At The WXO, we want to connect the dots across the Experience Economy and across the globe – so each week, we’ll be bringing you our round-up of the experiential stories that we think reveal something interesting, relevant or transferrable about the Experience Economy.
Welcome to Experience Radar 38, where we’re rocking the 128-carat Tiffany diamond in London, fighting off toxicity with hairdryers in Sunsilk City, and living as a non-playable character inside Train Sim World.
1. Harnessing The Power Of One
News reaches from India that a 24-year-old woman is planning on marrying herself in the country’s first case of sologamy. While walking down the aisle to tie the knot with yourself is unusual, it highlights the growing global focus on self-care, as we wake up to the fact that we can’t help anyone else if we don’t help ourselves first. According to Wunderman Thompson, a new solo-lens for self-betterment and wellness is shifting the way people operate in relationships.
Couples are taking relationship gap years to prioritise self-discovery and growth, while sologamists are creating a new template for relational wellbeing, having realised that the way we relate to others is determined by the way we relate to ourselves. Brands are keen to tap into this thirst for self-discovery. In May, Gucci launched a ring with wellness tech company Oura that offers a “time-loop storyline” of the wearer’s daily routine, highlighting how they can maximize their day with the ring and app’s guidance.
2. Tiffany’s Gets The Immersive Treatment
Tiffany & Co, which will forever evoke the image of Audrey Hepburn dressed in a Givenchy gown and black gloves scoffing a croissant while ogling the jeweller’s window display on Fifth Avenue, is marking its 185th anniversary with an immersive exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery recounting its rich history. Dubbed ‘Vision and Virtuosity’, the exhibition features everything from archival jewellery designs and Tiffany’s famed window displays to AR experiences. There’s even a room dedicated to the 1961 film featuring a highly Instagrammable New York taxi bursting through the wall.
As reported by Fashion United, the experience takes visitors on a journey through jewels, craftsmanship and creativity, and features over 400 objects from the brand’s archives, including the recently acquired Empire Diamond, which weighs in at over 80 carats. The exhibition showstopper is the legendary 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, which has only been worn publicly by Hepburn, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and socialite Mary Whitehouse. Visitors get a chance to virtually adorn themselves in the giant yellow diamond through the power of AR technology.
3. Sunsilk Launches Virtual City For Girls
Keen to encourage more young female gamers to explore the metaverse, British hair care brand Sunsilk has rolled out an immersive metaverse experience called Sunsilk City on gaming platform Roblox. As reported by The Drum, Sunsilk City is the brainchild of creative metaverse agency Karta and Roforco, and features Mexico-based bio-pharmaceutical chemist and gamer Jessica Lakshmi as a real-life role model, who features as an avatar and acts as the in-game host.
Sunsilk City’s Sidewalk Superstars mini-game encourages players to prioritise education over chores, while the Blow Them Away mini-game lets players fight off toxic phrases used to put women down with a virtual hair dryer. The House of Hair mini-game, meanwhile, aims to encourage creativity and artistic expression for players and improve representation on the platform. The aim of the virtual city, which made its debut in Mexico, is to inspire girls to enter the male-dominated worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
4. Saudi Arabian Desert To Become Art Hub
In a bold bid to become an international art hub, Saudi Arabia is inviting big name artists, including light and space specialist James Turrell and land-art pioneer Michael Heizer, to permanently install monumental pieces in its northwestern desert over the next few years. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the 25-square-mile area in AlUla has been dubbed Wadi AlFann, meaning Valley of the Arts, and will include everything from a mirrored installation that mimics a mirage to a labyrinth town made from adobe walls.
The art valley is part of a multi-billion-dollar nationwide push by Saudi Arabia to transform itself into a cultural hub and tempting tourist destination. “I have shown in Moscow, Shanghai and Beijing – places where I doubt I could show today. It is possible for art to bridge large cultural gaps,” Turrell told the WSJ. For Wadi AlFann, Turrell is due to create a quartet of ‘Skyspaces’, including one people encounter after walking through a tunnel in the mountainside.
5. The Future Of Ultra-Long-Haul Travel
With attention spans decreasing by the day, aircraft carriers are keen to get us to our final destinations in record time, ushering in an era of ultra-long-haul travel. Air New Zealand was early on the trend, and has been beavering away for the last five years on ultra-long haul cabins set to rival Qantas’s Project Sunrise. The airline will launch its first direct flights to New York in September, with a flight time of 17.5 hours.
Set to launch in 2024, the new Economy cabins boast the world’s first sleep pods in the sky. Dubbed Skynest, they feature six beds that can be rented during the flight, allowing passengers to sleep for a portion of their journey at the fraction of the cost of a business class ticket. Economy Stretch seats feature additional legroom, allowing tall travellers more space to stretch out. The regular business class seats, meanwhile, feature privacy screens and wireless phone charging.
6. Pringles Lets You Live In A Video Game
Ever wondered what it might feel like to live in a video game? Crisp maker Pringles is giving one winner the chance to become a non-playable character (NPC) in Train Sim World – a train simulation game available with Xbox Game Pass. As reported by Ad Week, the brand has launched a competition to find its NPC, who will be paid £20k for the privilege of living within the game. Their mission inside the game is slightly tedious – they’ll be tasked with re-stocking the vending machines in Train Sim World with fresh tubes of Pringles.
The campaign is the brainchild of ad agency Grey London. Having held interviews for the position, Pringles is set to pick its winner from a shortlist of 50, whose likeness will be virtually reproduced and 3D modelled to appear in Train Sim World this autumn. “Who wouldn’t want to become an NPC? Everyone talks about robots taking our work, but now we have the chance to take theirs,” Grey London global group creative directors Aaron McGurk and Chris Lapham said. “The gaming world has opened up doors that only existed in our dreams.”
7. Brands Eye Up Creative Gen Alpha
Generation Alpha – those born in or after 2010 – are shaping up to be the most creative generation yet, and big brands are taking notice. As reported by Wunderman Thompson, gen Alpha consumers are setting a new pace for brands, and have been busy creating their own toys with the help of 3D printers made by Toybox that hit the market in June. Alpha kids have become co-creators of their childhoods, able to make bespoke figurines of their favourite cartoon and DC comic characters in a range of colours from biodegradable material.
Also making waves among generation Alpha is the BusyKid app, which gives children the chance to use money made from parent-approved chores to buy shares in companies like Apple, Disney and Nintendo. To encourage them to save, parents can match their child’s investment up to 100%. Nike is also keen for a slice of Alpha action. “The way most companies look at consumers is ‘well, who’s got disposable income?’ We don’t look at it that way. We look at, who is setting the agenda? Who is the future?” Nike’s CEO, John Donahoe, told Vogue Business.