The Future of Fashion is Digital

October 21st, 2021 by

Technology is developing at an incredible rate. With social media platforms offering in-app shopping, Facebook and Snapchat’s AR glasses, AR in retail stores and live shopping platforms, the Metaverse is creeping closer and closer with each incremental innovation. We’ll soon be spending a significant amount of time in the Metaverse, but we have one important question left: what should we wear? 

Within the past couple of years, the fashion world has actively begun adopting AR and technology—from NFTs and digital garments to AR try-ons in retail to virtual shopping, now including virtual stylists.  

The main way we interact with others nowadays is through digital. We instant message, voice call and video chat. We like, comment and watch livestreams. Living in an era of instant gratification, it’s unsurprising that our shopping experiences are taking a digital turn. 

The rise of digital in retail

Livestream Shopping & Virtual Styling

The concept of blending entertainment with instant purchasing isn’t new—it’s been incredibly popular in China for the past few years. However, it is only just making its mark in the West. Livestream shopping is an immersive experience that keeps shoppers engaged for extended periods of time. The latest development in livestream shopping is the introduction of virtual styling.

Livestream Shopping & Virtual Styling

Hero is a virtual styling platform. Brands can partner with the platform to provide text, chat and video styling assistance to their customers. Using the platform, brand teams can walk customers through key pieces in their physical stores to help identify the right items for the customer. Customers could ask real-time questions about the garments, return policies and even store availability for specific products. 

Hero allows brands to seamlessly blend online and in-store experiences. Many brands—including Levi’s, rag & bone, Nike, and Chloé—have partnered with Hero and seen incredible results. As a result of real interactions between associates and customers, Hero can yield an incredibly high conversion rate of 20%, and for some stores, up to 88% of users make a purchase within 24 hours of a virtual styling session. 

Livestream Shopping

Having the ability to speak to potential customers in real time allows chosen associates (or stylists) to offer their expertise on products they handle day in, day out. A brand’s stylists have the best understanding of the brand’s product offering and can most accurately provide a solution to a customer’s fashion query; stylists can also invite customers in for a private, reserved fitting room session to try on the clothes they discussed in their styling sessions. This not only increases footfall, but the opportunity to create a completely unique and personal experience for customers, increasing the likelihood of conversion. 

With the development of social commerce, it will be interesting to see whether digital styling will take its place on social media. TikTok and Instagram are leaders for in-app shopping, and with livestreaming capabilities where customers can purchase directly from a livestream, we could anticipate that influencers and brands may begin to offer virtual-styling services. 

Virtual Try-ons

Virtual try-ons using AR are bridging the gap between traditional brick-and-mortar retail and ecommerce. This tech allows consumers to achieve an accurate sense of look and fit of fashion items before making a purchase, all from the comfort of their own homes—something that is increasingly appealing to consumers following COVID-19. 

Sneaker and apparel resale brand GOAT launched an AR try-on feature within their app that allows shoppers to virtually try on sneakers. The brand implemented the feature to elevate the experience of discovery and to allow customers to see what some of the most exclusive trainers available would look like on their feet. 

Shopify retailer Tenth Street Hats has implemented AR tech directly onto its ecommerce website, allowing shoppers to try on selected hats on mobile and desktop devices, without having to download an app. The AR works by superimposing a real-time image of the hat onto the user’s head. 

Virtual Try-ons

The tool increased purchasing confidence significantly. For shoppers who engaged with the tech,the conversion rate increased by 52%. Data also showed that the longer a consumer engaged with the tool, the higher their average order value became.

The rise of digital fashion

Digital Clothing

A few years ago, if you suggested to customers they could buy an outfit that didn’t actually exist, you would have been laughed out the door. What’s the point in owning something that doesn’t exist? However, since the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies and the consumer switch from a physical to digital mindset, the idea of digital fashion has become more accepted and even anticipated. 

Many fashion brands have already bought into the concept of digital fashion by creating branded items Snapchat users and gamers can dress their avatars in—including Adidas, Levi’s, Gucci, Valentino and Burberry. 

Digital Clothing

In more recent years, the fashion industry has been plagued with the issue of sustainability. As fast fashion brands have been boycotted and attacked for encouraging a disposable mindset and inflicting 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, the demand for digital fashion couldn’t have come at a better time; digital fashion could be the sustainable answer to fast fashion. 

With supply chains in tatters thanks to COVID-19, and social media revealing the impoverished worker’s lifestyles and the sad truth behind many “ethical” brands, the appeal of digital fashion has grown. For as little as $35, consumers can have a unique digital garment photoshopped onto their selected photos, which they can then share on their social media profiles. 

Digital fashion has no supply chain, no factories and no delivery delays. All digital fashion requires is a digital designer, a photo editor and a computer. With these three components, the expanse of digital fashion is limitless. Digital fashion presents the opportunity to be highly reactive to fashion trends, without any of the negative impacts of real fast fashion. 

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Digital Fashion & Social Media

The popularity of digital fashion on social media is rising. Popular influencers have begun investing and posting their digital looks on social media and have been met with overwhelming positivity from their audiences.  

In addition, Farfetch has become one of the first large retailers to rest digital sampling by dressing influencers in digital clothing to promote the launch of its pre-order offering from brands such as Balenciaga, Off-White and Oscar de la Renta. 

Digital Fashion & Social Media

Using digital clothing gives brands the opportunity to work with influencers in a new and exciting way, without having to send any physical products. This opportunity saves fashion brands of all sizes money and resources, all while generating a buzz on social media. 

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Top 10 Gaming Discord Servers

October 20th, 2021 by

Discord is a free voice, video and text chat app that’s used by millions of people all over the world to virtually hang out with their friends and communities. Discord users can download the app on their mobile devices or PCs to keep conversations going on the move. 

Discord was designed specifically for the gaming community. For the gaming community, Discord allows users to keep in touch with their teams and strategize mid-game thanks to the voice calling and chat capabilities. The platform benefited hugely from the surge in online, team-based video games (think your Fortnite Battle Royales and Overwatches), and now plays host to thousands of online communities—both gaming and not. 

Gaming Discord servers have become online and active hubs for gaming fans. With over 100 million daily active users, Discord users have access to a plethora of public and private gaming Discord servers where they can interact with others who share their passion for gaming. Users have access to general gaming Discord servers or servers created for a specific game. 

