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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trend team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world.

Smashing Stereotypes, UK

Trends - Toy

UK toyshop Smyths Toys has released an advert that shows a cartoon boy who is imagining what he would do if transformed into a toy for a day. The advert shows Oscar flying through space as a space rocket, accompanying Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon and then wearing a pink dress and waving to royal subjects from a castle.

“A number of brands across the globe are attempting to quash the traditional gender stereotypes that inform a lot of products targeted at kids. The fact that this portrayal is included in the ad alongside other imagined scenarios, rather than being highlighted on its own, also shows how the company regards this as not a big deal. Brands need to recognise this shift and keep it in mind when creating products and services for children. Grouping items by interest, rather than sex, may be one way to acknowledge this new reality while still making navigation of stores and websites manageable.”

Catherine Cottney – Manager of Trends, Europe

The Golden ARches, Australia

Trends - Macca's

McDonald’s Australia has incorporated AR into the Monopoly Game at Macca’s app, turning the promotion into a mobile gaming experience that converges the digital and physical.

“Consumers are increasingly looking to play and interact in immersive environments, and AR and VR technology is allowing brands to connect with said consumers in new ways. AR mechanics can not only make campaigns more novel and playful, they can also reward consumers for their attention, offering customers an incentive for spending time with promotions they might otherwise ignore.”

Delon Wang – Manager of Trends, Asia Pacific

Lights, Camera, Emoji, China

Trends tuzki

An emoji rabbit popular on WeChat in China is to be made the star of a new film.

“WeChat has emerged as one of China’s most popular social networks. The influence of emojis and other pictorial representations is only likely to increase further in the coming years as the way people communicate changes. This shift will likely be accelerated as emojis become cultural reference points, infiltrating our televisions, films, and conversations. Tuzki is not the only emoji to have taken the leap to the big screen, with Sony Pictures Animation recently announcing that it is developing an emoji movie in the US. This will make them an even more powerful tool for communicating with consumers, particularly for brands targeting younger generations.”

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

No Delivery Discount, Germany

Close-up of homemade burger

99meals – currently operating in Berlin – rather than focusing on delivery, focuses instead on offering customers a discount if they pick their meal up from the restaurant.

“On demand is becoming the norm for delivery, particularly in the foodservice industry. However, some brands might be looking at the on-demand economy and worrying that they simply cannot offer their customers delivery that is deemed quick enough. But with the launch of companies like 99meals there is hope that customers can be swayed by some things other than immediacy. Brands that feel left out of the on-demand economy could well take inspiration from 99meals and offer discounts in exchange for customers not expecting them to deliver goods and services instantly.”

Alex Strang – Trends Analyst, Europe

Vending Coolture, Brazil

trends - santander

In São Paulo, Santander Bank is transforming bus shelters into charging stations, Wi-Fi hotspots, poetry corners and karaoke bars.

“These are challenging times for players within financial services. According to Mintel’s report Brazilian Lifestyles 2016: Adapting to the New Normal – Brazil, 2016, 20% of Brazilian consumers say their financial situation is tight. Banco Santander has been able to take consumers out of their comfort zones and worries to show them around São Paulo, introducing them to new areas, concepts and people. Brands looking to interrupt and engage with hyper-connected urban dwellers will do well to take inspiration from these new ways of grabbing people’s attention and offer something (in)tangible in return.”

Graciana Mendez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Virtual Surgery, US

Trends Level Ex





Level EX has launched the first virtual surgery mobile application that serves as an immersive way for physicians and doctors to master their surgical skills in a safe and realistic setting.

“Advancements in tech have given brands an opportunity to create immersive resources and experiences. Immersive and unique interactions give brands an opportunity to connect with customers at a deeper level. Thus, brands that explore how to leverage this type of engagement and successfully incorporate it are more likely to potentially cultivate deeper customer relationships that can lead to meaningful engagement.”

Iliana Alvarenga – Trends Analyst, North America

Paper Still Popular, US









According to a new Pew Research study, a large majority of American consumers still read printed paper books.

“Amid growing dependence on connectivity and the convenience afforded by smartphones and wireless accessibility to the internet, many consumers still make use of physical periodicals. Books are enjoying sustained interest from consumers as well. In London, Swipe is a free news and lifestyle magazine that bills itself as “the best of the Internet in print,” and children’s author Judy Blume has opened an independent bookstore amid a boom of success for booksellers in the US. Even though many consumers turn to paperless, digital alternatives, brands will do well to avoid transferring all communication to virtual channels, especially where and when people may respond more to in-person, tangible resources.”

Carli Gernot – Manager of Trends, North America