The “mobility as a service” future is still a long way away, but the fight for control over the customer relationship has already started.

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

The pandemic was a double-edged sword for the auto and mobility industry. On one hand, COVID-induced lockdowns and stay-at-home orders significantly reduced people’s vehicle usage and the need for mobility services; on the other hand, the car also become a personal sanctuary for many people, providing a safe way to get out of the house and safely access “made-for-car” services like curbside pickups and drive-in theaters. Not a small number of people also moved out of big cities and found themselves in need of a personal vehicle. …


The movie industry didn’t move online fast enough; now it’s trailing music and video games in cultural relevance

Photo by Geoffrey Moffett on Unsplash

The 2021 Oscars happened on Sunday. Did you bother to watch? Chances are you didn’t, considering that less than 10% of U.S. households cared enough to tune in. According to the final ratings reported by Nielsen, the ABC telecast only managed to score 10.4 million viewers and a meager 2.1 final ratings among the 18 to 49 demo, down 56% and 58%, respectively, compared to the 2020 Oscars.

Naturally, most people blamed this sharp decline on the pandemic, citing the fact that other awards shows aired in the past few months, including the Grammys and the Golden Globes, all suffered…


Podcast subscriptions, Apple Card Family, 5G-ready iPads, and more

Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter. For the full version, please contact our VP of Client Services, Josh Mallalieu (josh@ipglab.com) to send a request.

On Tuesday, Apple kicked off its first press event in 2021 with a slew of long-anticipated product announcements, including updates for iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV, and even the long-rumored item tracker AirTag. CEO Tim Cook opened the pre-taped event with a brief reiteration of Apple’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly design, before jumping into a tight hour-long show full of cool transitions and slick product demos. …


Taking stock of the video game industry in early 2021 and what it means for brands

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Video games have become an integral part of mainstream culture. Since the pandemic started, many of us have resorted to video games for comfort, distracting ourselves from the terrifying news and the lockdown boredom. As a result, video games and gaming-related content are commending more audience attention than ever. According to a recent report by YPulse, 94% of 13 to 39 year-olds in the U.S. are playing video games in some capacity.

Moreover, 2020’s most popular games, including Animal Crossing, Fall Guys, and Among Us, have become reliable virtual spaces that millions regularly turn to socialize with friends when we…


What the changing motivations behind traveling mean for the future of the travel industry

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

Why do people travel? A question commonly asked at airport customs, “for business or pleasure?” neatly sums up the two main reasons for travel. However, with the pandemic drastically accelerating the shift towards remote work and turning every meeting into a Zoom call, many companies are starting to question the necessity of business travel. Of course, business travel won’t completely go away — in places like Australia and East Asia, domestic business trips have already tipped back up — but it may never return to its pre-pandemic level due to the diminishing cost-efficiency of international business travel.

That leaves us…


How the accelerated shift to wearables, telemedicine, and smart home is impacting pet care

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Along with sales of board games, scented candles, and sourdough yeast, another category that received a lockdown boost was pet care. Pet adoption surged during the pandemic as people who are stuck at home suddenly found the need for companionship and had the time to care for a pet, and pet care received a consequent boost. From pet foods to pet toys to pet medicines, all pet care products naturally expanded their customer base and saw an increase in average spending. …


Video is fast evolving as a medium, becoming more interactive, participatory, and versatile than ever before & unlocking new brand opportunities

Photo by Attentie Attentie on Unsplash

Video has been an important storytelling medium for marketers, but it is also a medium that is only starting its digital metamorphosis. Different as digital video may be from its analog equivalent in terms of distribution channels and scale, video creators are only beginning to explore new formats, viewing contexts, and rules of engagement.

As video channels evolve from linear TV to digital and mobile video, and in the future to emerging channels such as AR/VR, connected cars, and eventually the metaverse, video formats are evolving in tandem to become more personalized and interactive, more social and shoppable, increasingly immersive…


Amid the rise of Clubhouse and Spotify’s aggressive moves to monetize podcasts, digital audio is at an interesting point in its quest for monetization at scale

Photo by Kate Oseen on Unsplash

Looking back on the past 12 months, the audio industry leaned further into streaming and subscription as the key monetization channels thanks to the pandemic. The Recording Industry Association of America recently published its 2020 report on the current state of the U.S. music industry, which found that streaming had another huge year with 15.1 million new paid subscriptions — a record number of new subscriptions created in a single year. As COVID-19 disruptions forced many people to spend more time at home and less time consuming audio in-car, the shift of audio consumption from radio to mobile streaming also…


And what retailers and brands can do in response to mitigate their impact

Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

It is now common knowledge that the pandemic has significantly accelerated the adoption of ecommerce and related digital shopping services. U.S. ecommerce sales grew by 44% y-o-y in 2020, nearly tripling the 15.1% increase in 2019, according to the latest data from DigitalCommerce360. 25% of businesses surveyed by Software Advice in June reported having launched an ecommerce sales channel due to the pandemic. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years, per IBM US Retail Index.

Less commonly addressed, however, are the unexpected consequences and new challenges stemming from hastened…


Exploring the potential marketing applications of non-fungible tokens

Nike is one of brands that have started exploring NFTs, Image source: Nike/SixfiguresSneakerhead

If you’ve been online these days, you’ve probably come across some incessant buzz about something called non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Lindsay Lohan and YouTuber Logan Paul both created some sort of digital collectibles based on NFTs; Post Malone teamed up with a startup called Fyooz to launch a celebrity beer pong league using NFTs; and the first NFT artwork just went on sale at major auction house Christie’s.

So what exactly is a NFT? How do they work? Why are they suddenly everywhere? …

Richard Yao

Manager of Strategy & Content, IPG Media Lab

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