P&S | NOVEMBER CULTURE REPORT
Welcome to the Pitch and Sync Culture Report, a socially distanced delivery from the supermarket of human foibles. Editorial team: Kaeshelle Rianne, Alice Crossley, Caris Dollard, Francesca Briginshaw, Frank Broughton
WORKING OUT COVID
Trapped at home once again, physical and mental wellness takes on even greater importance. The fitness industry has been forced to radically retool, but how well is it coping? Bricks and mortar gyms, facing closure and uncertainty, are still fighting for survival. During lockdown one, Joe Wicks gathered a record 955,185 viewers and earned an MBE for his daily PE sessions. With gyms closed once again, home workouts could become the norm, with unexpected benefits emerging. According to Forbes, 65% of men and 55% of women admit to having felt intimidated at the gym. So, scornful pets aside, a home workout offers a low-pressure alternative. Our client Blok moved quickly by launching BLOKtv, with hundreds of on-demand videos and 60 live classes a week. Blok is enjoying a rapid expansion and is clearly excited by the growth possibilities.
“The challenge has been to recreate the powerful sense of community we have at our physical locations,” explains Creative Director Max Oppenheim. “How do you give people the same emotional connection online?” Research shows this is key: the healthy actions of others rub off on us in the gym, pushing us to work harder than we would alone.
Influencers have thrived on this desire for communal exercise. Australian personal trainer Chloe Ting was inescapable on TikTok, and billion-pound brand Gym Shark continues to recruit high-profile influencers as ‘Gym Shark Athletes’.
Brands too. Nike worked up a collective sweat in their Nike Living Room Cup, as sponsored athletes including Ronaldo posted weekly home workout challenges. Peloton has a community so dedicated it borders on a cult. Their streamed spinning classes see users high-fiving each other as they hit their milestones. Their yearly revenue increased 172%. AC
Bumble won Black History Month no contest with this joyous and intimate celebration.
The burger wars raged on as the King hilariously intercepted Mickey’s customer service tweets, Whoppers in hand.
LOOK INTO MY EYES
Checking emails, watching the football, constructing flatpack furniture – it’s surprising what people get away with during Zoom meetings. As we do more business onscreen, tech giants Apple and Microsoft have decided to fix the eye-contact problem. Deploying AI, AR and other image manipulation techniques, this new feature makes it appear as though users are looking directly at the camera when their attention is elsewhere on the screen. Gaze correction is available with Apple’s latest release of iOS 14 and Microsoft’s Surface Pro X. Whether it can create deeper human connections is unclear. KC
Following Marcus Rashford’s bold perseverance, food brands are stepping up and making child poverty one more thing our nastily amateur government has left to the pros. Hovis donated 200,000 loaves, McDonald’s provided one million free meals through half term, Tesco will give an extra 500,000 families £1 weekly coupons for fresh fruit and veg this winter, and Heinz has pledged over 12 million breakfasts. All this philanthropy is captured on a map by All Of Us Together that pinpoints restaurants and small businesses offering free school meals across the UK. CD
Augmented Reality has made a leap from the classic selfie with bells on. This year’s must-have stocking filler is Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. Toy cars equipped with cameras race round the living room, with the game-screen controller adding in a feast of sparkly digital extras, from competing cars to explosions and bonus coins. Alternatively, head to London’s Carnaby Street to cover buildings in gunky graffiti using Snapchat’s Local Lenses. The biggest wow, though, comes from Clipdrop, an app that lets you capture an object with your phone’s camera, and drop it, ready cut-out, into Photoshop. KC
GUCCI IN GREEN
Some nicely varied green initiatives this month. Gucci staked a presence in gaming world with a sustainability-focused collaboration with content creator Grimcookies, who’s designed an eco-friendly all-digital version of their ‘Gucci Off The Grid’ collection for The Sims 4. Back in reality – Leeds in fact – Asda has opened a refillable and recyclable store. Zero-waste shopping is on the rise and we can expect other supermarkets to follow suit. Finally, Ikea is turning Black Friday green with their #BuyBackFriday initiative; you can now find a home for your unwanted Dut, Egby, Billy and Grundtal. As a gratuitous extra to waste your day, here’s a dictionary of Ikea product names. CD