18 : 08 : 23 : Weekly Debrief

need to know
product design
health & wellness
category - fashion
category - female futures
sector - food & drink
type - need to know
Need To Know
category - design
category - mobility
category - sustainability
sector - health & wellness
sector - youth

This week: Racquet Culture Redefined, Kombucha for kids, Barbie's success signals growing appetite for entertainment, Synthesised Beauty, a subscription-based Dis-loyalty programme, and a holographic zoo in Australia.

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18 August 2023

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Epara in-store animation by Anatolik Belikov and Masha Batsii, UK


#YourCourtYourRules by Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and The&Partnership, UK

1. Racquet Culture Redefined

Throughout history, racquet sports have been synonymous with luxury and leisure, reserved for those frequenting exclusive country clubs or indulging in the ambience of affluent beachside resorts. But in the past decade, leisure activities have become entangled with competitiveness and status as the fetishisation of success has driven an expectation that our free time should be spent refining ourselves physically and intellectually. A profound cultural shift, propelled by changing consumer preferences and societal changes, is transforming the racquet market, giving rise to a fresh era characterised by inclusivity, enjoyment and social interaction. All the while, this evolution maintains a strong connection with its aspirational historical roots.

While some sports saw a drop in participation during the pandemic, racquet sports witnessed a resurgence. Tennis participation in the US soared to 23.6m players in 2022, pickleball gained popularity with 8.9m players and the emerging sport of padel attracted some 20m global players, according to a report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

After experiencing such extreme isolation and health threats throughout the pandemic, in-person gatherings have increased at an unprecedented scale, driving the deep desire to get the most out of life. In addition, with health becoming a greater priority for consumers, the leisurely pastimes associated with the sector are being rebranded and reinvigorated, and losing their unfashionable, stuffy or bland reputation.

Read the full article.

‘The new [racquet sports] have an enticing novelty value, a little second-hand celebrity sheen – certainly in the US – and signal an almost continental lifestyle and outlook’
Tim Tam Tummy, US

2. Tim Tam Tummy introduces kombucha for kids

US – Functional beverages are a flourishing market brimming with alternatives to sugary fizzy drinks and sodas, yet few are geared towards children. Enter Tim Tam Tummy, allegedly the first kombucha drink crafted for little ones.

Children’s palates call for simple, sweet flavours encapsulated in fun and convenient products. Tim Tam Tummy set out to bridge the gap between unhealthy sugary drinks that kids tend to love and too sophisticated functional drinks currently available on the market. The kid-centric kombucha packs 3bn gut-loving prebiotics while boasting a short ingredient list free from artificial additives and sweeteners. It is also designed to appeal to the young target audience, with four lightly carbonated fruity flavours packaged in kid-sized self-stable cans easy to pack and drink on the go.

‘When it comes to better-for-you beverages, the kids' aisle has been largely left behind,’ adds Mary Alice Greco, the company’s chief marketing officer. ‘Tim Tam Tummy addresses parents' and kids' priorities – digestive health, immune function, convenience and fun.’

Generations Alpha and Zalpha are wise beyond their years, and such products that combine fun and function are sure to appeal to this individualistic and opinionated group.

Barbie, Global

3. Stat: Barbie’s success signals a big appetite for real-life entertainment

US – While Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie is undoubtedly a culture-defining blockbuster, new data sheds light on the metrics and what the film means for the future of entertainment.

The savvy moves behind the Barbie film’s success have been discussed extensively, from genius marketing activations to the fact that the trailer barely revealed anything of the movie’s feminist agenda. But movie data company The Quorum has added a layer of consumer insights to the conversation with a new study published in August 2023. After surveying nearly 2,000 Barbie ticket-buyers in the US, the firm suggests that the film drew many sporadic movie-goers back to cinemas – 11% of people surveyed could not remember the last film they had seen in a cinema, while another 11% said Barbie was the first film they had seen in a movie theatre since before the start of the pandemic.

These findings reinforce the idea that entertainment is reclaiming its powerhouse status, as viewers are enthusiastic about engaging in real-life activities and more brands enter the entertainment landscape.

Synthesised Beauty

4. Synthesised beauty

In our 2017 New Consciousness design direction, we saw the rebranding of sustainable responsibility to resonate with a new generation of visual-first consumers. This direction has now evolved for the beauty consumer in a landscape shifting towards biotechnology and technological advancement.

