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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From beer-repellent sneakers to a DNA kit that determines your taste for Marmite, find out what’s been happening this month across the globe.

Sick Sneakers – Germany

In the run-up to this year’s Oktoberfest, adidas Originals has released limited edition shoes made from leather and premium materials with a colourway inspired by Bavarian leather trousers. Most significantly, the shoes come with a special DPBR (durable puke & beer repellent) coating, guarding a festival-goer’s feet from inevitable spills.

“We’ve seen a number of brands launch tongue-in-cheek products that help keep consumers protected in particular situations. For example, Domino’s has released pizza-proof pyjamas in the UK, while Tabasco and Urbanology have teamed up to create a “beard-pinny” that will protect the wearer’s beard when they’re barbecuing. In the clothing and footwear markets, brands that look for innovations in fabrics can bring consumers peace of mind and put an end to worries about staining or damage. Tying such innovation to an event – like adidas has done with Oktoberfest – can give a product context and generate even more buzz.”



Adam Steel, Trends Analyst, EMEA

What it feels like – US

US migraine relief Excedrin has launched a virtual reality campaign called “Excedrin Works” to show consumers what having a migraine is like. Two advertisements share real-life stories of those who suffer from migraines at work. The brand developed this concept after learning from migraine sufferers that they often feel misunderstood and alone when trying to explain the emotional and physical impact of their condition to others.

“As more consumers are compelled to explore VR and AR experiences, brands have an opportunity to entertain them by providing interactive and immersive learning. Virtual reality can help consumers better understand a brand and its mission, and there are many ways to take advantage of this highly engaging technology. According to Mintel’s report Digital Trends Fall US 2016, 36% of US consumers say that they’re interested in virtual reality headsets”


Iliana Alvarenga – Trends Analyst, North America

Love it or hate it – UK

The Marmite Gene Project will see Marmite conduct clinical trials in partnership with DNAFit, the genetic testing centre, to determine whether loving or hating Marmite is based on people’s genes. In order to take part, people can buy DNA kits on the Marmite website, and download the TasteFace facial recognition app, which tracks facial expressions when consuming the spread.

“Marmite’s TasteFace app taps into the growing interest in facial recognition technology that can read a user’s reaction, record it and learn from it. Meanwhile, thanks to recent breakthroughs, genetic testing has become much more accessible to the average consumer. Brands that can find simple ways to analyse genetic indicators or micro-expressions to help sift through the options available will appeal to those who feel overwhelmed by choice and pressed for time to consciously choose what they want to eat, drink or buy.”


Catherine Cottney – Manager of Trends, EMEA

Water incubator – Brazil

AmBev’s new water brand AMA will soon be investing in the development of start-ups which can find creative solutions to water-based challenges. From October 2017 to January 2018, selected entrepreneurs will receive mentorship from specialised professionals. At the end of the program, the winning start-ups will receive the necessary funding to bring their business plan to life. On top of that, 100% of AMA’s profits are used to fund local projects to improve access to safe drinking water.

“According to Mintel’s report Marketing to Millennials Brazil 2017, one third of consumers say they prefer to buy from brands that are involved with social causes. AMA’s new campaign is raising the bar high: not only is it tapping into the great challenge of improving drinking water infrastructure in a country where it should not be a concern, but with the new accelerator program it is also tapping into growing levels of entrepreneurship. In the digital era, where the development and accessibility of tech allows people to easily test, share and bring their ideas to reality, it has become crucial for all major companies to not just support this start-up culture, but to make it a central part of their core values.


Graciana Méndez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Music Bottles – China

Nongfu Spring and NetEase Cloud Music have teamed up to launch a limited edition bottle, featuring a label with an inspiring user-generated song comment and a QR code for smartphones that takes consumers to outer space using augmented reality. According to Mintel’s report Bottled Water China 2017, the value of the country’s bottled water market has seen an overall upward trend and will continue to grow.

“This growth in China’s bottled water market is due to the premiumization trend, with Chinese consumers demanding better quality water and strong sensory appeal. Nongfu Spring’s campaign aims to bring consumers a more interesting consumption experience via its packaging. As most urban consumers live a fast-paced lifestyle, they are starting to value brands that enable them to take a moment off from their busy schedules and just relax. This joint effort from Nongfu Spring and NetEase Cloud Music uses the combination of music and augmented reality to immerse consumers in a different world.”


Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Public Goods – US

Public Goods is a company whose mission is to make natural household and personal care products affordable for more consumers. It is charging a monthly or yearly membership fee to shoppers, who then get access to the products at factory cost.

“It’s not news that consumers are on the hunt for bargains and discounts, but we’re increasingly seeing shoppers seek out natural products in addition to looking for affordability. Indeed, according to Mintel’s report The Natural Consumer US 2017, around one third of consumers say making a positive impact on the earth is what motivates them to live a more natural lifestyle. As a result, we’re seeing more companies develop natural lines and tools that help consumers understand why products are worthy of the “natural” label. For brands looking to appeal to consumers focused on natural products as well as their budgets, transparency and value remain key factors in purchasing decisions. Clear labeling and honest marketing can be as valuable as low price, but price remains important to many consumers as well.”

Public goods

Carli Gernot – Manager of Trends, North America