NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES: NOW PRODUCTS 97 - Aromatherapy is in, but then again, so is Victoriana. Oh, and don’t forget to dig out all your old shoulder pads. Dan O’Donoghue, joint chief executive of Publicis, tries to unravel changing trends a
By DAN O’DONOGHUE, joint chief execu, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 27 June 1997 12:00AM
As traditional male areas such as football and beer become more unisex,
men are turning increasingly to more ’anorak’ ways of behaving. First,
men’s traditional fascination with gadgets is apparent. Second, the idea
of being ’your own expert’ encourages the spread of ’connectedness’
beyond the traditional boundaries. This is why the Internet is popular
with the young.
Compuserve Internet connection
Not really a product in the traditional sense, but a control and
communications tool.This has powerful implications for brands that don’t
fit modern needs and attempt to be phoney ’experts’ when customers have
access to alternative data. Apart from the connection to the Net with
Compuserve, the number of high-speed ISDN lines being installed is
rapidly increasing. In the US, the market for ISDN lines is forecast to
go from dollars 850 million this year to dollars 2 billion in 1998.
Philips In-Car navigation system
The satellite navigation system has finally arrived. Philips In-Car
navigation systems can fit any vehicle and some manufacturers are
beginning to install them as standard on some models. The price to fit
such systems is more than pounds 1,000, so the top end of the market is
likely to benefit.
The car market has been toying with a new concept - that the passengers
are as important as the driver. The Renault Espace was the first car (as
opposed to the remodelled van) to give children their own space. The
Scenic moves this concept into the mass middle market and is the first
real family saloon. The new grown-up relationships within families mean
everyone has a real stake in the car choice.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its trendy connection with New Labour,
free football results and the Dance Top Five, the Vodazap pager at
pounds 69.99 had a spectacular start.You can be literally anywhere and
still receive tips from the Ministry of Sound on which clubs to
Watch out for
Bandia Tamagotchi An electronic toy pet which has taken Japan by storm
and has now hit the UK.
The fashion industry defies analysis. So here goes. The major trends of
1996 were the eclectic demotic, private badges and men.
The eclectic demotic was the creation of cultural interpretations of
past fashions. Private badges were created by the young in an attempt to
use practicality as a reason to wear labels. Anti-fashion fashion. Also,
men’s clothes were what everyone wanted to wear. Indeed, a minor trend
was ’dress as a man for a day’ shops for women - complete with fake
Ben Sherman meets powder blue desert boot. The fashion for
re-interpreting our past and presenting it in a more colourful way is
DKNY T-shirts with Kangol hats or Lycra 3-D, Slam City Skatewear, roller
blades and Mambo for Sundays. Mambo, an Australian company, has become a
byword for outsourcing production and concentrating on design. Berghaus
and Gore-Tex and anything that actually did a job was potent in 1996.
There is currently a strong desire to have a good reason to wear brand
Easy-care products so that you can spend more time down the pub are in
their element. For example, Levi Strauss introduced the non-iron Dockers
trouser. In September, Dockers launched a Website including an
interactive game to turn ’three piecers’ into casual wear users. Colour
in men’s shirts made a big comeback but ties steadfastly refused to
acknowledge the new age.
Watch out for
The 80s (padded shoulders, big jewellery) and psychedelia.
Male grooming and body awareness is increasingly on the mainstream
agenda and there’s a growing feeling that men need to make as much
effort in this area as women. For men, it tends to be dressed up as ’do
it for health’. The ’don’t trust anyone’ ethic has spawned a boom in
self-medication and alternative (holistic) products. Herbal medicines
and homeopathic remedies have shown steady growth but aromatherapy and
the essential oils market have more than doubled in size over the past
three years. In 1992, the retail turnover of the UK essential oils
market was worth pounds 6 million. By 1996, it was worth pounds 14
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, which is now available in various bodycare products and
shampoos, was the hot item of last year. Claimed to have powerful
antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and, yes, derived from tea
trees, it follows a long line of organic products pioneered by the Body
Shop. The continuing feeling of ’don’t trust manufacturing’ is best
captured with J. R. Liggetts Old Fashioned Tea Tree and Henry’s Oil
Shampoo - no nasty plastic bottles there.
Given the drive from both sexes towards personal grooming (even barber
shops are on the way back), the tooth whitening sector is booming. In
Australia, whitening toothpastes account for 10 per cent of the market,
are mainly sold in pharmacies and are recommended by dentists.
Generally, they claim to bleach the teeth five shades whiter in four
weeks. The price of Rembrandt is super premium at pounds 7.99 a tube and
it is produced by Den-Mat, a dental company.
