In Japan, 79% of people associate the word for skin tone (“hada-iro”) with just one color. Mixed race children can often feel alienated for looking different. So Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido did something to show Japan’s youth that everyone is different but equal. It created a special box of crayons by “scanning a group of schoolchildren’s skin in order to create their unique hada-iro profile…and creating crayons that matched the children’s individual skin tones.”
Why it’s hot:
Besides making a beautiful point, Shiseido did it without having to say a word. By simply seeing all the different shades of skin after their faces were scanned, kids would immediately see that there is no “one true color”, and in fact, they were all different. Proving once again that showing, not telling, is an even more powerful way to convey a message.
A kit for Nestle Japan’s nutritional drink. Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg
Nestle is taking an innovative approach to product development, starting with the Japan market.
According to Quartz News – “Some 100,000 people are taking part in a company program there that gives consumers a kit to collect their DNA at home. The program also encourages them to use an app to post pictures of what they’re eating. Nestlé then recommends dietary changes and supplies specialized supplements that can be sprinkled on or mixed into a variety of food products, including teas.”
Ultimately, the goal for Nestle actually goes beyond this, to creating completely individualized products based on individuals’ DNA that could even be designed to prevent serious diseases like cancer. Quartz’s crude example is “Pizzas that can ward off Alzheimer’s disease, for instance”.
One nutritional scientist says, “This is going to be the manifestation of the future. The one-size-fits-all platform is a thing of the past.”
Why it’s hot:
First, as the largest food company in the world, Nestle could be leading the way into a new era of food production – one that’s almost completely the opposite of its heritage over the last few decades. But most importantly, it’s another example of the shift we’re finally seeing from mass production to ultra-personalized products. While using DNA as the mechanism is not without concerns, what better experience than having food and supplements created for you based on what your body needs to keep you at peak health.
Xfinity (to promote its mobile carrier service) recently unleashed a suite of 6-second pre-roll ads to show customers of their competitors exactly how much money a YouTube video they watch costs them in data.
The company says it’s tailoring the ads based on users’ carrier (AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon), and the type of video they’ve chosen to watch, making it hyper-relevant to each viewer.
Why It’s Hot:
It’s not just advertising, but utility. If anyone you know can tell you how much it costs them to use data for different applications or purposes, they’re much more clued in than the rest of us. But more importantly, it’s intended to be personalized to each user, further signaling that the future of advertising (and products) are truly individualized.
To promote its live stream of the recent NBA Finals, ESPN pulled an interesting stunt in Manhattan – Airdropping images with text connecting what people were doing with watching the finals.
Why It’s Hot
I’m not sure it is either real, or hot, but what’s seemingly interesting and clever is the fact that they utilized an overlooked iOS feature and used it to personalized their message on a one-to-one basis.
In advance of this year’s Boston Marathon, Adidas says it’s planning to capture and create personal highlight videos for all 30,000 runners of this year’s race.
According to the plan: “Adidas will deliver videos to the 30,000 runners taking part in the marathon within a few hours of them completing the race. Along with the runner’s personal highlights, the Here to Create Legend videos will also feature general race day footage and music.”
How it works: “RFID tags in the runners’ race bibs and street mats that emit ultra-high frequency radio waves will provide Adidas with data on each runners’ performance. Using this technology, the sportswear brand is able to capture all the footage for the videos with just seven cameras and a team of 20 people spread across the 26.2-mile course.
Why It’s Hot:
We often talk about the trend of ultra-personalized product or service experiences, but marketing hasn’t necessarily been a major part of that conversation. As this becomes peoples’ overall expectation of brands, it will have to adapt.
Plus, in another time, Adidas would’ve just made a nice commercial touting its 30 years of race sponsorship. But instead, it decided to devote time, money, and effort to adding something memorable to the experience of the athletes running the race it’s sponsoring.