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Campaigns Events Retail technology

Swarovski celebrates the holidays with sparkle-themed activations

Swarovski's "Sparkling Box
Swarovski’s “Sparkling Box” in Covent Garden

Swarovski is launching a host of interactive experiences in the UK, hoping to spread delight in the run-up to Christmas.

The “Sparkling Box” activation, which popped up at London’s Covent Garden area last week, features a giant box where each façade offers a different digitally-enabled experience for passersby. It includes a GIF photobooth encouraging customers to take a photo and share on social media;  an interactive wall featuring a virtual snowscape that showers visitors in digital snowflakes; a video showing the jewelry brand’s Christmas advert; and a guide for Swarovski’s must-have gifts for the festive season.

The box is set to tour the UK over the coming weeks, appearing in Manchester next, followed by Glasgow and Birmingham.

In keeping with the sparkle theme, Swarovski is also set to launch “Sparkle Street” at London’s Westfield White City mall location, which will feature a Christmas tree accompanied by digital advertising, creating a festive landscape for visitors to take pictures in front of that will then be shown on a large screen opposite the installation.

Lastly, the brand is also teaming up with a team of black cab drivers in the city, who will be handing out Swarovski gifts to lucky passengers throughout December. 

Brands are increasingly diversifying the way they celebrate special events throughout the year with activations that aim to surprise & delight unassuming shoppers. Last week, Harvey Nichols visited London offices with a very special musical performance, while allowing consumers to buy the festive clothes the choir was wearing on the day directly on Instagram.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Podcast technology

IBM on the coming power of blockchain

Laurence Haziot and Rachel Arthur
Laurence Haziot and Rachel Arthur

Blockchain will have the same impact long-term as we have seen the internet have on commerce, says Laurence Haziot, global managing director of IBM, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

A leading woman in the STEM industries, Haziot looks after IBM’s Worldwide Consumer Industries division, which includes retail, consumer products, wholesale and agriculture. She believes strongly in the potential of blockchain for the future, from the impact it can have on the supply chain to the role it will play in sustainability and transparency.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

While it’s nascent right now, the fact that this digital ledger was designed from the beginning to be more secure than current systems we rely on, is key, she explains. That doesn’t make it a silver bullet, but it does make it an opportunity.

IBM is already trialling use cases of the technology as a result, including provenance for food safety at Walmart, shipping efficiencies for Maersk, and diamond authentication for the jewelry industry in a project called TrustChain.

For retail specifically, Haziot is bullish on the results it could drive in terms of efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain, as well as traceability for a consumer only seeking ever more knowledge of what they’re buying.

It’s for that reason she sees blockchain infiltrating numerous job roles. “This is not an IT play,” she explains. “This is really a business topic – I think it will touch probably most of the functions in the company, from marketing to manufacturing, transportation and more.”

In this episode with Rachel Arthur at a live FashMash recording in London, Haziot also answers some tough questions on the limitations of the tech to validate authenticity, and leans on her experience of 30+ years at IBM to explore some of the surrounding innovations that are needed to make it viable long-term.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick technology

De Beers is using blockchain to authenticate its diamonds

De Beers is trialling blockchain
De Beers is trialling blockchain

De Beers is piloting a blockchain program in order to ensure all diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector.

The industry-wide initiative will take advantage of the very nature of blockchain technology – providing an immutable, permanent record for every diamond registered on it from the moment they are dug up from the ground.

It will then follow them throughout the value chain in order to validate them at each step of the journey, so every time they change hands.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group, said: “Diamonds hold enduring value and represent some of life’s most meaningful moments, so it’s essential to provide assurance that a diamond is conflict-free and natural. By leveraging blockchain technology, we will provide an additional layer of assurance to consumers and industry participants, with every diamond registered on the platform having a record as everlasting as the diamond itself.”

“We are very excited about this initiative and the benefits it could deliver across the diamond value chain, from producers through to retailers and consumers. We look forward to continuing to engage with industry stakeholders as we progress development of the platform over the coming months.”

Blockchain is largely known as the technology that underpins bitcoin, but has wider application beyond cryptocurrencies through its basis as a distributed and secure digital ledger. For the fashion and luxury industries, it also has application from a provenance perspective as well as an anti-counterfeit measure.

The De Beers pilot is underway with a small number of participants in the industry following the success of an initial proof of concept trial. According to the press release, during this development phase, key considerations are being addressed, including the protection of commercially sensitive data, streamlining processes at various stages of the value chain and providing further assurance for those that finance the industry. The aim is for a full launch later this year.

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product sustainability technology

CES 2018: This jewelry collection is made from gold mined from Dell laptop parts

The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell (Pic via Engadget)
The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell (Pic via Engadget)

Device recycling just reached a whole new level thanks to a partnership between Dell and actress Nikki Reed.

