The launch lowdown reviews VAR, Ikea's space range and L'Oreal's live beauty consultation

By James Roles , Columnist

July 6, 2018 | 5 min read

Cassette tapes become one with the dashboard. Queue up for a 99 and it’s actually 99p. Playing out till late. Warm weather was nice once. When we were children. Try remember that as you melt into the cracks of your keyboard.


This indoor garden forms part of Ikea's 'Rumtid' range created with Nasa

And as the forensics team scrapes you from between the A, S and D keys, you’ll probably realise you missed a glut of great launches over June. So here they are.

The next generation can’t afford houses, but at least they have Ikea

Time. Space. Water. Air. Four pretty fundamental things for, well, living, but here we are. Ikea’s Rumtid - ‘spacetime’ - collection launched last month, and those four things, those four necessities, are different product ranges. Inspired by space travel, Rumtid was unveiled at Ikea's Democratic Design Days conference, and is aimed at those in compact living* situations.

Announced last year, the range was designed in collaboration with Nasa and Lund University School of Industrial Design. So it’s gotten people interested. It’s been given real credence. And, to be honest, it’s making the most of a pretty depressing situation, isn’t it? If this is the future, then at least Ikea has the decency to make it seem a little cosier. A little more lagom. And it’s all made from waste and wood. Which is nice.

*priced out of anything decent.

Something about the offside rule

There weren’t a whole lot of stand-out football launches to coincide with this year’s World Cup. No ‘football crazy, football mad’. No Crazy Frog butchering Queen. But the paucity of novelty jingles did make room for Three to pull off a genius launch. Rebranding four of its stores - in Manchester, London, Brighton and Portsmouth - with three cute lion emojis, the mobile provider smoothly aligned itself with the World Cup without having to shell out on an official partnership.

The emojis were very sweet and all, but the initiative kicked off - sorry - with football legends Teddy Sheringham, Tony Adams, Ray Parlour and John Barnes all in attendance, taking snaps with fans and encouraging them to participate in the Three Wall Ball challenge. It’s literally just Wall Ball, but with a Three in front of it - participate in the challenge, post your attempt online and you could win big. Simple, clever, and yes, everyone else wishes they’d done it.

A fiver’s on this destroying the high street in the next few decades

Launching at Cannes Lions, to an audience who’ll forever associate it with the morning after the night before headache. L'Oréal's live beauty consultation tool is a superb example of brands keeping up with technology, integrating it into their services. Essentially, customers video-call a consultant, and AR technology places the virtual make-up on their face.

L'Oréal doesn’t need to do this right now - it’s a household name with fingers in every pie imaginable. But as these technologies advance and become even more mainstream, the brand will be at the forefront. Plus, launching at an event like Cannes, where the global ad community congregates, is a massive statement of intent.

Something about the offside rule. Again

Everyone’s been telling me that football’s coming home, so the least I can do is make it feel welcome. But even if that’s the case, we can’t ignore the opinion-slicing launch of VAR: Video Assistant Referee. This is absolutely massive - the days of ‘But ref, REF, REF, REF, REF!’ should be over, VAR’s cameras capturing pretty much everything.

But its hyper-analytical, stop-start nature has been rubbing people up the wrong way. Referees are a little unsure of its implications, and how to use it. Some decisions are racking up five minutes of first-half stoppage. Fans don’t really know what’s going on. VAR is a brilliant idea, but its launch seems somewhat rushed. Everyone needed to be aligned - fans, footballers, refs, ball boys and girls, everyone - and that’s just not happened. Everyone needs to be on the same page when launching something new, especially of this magnitude.

But we live, we learn, and Maradona gives the middle fingers.

Now go rub some aloe vera on your neck.

James Roles is sales and marketing director at launch marketing specialist Five by Five


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