So, what are the best public mobile and PC gaming Discord server names you should be aware of?

Best gaming Discord servers

1. Minecraft Official Discord Server

Minecraft Official Discord Server - gaming discord servers

Minecraft is one of the most popular games within the gaming community and has won many awards hailing it as one of the greatest video games of all time. 

Minecraft’s official server is one of the most popular gaming Discord servers on the platform. Members can discuss the latest Minecraft news and updates, share their own creations and connect with other Minecraft fans. It has a wide range of channels including Survival Discussion, Bedrock Mechanics, Java Mechanics and more. 

2. VALORANT Discord Server

VALORANT Discord Server

Riot Games-owned VALORANT has one of the most active gaming Discord servers on the platform. With just under 800,000 members, it can be tricky to access this server at peak times. But, with a little patience, you can access a global hub of all-things VALORANT. 

There are a range of channels within the VALORANT server including news channels (game news, event news and server news), discussion channels (gameplay discussion, strategy discussion and agent discussion), group-searching channels (grouped by region and type of player) and many more.

3. Official Fortnite Discord Server

Official Fortnite Discord Server - gaming discord servers

Fortnite was released in 2017 and quickly became one of the most popular games in the world. The Official Fortnite server has just under 782,000 members and is split into the following channel categories: Discord Information, Fortnite News, General Community, Battle Royale, Creative, Save the World, How Do I, Imposters, Bug Reporting, Homebase Broadcast and Weatherman Broadcasts. 

All active channels have their own sub-categories that users frequently chat in. 

4. MrBeast Gaming Discord Server

MrBeast Gaming Discord Server

The MrBeast Gaming Discord server is the official server for MrBeast (AKA Jimmy Donaldson) and his crew, who are incredibly popular on YouTube. The MrBeast Gaming Discord server is one of the most in-demand gaming Discord servers as it is only accessible when MrBeast gives announcements or information when filming a video on the MrBeast Gaming channel. 

The server doesn’t include a chat room because of the size of its support base. 

5. TommyInnit’s Discord

TommyInnit's Discord - gaming discord servers

TommyInnit is an English gamer, popular on YouTube and Twitch. He frequently shares Minecraft-related streams and videos, particularly in the Dream SMP, private, whitelisted survival multiplayer (SMP) Minecraft server.

TommyInnit uses his gaming Discord server to inform members when he is going live on Twitch or to let them know he has uploaded a new gaming YouTube video.

6.Animal Crossing: New Horizons 

Animal Crossing New Horizons

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the largest Discord-partnered server on the platform that also acts as the official gaming Discord server for the subreddit r/AC_NewHorizons. Its channels are separated into various categories, including Nook Inc, events, Island Life, Game guides and Help, Museum, Able Sisters, Marketplace, Campsite, Stalk Market, Dodo Airlines, Unrestricted Play, and Other topics.

7. r/leagueoflegends

r/leagueoflegends - gaming discord servers

r/leagueoflegends is one of the biggest gaming Discord servers run by its community. Rather than an official server, the r/leagueoflegends was created for the subreddit group. League of Legends is often cited as the world’s largest eSport game with an international competitive scene made up of 12 leagues.

8. Nookazon

Nookazon

Nookazon is one of the unofficial Animal Crossing: New Horizons gaming Discord servers. The server was created as a marketplace to trade Animal Crossing: New Horizons items and more; you can buy and sell items for the game. These are items like art, bushes, clothing, DIY recipes, flowers, fossils, fruits, furniture, materials, NPC, photos, posters, services, songs, tools, and villagers.

9. Games Fanatics Centra

Games Fanatics Centra - gaming discord servers

Games Fanatic Central is one of the gaming Discord servers that has channels for different games. Supporting a range of console and mobile apps, fans come together and share their wins and memorable gameplays. They have channels for Marvel Contest of Champions, War Dragons, Dragon Village M, Star Wars – Galaxy of Heroes, Zelda, Pokémon, and Animal Crossing.

10. Multiplatform Gaming

Multiplatform Gaming

MultiplatformGaming is the Discord server for the website Multiplatform Gaming, which was established in 2016. The community started as a hangout joint for a common group of friends but grew into a home for gamers. The community has amazing perks, game servers, tournaments, stream teams, and giveaways.

FAQs

What is the best gaming Discord server?

The Fortnite Discord server has the most members, so it could be argued that it is the best gaming Discord server. 

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Posted in Industry Trends, Social Media Platforms

Influencers as Creative Directors: Future or Farce?

September 30th, 2021 by

Influencers have well and truly infiltrated the creative processes of modern brands. Considering their ability to build, maintain and engage a loyal following on social media platforms, it makes sense that some brands have considered using influencers to grow their own online presence and taken inspiration from influencers in regards to content style and posting. However, a new trend we are seeing with influencers is taking their creativity to the next level. Influencers are no longer simply partnering with brands, but are now accepting high-level and coveted roles within brands, such as the Creative Director. 

It’s almost futile to argue that influencer marketing doesn’t have any impact anymore, but inviting influencers into high-level positions has seemingly split opinions down the middle. 

So, who’s hiring influencers in their highest positions and what has been the impact?

Molly Mae and Pretty Little Thing

22-year-old influencer Molly Mae was recently announced as the new Creative Director of UK-based Pretty Little Thing (PLT). This announcement was met with an outstanding amount of coverage across news outlets and organic social media conversations, for both PLT and Molly Mae.

 

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A post shared by FASHION • BEAUTY • LIFESTYLE (@prettylittlething)

Molly Mae already had a well-established relationship with PLT from previous collaborations, so a more permanent collaboration seemed like a natural progression for the relationship. Since the announcement, Molly Mae has confirmed that the role won’t be the traditional 9-to-5 Creative Director role we are used to seeing. In an Instagram Q&A Molly Mae stated that her position as the Creative Director would be a “24/7 role,” where she would be “sharing ideas, coming up with incredible new concepts, having input on shoots, events, you name it…” 

PLT itself has reinforced its decision saying: “Molly is the PLT customer. She is a great fit to join our team to work on our 2022 strategy, and we’re excited to have her input in terms of creative campaigns, signing new brand ambassadors and working on her own collections over the next 12 months.”