Watch out for Male cosmetics with a health rationale ’Scientific’ skin
creams Anti-bacterial and anti-E-coli products for the kitchen
In our homes, decoration has become an ever-important consideration and
the trend is to express individuality by throwing themes together or
using vivid colours. Clash not match is the current mantra.
Equally, there is a desire to retreat to an increasingly important
homebase, that almost lost idyll of family life. And, if you are not
sure about what colour to choose, check and tartan patterns are
everywhere. Carpet Depot even stocks tartan carpets.
Glade room perfume
These ’natural’ smells are supposed to stimulate under-used senses.
Supermarkets have already done it with the aroma of fresh bread wafting
around stores. Now homes can can reek of autumn leaves, vanilla and, of
course, cinnamon and spice at Christmas.
There was a time when the only reason for buying a new kettle was
because the old one was taking five minutes to boil and was too much
trouble to descale. No longer. The Moulinex Mellow Yellow kettle joins a
number of ’lifestyle’ household goods, all designed to be
Dulux paint range
You remember those funny machines whirring away in the paint aisle of
Do-It All or B&Q? The ones with 4,000 shades of blue? Well, in the 80s,
everyone wanted to have three vaguely different shades of blue to give
their bedroom a nice toned look. Not so in the eclectic and heritage
conscious 90s. Now paint manufacturers market the Victorian range or the
Georgian selection so people can recreate the authentic colour found in
Haddon Hall’s dining room or Burghley House’s kitchen.These are
mass-market versions of Farrow and Ball’s National Trust range which has
been growing quietly.
Watch out for
High-speed washing machines
Shopping is seen as a ’day out’ option. If we invest so much time
getting there we’d like a reward - even if it’s only a playground for
the kids or a McDonald’s.
A retail brand both high street and mail order, which carries a wide
range of gifts that are eclectic replicas from various periods in the
past. Founded by John Beale, who also developed the Early Learning
Centre, the chain’s turnover has risen from pounds 9.3 million in 1992
to pounds 59.7 million in 1996. It is a success story based on the rich
and turbulent past which, in itself, is a lesson to us all about
Or, as the philosopher, George Santayana, put it: ’Those who cannot
remember the past are condemned to fulfil it.’
The Fort retail fashion park, Birmingham
’The Fort’, like Brookfield Farm in Cheshunt, is another attempt at
making shopping a ’destination experience’ for the modern young person
or young family in a hurry. Sixteen of the 20 units are occupied by
clothing retailers, with Boots, W.H. Smith, Dixons and HMV making up the
list. Some of the larger retailers, such as Boots and Clark’s shoes, are
adapting specially to suit the retail environment by making their shops
into mini-department stores.
The Japanese ’no-brand’ retail chain, Muji, plans to have between 12 to
15 London branches and between 30 and 50 overall across the UK within
the next few years. The principal categories of goods on sale are
household wares and clothes. With their minimalist design, Muji goods
cater extremely well to the fashionable anti-fashion brigade.
Raiding the past and wallowing. Post modernism, with all its subverted
meanings, is now at an all-time high. The trend for authentic ’British
food’ has made London the restaurant capital of the world. Bands such as
Oasis and the Spice Girls are having the same impact on both music and
fashion as the Beatles and Rolling Stones did in the 60s, and their
fashion accessories - whether they are pastel-coloured desert boots,
Kangol hats, platform soles or Union Jack skirts - invariably start
The revival in regionalism has been gathering pace since the Mancunian
presenter, Terry Christian, surfaced on the Word in the late 80s.
Fish and chips and mushy peas
Most modern restaurants - even Mezzo and Quaglino - have chip-shop
favourites listed on their menus among the Japanese and Californian
delights. Even the Landmark Hotel and Bibendum have followed suit by
serving this classic dish - although at Bibendum, of course, it’s
lobster and mint pea puree.
The right thing to be in 1997 (if you’re female ) is 50 and a Martini
drinker. If you can manage a toyboy as well, that’s even better. Helen
Mirren, the star of stage, screen and the pages of Loaded is now every
man’s fantasy and, surprisingly, every woman’s heroine - but only when
she plays DC Tennison. Martini has gone along with, or maybe even
created a little of the fascination with beauty and what it means in
1997. HHCL and Partners’ recent campaign has challenged the conventional
idea of beauty and the merits of plastic surgery. It appears that women
have decided to celebrate their maturity and the spotlight is now on
men’s bad health.
It’s debatable whether regional railways are a hit but they fit in with
a renewed fascination for regional differences. They are also very
British in a world that is getting harder to understand, as politicians
try to generate a huge debate on a European currency five minutes after
the election. GNER is converting sleeping cars to day carriages to keep
up with demand and Richard Branson is promising tilting trains on the
West Coast routes.
