Brands not only change the way we consume and communicate, but also lead modern science forward, investing millions of dollars into research and innovation in such areas as molecular biology, chemistry, aerodynamics, electrodynamics, and others. This article is a recap of the most far-reaching scientific discoveries made by global and challenger brands in 2014.

Cannes Lions, one of the most respectful events in the advertising and media domain, has unveiled major winners in 18 categories, spanning from traditional Media, Design and Film Lions to Innovation, Product Design, and  Grand Prix for Good Lions. The last category’s winner and contenders as well as trends and niches they stick to are detailed below.

With the rise of technology and gamification trends in the modern consumer world, outdoor advertising is rapidly evolving from mere paper posters and billboards to multisensory pieces that are engaging, educational, entertaining and sustainable. This article offers a brief recap of some game-changing examples of how to harness the power of traditional on-the-wall ads by giving them a little tech and/or designer tweak. Below, there’s a list of wall and outdoor advertising, split into categories, depending on the approach applied.

The struggle for women’s independence is experiencing a spike in the past five years. Gender roles are being modified, with a greater shift being made towards dominance of women. Men are adopting new behaviors, shifting towards more sensitive, family-oriented lifestyles, trading in ambitious career goals for a home comfort, while women do the reverse. The voice of a woman is heard now, defending and demanding, destroying the old gender stereotypes, making businesses delete all kinds of sexist implicating from their products. Below, there’s a recap of the brightest and most engaging feminism-themed initiatives that have emerged throughout the past months. 

A vending machine of tomorrow can be described with just three adjectives: smart, digitally-connected and, with no doubt, sustainable. It will sell or give away just everything, for versatile currency, with manifold purposes. A dispenser will definitely go beyond the “pay-and-get on-the-go” scheme, transcending to an eco-focused, digitally powered installation that would respond to consumer needs just like a human salesperson (or even better) and at the same time revolve around the four pillars of sustainability: environmental responsibility, cultural/knowledge vitality, social good/well-being and economic health. How do vending machines of today dip into the “smart” sustainable future across these four areas? 

Traditional taste and smell enhancers, celebrity advice, coherence with a person’s image—all this can make the product, both eatable or not, more attractive to a consumer. But there’s also another thing that can make virtually any product on the market more attractive. This magic non-physical intensifier is a ritual, which adds a new enjoyable dimension to the process of consuming a product.

Why to buy something if you need it for a limited time only? It’s much easier (and more rational) to share underused assets instead of purchasing and owning them individually. The past few years have witnessed the rise of what’s called the sharing (share or shared, collaborative, peer, access) economy which implies collaborative consumption of physical, virtual and intellectual goods. The new model of consumer relationship emerges at the intersection of online social networking, mobile technology and the social movement that comes as a response to the reduction in purchasing power. While the concept of the sharing economy seems to be clear, it needs some detailing. Why is the sharing economy good to people? What threats to traditional business can it pose? Does the collaborative consumption have a potential to become a consumer religion of tomorrow?