Adidas links with EA and Google, using smart shoes to turn real soccer into online FIFA gaming points … Fenty goes TikTok, Unilever stops marketing ice-cream, and more

March 10, 2020

Adidas, Google and the FIFA online game have teamed up to create a smart football boot. The technology known as “Adidas GMR”, tracks how people play in real life, allowing them to complete challenges or hit milestones. When they do, they will be rewarded with improvements within FIFA Mobile, allowing them to unlock in-game rewards or improve the performance of their team within FIFA Mobile Ultimate Team.

The technology brings together insoles made for Adidas football boots with Google’s Jacquard technology, which allows smart fabric to be sewn into otherwise normal pieces of clothing. It has already been integrated into backpacks and denim jackets, for instance, allowing wearers to swipe on a sleeve and change the song that is playing on their phone.

The new tie-up with Adidas puts the tag inside of an insole so that it can be placed into any type of footwear. Once it is in, players will be given challenges to complete in the real world. One of the first, for instance, tells players to take 40 powerful shots from within the penalty box to complete the “Master Finisher” achievement, and the power of their shots will be ranked on leaderboards within the game.

The companies say the tag uses machine learning to understand how players are moving around in the real world, while playing on the pitch. It will be able to measure the kicks they take, the power of shots, the distance they run and the speed they do it, the companies claim. The shoes are available to buy through Adidas now for £29.95. They also require the Fifa Mobile app, which is available on Android or iOS.

More things happening this month in the world of business and brands:

  • Dazed unveils the “beauty counter of the future” at Selfridges, merging digital beauty and IRL experiences. Via Dazed.
  • The psychology behind ASMR’s appeal is rooted in formative memories of being cared for, suggests i-D.
  • Fenty Beauty opened a TikTok house as “a platform for the next generation of creators,” announces Glamour.
  • H&M plans to share its production chain with rivals as part of a new program to help mid- and large-sized brands expand, reports the Financial Times.
  • Fans of the Netflix show Sex Education will be able to rent the main character’s house, reveals Teen Vogue.
  • CNN explores how North Korean millennials are using beauty to express political freedom.
  • Hyundai’s Prophecy car concept takes design inspiration from nature and is meant to “build an emotional connection between humans and cars,” writes Dezeen.
  • TikTok has announced plans to open a “transparency center” in Los Angeles, California under heightened scrutiny from US lawmakers and officials, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Fashion house Balenciaga is turning political instability and eco-anxiety into artistic inspiration, “channelling the ongoing turmoil into creative output” in a new SS20 campaign video that mimics an evening news broadcast, writes Dazed.
  • Doctors and lawyers are taking to TikTok to give advice and clear up misconceptions in their fields, reveals BBC.
  • A new jewellery store in New York City was designed to be a “sensory retail experience,” informed by darkness, materiality, scent and sound, says Dezeen.
  • Could micro-credentials replace traditional degrees? BBC explores.
  • Sephora is rolling out new standards for its CBD products, making it the first national retailer to do so. Via Glossy.
  • Australia is leaning into voluntourism with a new visa that lets tourists extend their stay to help with bushfire recovery efforts, reveals Travel + Leisure.
  • Big Tech brands continue their play for healthcare. Amazon has launched a new digital health care service for employees, reports The Seattle Times, while Apple has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to see if Apple Watch can reduce the risk of stroke, announces CNN.
  • Durex reveals a new “sex-positive” brand manifesto in an effort to tackle stigmas around sex, explains Marketing Week.
  • Delta has announced that it will go fully carbon neutral in March 2020, reveals CNBC.
  • Adidas is using WhatsApp as a direct marketing channel, describes Digiday.
  • Amazon opened its first cashierless grocery store, evolving the Amazon Go retail concept, announces Business Insider.
  • Kickstarter has become the first tech company to unionise, reports The New York Times.
  • Time investigates how AI is being used to help patients find the best antidepressant treatment.
  • Forgo is a new mix-it-yourself waterless beauty brand that cuts down on carbon emissions and plastic waste. Via Dezeen.
  • France has introduced a raft of environmental policies under the new French Office of Biodiversity, including a protected nature reserve surrounding Mont Blanc to cute down on overtourism, announces BBC.
  • Artist Ai Weiwei has created self-assembled ‘democratic’ artwork to make high art more attainable, says Dazed.
  • The Verge explores how creators are using video games to make climate change education more engaging.
  • British pop rock band The 1975 has committed to only performing at music festivals with gender-balanced lineups. Via The Guardian.
  • Theory’s new clothing labelling system prioritizes conscious design by communicating sustainability and ethics alongside material composition, announces Fast Company.
  • Teens are using TikTok “as an important springboard for discussion” to critique mental health services, describes i-D.
  • High-end wellness drink Dirty Lemon drink is partnering with Walmart as the latest example of how the wellness is being democratized, reports CNN.
  • Unilever will stop marketing ice cream to kids for obesity concerns, reveals CNBC.
  • Artist James Casebere imagines post-climate change dwellings, projecting “a quiet optimism in the face of catastrophe.” Via Wallpaper.
  • The Guardian explores the gender bias in sustainability.
  • The New York City government is stepping in to address discrimination in luxury fashion, overseeing sensitivity training for Prada, reports The New York Times.
  • Automaker Ford wants to make the roads safer for cyclists with its new “emoji jacket” that displays bikers’ emotions to drivers. Via Designboom.
  • The North Face is sending its designers back to school to teach them how to “improve the longevity of the garments they make,” writes Fast Company.
  • CNN is launching a culinary documentary series starring Stanley Tucci, announces Deadline.
  • Designer Tanya Taylor is forgoing New York Fashion Week this year, instead releasing five short star-studded films and a digital lookbook. Via Nylon.
  • Glossy unpacks the migration of oral-care brands to the beauty aisle.
  • A newly proposed Dutch neighbourhood is designed around car-free urban living, where there will be “one shared car for every households,” describes Fast Company.
  • Vegan fashion in the UK will have new government-mandated regulations to standardise products marketing themselves as animal-free, reveals The Guardian.
  • Dyson has patented a new wearable air purifier with built-in headphones, announces Engadget.