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Brief Published: 30 Apr 2018

We’re feeling suitably lively as spring emerges, (however sporadically). Over the last few months, our team has been energetically creating our new Macro Trend: Active Lives – which we’re excited to publish tomorrow.

We’ve long been charting the growth of brands in the active landscape, but now a greater consumer need for adventure, experience and challenge teamed with new technologies is driving bold engagement strategies, and we’re seeing a real acceleration of commercial product innovation.

The result? There are now more ways than ever to feel alive. Here are five that caught my eye from our research.

Go extreme

High-octane, high-risk extreme sports are on the up. There were 648 Mount Everest summits in 2017, compared to 72 in 1990. The next Olympics will feature skateboarding, climbing and surfing for the first time. But you don’t have to take risks to go extreme. Virtual reality (VR) means it’s now possible to go downhill skiing without leaving your home. You can even feel the wind against your face and the snow underfoot thanks to haptic feedback.

Buildering, Next Level

Learn to fly

VR is changing the way we work out by immersing us in wildly entertaining virtual environments. Icaros, a gyroscopic, floor-mounted home trainer, suspends you in mid-air while you exercise, giving you the sensation of flying. The machine pairs with the Icarace VR flying game to let Icaros users around the world race against each other in real time.


Expand your mind

Active-minded consumers want to be in the know, and brands are responding by giving them insider access. As part of its 2018 Winter Olympics coverage, The New York Times delivered an augmented reality campaign starring four athletes – each of whom performed their signature move in the user’s surroundings. Because these came with explanations, users also learned how to pull off figure-skating jumps and snowboarding halfpipe flips.

Adidas, The New York Times

Embrace e-sports

The rise of global e-sports is phenomenal. With developments like the US’s first e-sports stadium set to open in Arlington, Texas later this year, it will soon become as powerful as primetime sports like soccer. Meanwhile, new technology is creating sports that didn’t exist a few years ago, like drone racing – which is also proving hugely popular. The inaugural world championship in 2017 attracted a global TV audience of 55 million (with 100 million more watching online).

E-Sports Arena Populous, ReNu portable recovery system

Compress your rest

More of us are using tech to maximise our quality of sleep. We noticed one intriguing example at this year’s CES: NuCalm’s ReNu portable recovery system. Users lie down while wearing an eye mask and headphones that play neuro-acoustic tracks. They also chew amino acid tablets to counteract adrenaline, and use neck pads that stimulate the brain and body with a micro current. Twenty minutes of ReNu sleep is said to equate to two hours of standard rest.

 We’ll be bringing to life highlights from Active Lives at our inaugural ‘Stylus presents Decoded Future’ event on June 26, which will be a fantastic opportunity to discover what these insights mean for your business. This will sit alongside expert sessions exploring the next level of emotional brand experiences and the virtual future of lifestyle. For tickets, please speak with your client services manager.

Have a great month,

Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer