Monthly Archives

October 2019

Lightbox Loves: A Reason to Celebrate

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We have become a nation of celebration. As Hallowe’en related paraphernalia appeared across social feeds, TV ads, supermarket shelves and popular culture as early as August, it would appear that Brits (or at least brands) are looking to elongate the festivities as much as possible.

A phenomenon long attributed to the Christmas period, apparently now no holiday is safe. We asked 500 Brits via our Lightbox Pulse platform their thoughts, and 57% said they felt that holidays start too early, and 27% claiming they last too long. On the whole, this sentiment was strongest amongst 35-64s, which perhaps interplays with the likelihood of having bigger families of children and grandchildren to buy for.

This elongation of celebration is a trend which runs hand in hand with the increasing desire to make a fuss of ever more granular life events. 60% of Brits said that we find more reasons to celebrate these days, with only a miserly 19% disagreeing. Women are the most likely be in touch with this – perhaps because they’re often lumbered with (or secretly revel in) the job of buying the accompanying cards, presents and decorations? This is of course why retailers and brands are happy to encourage us to celebrate more. Everything from alcohol to baked goods gets a boost when we party, and comms are given a renewed focus and some new news to push out.

So, what exactly do Brits feel is worth celebrating? We asked our panel, and whilst the usual offenders (engagement parties, christenings and university graduation) all came out strongly, 1 in 10 said a divorce was worthy of a party, and 8% are on board the Gender Reveal bandwagon.

It doesn’t seem like a high proportion, but if you look at the search trends for Gender Reveal parties over the past 5 years you start to get a glimpse of the momentum behind the movement.

Ultimately, a celebration sits in the Cambridge Dictionary as “a special social event, such as a party, when you celebrate something.” Are we losing the notion of ‘special’ when the parties start to dominate our diaries? There are 14.5m posts on Instagram under #celebrate, and a staggering 160m under #party. It would seem you can have a party without a celebration, but you can’t celebrate these days without a party.

Lightbox Loves: Black History Month. Silently celebrated?

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In the UK, October marks Black History Month, where we remember and champion Black British excellence and the trials and tribulations that were overcome across the years. Brands and media channels celebrated Black Brits’ contributions through a variety of different initiatives, but are you able to name any of these?

This year we have seen brands go above and beyond when celebrating diversity. From Pride to International Women’s Day, an array of brands not only push out empowering campaigns, but the likes of YouTube and Pret will also go as far as to change the colours of their logo. However, for Black History Month, these types of statements are few and far between and this begs the question of whether this is an untapped space for brands to own.

I am sure we can all think of examples of when brands who have tried to support diversity were met with an uproar across social media channels. Despite this, there are numerous brands whose authenticity has avoided question when making impactful campaigns. Nike are well known for championing equality and this year for Black History Month they did not disappoint. They released a jersey for England’s senior men’s football team which was sported by the likes of Raheem Starling. The jersey was then released for members of the public to purchase online and in stores, alongside a photo exhibition, in Nike Town.

Apple Music and Spotify have also tapped into Black History Month, as both streaming platforms created playlists dedicated to Black musicians. Apple created “superroom” which was dedicated to black British artists across all music genres. Spotify’s ‘Black History is now’, celebrated black kings and queens of the past and those making new waves within the music industry, through a series of playlists. The streaming platform has also created a list of black-owned podcasts with the tagline, “black voices you must hear”.

At a time where consumers are supporting brands who vocalise and celebrate diversity and equality, Black History Month is another great opportunity for brands to show they too champion a diverse workforce and consumer base and celebrate their contributions. With few brands really dominating this space, is there an opportunity to authentically champion black British excellence? We believe so.

 

https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/nike-black-history-month-uk-jersey/

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/brands-agencies-celebrate-black-history-month-2019/1661425

Lightbox Loves: the saviour of the high street?

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Pop-up shops are having a moment. From M&S’s September menswear outlet “Mike and Tom”, to Banksy’s permanently closed ‘Gross Domestic Product’ store, these shops have quite literally popped up all over the UK this summer, and they show no sign of disappearing as we approach the gifting season. Could short-term stores be the long-term saviour of the high street?

