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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From Ikea’s in-store pyjama parties to clothes embellished with human sweat crystals, find out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.

We Have to Spend More Time Together – France, Spain

The latest campaign from Spanish liquor Ruavieja uses an emotional video to show just how little time we spend with each other. The four-minute film – We Have to Spend More Time Together – follows relatives’ and friends’ reactions to learning how much time they will spend together before they die. It is based on a simple algorithm that uses their current level of engagement. The campaign hopes to prompt people to spend more time with loved ones.

Technology has created impressive levels of connectivity but it’s also making many feel disconnected from the real world, lonely and socially isolated. Ruavieja is highlighting this issue and using it to create an emotional connection with consumers, positioning itself as a brand that can bring people together. And we will see more brands focusing on the social value of sharing to move beyond being just a product to consumers.

Julie Gable, Trends Analyst, EMEA

Sweaty Clothes – UK

London designer Alice Potts has been experimenting with human sweat, having found a way to crystallise it and use it as a decorative feature on clothes. Bringing science and fashion together, she collects the sweat from athletes’ clothes and bodies; this is then reapplied to the garment and left to crystallise. She is also working with a personal trainer to research how different foods affect the amount of sweat produced, according to Wired.

The focus on the environmental impact of fashion is growing. Consumers are rethinking their purchasing choices across all sectors in a bid to be more ethical and eco-friendly. Although the process of using human sweat for clothing is in its infancy, this research does highlight its potential. Another relevant example is German high-end footwear brand nat-2, which has created new sustainable, vegan sneakers made from plant-based mushroom leather and recycled plastic water bottles.

Credit: Alice Potts

Helen Fricker – Trends Manager, EMEA

IKEA PJ party – Canada

IKEA branches across Canada hosted sleepover events at their stores to showcase the company’s wide range of sleep products. The 11 events, which welcomed 100-200 people per event, allowed people to not only spend the night at an IKEA but also take part in yoga, meditation and personal consultations from sleep experts.

More brands are finding innovative ways to enter the wellness space, and sleep has become a huge area of focus. Beyond being an experiential event, IKEA’s PJ party also brings attention to the fact that sleep requires the same attention people put toward their fitness and diet. Similar to physical health, technology is playing a big role in the sleep space, through tracking and even brainwave monitoring, but IKEA is bringing attention to more traditional elements of sleep quality, such as the quality of your bedding and how a room is designed.

Diana Kelter – Senior Trends Analyst, US

Pixar’s first ever Filipino character – Worldwide

Disney Pixar will debut its first ever Filipino CGI characters in the short film Float. The animated short will be written and directed by Filipino-American story artist Bobby Rubio, who has also worked on other animated films such as Tarzan and Up. It will be a part of Pixar’s SparkShorts, an experimental storytelling initiative that invites new creative voices at Pixar to share their stories.

There is most definitely a lack of Filipino representation on screen. Of late, Hollywood has had a string of successful movies (think Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians and Coco) whose nearly all-Black, all-Asian and all-Latino casts respectively have injected a strong sense of pride in audiences who have been traditionally under-represented in mainstream media. More people are yearning to see themselves being represented in the media, and whether it’s their ethnicity, sexual identities or gender, the film and media industries are expected to become more inclusive.

Melanie Nambiar, Southeast Asia Trends Analyst

Drone food – Brazil

Delivery app iFood is trialing food delivery with drones as well as electric bikes and scooters. It has so far delivered food via drone to people in a carnival parade in São Paulo and will soon test it in commercial and residential buildings, as reported by Reuters.

Technology is offering consumers instant ordering and delivery services via apps and online platforms. As this increases, so too does the amount of traffic on the roads. Drones seem to be an ideal tool for foodservice operators. These unmanned vehicles almost guarantee that customers will get their order on time while it’s still fresh and ready to eat. Although it is yet to be seen if drone-based deliveries will be rolled out on a large scale, as regulations are still very complicated and stringent.

Graciana Méndez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Minnieland – China

Disneyland Shanghai paid tribute to Minnie Mouse on International Women’s Day, changing the entrance sign with the Chinese character for the female mouse and adding a pink polka dot ribbon.

Nouns in many languages that are spoken around the world have genders. In French, wine and chocolate are masculine, while in Arabic, soup is feminine. Studies have shown that gendered conventions of language can influence how people think, and while many of us like to believe we live in a post-sexism world, our society is not yet free of gender stereotypes. In recent years, several brands have created marketing campaigns to raise awareness regarding the position of Chinese women in today’s society. As most of these campaigns are challenging traditional ideas of age, marriage and motherhood, Disneyland Shanghai’s take on grammatical genders could be a refreshing move to raise attention to gender inequality.

Credit: Campaign Asia

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific