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Future Thinking

March 2021

Balenciaga, Shopify, Buffalo London and White Castle: the news that grabbed our attention.


Innovations we foresee based on trends we notice

Would you pay for an item of clothing you can never wear? Or a piece of art that can never be framed? More importantly, would your customers? Non-tangible assets, whether they be Buffalo sneakers or Beeple’s art are generating sufficient emotional reactions to create an involved audience and a willing consumer base. Similarly, we have seen that non-tangible experiences can create emotions, with a very rapid feedback mechanism based on the users’ length of connection (no one wants to stay connected when the zoom experience is cringe-worthy…). While traditional apparel designers, artists and marketers may fall back on tried-and-true physical-only products and experiences, we truly believe that Pandora’s box of virtual-to-physical intermingling is now open, and that we should expect continued growth across all industries, including experiential marketing. As strange as this may feel, this may be our generations’ opportunity to dig into our emotions and accept these changing times. For our grandfathers’, Elvis was the music of the Devil. For our fathers’ digital photography was never going to take off. Let’s make sure that for us, virtual-physical hybrid is a curve we are ready to take.

When Balenciaga changed the rules of the game during its Fall 2021 Fashion Show

Fashion shows are the culmination of a brand's creative vision and are successful when emotions and feelings come through. Yet how does one create an immersive highly emotional communal experience with a fully home-bound fragmented audience? Balenciaga recognized the impressive immersivity of video games and VR, and created the first ever futuristic avatar-based fashion-forward gaming experience. Innovation can be emotion-driving.
ROI: The effort has struck an emotional cord with more than 2.3M views

Christie’s’ the first ever digital-only art auction

The hammer hasn’t yet come down on the final bid amount, but this sale is already record breaking. For the first time ever, our client Christie’s is selling a virtual-only art piece, the uniqueness of which is protected by block-chain technology, just like crypto-currencies use. This reinforces our belief that virtual-only assets and experiences are gaining track.
ROI: Starting at $100 and apparently already above $1million, this will be big.

Buffalo London sets sneakers ablaze for first digital-only product release

All dressed up and nowhere to go? Not if your main reason to dress up is social content sharing. And sneaker companies are again ahead of this trend with digital-only purchasable items. Tapping into the need to share as the main point of a brand-consumer interaction, and not a photo-booth side-show approach is a significantly different approach other industries should consider.
ROI: Around 40K posts, generating nearly 81.5M impressions.

Can restaurants be inspired by White Castle’s Valentine’s Day Approach?

Sometimes, mass marketers lead the charge ahead of luxury and lifestyle marketers. This may be such a case. While many Michelin restaurants were closed during the pandemic, some chains innovated to keep Valentine's Day as a major revenue driver. White Castle’s drive-in experience is a great example of how a brand can flip a tough situation around with human connection planning.
ROI: Bookings grew 14% YoY across 300 locations amidst a downturn

Spotify Hifi: a new high-end subscription

Music triggers emotions. This is a key tenant to every experience. If you aren’t a believer, try watching a horror movie without sound. So keeping an eye on revolutionary shifts in the music industry is key and Spotify is certainly creating (sound) waves with this announcement!
ROI: Addition of 76,000 artists and an expansion to 85 new markets worldwide.

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