10 things I loved about February; Apple, Hermes, TikTok and more
Each month, WPP's chief client officer Lindsay Pattison will share her favourite client developments in the world of creativity and technology. Here she takes a look back at what caught her eye in February.
1. Luxury brands and online marketplaces haven’t historically been perfect matches. But Cartier (Richemont) recently announced the opening of its ecommerce flagship on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, the Alibaba-owned retail platform, which also hosts brands including Bottega Veneta, Chanel and Valentino. Read how Chinese consumers have reacted here.
2. Two of our clients, Microsoft and Danone, are collaborating on the AI Factory for AgriFood. This is Microsoft’s third AI Factory, the first two were in service of Green Energy and Health. The focus for the AgriFood community? Developing innovative AI solutions to solve the planet’s most pressing food problems.
3. More China news here – Tencent (the owner of WeChat) has invested in Farfetch (the luxury online marketplace). The cash is expected to solidify Farfetch’s role as the gateway for Western luxury brands in China given WeChat’s ability to link luxury brands directly to their DTC sites.
4. Apple watches have now officially outsold the entire Swiss watch market according to new sales estimates. Apple reportedly shipped 31 million watches in 2019. By comparison, the Swiss watch industry only shipped an estimated 21.1 million units.
5. Swedish car brand Volvo and its Chinese parent company are fully merging to create China’s first global maker (yet more proof of China’s exciting economy). They’re not the only automotive brands enjoying major collaboration – Volkswagen and Ford are jointly developing electric and self-driving vehicles, while FCA and PSA recently agreed a $50bn merger.
6. Is this the female version of Billion Dollar Shave Club? Billie is an Instagram-friendly female grooming start-up recently acquired by P&G (home of Gillette & Venus). Billie’s investors include Goldman Sachs and Serena Williams, and will continue to be run by its two cofounders as it scales with the help of P&G.
7. Uber just completed a $3.1bn takeover of the ride-hailing app Careem – a wildly popular service only available in 15 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Their features include satellite mapping and exchanging cash for credit in-car – this article predicts we’ll see those features hit Uber very soon.
8. TikTok – known for its dance challenges and super short video content – is now also home to a very modern form of sex education. This is an interesting article about doctors using the platform to reach young adults, counter taboos and shape a healthy narrative around sex.
9. News from California where McDonald’s and Starbucks are running a pilot program to trial ‘smart’ reusable cups. The cups themselves are made of plastic, but they come with RFID chips and QR codes so they can be tracked. Cup drop-off locations are strategically placed around towns and inside civic buildings, and the brands will then be responsible for tracking and recycling themselves.
10. And finally, Hermes is set to launch a $67 lipstick. It marks their first move into a category that’s consistently delivered growth for rivals like Chanel & LVMH, but don’t expect to see it in the upmarket aisles of Boots / CVS anytime soon - the lipsticks will be sold only in the brand’s own stores and selected department stores so not to dilute the brand.