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Brand of the Week – Bayer

17 Feb
herosmiths

via Bayer

Our brand of the week is Bayer – their new campaign ‘HeroSmiths’ targets people with the last name Smith and invites them to become aspirin carriers to help those in need in case of a heart attack.Their aspirin key-chain is designed to be carried everywhere, and by identifying how many people someone is likely to interact with, they can easily effect great change through small acts.
 It’s fascinating to see how a pharmaceutical brand is changing the traditional brand narrative to become a supportive, informational service that also empowers people to become life savers. At a time when the US health insurance industry is becoming increasingly fractured between those who can and can’t afford it, empowering ideas such as the HeroSmith campaign help to bridge the gap by equipping people with power through knowledge.
Image result for herosmiths bayer

via Bayer

Pollution Brings It Home

23 Jan

With the recent news that some areas of London have already reached their annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just 5 days, the topic of pollution has been on our minds lately. Separate to the effects these pollution levels may have on the planet (and at a time when the incoming US President is known to be a climate change sceptic), concerns have been rising over pollution levels in our cities due to the effects it may be having on us at a personal health level.

city-air

City Air App

The change from environmental awareness on a global level to concern over our local area and our own personal health has been brought into sharp focus by the recent cultural trend of self-monitoring through apps such as ‘London Air’. This app shows us in real time, and down to an individual street level, the invisible pollutants surrounding us. This expression of pollution on a micro scale, and in an easy accessible format, means that people are both more aware, and more concerned about the after-effects of human activity on our environment.

Brands have been aware of the importance of climate change and sustainability for years now, and are better than ever at tapping into consumers’ desire for them to address this in their internal and CSR policies. But when the discussion surrounding pollution becomes more focused on individuals, it also becomes more emotionally charged. People will soon start to expect brands to not only address the effects of climate change on a global level, but also at a local level: ‘what are brands doing to protect me from air pollution?’

apple-health-dashboard

Apple iOS Health App

Brands who champion a cause through lobbying, CSR and internal practices do a fantastic job, but with an issue such as climate change, it is important for people to be able to take ownership and feel like they are having a positive impact. Apple have already made huge tracks in terms of self-monitoring health apps, but what about an app that measures the air pollution you contribute to per day in easily understood figures? ‘You have created 0.08 tonnes of CO2 today.’ Or more positively; ‘You have saved 1.8 tonnes of CO2 this week.’

To take full advantage of this opportunity, a brand would do well to both highlight air pollution, and also encourage people to make positive changes to their lifestyle to prevent air pollution.

Cosmic Christmas

30 Nov

selfridges xmas

[Daily Mail – Andy Pilbeam-Brown]

We have seen a distinct shift in the cultural meaning of science. Gone are the sole connotations of cold, clinical precision and pristine lab coats. Instead, science has become a truly creative arena. It has gained a frisson of genuine cool – with people eager to learn to code, to delve into the intricate scientific processes behind the products they buy, and to explore the lives of scientists. Major films such as The Imitation Game and The History of Everything have held up figures from the scientific community as romantic leads and war heroes. Science has emerged as a crucible for our collective imagination.

More recently, we have seen the scientific world of outer space arise once again as a vital narrative landscape. Films such as Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian have fed our fascination with the universe, removing it from abstract fantasy, and instead positing it as a thrilling terrain to be explored. This year we’ve seen the far reaches of the galaxy taken as inspiration for an enormous range of creations – from fashion to food, from beauty to literature, from design to public spaces. The astronomical and galactic have become our new muses.

It is perhaps inevitable, then, that outer space has become a magical landscape to set Christmas within. The celebration, which already has a star at the very heart of its story, has now embraced the planetary.

The Robots Are Coming . . .

12 Jun
Persona Synthetics

( Channel 4 )

 

As it becomes more and more advanced, our relationship with humanised tech and Artificial Intelligence is fraught with tensions and anxiety – there is a fine line between helpful and straight up scary. A phone that can crack jokes? Great! A watch that tells me when to get up and have a little walk around? Yes please! A hologram woman greeting me as I enter Kings Cross station? Hmmm . . . a bit creepy. This cultural anxiety is explored in Channel 4’s upcoming drama Humans which takes us into a parallel world in which people can buy human-like “synths” to look after their houses and their children. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t look like it ends well.

The adverts for the series were disguised as adverts for Persona Synthetics, the synth manufacturer, and the company even has its own website, confusing some people into thinking they could actually buy a robotic assistant. It seems that this series is cutting close to the bone by making us face a reality in which you might really have a human-like robot living in your house and doing your laundry. This was followed up by bringing the concept into the real world, creating a pretend shop front with interactive robot images which could wave at passers-by. Unnerving stuff. Especially as the adverts heavily suggest that the robots get really clever and go rogue.

We were scared enough by Joaquin Phoenix falling in love with a husky-voiced operating system in the film Her, but now Humans places a reality in front of us which doesn’t even really feel that far off. It flags up to us that whilst brands are, and should, readily embrace the advances in technology that allow them to create super personalised products and services, it is important that they bear this cultural anxiety in mind. It will be interesting to see how brands navigate this delicate situation – and whether they manage to avoid scaring their customers.

Flourishing Curiosity

19 Jan

People are hungrier than ever for knowledge and discovery. They are pursuing learning for pleasure – craving mental stimulation and enlightenment. Knowledge is valued for its enhancing qualities – to learn more about the world, and to enrich and define your character through skills and ideas. The thriving life of the mind is treasured more and more.

 

We are seeing this expressed in culture around the globe:

The Lost Lectures are a Europe- wide series of underground lectures that push the boundaries of knowledge.

www.lostlectures.com

(lostlectures.com)

Serial is a new podcast that tells a complex, intellectually stimulating story. It has become the most popular ever, and sparked ongoing debate.

www.serialpodcast.org

(serialpodcast.org)

Hendrick’s Gin hosted a Carnival of Knowledge that featured experts sharing their knowledge insights and ideas.

uk.hendricksgin.com

(hendricksgin.com)

 

Therefore we think that brands should consider the importance of connoisseurship, enabling a learning process whilst not being patronising. Check out our Cultural Themes website for more information.

 

Cool Science

18 Nov

Science – sadly – used to be for geeks. It was the arena of the expert,  the technical boffin who could understand equations or decipher endless pages of code.

But things are changing. We have seen over the last year or so that science is becoming not only cooler, bur far more accessible.

We’ve seen t-shirts in Topshop declaring the wearers love for Chemistry or Physics, and now we’re seeing it go even further. Rosetta’s recent landing on Comet 67P provoked glorious reactions of joy from Twitter users, and the box office success of Interstellar is putting the realm of the scientific firmly into the spotlight.

(newsdiscovery.com)

(newsdiscovery.com)

Scientists themselves are also becoming beacons of fascination. Recently released film, The Imitation Game – starring Benedict Cumberbatch – tells the story of overlooked code-breaking genius Alan Turing, and in the new year The Theory of Everything – starring dreamboat Eddie Redmayne – will tell the story of Stephen Hawking.

(timeout.com)

(timeout.com)

Science is increasingly being looked to not only as a place of incredible discovery, but a place of beauty, of joy and of creative inspiration.

Cultural Trends 2014

20 Jan

Welcome to 2014

Our job is to look at big cultural shifts, we can see that 2014 is going to be a year where consumers demand more than ever.

Check out our fantastic trends video,  and see for yourself.