While Molly and PLT seem excited to get started on their next chapter, the decision was still met with a large amount of controversy online. The news sparked many conversations about whether Molly was actually qualified for the role—at just 22 will Molly be able to handle the pressure?

While we won’t know the answer to that question for a while, the decision to appoint Molly as the Creative Director seems logical—even if just to act as a PR stunt. Molly’s previous collaboration ranges with PLT have performed exceptionally well, showing that Molly knows what the PLT audience wants. Or is it that the PLT audience wants what Molly Mae has? 

Either way, Molly Mae has already had some major impact on the fast fashion industry and popular fast fashion trends. From the famous Molly Mae Bun to her statement neutral suits, Molly Mae is a fast-fashion trend setter.

Kendall Jenner and FWRD

Luxury e-commerce site FWRD announced Kendall Jenner as its Creative Director. Part of the REVOLVE Group, FWRD claimed that Kendall was the perfect candidate for the role due her position as “the epitome of luxury fashion” and her “style, creativity and overall exquisite taste.” Kendall’s role and duties include leading “The look and feel of the site, curations of brands sold on the site, monthly edits of must-have trends, styles, and looks, as well as marketing ideas, brand partnerships, and brand activations.

 

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Just as with the Molly Mae and PLT announcement, Kendall’s new role received a large amount of organic conversations online. However, this time there was more bad than good. 

Many were frustrated with the choice, saying a role of this level should have been given to someone who worked within creative fashion and had earned the position with previous experience. Although FWRD claims that Kendall is the “epitome of luxury fashion,” many netizens believe there are many more “brilliant people in this business” that are more deserving of the role.

Kendall’s missing influence on luxury fashion - Influencers as Creative Directors

Other netizens also mentioned Kendall’s missing influence on luxury fashion. Although she is a runway model, Kendall herself doesn’t have much influence over fashion trends. As a result of her prolific lifestyle, Kendall also has a stylist to pick her own clothes, so any influence she does have doesn’t actually come from her own creativity. Furthermore, Kendall has been repeatedly criticized for poor choices in advertising (we all remember that Pepsi ad…) and for culturally appropriative fashion choices. 

While crowning celebrities and influencers as creative directors, it does reinforce the power influencers have. However, it also begs the question: is it not enough to be a celebrity ambassador?

Emma Chamberlain and Bad Habit

The internet’s sweetheart Emma Chamberlain was announced as the Creative Director and Global Brand Ambassador for skincare brand Bad Habit at the end of 2020. Emma’s role as Creative Director will involve her overseeing product development and the creative process. 

 

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Emma joined Bad Habit for their launch at the end of 2020. Speaking on the brand, Emma said “Bad Habit is me in a skin-care brand — it’s honest, unapologetic and realistic about the fact that life is far from perfect,” and that she was drawn to the brand for its honest, real and positive stance on skincare. 

Throughout 2020, Emma’s content began to focus more heavily on skincare and lifestyle, likely as a result of the pandemic at-home skincare trend. Emma has always been open and honest on her YouTube channel and Instagram about her struggles with acne growing up and her stint on acne medication. The natural progression into skincare tips was welcomed by her audience following this honesty and openness on her own bad skincare habits. 

 

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Emma’s venture into business wasn’t scrutinised by netizens as a result of the natural progression into skincare and the fact Emma has already created her own successful business Chamberlain Coffee and podcast, meaning she already has experience growing new businesses from scratch. This is also likely why her position wasn’t criticised—there were no pre-existing fans of Bad Habit before Emma joined. This means all the brand’s success has come from Emma’s own effort and strategy (and probably her own audience). Since launching with Emma’s assistance, Bad Habit has gained over 133K followers on Instagram.

Influencers as Creative Directors: Good or bad?

There isn’t really a definitive answer as to whether influencers should be appointed the coveted title of Creative Director or not; it entirely depends on the brand and the influencer. From previous reactions online, it seems to be that brands with an already established audience will likely receive criticism online for appointing an influencer as a coveted role. 

While influencers should be given credit for their ability to draw in and maintain a large and loyal audience, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best choice for leading a company’s creative visions. Netizens are just to question the credibility and expertise of influencers when they are given positions like creative director. Being a creative director involves more than just posting artsy and aesthetically pleasing images and videos online at the right time. It’s a demanding role that requires past experience in trend spotting, consumer behaviour, sales, social media and marketing. 

Launching a brand with an influencer as a creative director seems to have the same impact as launching a brand with an influencer as a global ambassador. Consumers are yet to form their own opinions on the brand and haven’t seen the brand perform without an influencer leading them. Launching a brand with an influencer at the creative helm may give the brand a speedier growth rate as the influencer can bring across their own audience. But this still begs the question: why not just make influencers brand ambassadors? This will give brands the same impact and growth opportunities while being directed by an industry professional who has the required experience. 

It is likely that we will be seeing more and more influencers be appointed highly coveted positions within brands. It’s also likely that we will be seeing more and more criticism from netizens over these decisions. 

So, to answer the question of whether having influencers as creative directors is good or bad… It seems to be good and bad. 

Each of the brands mentioned above experienced a huge amount of organic conversations online but the mentions were mixed. While some see the move as innovative, others see it as a robbery—people that have worked hard for those positions have had their chances taken from them. 

One thing is for sure: we’ll be keeping a keen eye on how these positions play out…

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How to Use Finfluencers

September 23rd, 2021 by

A “finfluencer”—or finance influencer—is an influencer that shares financial information and expertise. 

They offer Gen Z and Millennials financial advice in snackable, light-hearted formats and are becoming an increasingly popular source of financial information on social media. Finfluencers have been able to solidify their relevance thanks to the rise of fintech, COVID and unemployment uncertainty and the popularity of cryptocurrency. 

Finfluencers present financial institutions with many opportunities, but they need to be used with the utmost care and responsibility. As a result of fraudulent financial promotions, fake finfluencers and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) concerns, social media platforms are becoming increasingly strict on the promotion of financial services and products. 

So, how can financial institutions use finfluencers? 

