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Self-care isn’t a luxury anymore

This dumpster fire of a year has had one up-side: a growing interest in self-care and wellness.

We don’t see wellness as a luxury anymore.

The global pandemic has changed how we work, socialise and unwind.

Not to mention that it’s taken a toll on our mental health.

Facebook says mindful wellness is a major indicator that people are making time for self-care.

Over the course of the year, this trend has graduated from treating yourself to small indulgences, to planning for the future.

Pinterest is calling 2021 the year of rebirth.

In their ‘Not-yet-trending’ report for 2021, Pinterest is predicting that when people can’t venture outwards, they turn inwards.

They say that next year we’re looking forward to turning our homes into sanctuaries for work, play and relaxation.

Pinners are seeking inspiration on a whole host of activities.

From mindful wellness activities for kids, prepping gourmet meals at home and advice on being financially independent to creating a better aesthetic at home with LED lights.

And brands are already responding.

Like Colgate, who partnered with the meditation app Headspace, to reward people for using Colgate Hum, a smart brushing app.

Colgate gave their customers ‘smile points’ in exchange for brushing their teeth and completing other in-app tasks.

When you earned 200 points, you got a free 60-day trial to Headspace with the Hum app.

And the possibility to continue using Headspace through Hum after the trial period.

Check out more campaigns that promote mental health and are making a difference.

Finally, an actual use case for AR

You probably weren’t expecting to read about luggage this summer. Neither was I.

Until I read about how an online retailer of bags, eBags, got 112% increase in mobile conversions AND a drop in customer returns all because of using AR (Augmented Reality).

Pokemon Go started the AR craze but the reality of it, so far, hasn’t quite lived up to the hype.

Many brands have been playing around with the tech but everyday use is still lacklustre.

In the meantime, it’s nice to see what we can expect from AR in e-commerce.

Google’s 3D ad-format is coming out of beta.

And it’ll be available to everyone.

Not to mention that the greater influence of Amazon in e-commerce isn’t leaving brands much choice other than to set up shop in the marketplace.

More Amazon, though, means smaller margins. Plus putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t strategic.

Creative solutions are how you can make your own ecommerce site attractive to customers.

And AR makes it easier for customers to experience the product in a more complete way – as they would in a physical store – which is never a bad idea.

Singapore’s virtual island getaway is bloody brilliant

After getting hit by COVID restrictions, Singapore’s Sentosa island resort and BBH created (read: hacked together) a virtual version of the famous island getaway in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.

In an interview with The Drum, the BBH explained:

“[We] created over 50 custom-made designs for the island, which represented individual brands and attractions on the island, such as restaurants and clubs.”

NintendoSoup described the virtual resort as:

“Beach bars, nature trails, the Skyline Luge, the Shangri-La and Capella hotels, and a spot for yoga by the beach, all recreated within Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

This is a whole new level of creativity in advertising and brand activation.

Why should you care?

Video games are now mainstream.

Several times a week thousands of people choose to spend their free time playing games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing.

As Owen Williams wrote on his blog:

“Not only is Fortnite the new hangout spot, replacing the mall, Starbucks or just loitering in the city, it’s become the coveted ‘third place’ for millions of people around the world.”

With fewer young people watching TV (and even when they do it’s often an ad-free streaming service) brand activation needs to go where people are instead.

As BBH Singapore’s Chief Creative Officer told The Drum:

“We‘re living in times where our audience literally is paying money to avoid seeing our work. We really need to work a lot harder to provide value. A shortcut to that are those cultural moments… because they immediately make you relevant and interesting. It‘s really important that we leave this bubble of the hip, Netflix-watching ad men and women and really look out to see what the majority of people really care about.”

These are still early days.

And many brands are still building their approach to gaming. You can go the influencer route or run strategic campaigns like Samsung

But no matter the road you take, you need to start talking about your approach to gaming with your team. Now.

Newzoo’s Remer Rietkerk has relevant advice for any brand manager looking to define their approach to gaming:

“Brand activation in games can take many different forms. Fortnite is a trailblazer for in-game activations, making it a perfect case study. Travis Scott performed an in-game virtual concert, a collaboration with Nike which generated 27 million unique virtual attendees. This was only the latest in a series of events Epic Games launched in its Fortnite game world, with previous examples including Marvel, Batman, and Star Wars.”

He also advises sticking to these key principles:

  • Any collaboration must make sense in the game‘s universe; it shouldn‘t feel forced.
  • It needs to feel authentic, resonating with the community the promotion is servicing.
  • Promotions cannot interfere with gameplay, especially in big-budget games

Video e-commerce expands outside China

Live video and e-commerce were born to be together.

There’s an online sales revolution in the works. It’s already huge in China.

Shopping channel QVC is going digital with a stoppable app built around video e-comm.

Amazon Live launched quietly in 2019. Their live streams are similar to the shopping channels where celebrities and influencers sell products from Amazon vendors.

Facebook and YouTube are also launching in this area. Their biggest shortcoming is the lack of integration with their native e-comm solutions.

While Facebook and YouTube drag their feet, brands are getting their feet wet with things like Livescale and Bambuser that offer live-streaming that can be integrated into the brand’s own e-comm site.

There’s been more cynicism lately towards influencer marketing, but maybe video e-commerce will create a new generation of influencers. Such as China’s Live Stream Queen who can supposedly sell anything.

Video e-comm isn’t a fad.

And it needs to be a part of any e-comm brands digital strategy.

Even if going full-scale QVS isn’t your cup of tea, now’s the time to start taking baby steps into video e-commerce.

If you get in now, you’ll get a leg up by getting in before it turns mainstream and gets saturated.


The Telegraph introduces cookie-free adtech

Loss of advertising revenue is a crushing blow to publishers.

Since Google’s decision to kill the third-party cookie, many publishers are ramping up their subscription models while testing new ways to keep advertisers interested.

The Telegraph is showcasing one such solution.

Digiday wrote, “The effort, called Telegraph Unity, has the publisher and advertiser separately uploading their first-party data to what tech provider Infosum calls a ‘bunker’ so no other party can access it. Infosum’s tech then adds a tiny statistical error to the anonymized data sets, making it impossible to reverse engineer back to the originals. It then overlays a statistical model to find matches.”

I gotta say. This is an inspired solution but not without its challenges.

The biggest being the advertisers’ lack of first-party data. After GDPR most advertisers simply don’t have enough of it.

But there’s a larger opportunity here as well.

A solution like this could be a stepping stone for publishers to start offering a competitive, albeit niche, alternative to Google and Facebook, especially when advertisers want really local or granular audiences.