The duo have teamed up to launch The Circular Collection, which is a line of jewelry made from gold mined from old or broken laptop parts.

For every million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

In this case, there’s sufficient quantity to create delicate rings, earrings and cufflinks for Reed’s sustainable-focused Bayou With Love brand. The collection is completely sourced from the recycled electronics that Dell collects, as announced at CES in Las Vegas this week.

Dell is mining gold from old and broken laptop parts
Dell is mining gold from old and broken laptop parts

According to Dell, it takes approximately six motherboards to produce a single piece of jewelry. It will also use recycled gold in new motherboards in its Latitude 5285 computers shipping in March. Dell says it aims to use 100 million pounds of recycled material in its product portfolio by 2020.

“At Dell, we pride ourselves in finding better, more efficient ways to do business, particularly throughout our supply chain. Materials innovation – where and how we source things like plastic, carbon fiber and now gold for our products – is increasingly important for us,” said Dell’s vice chairman, Jeff Clarke, in a press release.

The jewelry will retail at $78-$348. Said Reed, who is best known for her role as Rosalie Hale in the Twilight movies: “I wanted to create pieces that could be worn every day,” says Reed. Another form of upcycling is passing down jewelry from generation to generation… we wanted to create pieces that could be worn beyond our lifetime.”

The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell
The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell
The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell
The Circular Collection jewelry from Nikki Reed and Dell
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technology

More detail on what the Opening Ceremony x Intel smart bracelet may look like

OpeningCeremony_YokoOno

While the exact details of Intel’s new smart bracelet, created in partnership with Opening Ceremony and carried by Barneys New York, are yet to be determined, a few hints were revealed during CES as to what it might be like.

Speaking at a press conference during the Vegas show, Susan Barber, art director at Opening Ceremony, said: “We want to emphasise the tech aspects of the bracelet but so that it doesn’t feel like hardware. It has to be something we’ll be excited to wear [ourselves].”

This fits in with a broader theme at CES this week for more appealing design in the wearables space. Speaking on a separate occasion, Mike Bell, VP and GM of Intel’s New Devices Group, said: “If we want the premise of wearable technology to come forward we really have to think about going back to the drawing board with the hardware, moving beyond the idea of a square block on your wrist.”

While Intel reportedly has a rough prototype already developed, Opening Ceremony will have full input on both the functionality and the design to go to market with. Barber said work is yet to truly start on it, but ideas are percolating.

The team will be looking to both the past and the future for inspiration, she revealed. The aesthetic for instance will be informed by other partnerships the company has been involved in, including a project with Yoko Ono based on a series of her drawings titled ‘Fashions for Men” from 1969 (as featured above).

The recent capsule collection Opening Ceremony created for Spike Jonze’s new film, Her (as featured below), will also serve as inspiration. Said Barber: “This product is supposed to make your life more seamless and more effortless, and be beautiful at the same time. If technology and design are totally separate you don’t get to bridge that gap.”

Matthew Woolsey, SVP digital at Barneys, agreed: “A lot of functionality is very appealing, but the design elements are going to be paramount in terms of how our customer engages with it. The product needs to stand on its own, and the Opening Ceremony creative vision will be incredibly important to making that happen.”

As for who it’s aimed at, Barber said they are exploring all options at the moment, but are unlikely to make it gender specific. “It certainly won’t be pink or purple,” she said, mocking the stereotyped approach the technology industry often has to appealing to women. The goal with the device is also to speak to a broad generational audience. It is expected to hit in the autumn.

OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze3 OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze1OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze2

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e-commerce

Cath Kidston, Bauble Bar driving traffic with Christmas treasure hunt campaigns

CathKidston_SantaBanner

UK home furnishings brand, Cath Kidston, is running a cute campaign on its website in the run up to Christmas that invites shoppers to hunt through its pages to try and find Santa.

Every time they spot him they could be in with the chance of winning the products found on that page.

Based on the idea that Santa’s gone into hiding due to having too many wish lists to read through from the retailer’s main Christmas competition, the initiative sends fans on a hunt around its day bags, zip wallets, baby sleep suits and Christmas stocking fillers.

It is of course a clever move to get shoppers searching through the whole site, not to mention popping back on a regular basis, at a time when present inspiration doesn’t go amiss.

US online jewellery retailer, Bauble Bar, is running something similar for the festive season too. Email subscribers are being sent clues to “Buried Baubles” each day – items with serious markdowns hidden somewhere on the site. Meanwhile, its “30-days of Sparkle” campaign – as below – also sees daily discounts and offers being unveiled in the run up to Christmas.

BaubleBar_30daysofsparkle