How Plum uses Finfluencers

AI money saving app Plum partnered with finfluencers including Matt Morgan (@moneywithmatt) and Timothy Paul (@tempahtime) who create content on finance, business and entrepreneurship for teens and young adults. Plum ran a series of ads and tutorials on how to save money and safely invest in stocks, alongside a “52-Week Savings Challenge” that encouraged users to save small amounts of money regularly. This use of finfluencers worked for Plum as TikTok users enjoy participation-based marketing. .

@tempahtime#save #saving #savemoney #finance #personalfinance #plum♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

@moneywithmattAn Easy Way To Invest in Stocks! #plum #invest #investing #ad #stocks♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依


How Snoop uses Finfluencers

UK fintech Snoop primarily uses TikTok and finfluencers for customer acquisition. Snoop has worked with finfluencer Jatz Naran since 2020 and promotes all his Snoop-related TikToks. The TikToks use simple language and explain real-life situations in an easily understandable way; some of the TikToks have received over 12 million views. Snoop has said that TikTok has been surprisingly successful in acquiring customers in their 50s and 60s, as well as younger audiences. 

@jatznaranLink in bio 🚀 ##snoop ##sponsored ##fyp♬ The Magic Bomb (Questions I Get Asked) [Extended Mix] – Hoàng Read

@jatznaranSnoop is by far the best money management app I have used 🤯🔥 ##snoop ##moneymanagement ##fyp♬ STAY – The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber

How to use finfluencers


Host educational finance workshops

Finfluencers can be used to host branded financial workshops that provide accurate financial information and tips in a snackable format. Finance is a notoriously tricky topic to understand, especially for those who have no pre-existing knowledge. Having qualified and experienced finfluencers host workshops, mini-series or tutorials on how to use a fintech or traditional financial institution’s services and what benefits it can bring customers. By hosting multiple workshops or videos in a series, finfluencers can go into depth with their advice, offering a well-rounded and unbiased viewpoint. 

Use finfluencers as financial brand ambassadors

Financial institutions can use finfluencers as brand ambassadors. We would recommend that the finfluencers chosen to be brand ambassadors have relevant professional experience in an institution’s financial category. This gives the partnership credibility from the get-go, and businesses can ensure the advice and content created will be accurate and beneficial to audiences. In addition, finfluencer ambassadors are already established within a social media niche and can help businesses reach new and relevant audiences. 

Make your own employees finfluencers

Employees of financial institutions understand the inner workings of the business and will already abide by (and agree with) company values. This means their ambassadorship is as authentic as it can be and a brand will be accurately portrayed and promoted online. Employees have the qualifications needed to work at financial institutions, so they understand how to offer relevant and accurate assistance on social media. In addition, using “normal” people as ambassadors makes a business seem more relatable to social media users; they will also be more inclined to trust a professional opinion. 

Host a money-saving challenge

Social media users, particularly those on TikTok, enjoy participation-based marketing. Hosting a money-saving challenge not only enables users to actively participate in a challenge, but promotes and encourages downloads of a business’ app or services. It allows users to experience, for example, a new fintech money-saving platform that has been demonstrated by reputable finfluencers and gives them a chance to ask for advice as the challenge progresses, increasing engagement. Challenges are highly popular on TikTok and are a surefire way to boost awareness. 

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The Finfluencer Opportunities and Threats

September 22nd, 2021 by

A “finfluencer”—or finance influencer—is an influencer that shares financial information and expertise. 

They offer Gen Z and Millennials financial advice in snackable, light-hearted formats and are becoming an increasingly popular source of financial information on social media. 

What are the opportunities?

Connect with new generations and upcoming spenders

Using social media and influencers is one of the best ways to connect with the Gen Z and Millennials. Traditional and fintech banks can use finfluencers to help connect and teach these generations genuine and helpful financial advice. As a result of COVID uncertainty and high unemployment rates, these younger generations are actively seeking financial advice. These generations are also becoming the largest spending spenders, so banks and fintechs can use finfluencers to explain budgeting and saving advice in bite-sized and understandable ways. 

Prevent high-risk investing and crypto FOMO

FOMO culture dominates social media, but particularly on TikTok. As a result of the popularity of Fintok, many TikTok users have created videos discussing their own success with investment in stocks and cryptocurrency. However, some neglect to inform about the risks of investing in these, leaving the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) concerned at the number of high-risk investments from young people. Using expert finfluencers, financial institutions can inform TikTok users on how to safely identify and invest in real stocks and cryptocurrencies. This way TikTok users aren’t feeling like they are missing out but are being wise and safe with their investments. 

Crypto FOMO - Socially Powerful

Gain cultural relevance

Using finfluencers can be a great way to show social media users you understand their wants and needs. By using popular and relevant finfluencers, financial institutions can earn a competitive edge over their competitors as they are showing cultural relevance. Using finfluencers that can appear natively in people’s feeds, financial institutions gain social proof and allow viewers to connect with them through the chosen finfluencer. As the world continues to favour digital, using finfluencers is an easy way for traditional banks to get their foot in the social-door. 

Teach younger generations about fintech

Millennials are less financially literate than the generations before them and are also one of the most indebted generations. However, they are the most likely to use fintech. This gives an opportunity to established and upcoming fintech businesses to use expert finfluencers (or perhaps use their own employees as finfluencers?) to promote their services while teaching Millennials about personal finance. Social media offers instant access to financial information, but using finfluencers helps personify fintech companies and makes a typically confusing topic easy to understand.

What are the threats?

Excessive positivity and encouragement for high-risk investments

Finfluencers are actively trying to reinforce their position as finfluencers. They are more likely to gain followers and a viral hit if they explain investment opportunities through rose-tinted glasses. However, by emphasizing the positive wins of investing, these finfluencers are not fully informing their audiences of the risks involved. In addition, as many platforms aren’t regulated, advice finfluencers are giving may not be correct, opening the threat of misinformation and even fraud. This means people are making high risk investments without understanding the incredibly serious risks involved. 

Influencers abusing their position of power

In recent times, many reality stars and influencers have abused their positions of power by promoting dubious finance assistants, debt schemes and cryptocurrencies to their large audience bases. When financial information is provided by a non-financial expert, the likelihood of their audience being well informed on personal finances is relatively low. This means any financial information is incredibly misleading and stands a high chance of being fraudulent; Kim Kardashian has been criticised by the head of the FCA for promoting an untested cryptocurrency on Instagram. As these stars have large fanbases, many of their audience members will follow blindly as a result of misplaced trust.

