Further strengthening what is becoming more and more a common practice, the New York based advertising agency J.Walter Thompson released in mid-December its “100 Things to Watch” during the next year. Being not only the 4th biggest company in the world on the advertising field, but also regarded as the most trustworthy one when it gets down to forecasts, the US firm caught once again on the hop both professionals and laymen. As usual the guys played it loud and proud, putting their shirts on several trends and technologies that probably most people have never ever heard about. As a matter of fact, although JWC’s annual release’s glamour might be due to a number of different reasons, it owes a big slice of its success to the editors’ courage of their convictions as well as to their eagerness to dare. On the other hand, Bob Jeffrey and his mates are too smart to put all their eggs in one basket, therefore by choosing 100 different things the risk of a complete failure, especially in the light of their considerable track record, practically does not even exist.
Long story short, in their 2010 release, they bet on the most varied subjects, they spotlighted dozens of critical issues that now contribute in tracing last year’s portrait, such as Lady Gaga - whose career was just taking off - and several other “big things” ranging from Wikileaks to Foursquare, as well as the decline of the email and mobile money’s boom. As we broaden the focus and take a glance at what they bet on in the last few years, JWC’s forecasts get even more reliable. The editors indeed, definitely were already spot-on about what to watch in 2007, when Barack Obama’s name popped over their headlines, just beside Amy Winehouse’s and Jennifer Hudson’s ones, not to mention the city of Doha and Cloud computing systems.
Switching to 2011 handout, let’s narrow the focus down to the top 10 hits that MYGENERATION skimmed for you among the 100 trends spotted by JWC. Just a brief note before going through them: if you want to be totally amazed, make sure to google each and all of the “100 things” released on the company website, as they definitely deserve it!
But now it’s time to get to the real stuff and let the show begin, as nothing can epitomize what I am talking about better than the 10 “things” themselves…enjoy it!
#1 Biomimicry: The collaboration of engineers, designers and biologists to develop designs a ble to resem ble nature is rapidly growing and its applications are myriad. Among the others , Janine Benyus has already work ed with GE and HP develop ing architectures, but also everyday products. Biotech applications and materials are of course are gaining momentum above all the others.
#2 3-D printing_As costs are getting more affordable the 3-D printers pioneered by the Dutch company Shapeways are likely to come into mainstream use. Google’s software, SketchUp, enables anyone to design his own items, ranging from jewelry to toys and lamps, although a LA based company is working on printers capable of making an entire house! HP has already started selling some printer in the States, so soon we will be able to send a file to our 3-D printer, choose our favorite materials (glass, resin, silver or whatever) and receive the product in our hands in a bunch of minutes!
#3 Virtual Mirrors: First piloted in Macy’s NYC flagship store, the virtual mirrors are quickly spreading up mainly in the States and in Japan, as the two main producers as far are the Japanese Shiseido and the US-incorporated, Isreali based EZface. The main application is related to virtual make-up, but the devices allow shoppers to test out styles and even share them directly via Facebook or email!
#4 Bjarke Ingels: The 36 years-old Danish architect who became famous for his creative and disruptive projects (such as the Zira Island master plan in Baku, Azerbaijan ), as well as his capability to integrate the naively utopian and the petrifyingly pragmatic architectural antipodes, is gaining further success day by day. Metropolis labels him “the architecture’s very own Lady Gaga” and he just moved the HQ of his company in NYC…the best is probably yet to come.
#5 Brigadeiro: It is the most popular treat in Brazil made with cocoa powder and condensed milk, resembling the shape of the Italian “Rocher” by Ferrero. JWC suggests watching for this Brazilian craze to go international, after having become the centerpiece product of stores around the country.
#6 Geoloqi: Shaped in the wake of geolocalization apps, Geoloqi takes location sharing to a wider extent by allowing automatic check-ins, though the great part it are the Geonotes, location-based notes left for a user, that will send a message to the desired user when that location is actually reached. Basically messages to your future self! A trivial but telling example might be the one that Geoloqi creators provide themselves on their blog. For instance, 2 weeks ago I remembered that I needed to get some paprika next time I went to the store. I left a Geonote with a circumference that surrounded my local grocery store. When I next went to the grocery store, my phone detected that I had entered the radius I’d left the Geonote in before. I promptly received an SMS with the note to “Get Paprika!”. Needless to say, I got it.
#7 Tube free toilet paper: An unsuspected move on the green front comes from a product that resisted to changes for over a century, ladies and gentlemen: the Toilet Paper! Scott Naturals indeed is coming out in the States with a pilot tube-free version, that some of you may have noticed if they have spent some time wandering around in South-East Asia.
#8 Gay-centric Hotels: The Lords in Miami and the Spanish Axel pioneered this trend. The first one is already expanding to NYC and LA, the latter seeks to bring it to Europe after having develop it in Manhattan already. Let’s see how things will eventually work out! Is this a reply to the Australian “men only” Lynx Lodge?
#9 Scan Everything: Scanning quick response codes or barcodesare being adopted for everything from in-store communication (e.g. Tesco’s I-Phone app) to traditional communication (e.g. newspapers carrying barcodes to attach multemedia contents to their news). Futher, they started being used also by cosumers themselves, as the application developed in the States by Good Guide to range consumer products – mainly grocery ones – in a 1 to 10 scale depending upon they level of greeness! In the light of smartphones’ and tablets’ current dizzying scale, the growth of barcodes as well is virtually limitless.
#10 F-Commerce: A bunch of days after the top valuation got on the secondary exchange by Goldman Sachs, Facebook keeps on gradually introducing innovations and new application to the communications industry. After the introduction of the integrated messaging service that is now encompassing also the email and text messaging, more brands are about to start selling directly on the social network, thus bringing a concrete ROI to the social media. Victoria’s Secrets and Delta Airlines were the first movers, in what is likely to become a market standard as it has been in the past for Ebay and broadly speaking for the, perhaps now obsolete, e-commerce.
Well, so that was the hardcore of J.Walter Thompson’s release. As you might have noticed the fil rouge undoubtedly is the digital world in its most recent fashions, namely smartphones, tablets, applications as well as geolocalization services. Wired editor Chris Anderson’s “The web is dead” might provide further insights on the topic. Truth be told, writing about digitalization nowadays is pretty much like fishing with dynamite, yet his article appears extremely thoughtful. Google it and check it out, right after reading you will start wondering what everyday life will turn out to be in a couple of years.
Keep It Up.