Amid AI and digital software’s increasing presence in our lives and the pressing need for the beauty sector to adopt biotechnology for ingredient innovation and sustainability, a visionary perspective is emerging.

Creatives are dismantling conventional visual norms by rejecting conventionally shot images in favour of intricately manipulated, high-definition visuals. ‘There’s a need to expand on the visual codes and art direction of what [sustainability] can look like, especially when appealing to younger audiences,’ multi-disciplinary artist Lucy Hardcastle tells LS:N Global.

The era of clean beauty, which once instilled a fear of all chemicals – as discussed in Accredited Beauty – is now giving way to an exciting new age of bio-branding, propelled by cutting-edge biological science. Suzanne Lee, former chief creative officer at Modern Meadow and founder of the biotech company Biofabricate, reveals to Eye On Design that bio-branding has entered a far more sophisticated realm, re-inventing the concept of sustainability and its visual representation. By embracing biology and designing with it, they aim to challenge traditional ideas and break free from the aesthetics of petrochemicals.

As this transformative direction gains momentum, the boundaries of beauty are pushed to new horizons, where artistic expression, technological prowess and eco-consciousness converge to create a captivating Synthesised Beauty aesthetic. In this vibrant landscape, the power of technology intertwines with the allure of nature, promising a visually provocative and environmentally responsible future for the beauty industry.

Dis-loyalty membership campaign by Ennismore

5. Ennismore introduces subscription-based Dis-loyalty programme

Global – Ennismore, the hotel group behind brands such as The Hoxton, SO/Hotels and SLS, has unveiled Dis-loyalty, an innovative subscription-based loyalty programme. Unlike traditional loyalty programmes, Dis-loyalty asks members to pay £170 ($216, €197) annually, or £14 ($18, €16) monthly, for exclusive benefits across Ennismore’s 75 hotels and 150 restaurants worldwide.

Members of Dis-loyalty receive a range of perks, including 50% off stays at new hotels within the first three months of opening, 20% off the first stay in any Ennismore hotel, 10% off return stays and 10% off food and drink at most Ennismore restaurants. In addition, members can enjoy a daily barista-made beverage at any Ennismore hotel or restaurant, even if they aren’t staying there. The programme is designed to encourage guests to explore different Ennismore properties and embrace new experiences.

Founder and co-CEO Sharan Pasricha explained that the subscription model rewards members for being disloyal by trying various locations. New ideas about subscription have been pioneered by coffee chains like Pret-a-Manger, Panera and Au Bon Pain, and have since been adopted by others like Sweetgreen. In our Innovation Debrief 2023–2024 report, we assess new iterations of memberships that are better suited to the flexible working, travel and leisure lifestyles of the post-pandemic consumer.

Axiom Holographics, Australia

6. Meet the first bigger-than-life hologram zoo

Australia – Using cutting-edge AR and 3D technologies, Axiom Holographics has revamped one of the most popular family attractions – the humble zoo.

Located in Brisbane, Australia, the Hologram Zoo playfully merges reality and the virtual world, offering an alternative to the zoo experience. Why visit a holographic zoo instead of a conventional zoo, you may ask? Boasting interactive and immersive 4D animations, the attraction allows visitors to experience nature and discover the animal realm in new ways. The 25 tunnels of the centre take visitors on sensory and realistic journeys, ranging from safari to Arctic landscapes, or a stroll through prehistoric times surrounded by dinosaurs.

‘Hologram entertainment centres are a fantastic way to be teleported to places that you could not normally visit,’ says Bruce Dell, CEO of Axiom. ‘For example, I do not think people really know just how big a whale is, it is something they would normally never get the opportunity to see in real life.’ We expect to see more emotionally smart tech innovations unlocking new experiences, whether to reconnect with bygone landscapes or extinct species, or simply as a means to make animal entertainment more ethical.

7. Webinar : 3 Critical Strategies for Supercharging Growth in China

Join us for our upcoming webinar on 30 August, as we take a detailed look at the key strategies for accelerating business growth and innovation in the Chinese market.
Using the combined powers of The Future Laboratory and our China specialist sister agency, Hot Pot China, we will present some of our latest findings and research, and invite a panel of leading industry professionals to delve deeper into what this means for businesses in the Chinese market for years to come.
Hot Pot China 2023

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