campaign with a powerful video featuring Misty Copeland, an elite female athlete and ballerina. She dances while you hear a young girl reading a rejection letter from a ballet school. The video exploded online and earned Under Armour praise for its messages of determination and will power.

In May, Free People released a similar video promoting their line of yoga, dance, and running wear. The woman dancing in the video claims things like, “I’ve been dancing since I was three” and “you learn to take direction, especially for ballet because it’s so structural.” It only takes a few seconds before something feels off. Turns out the woman is not a trained ballerina, but a model. Consumers lashed out against the ad and gave it 7 Dislikes for every Like on YouTube.

The ad was criticized not because the spokeswoman wasn’t talented, but because the brand was being inauthentic and deceptive. Young people have high expectations, and any brand that gives off the slightest signal of “fake” will quickly be identified.

Learn more about consumers’ search for authenticity and honesty by reading our Global Energy: Seeking the Genuine Article (available to Global MONITOR subscribers).

Photo: Free People

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09/23/2014

simpsons

I’ll be honest; even though it’s been over 10 years since it originally aired, the first thing I think of when I see a deprivation tank is this episode from the Simpsons. But apparently there is more to the tanks than just being a Simpsons’ gag! For the uninitiated, sensory deprivation tanks are lightproof, soundproof tanks half-filled with salt water in which people float to meditate and relax. The practice has been around for 60 years or so.

Due to the gradual acceptance of alternative medicine, floating, as it is called, is having a renaissance. Promoted benefits range from reduced stress and elevated mood to increased athleticism and creativity. With floating locations in many major U.S. cities, this health and wellness trend may be about to hit its tipping point.

Learn more about Health & Wellness trends on The Futures Company’s PULSE microsite.

Link: gizmodo.com
Image: The Simpsons

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09/19/2014

singlehood rising

About half of the adults in the U.S. are single; that’s the highest proportion since record-keeping on this sort of thing began back in 1976, when the figure was 37%.

When it comes to singledom, our clients are most nervous about Millennials: “Will they ever get married!?” According to last year’s U.S. Yankelovich MONITOR study, here’s the percentage of Millennial men and women under 30 who would be disappointed if various things didn’t occur by their 35th birthday:

Having kids: 26% of men, 46% of women
Being married: 45% of men, 56% of women
Establishing a career: 64% of men, 63% of women

The order of operations implied by these statistics speaks to the new face of young adulthood, where traditional timelines are stretched and sometimes discarded altogether. Learn more about Millennial priorities by checking out our MONITOR Download on Millennials.

Link: Bloomberg.com

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09/12/2014

weird

In a climate where CSR programs and sustainability initiatives have become table stakes, French grocer Intermarché has recently upped the ante.

This year, Intermarché entered the fight against food waste in a brilliantly simple, innovative way: by separating “ugly” produce from its more aesthetically appealing counterparts and selling it for less. The campaign asked, “Why throw away perfectly good produce just because it doesn’t meet arbitrary cosmetic criteria?”

And like Charlie Brown bringing home his Christmas tree, Intermarché shoppers embraced the less than picture-perfect produce. In just two days the “ugly” fruit sold out and the store saw a 24% traffic increase. An amazing example of what a light-hearted, creative, and sustainable initiative can do to build a positive brand relationship with consumers.

See also: 100% packaging-free supermarket

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09/11/2014

stimulated

Access to gratification is becoming increasingly convenient, so much so that we have come to need it. We have this desire to feel something. Anything. It’s more than just being entertained and having something to do; it’s a dull, full-body craving that seeks stimulation. We quench this desire when we pick up that coffee in the morning, or when we turn up the volume dial, or when we get home from work, pour a glass of wine and eat too much pizza.

According to The Futures Company’s 2014 Global MONITOR, 51% of Americans agree: “I am always looking for new experiences and sensations that will liven up my everyday activities.” Proof can be found in any convenience store: energy drinks have been given more space in refrigerators, a wall of tobacco still lingers behind checkout counters, and scary-looking bags of pills that say “HYpeR ENrgy BOOST extREME” sit beside empty penny bowls.

This goes beyond food and caffeine. In 2013, 7.3% of Americans regularly used marijuana, up from 5.8% in 2007. Abuse of ADHD medication has also been making headlines in recent years, as students turn to the pills to help them feel awake.

This any-time availability of satisfaction is leaving us fat, caffeinated, and indulging in excess.

Image credit: Vladimer Shioshvili via Flickr

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09/01/2014

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