Issue #101

Megan Hotson


Welcome to your weekly dose of TooXToo, this week featuring the Green Planet AR experience, the UK’s first mental health shop, Tiffany’s x NBA, and Selfridge’s ‘Super self’ wellbeing pop-up…

Green Planet’s AR experience

Through Augmented reality, those that visit can interact with a virtual David Attenborough on his immersive journey into the secret Kingdom of plants – taking inspiration from his current BBC one series.

The Green planet journey will allow visitors to travel through six digitally enhanced landscapes- from freshwater and saltwater worlds to rainforests and mountain-scapes. Guests are guided through the experience by a smartphone device which acts as a dynamic and digital window into the living world. The detail, and magic of AR and 5G technology allows visitors to explore the richness of the trees, plants, and biomes on their timescale and from their own perspective.

The experience aims to construct a human story and our relation to the natural world to demonstrate to people how they can make positive changes to help the environment. David Attenborough commented: “You'll see that plants can be as aggressive, competitive and dramatic as any living thing on the planet - and how they form intriguing relationships with animals. And you'll discover why plants are so vital for the future of our planet. Your device is a window into a secret world.”

The experience is located at 55 regent street in London and will run until the 9th March. The immersive journey was created and developed by Factory 42 alongside the BBC studios.

You might think the best way to bring people closer to understanding the natural world and its complexities would be to immerse them in the real and physical forces of nature. However, living in a city naturally makes this harder. Using AR in this way is an example of how the modern and increasingly technological ways of living can be used to paradoxically ground city-dwellers, reminding them of the nature that is not be appreciated, or seen enough in a concrete jungle.

The UK’s first Mental Health Shop

Shops are venues that consumers enter to invest in a brand, or service that might indirectly benefit their consumer needs. The newly opened ‘Self Space’ is a different kind of shop. This retail space is somewhere consumers can go to invest entirely, and directly in themselves to improve their ‘everyday mental maintenance’.

Their first storefront location is on Shoreditch Highstreet, and it welcomes Londoners and visitors alike- to enter for flexible and on-demand mental health care. The idea is that consumers should be able to ‘pop in’ and have an appointment that is as easy and convenient as having a haircut.

The Start-up ‘Self Space’ wants to remove any barriers that surround seeing a clinical psychologist or psychotherapist by making the process easier, removing the anxieties created by long waitlists. Clients will be able to book a same-day appointment, with the space being open 7 days a week. As well as individual therapy, visitors can also book couples therapy and student sessions or executive coaching. Sessions will begin at £60 for 30 minutes, with discounted rates available for both students and NHS workers.

The opening of this space is indicative of the consumer demand for well-being products and services. Following a testing two years both in a personal, and public sense, consumers and businesses are increasingly looking inwards to ensure both their employees and services are harmonious, efficient, and productive.

Tiffany’s X NBA

In February, the US celebrated the weekend-long NBA’s all-star exhibition game in Cleveland. In style of the game, brands tapped into 90’s pop culture, elevated basketball merch, spoilt youth and digital activations.

Tiffany’s was amongst those in the fashion sector that created a premium brand activation to celebrate the game, and the culture surrounding it this year. Tiffany is the NBA’s age-old trophy maker, so were expected to create a brand activation worthy of sharing.

A signature robin egg blue hued basketball was the result of Tiffany and NBA’s all-star collaboration. Daniel Arsham, Multidisciplinary US artist worked alongside the NBA’s creative director and the luxury jewellers themselves – Tiffany’s to create and produce this limited-edition ball.

To celebrate the limited-edition ball, a pop-up accompanied it’s launch – creating a holistic brand experience for the consumer and sports fanatic. Guests could visit the pop up, setting their eyes upon the blue ball, and could also shoot hoops on the half-court installed as well as having the chance to see the cavaliers’ Tiffany-created 2016 championship trophy.

Tiffany’s tapped into 90’s basketball nostalgia to create a brand activation that looked through an appropriate lens for NBA basketball fans. Other brands that followed suit included Canada Goose who created a capsule collection inspired by 90’s NBA style.

These tiffany-inspired basketballs are currently selling for upwards of $2,000 USD apiece- no surprises there given the names behind the luxury collaboration.

Selfridges ‘Super Self’ wellbeing pop-up 

Collectively- as aforementioned, brands are addressing consumer driven wellness narratives. UK department store Selfridges is moving into this space with its newly themed pop-up: ‘SuperSelf’.

The pop up has been described as “A New Year’s salve for post-pandemic malaise”, and will feature a series of therapeutic media alongside retail activations centered around “innovative wellbeing”, “sublime self-care practices” and “safe trips”.

Selfridges’ new venture into the well-being space introduces shopping concepts and bookable experiences including ‘Joy-Inducing Fashion’-  a blog focusing on the “science of dressing yourself happy” as well as a product edit curated by British behavioural psychologist, professor Carolyn Mair. Another aspect adding to the experience is the ‘Positive Vibrations’- a music playlist of “uplifting floor-fillers and soul-soothing beats” immersing consumers as they embark on their wellbeing experience in-store.

Within the pop-up, consumers will be able to participate in what has been called ‘a New Kind of Retail Therapy’: Sessions with a confidence coach, and breathwork specialist in-store or online remotely, designed to facilitate consumers struggling to navigate their daily ‘new normal’. 

A popular feature of the Super Self pop-up is the ‘Techno-delic’ Sensorial Immersion pod; this space is based on the concept of creating a safe trip.  Dutch “sensory reality” experts Sensiks collaborated with Selfridges to create and implement these physical pods that provide a multisensory experience. In-store consumers can enter these calming booths, equipped with bespoke fragrances, infrared light, heat, and sound sensors to experience 10 minutes of sheer relaxation.

Clearly, the wellbeing landscape is becoming more sophisticated in response to Covid-19 and other societal strains, that have pushed the intersections of both mental and physical wellbeing well into view. Brands that adapt and keep up to date with the wellness driven consumer will be able to stay relevant and sustain engagement looking ahead.

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