Influencers abusing their position of power - Socially Powerful

FCA concerns over social-media encouraged investments

The FCA has voiced serious concerns over young people actively seeking out investments online and says social media is responsible for young investors taking on too much risk. Research has shown that more than half of young investors have purchased a cryptocurrency using loans and credit cards. 

Discussing TikTok directly, the FCA has said people should be wary of fake finfluencers “promising high-return investments” and encourages people to do their own research. The FCA has called for social media platforms to create regulations for the promotion of financial products that have not been approved by an FCA-authorised firm. 

Platforms banning the promotion of financial services

As a result of the FCA threatening action if social media sites continue to promote risky, and occasionally fraudulent, investments to inexperienced consumers, many have begun taking steps to protect their users. In July, TikTok globally banned the promotion of certain financial services products including investment services, foreign exchange and cryptocurrency. Google has also clamping down on finance fraud by forcing all financial services advertisers to prove and display they are authorised by the FCA. 

In addition, it is likely the developing Online Safety Bill will include new regulations financial institutions and social media platforms need to be aware of. 

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The Demand for AR in Retail

September 16th, 2021 by

Augmented Reality (AR) in retail isn’t anything new, but it is still exciting. As a result of interactive AR games (think the 2016 Pokémon Go frenzy), consumers have become used to using AR technology in everyday life through their own personal technology. For retailers, this creates a brand new audience of consumers that are ready to be marketed to through the use of AR tech. 

Currently, retail brands aren’t consistently taking advantage of the novelty of AR marketing. Brands within the fashion and cosmetics industries—and the homeware industry—are leading the way by using AR as their audiences habitually use their mobile devices to discover and purchase products. However, many other industries are only using AR as a brand-awareness and discovery tool and not as part of the purchasing funnel. 

Although there is a slower uptake for AR shopping, it has received some major investment from big players. Snapchat recently acquired AR asset creation company Vertebrae in order to solidify its position as the marketing leader in mobile commerce. Vertebrae specialises in 3D digital assets of real life items, helping Snapchat and retail brands erase the barrier to entry for creating AR storefronts. 

Google has also begun investing into AR try-on technologies by working alongside Modiface and Perfect Corp. Working with these has allowed Google to implement AR into its own ecosystem to retain control, but also allows advertising partners to reach the new pro-AR consumers. 

L’Oréal has been leading the AR demand since it acquired Modiface in 2018. During lockdown, L’Oréal took advantage of the advanced move to digital and launched “the first digital makeup line” including filters that applied virtual makeup during calls. They were launched under the Signature Faces brand across Snapchat, Instagram and Google Duo.

Apple and IKEA have also begun using AR to assist the sales funnel by making AR product catalogues that allow users to see what their products look like in their own homes. AR is helping create new products and allowing for effective selling of existing products. As technology continues to evolve, the retail landscape will likely see more AR opportunities. 

As consumers begin to re-enter the new normal and stores are reopening, brands are given the opportunity to blend the demand for AR that developed in lockdown with the demand for being out in society. Brands can give consumers the opportunity to visualise a product on themselves or in their personal spaces before visiting a physical store. Not only does this alleviate the AR demand but heavily assists impulse purchases and keeps audiences engaged for much longer than a static image or video. 

Brands using AR in retail

L’Oréal

L’Oréal created an AR TikTok filter that allowed users to change their hair colour to one available in the L’Oréal Colorista range. Users were encouraged to share their augmented-reality hair transformation using the hashtag #GoBoldColorista. At the time of writing, the hashtag has over 3.1 billion views. 

@lenkalul##GoBoldColorista ##AD trying this cool @lorealparis hair filter! 💗🌸 ##hair♬ #GoBoldColorista – L’Oreal Paris

The AR filter and campaign not only raised brand awareness significantly, but also entertained users and creators by showcasing product results digitally. 

Maybelline

Maybelline Germany used an AR filter to support a TikTok hashtag campaign. The #LiftMyMood campaign saw creators use an AR filter that alternated between 3 Lifter lipgloss shades when they pouted at the camera. Pairing a fun sound with an interactive filter generated over 3.1 billion views to the hashtag.

@maybelline_deWerde auch du Teil der ##LiftMyMood Challenge und zeig uns dein Mood-Uplift!♬ Lifter Gloss gonna Lift My Mood – MAYBELLINE NEW YORK


IKEA

IKEA Place is an AR app that allows users with Apple iOS 11 products to test IKEA products in real time. Using Apple iOS 11’s ARKit technology, the app scales products based on room dimensions with 98% accuracy. Users can browse through over 2,000 IKEA products on the app, decide where they want the product to place in the room and visualise the purchase in AR. The app allows users to save their favourite products and share their selections on social media and facilitates purchases through the IKEA website. 

IKEA - Socially Powerful

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The Rise of the “Finfluencer”

September 16th, 2021 by

TikTok is a popular entertainment app that’s used by nearly a billion users daily—the majority of whom are under 25. TikTok’s highly diverse audience base means there is an incredibly diverse range of content people create and consume. While TikTok began as a space for dance challenges and comedic videos, it has evolved into an all-round entertainment platform that shares bite-sized educational videos. 

As a result of this diverse content, we have begun to see new types of influencers gain traction on the platform and across other social media sites. A new type of influencer that is taking social media by storm is the finfluencer. 

What is a finfluencer?

A “finfluencer”—or finance influencer—is an influencer that shares financial information and expertise. 

They offer Gen Z and Millennials financial advice in snackable, light-hearted formats and are becoming an increasingly popular source of financial information on social media. 

Why are they relevant?

There are four main reasons finfluencer have been able to dominate TikTok:

  1. The rise of fintech has resulted in a money-savvy community of Gen Z and Millennials that live and breathe financial literacy.
  2. Amid the COVID-19 economic uncertainty, younger generations don’t know what to do with their money. 
  3. Amidst high unemployment, Gen Z & Millennial audiences are educating themselves to be financially resilient.
  4. There is interest in cryptocurrency and investing, but a limited understanding of the processes and consequences.