PwC reported that an average of sixteen high street stores closed a day at the start of the year as people shop online more. However, these temporary shops have become a fixture of the evolving retail ecosystem. Both offline and online brands are utilising them to provide engaging ways of shopping that they wouldn’t be able to offer otherwise. As a result, the pop-up industry in the UK is now worth over £2.3bn.

Whilst online provides convenience, these brick and mortar stores offer something more: an experience. Compared with traditional stores, the temporary nature of the ‘pop-up’ approach means there’s no room for a ‘slow-burn’ in this space – brands have a limited time frame within which to attract and convert consumers. Additionally, pop-ups not only allow brands to test out products and gather insights on their consumers, but they offer quirky interactive spaces in which businesses can generate organic social media buzz.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, it is frequently online brands moving offline; both Facebook and Amazon have set up pop-ups, proving the value of a physical store. This summer, fashion retailer Zalando also opened a virtual pop-up store in Madrid, which featured no actual clothes but allowed customers to try on outfits using projection technology, whilst marketplace app Depop launched a physical space in London’s Selfridges. Pop-up shop partnerships can clearly be used to drive a younger audience through the doors of more established stores.

Now that summer is over, Christmas is just around the corner! With festive markets a kind of forerunner to the phenomenon, pop-ups during this period are nothing new. However as the high street competes with online competitors for consumers’ business, pop-up shops offer the perfect way for retailers to think creatively. John Lewis for instance have recently opened a number of in-shop pop-ups with a gifting focus, including a KitKat Chocolatory and Quality Street Pick ‘n Mix bar.

We can expect to see many more pop-ups spring up over the next few months, as retailers endeavour to appeal to consumers searching for exclusive personalised gifts. Beyond revenue, when done right, these shops create social value in the form of online engagement as consumers seek to gain a ‘grammable experience!

 

https://ee.co.uk/content/dam/everything-everywhere/documents/Pop-Up%20Economy%202015.pdf[https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/store-closures-hit-record-levels.html

http://elitebusinessmagazine.co.uk/sales-marketing/item/what-s-the-sudden-obsession-with-pop-up-stores-and-can-they-save-the-high-street

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregpetro/2019/08/02/clicks-to-bricks-experiences-and-pop-ups-transforming-doomed-shopping-centers-into-high-traffic-hubs/#350d4f9019e2

Lightbox Loves: Reuse over Recycle

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Ever since the Blue Planet finale exposed the impact of plastic waste on the oceans, single
use
plastic has been in the spotlight. In May, the government announced that plastic straws, cotton
buds and stirrers will be banned from next April – a move backed by 82% of Brits (YouGov). Such
support has forced mainstream brands to revaluate what changes they can make.

This week, Unilever announced plans to slash the staggering 700,000 tonnes of new plastic used
across their brands globally. Last month, Burger King vowed to stop giving away promotional
plastic toys. Taking a swipe at their giant rival’s Happy Meals, they also agreed to in store
collections of old plastic tat. They plan to melt this into other useful items, such as trays for their
restaurants. In response, McDonalds announced they will let customers choose between fruit and
books and the original toys.

With so much scrutiny given to the lifespan of disposable items, the next logical step is to remove
single use packaging altogether. In the UK we have seen a huge uptake in reusable on the go
coffee cups and water bottles, and we are now seeing this filter into a reuse first shopping
experience too.

Waitrose, for one, has trialled a refillable store concept –“Unpacked”. There are now four
“Unpacked” stores, all with an area dedicated to food refilling stations. Not only do these remove
the need for packaging, they also help reduce food waste, as shoppers can control portion sizes.
Currently, however, the section includes only one brand – detergent brand Ecover – with the rest of
the zone feeling more like a brand-free greengrocer.

Boots’ new flagship store also hosts a refillable station, this time from socially and environmentally
conscious brand the Beauty Kitchen. Rather than opting for pre packaged shampoo, conditioner
and body wash, shoppers can use Beauty Kitchen’s refillable products.

Whilst mass-market companies are waking up to the importance of recyclable packaging, eco
conscious brands are one step ahead, and on a mission to remove the need to recycle altogether.
Other brands may wish to adopt a similar outlook, or otherwise risk being left behind as consumers
become more knowledgeable about the undesirable environmental effect of unsustainable
production.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business 49738889

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/08/waitrose unpacked is packaging free food budget friendly/

https://beautykitchen.co.uk/blogs/news/beauty kitchen refill station boots covent garden