Issue #098

Megan Hotson


Welcome to your weekly dose of TooXToo, this week featuring Timberland’s digital adventure, Lego’s models of MRI scanners, Netflix’s immersive exhibition, and Guinness’s’ culture hub…

Timberland’s digital adventure

Timberland has revealed their new digital brand activation that explores its history. Through this adventure, they invite customers to unpack the art, music, people, and culture that define their brand.

The interactive experience includes a range of engaging features- from interviews to gaming-focused elements. Digital users can enter the digital landscape that Timberland have created to collect their own virtual boots. They will embark on an immersive digital adventure- the "TimbsTrail", which follows the journey of the brand from its novel beginnings through to today.

There will be multiple different trails for users to take part in – each with a different digital setting, video clips and different boots to collect. From the original yellow boot to the heritage inspired GreenStride boot collection, the digital experience allows consumers- new or old to appreciate the legacy of timberland.

The different landscapes featured include the original Timberland factory, and a Tokyo/London/Italy- inspired scene that focuses on re-living the early international moments of the brand. There is also a party themed landscape on the London Underground, and a meet-the-Italian-"paninaro", as well as an ode to the Hip Hop Heritage in New York City in the 1990s that the brand took inspiration from.

As well as appreciating their past, Timberland want to use this digital experience to celebrate what is to come for their brand in the future. "The future activate" section to their digital world looks to the future with a focus on Timberland's commitment to purposeful product innovation and eco-leadership.

This brand activation from Timberland has proven successful in being able to take consumers on a journey through their rich history- and has been facilitated through gamification. Its popularity is indicative of the desire from today’s consumer for retail, and a brand connection that is experiential.

Lego’s models of MRI scanners

Lego’s employees have taken to their infamous bricks to build models of MRI scanners that will be donated to local hospitals. The hope is that in transforming a daunting, hospital machine into a toy-like model – the fears associated with it can be minimised too.

The project is part of a Local Community Engagement initiative – and is particularly impactful for Children who are intimidated by hospital procedures they may not have experienced before or understand fully.

The idea was thought of by Lego employee Erik Ullerlund and was announced when his colleague tweeted that his weekend would be devoted to building one of these MRI models out of our favourite, colourful bricks. In the next few weeks, the LEGO Foundation will be informing the nation on how hospitals can get involved in the program and get their hands on a set, along with educational materials that support its use.

Using toys and play to reduce the anxiety surrounding an MRI scanner is a powerful example of the power of play. We have seen brands including Nike – exploring the benefits of play in sport to spark creativity with their discovery lab, and Lego hope that their form of play in this scenario can create empathy. Not only do Lego want to help people, but keep their consumers engaged with their empathetic brand culture.

Netflix’s immersive exhibition

Netflix has partnered with the Design Museum in London to showcase what has been described as “The Netflix experience” – as well as their evolution and design philosophy.

Steve Johnson, Netflix’s vice president commented on the upcoming exhibition: “At Netflix, building an intuitive, seamless experience has been at the heart of our business for the last 25 years: from our very early days as a mail-order DVD company, to our role today bringing entertainment to homes and devices around the world,” he also added: “Design plays a key role in connecting our members with great stories.”

This exhibition is expected to be open this summer (2022) and is not the first example of Netflix bringing their streaming service to the physical world. Netflix entered the physical space, with their ‘Stranger Things’ experience in LA, as well as their forthcoming ‘Bridgerton ball’ with Secret Cinema and the big ‘Money Heist’ immersive show too. All these experiences brought their stories to life, and at the same time encouraged people to leave their homes to be a part of the action in real life- as opposed to the comfort of the home.

The role of design in storytelling is pivotal, not just in film or cinema – but for brands that want their retail experience to create a narrative that consumers will be engaged by. Implementing a combination of design and narrative, as Netflix will do this summer will bring a new meaning to the films, animations, and series they stream – re-defining the experience of “watching” by making it fully immersive for the consumer.

The Guinness culture hub 

Covent Garden is set to become the new home of a Guinness ‘Culture Hub’ in the Autumn of next year. The site has secured a £73 million investment and will be a microbrewery that focuses on the heritage of Guinness and the culture at the brand’s core.

The site will be 50,000 sq ft, and the venue is set to feature a microbrewery producing limited-edition beers and offering guest tours; a Guinness store selling rare items via collaborations and partnerships bespoke to the London experience; and an open-fire kitchen, and restaurant- as well as a rooftop space with 360-degree panoramic views! There will also be event spaces and a covered central courtyard that will be open to the local community.

Guinness are doing particularly well at present, with sales in Great Britain noted to have grown by over 30% in the last six months. In addition, one in every 10 pints now sold in London have been reported to be a Guinness. Given this, the brand is predicting a successful launch of the venue in 2023.

Guinness, amongst other brands such as Rapha with their community clubhouse, are responding to the desire for human connection through creating a ‘hub’ focused brand experience.

The only caveat is that we must wait until next year to get our toe in the door of this exciting new space in London.

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