The impact of fintech

Fintech (financial technology) has disrupted traditional banking. As of January 2021, over 14 million Brits had a digital-only bank account (Monzo, Starling Bank. Plum etc.). 

Fintech banking offers customers 24/7 support through non-traditional channels such as social media. New fintech and traditional banks are beginning to take a mobile-first approach to reach out to customers by designing products and services with the aim of enhancing customer experience via mobile. 

With more accessible banking, more consumers are taking an interest into personal finances in order to become more financially literate. 

The impact of COVID-19 and unemployment

The pandemic has resulted in economic uncertainty. Unemployment rates among 18 to 29 year olds is expected to reach 17% in 2021 and many are in low-paid and insecure jobs. As a result, young people don’t know what to do with their money. 

76% of 25 and 29 year olds have concerns over how COVID has impacted their work and personal lives. Amidst this recession, Gen Z & Millennial audiences are using social media to educate themselves to be more financially resilient; they are learning how to plan for and in later life. 

The impact of Crypto

Cryptocurrency has become a buzzword online. As a result of its popularity on social media, many finfluencers have begun discussing investing in crypto. Thanks to the general population having a minimal understanding of crypto, finfluencers have been able to gain a following through creating crypto content. 

Crypto-memes and influence from public figures such as Elon Musk, crypto attracts people due to its perceived value; Dogecoin saw its value rise 40% after it went viral on TikTok. Many consumers don’t understand the concept and consequences of crypto. Finfluencers have the opportunity to explain these through simple, bite-sized content. 

Who and where are finfluencers?

Among top finfluencers, 34% are female aged 25-34 years, compared to 16% male in the same age bracket. This shifts when looking at finfluencers aged 35-44, of which 25% are male and only 9% are female.

Finfluencers are primarily found on TikTok (or FinTok) and YouTube. They are discoverable through the key hashtags:  #moneytok, #stocktok, #fintok, #finance and #investing.

TikTok has become a go-to platform for Gen Z and Millennials to learn and teach all-things finance and investing. The hashtag #FinTok has over 490.5 million views, and #MoneyTok has over 8.5  billion.  

Regulations for finfluencers

Surprisingly, there are no specific regulations relating to the promotion of financial services on social media. However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has repeatedly stated its concerns for fraudulent content on social media; cryptocurrencies aren’t currently regulated by the FCA, meaning many social media posts around digital tokens are scams. 

As a result, TikTok recently banned the advertisement of financial services and products on its platform. Google is also cracking down on financial services advertisers by making them prove they are authorised by the FCA

To summarise, there are no regulations for banks or fintechs surrounding the use of influencers. The chosen influencers must be clear about exactly what they are promoting and inform their audiences of rewards and risks involved. This isn’t a strict law, but is ethical and will avoid an investigation from the FCA.

Finfluencers must clearly label any sponsored advertisements from financial institutions, as they would with any other partnership. 

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Debunking “The Messi Effect”

August 17th, 2021 by

Lionel Messi joined Barcelona FC in 2000 at age 13. In his time at Barcelona, he has won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. After 21 years with the club, it was announced on 5th August that he was not able to sign a new contract due to La Liga regulations and Barcelona FC’s insecure financial situation. 

Since this news was released, rumours about possible transfers started surfacing across social media, but the general consensus was that Messi was to move to Paris Saint-Germain. On 8th August, Messi held a press conference at the Camp Nou to formally bid farewell to Barcelona. Within the conference, Messi claimed the possibility of a transfer to PSG or other clubs had not yet been finalised.  

On 10th August, PSG officially announced the signing of Messi on a two-year contract.

As a result of this announcement, social media went crazy. There have been multiple posts floating around the internet detailing “The Messi Effect”, showing how Messi’s transfer resulted in PSG’s follower count doubling and earning 20 million new followers. But how much of this is true?

Debunking The Messi Effect

Firstly, we need to see how many followers PSG had before the news about Messi leaving Barcelona surfaced. According to Social Blade and Klear, PSG already had over 37,653,000 followers on 4th August—the day before it was revealed Messi would leave Barcelona. This is already very different from the claimed 19 million followers in some viral social media posts. 

From 5th August, there began to be a steady increase in new daily followers, with over 117,000 new followers on the 5th and 335,000 on the 6th. The number of new followers increases more between the 7th and 8th of August with over 592,000 combined. Following Messi’s conference on the 8th and PSG-contract speculation, there were 1,619,000 new followers on 9th August. 

On 10th August, PSG announced Messi’s two-year contract; this is where there is a sharp spike in new followers for PSG’s Instagram account. New daily followers jumped from 1.6 million on the 9th to over 2,803,000 on announcement day. From then, the new follower count only continued to rise. 

On 11th August there were over 401,000 new followers; on 12th August 1,301,000 new followers; on the 13th, 332,000 new followers; and on the 15th, there were over 463,000 new followers. This means PSG now has over 47,536,000 followers on Instagram. 

Graph depicting PSG’s follower growth by Klear

Graph depicting PSG’s follower growth by Klear

Some quick maths can deduce that Messi’s signing resulted in just under 10 million new followers for the French football club. This is even more impressive when the club’s total new follower count was 10.4M between 17th July and 16th August. So, while that might not be the claimed doubling or 20 million new followers, it’s still a hefty increase in followers thanks to Messi himself. 

It’s also not surprising that Messi’s follower count has also increased dramatically since the announcement of his move. Since 4th August, Messi has gained over 9,730,000 new followers on his own account—that’s an average of 748,400 new followers every day. He’s now the 7th most followed person on Instagram.

Messi vs Ronaldo: Who had the biggest impact on social media?

Messi’s move to PSG is the most discussed football transfer since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018.

Ronaldo’s €100M move to Juventus also caused a huge stir on social media as a result of Ronaldo’s loyal fanbase. Juventus reaped the rewards of new followers, while Real Madrid suffered the losses. 

Juventus gained followers in the rumour mill before Ronaldo’s official move, and even more following the announcement. On the club’s main and English Twitter pages, there were more than 400,000 new followers. The Juventus Facebook account also saw an increase of 400,000 new fans, and the Juventus Instagram saw over 1.4 million new followers. 

