27 : 08 : 21 : Weekly Debrief

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Need To Know

This week: The Innovation Debrief 2021 report, intentionally ugly nail polish, KFC's pop-up hotel, Okcupid caters for diverse dating and Blume's new adaptogenic milk.

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27 August 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: 'Compost' Nail Polish by J.Hannah


Innovation Debrief 2021

1. The Future Laboratory unveils its Innovation Debrief 2021

Global – The Future Laboratory’s Innovation Debrief 2021 report identifies 50 boundary-pushing case studies of 2021.

While last year’s Innovation Debrief explored the resilient and adaptive strategies of coping with Covid-19, our findings this year showcase 2021 as a forward-thinking new era of innovation. As communities begin to rebuild, longer-term hybrid approaches to living, working, creating and learning are coming to the fore.

Bringing together some of the most impactful case studies from our trends intelligence platform, LS:N Global, this year’s report looks at the most original examples of how brands are responding to changing consumer needs. In this report, you will uncover insight from our in-house experts, 10 global spotlights and 10 visions of the future from industry disrupters.

From ideas around creating equitable urban environments to the myriad ways of entering the metaverse, you’ll find inspiration to future-proof your business as we move through the Transformative Twenties.

Polemix, US

2. Intentionally ugly nail polish taunts beauty ideals

US – Seeking to challenge conventional beauty ideals, jewellery brand J.Hannah is launching a drab olive-brown nail varnish.The shade, known as Compost, has been named the world’s ‘ugliest colour’ by market researchers.

By presenting this colour as a covetable nail polish, J.Hannah takes an anti-aspirational stance to beauty and personal appearance. This non-traditional nail varnish and its associated messaging in turn encourages customers to rethink the ideals around colour trends they’ve previously bought into. ‘Compost is a statement in the nuanced line between the revolting and the luxurious, between the hideous and the refined,’ says the brand. ‘A reminder to not flatten beauty's complexity into a single note.’

In the fragrance sector, we’ve explored the ways that unexpected scents can capture the interest of audiences. Discover a series of 'anti-perfume' concepts within New Fragrance Frontiers, including attention-grabbing scents inspired by decay and disorder.

KFC House of Harland, London

3. KFC’s pop-up hotel offers chicken on-demand

London – The fast-food giant is offering fans a novel experience through a branded pop-up hotel experience. Located in Shoreditch, London, the House of Harland hotel takes inspiration from KFC's signature flavour combination of 11 herbs and spices. Open for a limited period of 11 days and available for £111 ($152, €129) per night, guests can enjoy a pick-up service in a black Cadillac called the Colonelmobile, and once checked in have access to a ‘Press For Chicken’ room service button, and a private cinema.

Through this experience, KFC elevates its existing presence by creating an immersive space that borrows from the wider hospitality sector. Its on-demand approach to room service also reflects the changing demands and tastes of travellers, with more people seeking non-traditional in-room catering. Going beyond novelty, however, all proceeds from the hotel will go towards KFC's foundation, which supports young people across the UK.

As the landscape of food and drink continues to evolve and find new ways of engaging audiences, delve into our dedicated vertical to keep track of the latest innovations.

4. OkCupid’s 60 identities cater for diverse daters

US – Staking its claim as a platform for ‘For Every Single Person,’ the latest campaign from dating app OkCupid touts the growing number of ways its users can self-identify.

With the app now reporting more than 60 identities to choose from – from non-binary, to cuddler, feminist and non-monogamist – OkCupid is positioning itself as an app where everyone is welcome. Working with agency Mekanism, the resulting out-of-home campaign features unabashed visuals, layered with statements such as ‘Every Single Bear,’ and ‘Every Single Vaxxer.’

In this way, the app is demonstrating Unrefined Intimacy in practice – using design, typography and provocative visuals in what is an era of rawer, more confrontational and inclusive advertising and communications. ‘Since OkCupid is truly the dating app for everyone, we were free to explore a wide range of ways daters may identify themselves,’ says David Horowitz, executive creative director of Mekanism.

Refreshingly, as both an app and campaign, OkCupid recognises the variety of different relationships that people are looking for today, from multiple partners to those seeking friends with benefits or simply companions.

For Every Single Person by OkCupid, US
Blume, US

5. Blume’s adaptogenic milk adds function to barista coffee

Canada – Tuning into demands for more functional coffee options, superfood company Blume is introducing an Adaptogenic Milk Blend as an alternative to existing plant-based milks. The paste product contains Ayurvedic adaptogens in a nutty, mushroom-based formula, with active ingredients including reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps and chaga. Sold in refillable jars, users mix 1-2 tablespoons with water to create the 'milk,' which is designed to be added to barista-made coffee.

With eight varieties, the functional ingredients of Blume products are chosen to support the body’s response to stress, regulate hormones, help sleep or enhance mental performance. In this way, Blume recognises how food and drink can alter psychological states. ‘We've super-powered a plant-based, sustainably packaged, rich and creamy milk blend with adaptogenicmushrooms, helping you to fight stress and find balance, all while contributing to a less-waste planet earth,’ says the brand.

Previously, we’ve identified the ways that Starbucks is uplifting conventional caffeinated experiences through an at-home coffee range imbued with essential vitamins.


To future-proof your world, visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platform LS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.


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