Chanel No 5
What every woman needs is something she can trust. When her man wears
sandals to aid his feeling of well-being and has discovered the joys of
laddism, Chanel No 5 is the safe choice. Rather like Coca-Cola, it
continues to reinvent itself, staying in tune with the modern world. How
clever of them to use Andy Warhol.
Watch out for
Any product category that is traditional, English and has devloped very
little or not at all.
The invasion of the she-bloke into work, rock and football has seriously
undermined these traditional male bastions. It’s scary for men when
women put ’I support West Ham’ in their lonely hearts ads or go to see
Fever Pitch at the cinema - generally, men find such behaviour seriously
With this in mind, men have grown more inventive in their choice of
female exclusion zones. This is creating a lot of stress and anxiety and
the need to find some stress relief or explore foreign parts. Women have
lain down their swords in the battle of the sexes and have decided their
cerebral side needs nurturing. So pastimes are dividing once again into
his and hers - and both sexes are reading Men are from Mars. Woman are
from Venus or Love Lies.
You can’t move for Irish pubs. They have names like Scruffy Murphy’s or
O’Neill’s, and Irish staff and Irish drinks and lots of blokes in suits
drinking Guinness. Anything less like a proper pub in Ireland would be
hard to find. But this is a male preserve par excellence and a return to
old-fashioned conversation and live entertainment in between the
session. In fact the growth of Irish pubs, which is a European
phenomenon, is interesting in its exploration of an old-fashioned view
of Ireland at the very time a youthful Ireland has embraced modernism -
and has found an excellent outlet for its old road signs.
In order to work off all that office stress, people want to be
frightened out of their wits by being dropped down a lift-shaft
contraption known as a scream machine. The Towerhacker at Tokyo’s
Korakuen Amusement Park has customers queuing for hours to experience
that adrenalin rush. London’s Adrenalin Village is one of the venues to
bring such madness to the UK.
British Isles/Center Parcs
Getting away from it has increasingly become getting away to a British
idyll. With the average paid holiday entitlement now 25 days, a
fascination with our own country, worries about skin cancer and a need
to watch the pennies, UK destinations are popular, particularly if they
are unusual, like Holy Island, Jura or even Uist. Center Parcs too,
which packages a safe but independent ’green’ holiday, suits the mood of
the times for recreating family togetherness in a giant greenhouse.
Without doubt the written word has survived the televisual culture.
Reading books, and talking about the books you have read, is
fashionable. The book prize lists are well used by the book industry to
promote authors and I have a feeling that ’Have you read ... ?’ is
replacing ’Did you see ...’ as common currency for conversation. A
general feeling of ’find out for yourself’ pervades and older people
with more time on their hands are keen to keep active minds. A Top of
the Book Pops programme is overdue. According to Government statistics,
reading as a leisure activity dropped to an all-time low in the mid-80s,
but has now risen to 59 per cent for men and 71 per cent for women.
Outdoor activities that can either be enjoyed alone or in groups are
popular. A day’s meditative contemplation followed by a jolly down the
pub is the perfect antidote to stressful living.
Watch out for
Growth of ’alternative’ books and book shops.
The big themes in media are still the explosion in men’s magazines, the
desire for modern technical excellence in TV programme production, the
ravenous desire for DIY and electronic home shopping.
With a 217 per cent annual increase in circulation, FHM has outpaced
Loaded as the magazine of the times. Loaded’s circulation has shot up 85
per cent and Men’s Health’s circulation is 160,000 and still growing.
All three magazines do their bit to preserve men’s exclusion zones from
the opposite sex which Cosmopolitan has been doing for women for years
and More! now does for teenage girls. These are not cross-generational
magazines - if you are a lad or ladette you would not want your mum to
know you read them because of the frankness of their material.
Sky Sports and Channel 5
Sky Sports caters for the thoroughly modern sports fan who is not only
interested in what Jimmy Hill’s latest argument with Alan Hansen is all
about, but how did Romario turn outside Neville and which foot did he
use to shoot that incredible goal - seen from five different angles and
in slow motion, and liberal flashings of the word ’Goal’ across the
screen in case your attention had lapsed. Sky Sports is single-minded in
its dedication to how sports fans really are and not how the BBC would
like them to be. Channel 5 has forgotten to mention in its mammoth
launch package that you need a stronger aerial to receive its poor
signal as well as a video retuning - the most spectacular own goal of a
major media launch in recent history.