What’s more interesting is that Real Madrid’s Twitter account reportedly lost 1 million followers as a result of the move. However, in the big picture, this doesn’t even qualify as a dent in Real Madrid’s mega following. 

When comparing the impact of the two transfers, the first thing to note is that Barcelona’s follower count has continued to increase—while the club will have surely lost some followers, the total wasn’t enough to tip the scales into the negatives. 

However, while Ronaldo’s 1.4 million fans followed Juventus as a result of his move, Messi’s fans also followed him to PSG… all 9-something-million of them. That’s a fair few more than 1.4 million. 

The Messi Effect: Fact or False?

Messi’s move to PSG has had a huge influence over social media users and follower counts. With just under 10 million new followers on each PSG’s and Messi’s own Instagram accounts, the Messi Effect has well and truly made its mark on social media. 

It may not be the follower-doubling or 20 million PSG followers floating around clickbait social media posts, but it is safe to say that hiring Messi is a guaranteed method of building your social media following. 

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Into the Metaverse: The Upcoming Virtual World

August 11th, 2021 by

Tech and crypto jargon appears out of nowhere and suddenly becomes an integral part of everyone’s personal vocabulary. Often, these concepts are discussed fervently before they’re fully coherent. 

As jargon begins to stick, people talk about loosely related things that merge into a single comprehensible thing. This happened with “the internet” and is about to happen with “the Metaverse.” 

But what is the metaverse?

Introducing the Metaverse

The term “Metaverse” was first used in the cyberpunk novel Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson in 1992. In the novel, the Metaverse is a 3D virtual world that’s shared between individuals. It’s a universe of shared experiences and users could teleport between virtual spaces. 

Over the past decade, the gaming and tech industries have breathed new life into the Metaverse concept with multiplayer games such as Fortnite, Roblox, Decentraland and Minecraft. These games create digital worlds that combine the Metaverse inspired by Stephenson, and the real world that has become digitised as a result of the pandemic. 

Essentially, the Metaverse is a successor to the modern internet, with the same content but fewer limitations. Existing online platforms allow users to move freely between specific services within their own platform, but users are restricted between platforms. The Metaverse will allow users to seamlessly generate their own content and distribute it wherever they want in the digital world. 

The Metaverse means users will experience changes in real-time. If a user makes a change, it will be immediately visible to all other users. This also means users won’t have to have separate social media accounts—they can have one, ultimate digital presence. This gives continuity of identity, which is a core factor in how users consume content in the Metaverse.

NFTs, Virtual Assets and the Metaverse 

A popular entry point to the Metaverse for consumers and brands is through making and buying NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are units of information stored on a blockchain about a good or service that isn’t interchangeable. NFTs allow individuals to own digital assets and art pieces. 

NFTs are the building blocks of the Metaverse. Within the Metaverse, every conceivable asset could be bought, sold or traded as an NFT. NFTs within the Metaverse means that there will be no constraints of real-world limitations such as resource supply limits, supply chain risks or physics. Anything and everything could be made and sold. 

NFTs, Virtual Assets and the Metaverse - Upcoming Virtual World

Throughout the pandemic, users have adopted a predominantly digital and online lives. With online multiplayer games in which players can socialise and watch concerts, the gaming industry has benefited hugely from the online shift.

Within these games, developers make money by providing extra in-game assets users can purchase. The popularity of these in-game purchases has resulted in illegitimate secondary markets for these virtual assets. 

But it’s not just the gaming industry getting involved within the Metaverse.

Coke’s classic 1956 vending machine - Upcoming Virtual World

Coca-Cola has created its first series of NFTs alongside Tafi to support the Special Olympics International. The company’s digital asset debut was a pixelated version of Coke’s classic 1956 vending machine. The “Friendship Box” was inspired by a gaming loot box, and instead of cans, included a metallic red bubble jacket wearable. Also included were digital versions of Coke’s 1940s trading cards and a sound visualiser that featured a Coke bottle opening and a drink being poured over ice. 

Coca Cola - Upcoming Virtual World

Auctioned over 72 hours, the loot box sold for $575,883.61. 

Coca-Cola is no stranger to offering collectable items and has generated collectability over three centuries. The development of NFTs creates a collectable item that is timeless.

Social Media and the Metaverse

At the end of June, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would start transitioning into a Metaverse company. The social network will focus on products for communities, creators, commerce and virtual reality that will assist in realising this vision. 

What does this mean for the company and its users?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg - Upcoming Virtual World

Currently, Facebook users experience the platform through a smartphone. With Metaverse developments, users will experience the platform superimposed over the real world through AR glasses. Facebook is experimenting with how it can create a map of the real world so the digital social layer can be added over the top, with particular digital items anchored to physical places. 

The platform is also planning to take this one step further by superimposing the social details of a person over their heads, including their name, city, relationship status, interests and message history. Virtual meetings between avatars can happen in real-life places thanks to glasses that can detect where a user’s eyes are moving. 

Zuckerberg said the Metaverse will bring huge opportunities to creators and artists, those who want to work from home and away from cities, and those who want to live in places where education or recreation are limited. A Metaverse would provide them with a teleportation device. This means people can be in one place, and everywhere at once.

Decentraland: The World Built on Blockchain

Amid a crypto boom, the price of the cryptocurrency MANA climbed the charts in Coinbase. MANA is the currency of the virtual world Decentraland, where plots of digital land are sold for the equivalent of hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Decentraland: The World Built on Blockchain - Upcoming Virtual World

Decentraland is made up of user-generated NFTs. The creators described Decentraland as an infrastructure upon which to build. Decentraland users create scenes and experiences for users to enjoy; there are even two casinos where virtual avatars are paid to work.

Decentraland is an experiment in digital property

Decentraland is an experiment in digital property. Businesses have begun purchasing plots within Decentraland. Sotheby’s constructed replicas of its London galleries and hosted its first show within the Metaverse. The digital gallery has over 3,000 visitors. Sotherby’s has said the exercise was good for helping customers conceptualise NFTs that the auction house is already selling. 

The future of the Metaverse

It’s not new news that the world is shifting to favour digital experiences. Many brands, in all sorts of industries, have begun dipping their toes into the Metaverse through creating NFTs, purchasing digital land or hosting in-game concerts.

