Clemenger BBDO Australia @ SXSW Day 1 and Day 2: Predicting the future, the latest in sports VR and China's cashless vision

Clemenger BBDO Australia_SXSW 2018-WEB.jpgClemenger Group Australia and New Zealand has sent a cross-disciplined crack-team to SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas. Together, they're bringing daily updates for Campaign Brief readers, featuring only the very best of the conference.

The Anatomy of a Trend

When Carla Buzsai started off by saying "Anna Wintour knows nothing about trends", the whole room was hooked. But, considering she's the founding editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK and now Managing Director of WGSN, a leading trend forecasting company - she can back it up.

Carla discussed how WGSN discovers and defines upcoming trends - the laborious global research (largely ethnographic) that they all bring together, put on post-its, reshape, interrogate and reform again and again and again.
That's all well and good, but a few of us were left wondering if this benefited us at all. The "a-ha" moment was when she started talking about the imminent ripple effect trends have on products, people, experience and marketing. For example, data says more women will shift to wearing high heels. Obviously, this will affect the manufacturers of shoes, but what materials will be demanded? Will the length of pants change? Will there be a higher demand for podiatrists?

Very quickly you begin to see how these global trends, and the ripples they create, bring about opportunity for marketers, if used correctly. So, I know what you're thinking: what's hot for 2019?

Apparently, expect to see the emergence of mirrors that double as health assistants, matte black homewares, mint green fashion, vegan-friendly materials, vegetarian meat and hiking is the new Yoga.

Who would've thought?

VR-football.jpgVR in the Sports Industry

I know right... SXSW. VR, AR, Drones, Bots, A.I. - all the buzzwords and tech hype! But it just so happens that the most interesting session today was about exactly that: VR in the Sports Industry. However, it was refreshingly different.

Rather than just giving up a spiel about how shit-hot VR is (when we all know the adoption-rates are low, there's scaling issues and the headsets haven't quite met expectations yet), Derek Belch, the founder of STRIVR chatted about how they use VR to train NFL Quarterbacks. By simulating plays in VR, quarterbacks can read defensive lines and identify play opportunities and threats--like blitzes--off the field.

Vocational training is a growing subset of the VR industry, with brands like Walmart using it to induct employees into the store environment without disrupting the day-to-day.

Sports may be one of the spaces we see true adoption of the technology. Maybe then it'll filter into general society.

ShAdow-of-design.jpgThe Shadow Side of Human Centered Design

The practice of human-centered design is something that, when done perfectly, we shouldn't feel at all. That's all well and nice, but humans are flawed and things are shit sometimes.

So, speaker Melis Senova challenged the weary-eyed early-morning audience to better their design practice, by thinking darker. Her talk was about the other side of design. The side where governments don't govern that well, or relief aid isn't distributed that well, or life isn't peachy 24/7.

And it's only when you understand and embrace all the potential evils--from the failures to the ways your design could be misappropriated--that you'll be able to design a true solution.

Senova's presentation culminated in a very poignant statement: if we keep designing through rose-tinted glasses, we're only designing for half of the human experience.

It may be bleak, but she's got a point.

PP97082.pngWhy Ethereum Will Change the World

This interview-style chat with Joseph Lubin was a hot-topic session. Mainly because he helped create blockchain. And, from that, Ethereum.

But rather than adding to the long list of "future of cryptocurrency blah blah blah" presentations, Lubin opted to showcase the good and described his ambition for these world-shifting ideas: the next phase of the internet.
The packed room listened to Lubin describe a world of shared collaborative infrastructure. A world where online communities are formed around shared interests - like curing a disease. A decentralized, global network where no-one profits more than others.

In this next phase, makers share their wares with fans directly. Plus, anyone with unused hard drive space could rent it out. For payment they'd get tokens redeemable for online services. Like a trade-economy carnival game, where the prizes are anything from Amazon vouchers to the Adobe suite.

The reinvention of stores: Innovate to survive
Physical retail is not dying. Boring retail is. So says Emily Wengert, Group VP User Experience at Huge.
Simply doing what's expected isn't enough anymore. In her talk, Wengert argues that in-store tech has the power to enhance the retail experience by addressing retail's worst traits - long queues, poorly trained staff, challenges of finding things. All the while,supporting the best ones - the community, discovery and tactility.