Mrs Cohen’s Money Programme - Channel 4
It is invidious to pick out DIY programmes from the torrent of home
interest, gardening and cookery programmes jamming the schedules.
Mrs Cohen is the latest in a long list of ’how to do it’ programmes
where someone, preferably an ordinary member of the public, has ’done
it’. This feeds off the great distrust felt with ’how to do it’ driven
by ’authorities’. Authorities are seen as necessarily having hidden
Watch out for
Changes in Channel 5’s marketing policy
How to be a Mother programme featuring Jane Asher and sponsored by
FOOD AND DRINK
Faster and faster and more exotic is the order of the day in the food
market. Spreadable butters, spaghetti that cooks in four minutes instead
of six and instant supper-party packs from Marks and Spencer are
becoming the norm. Tastes that are eclectic and indulgent, anti-diet,
pro-balanced and healthy eating. No well-stocked kitchen is complete
without a selection of oils.
Organic food is more popular, as is Quorn and ingredients such as
marscapone that satisfy our cosmopolitan palates. Since the latestBSE
scare, Sainsbury’s is running out of chicken suppliers in the South-west
because councils are vetoing the building of chicken sheds in fields
where cows once grazed.
Fuse chocolate bars
Last year’s hit in confectionery was Fuse. The chocolate bar became a
sure-fire hit, although rivals claim it reached only second position.
Fuse contains every ingredient known to be well liked by chocolate
eaters and is a fusion of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Fruit and Nut, Crunchie
and Flake. Back in the 60s, Rowntree’s launched a similar bar called
King Krunch, but theproduct didn’t stay on the market for very long,
although the test market results were excellent. Fuse faces the same
problem as any countline bar - how to ensure it stays popular once the
novelty has worn off with customers.
Having crept into the market for carpet picnics with their pan-cooked
crisps, Kettle Chips spent last year developing the range to include
popcorn and cheese flavours.
The development of informal eating around the TV and video at night has
spawned a whole market for adult self-indulgent savoury and sweet
snacks. Kettle Chips are batch-cooked, unlike Walker’s continuous
process method, although the brand has only a small percentage of the
crisp market and their price per gram is about 60 per cent more than
Energy and ’isotonic’ sports drinks are the fastest-growing sector of
the soft drinks market - Mintel claims there has been a 67 per cent
growth from 1991-95. The worship of physical fitness and sport among the
young, particularly men, and the popularity of the dance culture has
spawned a demand for high-energy drinks.
Lucozade NRG increased its advertising spend well ahead of the sports
drink market. This tactic seems to have paid off so far and helped the
drink fend off rivals such as Red Bull and Red Card.
Kilkenny Irish Beer
The dramatic growth in the widget and hybrid ales such as Boddingtons
and Caffrey’s respectively, spurred Guinness to launch Kilkenny last
year. So far the Irish brands have come out best.
Younger consumers - both male and female - for beer or lager products
that are smoother and easier to drink than conventional ales and lagers
have encouraged this growth. The ability of the brewers to create a
premium product without a strong or sweet taste and that can be served
cold has resulted in brands such as Kilkenny accounting for
approximately 20 per cent of the pounds 880 million ales market.
We seem to be somewhat bullish about the prospects for the UK at the
moment despite the fact that John Major could not find the feel-good
factor that we have now. We are happy with what we eat and drink,
holidays in the UK, revivals of our past, our heritage and our
Our purchase of foreign products - be they trips to New Zealand via Las
Vegas, or quirky foods - seem to be driven by the twin obsessions of
health and hell-raising.
Britain is number 14 on the hitlist for Yakult, which has been on sale
in Japan for 35 years. It is supposed to promote intestinal balance with
the use of lactic acid bacterium, and is made in Holland. The whole bio
yoghurt sector, which is very functional in outlook has, so far,
struggled to take off in the UK. Trade reaction to Yakult has been
mixed, with reports of sales in Tesco going well. The health food
manufacturers have failed to understand the British psyche - it should
be targeting men who, even though they worry much more about their
health, are still enjoying the typical high-fat, high-alcohol, low-fibre
lad’s diet. However, Yakult spent pounds 2.2 million on advertising last
year, achieving distribution on test in all the major markets using a
van sales force, selling at nearly three times the price per milliletre
of the yoghurt brands, Onken and Danone.
United Distillers’ new white spirits brand, Hackler Poitin, is likely to
take the UK by storm when it goes on sale here later this year. It will
compete with vodka and will fit in well with many trends already
mentioned - hedonism, ecleticism and being on the daring side - the
label reads: ’Banned since 1666.’ Hackler is the first legal version of
Ireland’s underground spirit to be granted a licence in Ireland.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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