US – While companies hosting branded weddings has become a marketing trope in the food and drink sector, fast food chain Taco Bell is adding a fresh twist to the tired concept. The company is inviting couples to apply to marry in a digital replica of the Las Vegas Wedding Chapel and Cantina on virtual real estate platform Decentraland.
The digital nuptial celebration will be legally certified and will include traditional elements like an exchange of rings, vows, a first dance, toasts and more. The winning couple will be able to invite friends and family, while existing Decentraland users will also be able to RSVP. ‘We’re always looking for new ways to meet our fans where they already are and provide them with signature Taco Bell experiences… even when that’s in the metaverse,’ says Sean Tresvant, chief brand officer at Taco Bell.
As the metaverse increasingly becomes a space for special occasions, Taco Bell is demonstrating how this digital realm can be used to celebrate personal milestones. For party planners, event organisers, and even HR departments, such innovations point to the future of phygital events.
New York – Buy-now, pay-later provider Afterpay is partnering with New York Fashion Week to transform access to the event using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As part of the partnership, five New York designers – including Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui, and AnOnlyChild – will grant access to their shows and unlock experiences, gifts, and benefits to consumers who purchase a branded NFT key costing £87 ($100, €101).
There will be 50 keys available for each designer, with 250 NFTs in total. Customers who purchase the Keys to NYFW will have the option to choose between an ‘IRL NYFW Experience’ or a ‘Designer Keepsake’, which will include a tangible item from the company. Both cryptocurrencies and conventional credit cards are accepted as payment methods, meaning customers don’t need to be crypto-savvy to purchase the digital product.
With a reasonable price point and the ability to purchase them with FIAT currencies, the NYFW keys represent how fashion brands can use NFTs to reward their fans and customers with exceptional products and experiences.
Sweden – While electric vehicles that produce few emissions while running are already relatively commonplace, the same cannot be said for the manufacturing processes used to produce them. Energy company Vattenfall and motorcycle brand Cake are looking to change that with the announcement of a joint innovation initiative to develop a new electric motorcycle that is fossil fuel-free, from factory floor to open road.
Visualising the climate impact of producing one Cake Kalk electric motorcycle from the current generation of vehicles, Cake suspended the bike in a glass cube 8.6m tall, representing the volume of carbon emissions taken to produce it – 637 cubic metres, equivalent to 1,186kg of carbon dioxide.
The companies are striving to reach the fossil fuel-free target by 2025, combining their specific expertise to remove carbon dioxide from not just how the bikes are powered, but their production, assembly and transport as well. As electric vehicles edge towards the mainstream, and consumers begin to re-evaluate their relationship with fossil fuels, look to our Mobility Series to track ongoing developments in the future of transport.
United States – Image sharing and inspiration platform Pinterest has soft launched a new collage app that’s taking TikTok by storm. Currently invite-only, Shuffles allows users to cut out and layer photos with animation effects to create short videos, which can then be shared.
Gen Z users have seized on the creative potential of the tool, sharing expressive ‘aesthetic’ moodboard videos via the mobile app’s easy-to-use editing features. The animation tools allow users to bring images to life, making them rotate, pulse and spin.
As well as allowing users to create good content for TikTok, the app drives traffic to Pinterest, with users able to click on objects featured in a Shuffles collage taking them to Pinterest or to the retailer’s website. With the app still in early access, the element of exclusivity is also driving interest, with users only able to get access to the app by getting an invite code from a friend who already has it.
The app continues to do what Pinterest does best – helping people to create moodboards and collect ideas – while also adapting to the rise of video sharing on social media, providing a perfect example of an Elastic Brand.
Detroit – As global wealth capitals continue to shift amid ongoing economic flux, luxury retailers are opening new retail destinations that cater for emerging markets. In the US, luxury fashion brand Gucci has opened a store in downtown Detroit, making it the first high-end brand to have a presence on Library Street.
The boutique spans more than 3,500 square feet and features a large selection of ready-to-wear clothing for men and women, accessories, jewellery and watches, as well as the exclusive Gucci Décor range. Rather than demolishing the old site, the company has restored the historic building's original glass tiles and geometric metal façade.
Although this is the luxury brand's first location in the city, it's not the first time it's paid homage to the urban metropolis. In 2019, the luxury brand collaborated with artist Jenn Nkiru on the film Black to Techno, which shines a light on the origin of the electronic genre in the American city.
With global uncertainty about the position of the Chinese luxury market, the US Luxury Market is growing in importance. In addition, as work-from-home regulations allow luxurians to lead nomadic lifestyles, cities such as Detroit are emerging as significant hubs of growth.
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