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
November Culture Report
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
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