With the world of tech at our fingertips, to reinvent the store environment, brands need to be a part of the experience economy. Providing a memorable, unexpected and "just for me" experience for loyal and new customers alike.
Whether it's a boutiques or adepartment store, brick and mortar isn't going anywhere. But in order to survive, it's going to have to transform. A lot.
Designing cashless cities
"Chinese design and tech principles and practices are leading the world, but are often overlooked."
Opening with this quote from John Maeda's 2018 Design in Technology Report, Shanying Leung used his session to showcase how payments in China have rapidly evolved - even beyond phones.
Thanks to his work on AliPay-- China's main mobile payments platform of >500 million users--you can navigate the public transport system without a wallet, using biometric voice security and facial recognition for purchase.
He also scoffed at the western view that the QR code is dead when AliPay is enabling peer-to-peer payments via personal QR codes.
Australia and New Zealand has high rates of contactless payments, sure. But it seems like, if you really want to see what the future has in store, look to China.
VR for empathy training in trauma
"See one, do one, teach one." That's the current approach to learning emergency trauma surgery; diving into the deep end. But when that deep end is life and death, it's no wonder  40% of trauma surgeons have PTSD.
In Amanda Sammann's undeniably passionate presentation, she argues that "pre-exposure" through VR is our best weapon against burnouts, mental breakdowns and panicked decision making in trauma wards.
By quite literally putting you in someone else's shoes, VR could help surgeons be more empathetic toward their patients, coworkers and even themselves - from first response all the way through to rehab.
Sammanns states "this isn't just cool tech, it's human lives". As advertisers, we often flippantly mention that we're, in fact, not saving lives. But what if we could help?

Death and legacy in the digital age
The digital afterlife is not talked about a lot. But Rebecca Blum, Senior Strategist at frogSF, certainly got us thinking.
Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 11.12.00 am.jpgMaybe it's slightly morbid, or maybe tech has advanced so quickly we haven't had the chance to think about it, but we've had a glimpse in to the future through the likes ofBlack Mirror, Minority Report, Westworld etc., and we know that the tech is catching up to those views of the future. But how much of it is already here?
Well, we're creepily close.
In early 2016, Eugenia Kuyda created "Roman Bot" out of texts from her best friend so they could keep talking after her passing. And last year the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Centre revealed the interactive 3D hologram of survivor Adina Sella. That's only two examples.
With 428 Facebook users dying every hour, what should be the fate of our social accounts? Our emails, texts and voicemails? Should we give someone our password? Cancel the accounts? Curate them? Or immortalise our digital selves?
There's a lot of questions that need to be answered.
A conversational future: Making technology adapt to us

We're (obviously) at an exciting point in the UX field. With a shift from flat interfaces to gestures and voice, the way we interact with tech is changing.
Both Laura Granka (Experience Research) and Hector Ouilhet (Design) have been at Google for over 10 years, and are currently leading their respective disciplines for Google Search. They presented on the relationship between people and technology and how it evolves and expands--or disappears--over time.
For Google, this new era of UX begins with a shift in focus from promoting "features" (i.e. maps) to journeys. Journey-based UX means that predictive technology will be able to pre-empt customers' questions and deliver real-world solutions - all in real-time.
This shift for Google, and the UX discipline, elevates products, services and utilities to a higher order - helping people solve problems before they even pop up.
As marketers it means a whole new world of adaptable messaging for the individual. One where we may even be able to predict their next interaction. Kinda cool and an opportunity for us to be highly contextual and highly creative.

Daily SXSW 2018 highlights are brought to you by, Sabrina Riedel, Emma Tait, Brendan (Bob) Forster, Fraser (Franklin) Nelson, and Ben Kidney, pictured above.

Leave a comment

About Campaign Brief Asia

A blog for advertising creatives in Asia. To pass on news or advertise on the CB Asia blog, or to subscribe to Campaign Brief Asia or Campaign Brief Australia/NZ magazines, or The Work 09 Annual, email: Kim or Michael

Latest jobs

Retrieving latest jobs

House rules for commenting

Here are the ground rules for posting comments on stories: This site is a moderated blog. Comments that are seen to be more abusive than witty and/or constructive will not be posted. Obviously, we do not allow 'hate speech' or comments that are seen as a personal attack, defamatory, degrading or prejudicial to an individual or company. Overly abusive language also adds nothing to any discussion and will not be published. On occasions we will be asking people to contribute work, opinions and views on various topics - you are free to disagree, so long as you observe the above rules and remain constructive.