Edition 21

This week, we point to an interesting new store experience from Amazon, look at how the Tokyo Olympics are Gold medallists in sustainability, and muse on how ‘caring’ could be a key factor in customer loyalty for brands. We also explore the latest sky high partnership from a social media giant, and look at art that is making a change in our society.

Amazon gets its finger out to be the only One in new customer experience

Credit: David Ryder Getty Images

If, like us, you were obsessed with sci-fi and spy movies (Mission Impossible, anyone?) growing up, the idea of using your palm print to open high security systems was pretty much saved for the small or big screen. Well, the future is now, as tech giants Amazon have introduced the technology at some of its stores in the U.S. The biometric palm scanners, called Amazon One, are an easy method of paying for products in-store, without cash or a credit card. Mind. Blown.

The company is even offering $10 USD in promotional credit to shoppers who register their palm prints in its checkout-free stores and link it to their Amazon account.

On the other hand, there are some serious privacy concerns to consider. The executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Albert Fox Cahn, told TechCrunch that biometric data is “one of the only ways that companies and governments can track us permanently” since a person can change their name, for example, but not their palm print. Yikes. We’re usually all for technology but there’s something about this one that makes us slightly nervous. We just can’t put our finger on it…

Medal winners expecting great reception

We love the Olympics. As Irish fans, we have witnessed the agony and ecstasy of sport over the past few weeks with some incredible performances from Team Ireland. Our medal winners (and there’s hopefully more to come – Go On, Kellie Harrington!) will be the proud owners of an Olympic medal with surprising origins.

The gold, silver and bronze medals were forged from metal recycled from old mobile phones and other small appliances donated by the general public through an initiative, started back in 2017. Tokyo has shown real leadership in highlighting sustainability at the 2020 Olympic Games, with athletes standing on podiums made of recycled plastics and sleeping on beds made of cardboard. Organisers will publish final emissions figures after the Games and while we’ve no doubt the data will be impressive, we’re really hoping to seeing Tokyo 2020 become a showcase for sustainable solutions.

Frankly, my dear, you should give a damn

Rob Campbell is a globe-conquering creative director with an insightful and highly personal blog called Musings of an Opinionated Sod.

In one of his latest posts he dives into the concept of ‘brand experience’, cutting through marketing-speak to the core insight: Just show you give a damn:

if brands genuinely want to do right by their customers, then all they have to do is something their customers find valuable.

He makes it sound so simple. In practice, it demands true commitment from everyone involved – especially the client. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

Rob offers some great examples, with this one from 2014 a perfect nugget of heart-warming brilliance by Marvel comics.

Check out Rob’s mighty blog here.

You can read more about Marvel’s Blue Ear here.

ART AS ACTIVISM

Art that can make us think is art that can make us change. This week, we spotted two impressive art installations in Dublin City that truly struck a chord with us.

A 60ft piece of artwork, by renowned street artist Joe Caslin, featuring a smiling 21-year-old Amanda Butler, was unveiled to commemorate to mark Down Syndrome Ireland’s 50th birthday this year. ‘Don’t Talk Down To Us’ can be seen on the side of a building at the corner of Harcourt Street and Clonmel Street in Dublin 2.

Meanwhile, Dublin-Berlin based Plattenbau Studio created a full-sized version of a cramped Dublin rental property out of paper. Cleverly entitled All Mod Cons, the installation was built following a year of studying online listings of one-room properties in Dublin on property website Daft, and it really hammers home how uninhabitable these cramped rooms are. After a year in which a lot of activism was forced to fight for fleeting attention online, these installations serve as a more lasting campaigns against discrimination and economic inequality.

Tik Tok are reaching for the sky

Finally, TikTok have announced a deal with American Airlines to give passengers 30 minutes of free in-flight TikTok. You might think that’s PLENTY of time to watch humorous voiceovers and cleaning-hack videos, but we think it might just be the free taste that gets travellers hooked to the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi.

American Airlines have spent the past few years upgrading their on-board internet access to high-speed satellite Wi-Fi which costs $10 per session or $49.95 for a monthly subscription. While they do have a library of movies, TV shows and even online classes available for free, it will be hard not to be reeled in by the lure of a long flight flying by with our heads stuck in TikTok.