The future of the Metaverse - Fortnite

As social media platforms enter the Metaverse, it will become essential for brands to join the virtual world. As opportunities within an omniverse grow, the virtual economy will be just as important as the physical economy. 

Brands need to find a way to transition their activities into the virtual world in preparation for the inevitable cross-platform Metaverse. Many brands operate with a digital-first mindset as it is, with many creating a digital presence before an actual product. Brands that understand online culture, digital art and the importance of gaming experience will thrive in the Metaverse.

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What’s New in the Gaming World?

August 11th, 2021 by

Over the past decade, the gaming industry has evolved. Thanks to growing popularity for gaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Gaming, the gaming industry has grown into a $180 million industry. 

While the professional gaming and esports industry has grown, so has the number of casual gamers and watchers. In 2020, over 100 billion hours of gaming content was consumed on YouTube alone—that’s double the number of hours watched in 2018. 

The gaming community is highly connected on social media and within video games themselves. Many gamers use video game platforms as social media websites. Gamers can communicate, strategise and form relationships with others. Twitch has over 15 million daily users and Discord has over 140 million monthly users. Both platforms allow gamers to communicate and connect with other gamers, game developers and gaming brands. 

The growth of the gaming industry shows no sign of slowing down. As American colleges begin offering esport scholarships, tech developments bring forth the Metaverse and AR gaming, and streaming platforms begin offering their own games, the gaming industry will only continue to expand into new audiences. 

So, what’s happening in the gaming world right now?

The new “gamer”

The new Gamer - Socially Powerful

It’s no secret that the gaming industry is taking over the entertainment industry. It has already secured the number one spot for the largest entertainment sector, and this is largely due to its evolving audience.

Over a decade ago, many would describe a “gamer” as someone who owned special gaming hardware and lived and breathed a certain type of game genre. While this is still a gamer today, the general term has become significantly more inclusive. Nowadays, a gamer can play anything, from Fortnite to Candy Crush or they may not play at all, and just consume gaming content.  

There has been an increasing number of gaming fanatics that join in with the culture without ever switching on a gaming console. Reasons gamers have for watching instead of playing include a lack of time and finances to purchase/play games or to watch master gamers. It takes time in order to be a master at a specific game, but new gaming audiences can turn on a livestream and watch a streamer master a game. The interactivity of the livestreams often allows viewers to feel like they are playing the game themselves.

Gaming on Social Media

New Twitter insights

The gaming community has always been a strong presence on social media networks and Twitter is no exception. The gaming audience on Twitter is massive. In 2020, there were more than 2 billion tweets about gaming and 91 million unique gaming authors. Not only does this show the popularity of the genre on the platform, but shows the broad number of opportunities for brands, influencer marketing and paid advertising. 

The gaming conversion is thriving across all gaming sub-topics. With 70 new gaming tweets per second, discussions on gaming influencers have risen 184% since 2020, PC gaming tweets have risen by 132%, gaming consoles by 50% and esports by 38%. 

The Twitter gaming audience is global and predominantly driven by Gen Z. Interesting to note, the number of gaming Tweets written by women has increased by 31% since 2020. Conversations on gaming continue to grow as the Twitter gaming audience continues to be highly engaged and active. Besides gaming, gamers on Twitter also discuss food and drink, fashion and TV regularly—something for non-endemic brands to consider if they’re thinking of targeting the gaming audience.

New twitter insight - Socially Powerful

Game News

Splitgate taken offline

Splitgate taken offline - Socially Powerful

Splitgate is a free first-person shooter game that features player-controlled Portals. Described as “Halo meets Portal,” the beta version is available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.  

The game has been available for a couple of years but has continually struggled to maintain a player base. However, recently player count exploded so much the game was forced to go offline. Developers 1047 Games explained the server threshold could maintain 65,536 players, but this threshold was overthrown by players. The developers decided to take the game offline to prevent players from having a bad experience. In compensation, they also rewarded players with five in-game drop ins. 

Although having server issues is never a good thing, having too many players for a game from a small four person development studio shows how popular it is getting—something likely welcomed after years of struggling to maintain a player base.

Fortnite’s Rift Tour

Fortnite’s Rift Tour

From August 6th to 8th, Fortnite hosted the Rift Tour. With five showtimes available to global audiences, the show was headlined by a virtual Ariana Grande. 

Players were dropped onto a massive rainbow slide and could pick up powers that made them go faster as the concert was kicked off by Marshmello. Following bouncing in a stuffed bear and shooting down a giant crystal monster, players were crowded together to watch Ariana Grande kick off her part of the event. 

While a virtual Ariana Grande performed, players could run around a Greek-inspired temple with a godlike Ariana floating above them surrounded by bubbles, unicorns and rainbows. 

While the event was centred around Ariana’s persona, the event fit into Fortnite’s Metaverse as she performed to a giant banana, Rick from Rick and Morty and Batman. Players could buy an Ariana Grande outfit and cosmetics from the Fortnite in-game store.

Fortnite’s Rift Tour 2

Gaming Sponsorship News

McDonald’s US sponsors FaZe Clan

Mcdonalds Sopnsor Faze Clan

Fast-food restaurant McDonald’s has announced a new major partnership deal with Faze Clan. In an aim to highlight diversity within the gaming industry, the two companies will create a series of content. 

Claimed by the FaZe Clan as one of the largest fast food sponsorships, the partnership was announced in a video with the biggest FaZe stars having fun in a McDonald’s restaurant. This sponsorship is one of US McDonald’s first steps into the gaming and esports space. 

Content created will include a range of stories from the growth of FaZe Clan members and highlighting up and coming talent within the gaming industry.

Under Armour sponsors NICKMERCS

Under Armour sponsors NICKMERCS

In a move that further blurs the line between gaming and fitness, Under Armour is sponsoring NICKMERCS. The now-variety streamer is a big advocate for fitness and health and has created a fanbase that shares a similar outlook on fitness. 

Nick has created his own workout regime for his MFAM fanbase called “Get Better Together”. Now he’s under the Under Armour banner, the streamer is hoping to work alongside other huge names like Tom Brady and Dwayne Johnson. 

Nick has already teased a new merch collection that features his and Under Armour’s logo during his livestream. 

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