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Editor's pick Retail

Adidas uses AirDrop to gift sneaker collab to Coachella festival goers

Adidas used Apple’s AirDrop feature to gift lucky attendees at Coachella Valley Music Festival this weekend with a new shoe collaboration with musician Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino).

A randomly selected number of people who were attending the festival were sent an image of the shoe, dubbed “Nizzas”, via AirDrop. Those who accepted the image then had one hour to pick up a free pair of the kicks at a designated area.

Inside the shoe box, a small note outlined certain “responsibilities” that came with receiving the shoe. New owners of the coveted “Nizzas” were encouraged to take three actions at the festival to promote the shoes: wear them, keep them on all weekend and lastly, watch the Childish Gambino performance.

Also at the festival, Childish Gambino collaborated with Google to launch “Brighter in the Dark”, a custom tech and music installation where attendees could take photographs in the dark and explore the musician’s creative world. This was part of a larger collaboration between Childish Gambino and Google which started in February, where the musician joined the tech giant’s camera feature “Playground” as Playmoji (an AR avatar) that users can interact with.

Meanwhile for adidas, this experience is another clever activation that adds an element of excitement and surprise to the consumer when they are least expecting it. For example at last year’s ComplexCon, the brand dropped new sneakers by asking users to scan giant cubes located across the venue at designated time slots.

How are you thinking about product innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick product technology

Bose and Coachella team up on audio augmented reality festival experience

Festival-goers at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this weekend will be able to access exclusive audio content via Bose’s new audio augmented reality sunglasses.

The audio company has worked with Goldenvoice, the creators of the festival’s app, to enhance the platform with audio features that only work once paired with the smart glasses.

“We’re proud to see this exclusive content made available through Bose AR at Coachella,” said Crystal MacKenzie, head of marketing for Bose AR. “Fans who pair their Bose Frames with the app while attending the show will be able to spend more time looking up and seeing what’s going on around them, while accessing information that will help make their experience even better.”

The Bose AR sunglasses feature small speakers integrated into its frame, which for this experience will push real-time updates on the festival’s schedule, as well as notify wearers of when their favorite act is about to perform.

The smart frames will be available to buy at the festival grounds and Bose’s ecommerce website, for those who wish to purchase it beforehand.

This marks the first time that Bose’s new smart glasses and audio augmented reality technology will be featured fully operating in a consumer-facing scenario. At this year’s SXSW festival, the company introduced the glasses for the first time alongside a host of apps that have its technology plugged in. The aim was to showcase the many different applications the smart feature has, such as a tool for the blind, or enabling golfers to know the next hole information without having to check their phones.

Recently Huawei and Gentle Monster also announced their take on smart glasses, which allow for phone calls and voice assistant interaction. Tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft are also all said to be working on their own versions.

Additional reporting by Camilla Rydzek.

How are you thinking about product innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick mobile technology

Why it matters: Eminem enhances Coachella set with augmented reality

Eminem AR experience at Coachella
Eminem AR experience at Coachella

The new ‘Why it matters’ content series from TheCurrent Daily highlights cross-industry innovations and analyses why they are relevant to the fashion and retail space. 

Eminem may not be a name that first springs to mind when considering innovation, but during his headline slot at this year’s Coachella music festival, the rapper used augmented reality to enhance the live music experience.

Coachella goers could download the Eminem Augmented app and throughout the set see visuals surrounding the stage that will be present during Eminem’s upcoming US and European tours.

Footage of the show highlights just how powerful adding a digital layer to live experiences can be, and accordingly the potential this could present to fashion and retail brands.

Given the growth of e-commerce and the increasingly connected expectations of today’s younger consumer, it has become vital for brands to develop engagement strategies around enhancing the physical world with a digital layer – from the new role of a flagship store to creating consumer-friendly immersive experiences.

While we have seen the likes of Zara, Outdoor Voices and Gucci experiment with AR technology to trigger small experiences on mobile, Eminem’s larger than life feature shows an unforeseen layer of immersion suitable for a group setting.

Unlike virtual reality, which isolates the user to a new alternate reality, AR is by its very nature a more communal, sociable technology because of the way it layers on top of the existing world around you.

The music industry is frequently vocal against fans viewing gigs through their mobile phone screens, but in Eminem’s case comes a certain sense of not just accepting this as standard but innovating on it accordingly.

As the CEO of his record label, Def Jam’s Paul Rosenberg, said: “We figured, if the phones are going to be there and people are going to be putting them up in the air and looking at them anyway, why don’t we provide a way to maybe change the way they’re perceiving the show.”

The Coachella experience was time-stamped and geo-tagged to ensure that the visuals were exclusively available to attendees and could only be seen within a few hundred yards from the stage.

The app also provided access to some other exclusive AR content, including a humorous ‘Mom’s Spaghetti’ interface that used image recognition to identify the festival’s universal food containers and layered graphics over it.

According to Rich Lee, creative director of Drive Studios who developed the experience, the app is an initial step that could signify a new portal to connect with music fans.

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Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

American Express brings shoppable AR feature to Coachella

Coachella
Coachella

American Express has integrated a shoppable augmented reality feature to the official app of the Coachella music festival, spanning two weekends in Palm Springs this month.

The payment company’s AR experience allows its cardholders to buy select merchandise by using an AR camera feature when at the festival’s grounds.

Within the Coachella app, Amex cardholders can tap a dedicated Amex tab that will enable the AR experience, as well as give them a series of other benefits and rewards. Clicking the “shop” feature and waving their phones will trigger an AR image of exclusive merchandise, which can be purchased on the spot.

Other cardholder benefits at the festival include entrance into a club area, access to an Uber priority lane and free Ferris wheel rides, while Platinum card members get access to a dedicated house that hosts exercise classes and music performances.

The AR app from American Express at Coachella
The AR app from American Express at Coachella

Amex has been increasingly experimenting with AR technology in order to enable tech-enhanced, real-world experiences that blend discovery and commerce to its cardholders.

It has recently collaborated with Justin Timberlake to launch an experience to promote his new album, titled “Man of the Woods”, within the American Express Music app. The “Outside In” AR camera experience sees Timberlake himself guide users through a Montana setting while he shares details of how his “Breeze Off the Pond” track came together. Users can also shop for exclusive merchandise while partaking in the experience.

Justin Timberlake and American Express
Justin Timberlake and American Express

Brands are upping the ante when it comes to striking the right balance in providing immersive mobile experiences that eventually convert into sales. By its nature, AR technology needs to be deployed in-situ, meaning there is also scope to play with the element of scarcity by making the experience geo-fenced, as seen with the Coachella feature.

Most recently, Nike teamed up with Snapchat to offer early access to a new shoe at a basketball game that could only be purchased by scanning Snapcodes; meanwhile at SXSW this year, hip activewear brand Outdoor Voices encouraged Austin locals and visitors to go outside by creating an AR experience that surfaced particular products depending on location.