Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From pet parenting starter kits and chatbot docents to a machine that turns beer bottles into beaches, find out what’s been happening this month across the globe.

Coffee egg, Ireland

The Cork coffee shop Union Grind is serving its coffees in chocolate eggs: a milk chocolate egg shell is placed in a mug, then a double espresso shot is poured in followed by steamed milk. As the chocolate melts, the latte turns into a mocha. The coffee shop was planning to sell its “mocha” concoction only until Easter Sunday (for €4.50), but ended up extending the availability due to popular consumer demand.

“Incorporating seasonal chocolates into the coffee-making process turns an everyday habit into a novelty experience, something that is sure to appeal to chocolate and coffee lovers alike. According to Mintel’s report Chocolate Confectionery Ireland 2016, just 6% of Irish consumers say they haven’t eaten any chocolate in the previous three months. Brands that can inject a sense of playfulness and interaction into otherwise prosaic foodstuffs such as coffee – or even daily activities such as commuting – will capture the attention of stressed and bored consumers, encourage them to part with their money and stand out from the competition.”

Capture

Catherine Cottney – Manager of Trends, EMEA

Talking Art, Argentina

Buenos Aires’ Museum of Modern Art (MAMBA) is using chatbots to give modern art a voice and personality. The new initiative ‘Dialogue with the Artwork’ aims at using technology to help people interact with art pieces and learn more about them.

“With high rates of smartphone penetration, chatbots and messaging apps are gaining momentum across markets as they bring a more playful touch to customer service. Because chatbots are here to stay and can be seen as quite anonymous, brands would do well to make sure their own artificially intelligent creations can capture people’s imagination. After all, much of the current chatting tech is still missing something important: personality; and not just efficiency and politeness.

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Graciana Méndez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Takeout Delivered by Robots, US

The food delivery service Postmates is testing its first fleet of 20 delivery robots in Washington DC. Upon receiving a user’s request, the robot is dispatched from one of the hubs and sent to the vendor location. Then, the vendor can place the ordered goods in a temperature-controlled bag in the bot’s compartment, which can only be unlocked with a code that is sent to the customer. Postmates hopes to decrease delivery costs and aims to expand its robot use if this beta-test goes well.

“Robot and drone technology are likely to become more mainstream: delivery services for food and other categories are appealing to consumers, especially those who are looking for ways to maximize their productivity through time-saving shortcuts, resources and tools. Thus, brands that can identify ways to leverage new technologies will likely be able to offer expedited delivery times, while also ensuring that the quality of their products remains high, which can, ultimately, boost customer satisfaction.”

Iliana Alvarenga – Trends Analyst, North America

Sporty Grandpa, China

Reebok China has appointed an 80-year-old actor known as “the country’s hottest grandpa” to be its new brand ambassador. Wang Deshun, who became an overnight sensation after he walked down a runway shirtless at Beijing’s Fashion Week in 2015, stars in the brand’s latest video campaign “Be More Human”. According to Reebok, Wang only seriously got into fitness at the age of 70, and is, therefore, a perfect example to help reshape China’s views on aging and prove that people are never too old to pursue their goals.

“Reebok’s ad campaign with Wang could potentially attract both young and older target audiences. While Millennials will be attracted to the ad for being significantly different from all other sport brands that mainly feature athletes and celebrities, senior consumers could pay attention to it because they would like to live as healthily as Wang. As senior consumers continue to work beyond retirement age, their spending power will likely increase. In China, senior consumers’ spending behavior is highly future-oriented and children-centric, and brands and companies that are targeting this audience should therefore create communication that is focused on these issues.”

reebok

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Bottles to Dust, New Zealand

With the slogan “Drink Beer, Save the Environment”, New Zealand’s DB Breweries is helping to combat a global sand shortage by launching a fleet of machines set up in the country’s bars and restaurants that crush beer bottles into a powder substitute.

“Waste from non-biodegradable packaging is a plague on the environment, damaging beaches, marine life and biodiversity. However, consumers are becoming more aware of the contribution they can offer the environment, and are galvanising businesses to embark on more sustainable practices. We’re seeing brands around the world carrying out initiatives that can actually benefit the environment. This focus, coupled with initiatives that can make a long-lasting impact on our surroundings, can give brands a positive edge over others that simply mouth words without any real action.”

Delon Wang – Manager of Trends – Asia Pacific

Pet Bundle, US

Amazon’s Beginner Pet Bundle is a service created to help new pet owners find what they need according to highly rated suggested products. The bundle’s landing page features a checklist with suggestions for essential categories including beds, collars and leashes, food, grooming supplies, kennels, and toys recommended by other customers.

“This Amazon service taps into a consumer need to narrow down the vast array of options available to them. Services that not only appeal to consumers’ specific requirements, but do so in a way that reduces the number of choices they need to wade through, are likely to attract consumers’ attention and solidify satisfaction.

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Carli Gernot Manager of Trends, North America

Automotive Market

Our international team of automotive market experts tracks the industry day in, day out: the trends, the innovations, changes in consumer preference and spending habits.

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