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 39, where we’re gawping at Nasa’s live stream rocket launch in VR, creating action figures with our face on, and blissing out to good vibrations at a new immersive sound installation.
1. Heightening The Pleasure Of Leisure
Entertainment alchemists Bompas & Parr have released a report on the future of public leisure and the shape it’s likely to take in our post-pandemic world. In the report the pair describe time as “the new marker of luxury” and a precious commodity to be spent wisely. “In a world of shortcuts, visual chaos and ever shortening delivery services to allow for ultra convenience, time is becoming a luxury as we try to cram as much into our everyday lives as possible,” they say.
Among the trends highlighted in the report are ‘everlasting evolution’ in the arts and the shift towards a more decentralised approach to creativity, with audience involvement in the creation of product and content. They also predict a rise in underwater tourism and ‘ultra-personalised fun’ via bespoke smart glasses that can plant you within the film you’re watching. B&P also predict that children will soon be taking more of an active role in the creation of leisure activities, as adults seek to tap into and benefit from their limitless imaginations.
2. RTFKT Launches ‘Phygital’ Hoodie With Nike
RTFKT is set to make a splash in the digital fashion market with the launch of its first Nike-branded phygital garment available in both the physical and virtual worlds. As reported by Vogue Business, The RTFKT x Nike AR Genesis hoodie comes with a NFC chip and is trackable using AR, giving the wearer the option to add virtual wings and other add-ons to the garment. The hoodie is slated to cost around US$250 in Ethereum, and is available solely to holders of its 20,000-strong avatar collection, called CloneX, and owners of Cryptokicks.
With Nike, RTFKT is paving the way for what digital fashion play looks like when backed by a major heritage brand. “We haven’t seen a Web2 brand come in the Web3 space in an efficient way,” co-founder Steven Vasilev, told Vogue Business, adding that RTFKT is conscious of staying true to the fast-moving, quirky ethos that attracted its loyal community in the first place. The union gives Nike a competitive edge as rivals like Adidas push further into the metaverse. For creators in the digital fashion arena, it offers concrete proof that digital fashion isn’t just about marketing, but also making money.
3. How Warhol Won Over A Skeptical Soup Giant
Navigating IP issues is part and parcel of being an experience designer. Proving that fortune favours the bold, look no further than Pop artist Andy Warhol, who took a calculated risk when he unveiled a collection of 32 Campbell’s Soup can paintings 60 years ago at the Ferus Gallery in LA – one for each flavour in production – which ignited a decade-long hate-love relationship between Warhol and the firm. As reported by CNN, Campbell’s then CEO, William Beverly Murphy, was concerned about Warhol’s use of the firm’s trademarks and sent a lawyer to the gallery. A cease-and-desist order was considered.
Luckily for Warhol, Campbell’s chairman, John T. Dorrance, was an avid art collector and decided against legal action. Warhol’s growing profile gave Campbell’s free publicity and exposure, and the company sent the artist cases of tomato soup (his favourite) to his New York home as a thank you, commissioning Warhol to create an original Campbell’s Soup work for a retiring board member. By 1966 the partnership between Campbell’s and Warhol was official and Warhol remained brand loyal, featuring the soup cans in his screen prints throughout his career. Campbell’s continues to work with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and sponsored a Warhol exhibition at the Met.
4. Coke Offers VIP Experiences To Recyclers
In a bid to get more youngsters into recycling, Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments are offering a series of VIP experiences in exchange for empty plastic bottles. As reported by BlooLoop, visitors to Merlin’s attractions are in the running to win VIP experiences if they recycle a 500ml plastic bottle at one of the reverse vending machines at nine Merlin venues, including Alton Towers, Legoland, Thorpe Park and Chessington. Prizes include a shark dive at the Bear Grylls Adventure and a green sea turtle experience at Sea Life Manchester.
“Sustainability is core to our operations and we’re excited to partner with Coca-Cola Great Britain on this initiative,” Dare Ilori, Merlin’s group head of sustainability, told BlooLoop. “We are continuing to progress with our sustainability ambitions, including removing unnecessary packaging and plastic on all our branded merchandise,” Ilori added. “In our Sea Life attractions, we banned plastic straws and retail plastic bags in 2018. Since the launch of the initiative, Merlin has collected and recycled over 100,000 plastic bottles through 22 reverse vending machines.
5. Your Face Or Mine? Hasbro’s Selfie Series
Ever wondered what you might look like as an action figure, and whether you’d be able to hold your own in a lightsaber battle with Darth Vader? Toy maker Hasbro has made that dream possible via a collaboration with 3D-printer company Formlabs, allowing the company to create customised action figures at scale. As reported by Tech Crunch, the Hasbro Selfie Series allows fans to create six-inch action figures of themselves by scanning their face in the Hasbro Pulse app then customising their mini me’s hairstyle, clothes and accessories.
Fans can see their faces appear on GI Joe, Ghostbusters and Power Rangers action figures, alongside other film, TV and comic characters. The tech has been in the offing since 2014, when Hasbro started using Formlabs 3D printers to quickly prototype action figures. “Our work with Hasbro continues to evolve to be at the forefront of innovation,” Max Lobovsky, CEO of Formlabs, told Tech Crunch. “The Hasbro Selfie Series demonstrates that Formlabs enables end-product manufacturing at scale. I love making and personalising things I use and am excited to see how fans react to this new 3D printing-powered experience.”
6. Good Vibrations Lead To Transformations
Forging new ground in the arena of sound is Make Some Noise, which launched its first interactive installation at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin. Called The Hum, its aim is to transform the way people listen via a fully immersive sound experience. The installation is a 10-foot sculptural work with a cradle space where the user can relax and experience the transformative effect vibrations have on the body via vibro acoustic technologies. It features a bespoke soundscape journey via Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, curated by Mobius8 and Snow Raven.
“Our mission is to raise awareness about the impact of sound on our wellbeing and in our world,” said Make Some Noise’s founder, Gen Cleary. “It’s our goal to allow everyone to connect with the multidimensions of sound beyond hearing.” Make Some Noise executive producer Diane Michioka added: “We’re on a mission to invite everyone to connect with sound using all their senses. We hope to bring The Hum to communities around the world.” Make Some Noise plans to take the installation on tour in collaboration with festivals and corporate groups.
7. Nasa To Live Stream Rocket Launch In VR
For those keen to be blasted to infinity and beyond without having to leave their living rooms, be sure to tune into Nasa’s live stream rocket launch in 8K VR. As reported by Metaverse Post, thanks to VR studio Felix & Paul and Meta Quest, space nuts can participate in the launch of an unmanned Orion CM-002 spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Felix & Paul will stream the launch in 8K, 360-degree VR and viewers will have access to the immersive experience via Horizon Worlds Venues and the Space Explorers Facebook page.
Creative director and co-founder of Felix & Paul Studios, Felix Lajeunesse, said: “This first immersive live-streaming is part of our ongoing mission, which started with our Space Explorers series, to bring the public along for the ride on humanity’s next giant leap in human space exploration.” The August launch is one of the initial steps in Nasa’s Artemis-1 mission, which seeks to certify Orion and its Space Launch System for future crewed missions. The space agency is set to land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon by 2024.