We adopted a new motto around these Future Commerce ‘parts: “the future is built by the risk-takers.” Progress isn’t guaranteed; rather, the future is shaped by people who aren’t satisfied with the status-quo.
So when Adidas tweeted this picture of bare breasts (content warning: boobs) as their announcement that their new line of activewear is developed for every body, we sat up and took notice. How bold.
The spring/summer 2022 line was co-developed with Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, a specialist in biomechanics and breast health, to design a line of 43 styles and 72 sizes. Wakefield-Scurr’s credentials run deep — apart from assisting the development of the new product line, she commissioned a study on the effects that clothing have on athletic performance. It turns out, quite a lot. 50% of student athletes in the study admitted to being limited due to the support their sportsbra gives them when performing.
Amy Charlton, Adidas senior product director, added that “unsupported breasts could travel an extra four miles on their own during a marathon and lead women to experience the same G force as an F1 driver.” Stresses on a woman’s body during sport require additional understanding of the mechanics of human motion, and engineering to specifically combat the ill-effects that could result from a lack of support.
The effort to introduce the new line represents a huge commitment for Adidas: from supply chain to customer data platforms to logistics.
The product engineering required to produce this line boggles the mind. Adidas, long known for its forward-thinking industrial engineering, has often applied this futuristic design to footwear, including their 4D “Futurecraft” line and their Primeknit fabrics. For Adidas to provide a women-centric line with such diversity demands applause. Forecasting and inventory planning for a launch of this size and scale should not be overlooked. (We could not find a credible source by press time to lend insight to the just-in-time nature of the production. If you know someone in Adidas supply chain that has awareness of this product line, let us know.)
How does Adidas help you to find the match and fit of the new line? Through an online quiz. The quiz, powered by Adobe Marketing Cloud, also gathers an unprecedented amount of preferential data and size data from the customer. The effort, if done right, will help Adidas to learn more about their customer and building first-party profiles over time. Not just size and shape, but in preferences for padding, support, closures, and activities.
The social media strategy to show bare breasts might have attracted a good deal of attention of the Twittersphere. But the long-term investment that Adidas is making in their customer, and using that data to power future experiences; all while supporting women of all shapes and sizes? That’s bold. Risky, even.
And the future is built by the risk-takers.
Stopped at the border: At a third location, Canadian truckers have blocked the Canadian-American border in protest, causing many automakers in the US and Canada to hit the brakes on production as they wait on parts. The protests have been fueled by objections to vaccine mandates and other COVID related restrictions. With similar protests emerging in the US and abroad, there may be a long road ahead.
Amazon’s (un)profitability?. Historically, Amazon reinvested so heavily in its business that it took nearly 20 years to turn a profit. Amidst a price bump for their Prime service, however, recent investor earnings data show that Amazon’s most profitable operations are, indeed, advertising and AWS services. Of note, their retail business is becoming more unprofitable every quarter, starting in Q1 2020. A recent article unpacks the strategy, though it levels unfair criticism against the world’s largest retailer. Who doesn’t use profits from one area of the business to gain an unfair advantage in another? C’mon now.
More Sights & Sounds.
Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein parent get a new CFO. Snoop Dogg now owns Death Row Records. Musical artists are using NFTs to monetize their work and influence. Failed business Moviepass is back on the grift, this time in web3. Watch ads to earn free movies? Isn’t that just called Hulu?
Panda Express: While this year’s Winter Olympics are on track for a record low in viewership, one thing is in high demand: an adorable panda bear named Bing Dwen Dwen, roughly translated to “Ice Chubster”. Lines are forming at Olympic merchandise stores and most folks are demanding the ice chubster.
Would you like Capital with that? DoorDash is now in the business of financing. With the launch of DoorDash Capital, eligible restaurants will be able to access interest-free cash advances through the platform. There’s a joke about “Uber for X” where X is a bank in here, but we can’t seem to find it.
The plot of Taken 4? After a jarring case of theft, the Portland Pickles baseball team is on the hunt for their mascot, Dillon T. Pickle. Local brands have rallied to offer a hefty reward on the safe return of their precious pickle.
More than a 9 to 5: All 11,000 seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees of Dollywood’s parent company, Herschend Enterprises, are eligible to register for tuition reimbursement, which provides full tuition for select programs and partial funding for an expanded set of options. This follows a similar announcement in July from Walmart, who announced a commitment of over $1 billion towards education programs for their 1.5 million employees, and another from Amazon in July 2021, offering “free college” for frontline workers.