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The Meaning of Life

By December 8, 2016 No Comments

Robert Stephens | December 8, 2016

With the gift-giving season upon us, we thought we’d take a look at some consumer trends that are out there. Definitely way out there. Read on …

For wannabe astronauts

Elon Musk of SpaceX, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin are betting that private space travel will be next big thing.

Musk believes that humans will begin to colonize Mars within the next decade, and he himself wants to go there.  “I’ve said I want to die on Mars, just not on impact,” he has commented.

Bezos, founder of Amazon, is developing reusable rocket technology for commercial payloads and the space tourism market. Branson, too, is focused on taking thrill seekers into suborbital space, and his company is already accepting deposits. To date, some 700 “future astronauts” have each paid $250,000 to reserve a seat.

Virgin Galactic’s planned flight from liftoff to touchdown will be about 2½ hours, with passengers experiencing weightlessness for approximately six minutes. The spacecraft will fly to a height of more than 100 km and reach a top speed of 4,000 km/h.

There’s a commercial market, no doubt, and it seems that wealthy individuals are lining up. But will space travel appeal to the masses? Even if the price comes down significantly, will ordinary folk want to rocket into the ether?

Apparently, a sizeable number do. A survey by AYTM found that 35% of people are interested in actually traveling into space, and 28% think it’s at least somewhat likely that space tourism will become widely popular within their lifetime.

Pew Research Center found even higher numbers, reporting that more than half of Americans believe ordinary people will be able to travel in space by 2050, and one-third expect humans will have long-term space colonies in the next 50 years.

For the billionaire spacepreneurs, there have been some setbacks along the way. Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise broke apart during a test flight over the Mojave desert in October 2014, killing the co-pilot and seriously injuring the pilot. And earlier this year, a SpaceX unmanned rocket exploded as it was being prepared for a test firing at Cape Canaveral.

Let’s hope they get the bugs out before we climb aboard.

Shoplifting legally

It looks and feels like shoplifting. But it isn’t.

You enter the store, move around the aisles selecting the items you want, and then you just skedaddle with the goodies, not even stopping at checkout.

It’s a new kind of shopping experience being pioneered by Amazon.  Called Amazon Go, customers scan their Amazon app when they enter the store, and then sensors register the products they pick up and automatically charge them to the app.

Amazon Go is now being tested at a store in Seattle. The company says the technology relies on “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion” – whatever that means.

Oh, if decide you don’t want that cupcake or box of Cheerios, just put it back on the shelf and the technology will make the adjustment to your account.

Amazon touts the concept as “Just Walk Out technology”. No doubt, it will liberate mankind from the tyranny of lineups, empowering future generations to “just grab and go!”

 You can see more in the video below.

You are what you buy

In an effort to help advertisers understand affluent millennials, BBC Advertising conducted a survey of this demographic across more than 30 countries. What it found was, well, less than inspirational.

The top 25% of income earners in the 16-34 age group exhibit what can only be described as a crushing shallowness. When asked about their consumer preferences and views, an astonishing 60% said they are “defined” by the brands they purchase, and a similar number “feel a strong emotional connection” with these products.

Nearly three-quarters of affluent millennials call brands “integral” to their lives, and 67% report (acknowledging the obvious) that they are “brand conscious” people.

 

The BBC believes it has uncovered a remarkable target audience it dubs the Supercharged. “The affluent subset are the ‘real’ millennials,” it gushes.

With apologies, Naomi Klein. Brand is status, nay, the very meaning of life.

 

 As always, we welcome your comments. Reach us on Facebook or tweet us @PRPOSTINGS

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