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A guide to self-improvement

Can brands satisfy our higher needs?

Google Goals

It feels as if most of us are on a quest for self-improvement. Next year my Instagram feed will be a melange of yoga poses, gluten-free food and ceramic pots turned with my own hands. But herein lies the problem. The purpose of self-improvement shouldn’t be to update our social media feeds, but an opportunity learn more about ourselves.

Can brands help us to discover what it is we really want? And then go one step further to help us achieve it? Google’s new calendar feature, Google Goals, finds free time in your diary to accomplish personal targets. The app updates in real-time, adapting to missed classes or unforeseen appointments, and making it easy to juggle life and your passion.

All too often everyday commitments can be a distraction. Forest is an app that helps users to focus and be more present by planting virtual trees. The longer you leave your smartphone alone, the bigger your forest grows. A partnership with Trees for the Future means your virtual trees can be exchanged for real trees where they’re most needed.

At the Festival of Marketing in London, philosopher Alain de Botton introduced the audience to Maslow’s Pyramid. At the bottom are basic needs like food and shelter, whilst at the top sit morality and creativity. Whereas most brands tend to play at the bottom of the pyramid, “the salvation of capitalism lies in making money from our higher needs and really satisfying them,” said de Botton.

To put this into context. Within the travel sector the dream is powerful, but the result is often disappointing. Most people go on holiday not simply for sun and cocktails, but to bring family closer together, or help rejuvenate a relationship. Many companies will ensure they get your bum on the deckchair, but do they ever question if the deckchair will fulfill the original fantasy?

As we approach the New Year and people start asking the same old questions about resolutions, expect to see more brands supporting our quest for self-improvement, and maybe a few of them will even succeed in satisfying our higher needs.

Fitness First explores #howfitfeels

Whereas most people take up exercise to look better, this campaign from Fitness First explores the emotional impact keeping fit has on our lives.

#howfitfeels is a unique social experiment. Over a three month period three people at the peak of their fitness were asked to give up exercise, and three people who had barely set foot in a gym were challenged to take it up.

At the heart of the campaign is a four part online documentary series featuring interviews with each of the participants and documenting their highs and lows.

Fitness First's BioScore™ assessment tracked their health, fitness and lifestyle, throughout the experiment.  Further measurements monitored their activity level, sleep patterns, resting heart rate and daily mood to evaluate how their lives begin to change.

"In a world saturated with imagery featuring the body-beautiful, this unique and revealing social experiment aims to dig deeper into the psyche of fitness. We've only just started and emotions are running high on both sides."  Said VCCP ECD Gary Dawson

By focusing on how exercise makes you feel, Fitness First are hoping to encourage more people to keep up their gym attendance, even when the physical results start to become less obvious.

Agency: VCCP Partnership, London

3
month challenge
4
part documentary series

AXA face up to taboo subjects

AXA identified that our general reluctance to talk about taboo subjects, such as money and health, can inhibit us from properly planning for our future. Helping people to overcome this hurdle means they can be more open with their loved ones about the future, and plan more proactively. Working with The School of Life they created a game called ‘Up’, compromising of 100 questions about taboo topics such as money, health, age, and sex. The questions vary from fun and light hearted to more heavy and difficult. In conjunction with the game they held a class on ‘How to have Taboo Conversations’ for press and the public. The aim was to encourage conversations around taboo topics and inspire new ways to think and talk about our future.

Agency: The School of Life , London

Intermarché’s Sugar Detox yogurts

Last year the average French consumer ate 25 kilos of sugar, almost three times the recommended amount. This is because year after year food companies have been adding more and more sugar to our food, and we’ve become unnecessarily addicted. At the same time obesity, heart disease and diabetes are on the rise. Intermarché, France’s largest supermarket, have developed a product to help overcome this sugar dependency progressively – the Sugar Detox. A pack of six chocolate yogurts with decreasing sugar rate from -5% to -50%, therefore helping to lower sugar consumption yoghurt by yoghurt.

Agency: Marcel, Paris

Nestlé gamify nutrition

Nutrition, health and wellness can be attributed to our confidence, self-esteem and feeling of accomplishment. Nestlé saw an opportunity to help people become more aware of the nutritional value of food and the part this can play in a healthy lifestyle. Project Ring was built on the back of bespoke ethnographic research. It aims to provide simple practical tools that are grounded in science, but delivered in fun and engaging ways. Designed to appeal to parents and kids, Project Ring uses personalisation, interactivity and gamification to inspire and reward healthier practices in nutrition and physical exercise.

Agency: AllofUs Limited, London

About the author

Kara Melchers, Managing Editor, BITE

Kara has editorial control over BITE, creativebrief’s marketing trend briefing. Get in touch if you’re working on an interesting project

kara.m@creativebrief.com

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