The new year is right around the corner, and you know what that means--yes, it's a brand-new batch of best-of themes for product developers and licensing opportunists:
What tree-hugging, eucalyptus-eating marsupial is expected to garner the most attention in the new year? That's right: it's the koala. You'll see his cute mug on everything as the 2000 Olympics comes to his native land.
A continuing thirst for tranquility and peace means an aquatic theme will dominate next year's palette, its bluish-green hues granting calming atmospheres to tension-heavy hearts and minds.
We hope you're not oversaturated with the glut of teen-focused entertainment that hit theaters and TV sets this past year, because the networks have debuted a slew of youth-filled shows, like Fox's Get Real, NBC's Freaks and Geeks, and WB's Popular and Roswell, this season. One thing's for sure: It's more entertaining to watch "the awkward years" than to live through them.
SCENT: Mood Enhancers
The use of aromas to answer everyday needs will take "scent"-er stage next year--jasmine for wakefulness or green apple for stress reduction, just to name a couple. Such mood-enhancing concoctions will eventually be found at check-out counters everywhere.
Embroidered pillows, ribboned fabrics, patterned silks, fringed scarves and saris--all using a luxurious mix of Indian-derived textures, colors and intricate designs--will transform boring homes into exotic palaces, simultaneously creating auras of warmth and infectious spirituality.
FOOD: Fusion Dishes
Continued splicing of cultural flavors shows no sign of slowing. Fusion dishes, which allow ethnic cuisines like Latin and Asian to coexist on one exciting plate, will increase in availability and popularity. With such cultural stimulation at our fingertips, it's amazing Americans still hold french fries as their favorite food item.
Accompanying the trend toward spicy flavors is an affinity for sweetness. Many once-bland items are taking on sweeter attitudes. Such beverages as syrupy lattes and chai tea are raging favorites in the coffeehouse world, so kiss bitter good-bye and get ready for more sugary concoctions.
Look for a swarm of motorized scooters called Go-Peds to zip their way into the limelight. Whether used in competitions or simply as a fun way to get to the grocery store, the lightweight racers, which were introduced more than 12 years ago, are generating a buzz.
Equally hot are those '90s favorites called X sports (extreme sports). According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of in-line skating participants rose to 27 million in 1998, up 188 percent from 1994, while the number playing roller hockey increased to 3.1 million.
Snowboarding grew to 3.6 million participants, up 102 percent over the same period. And 8.6 million people rode mountain bikes in 1998, a gain of 87 percent.
LICENSING AND MORE LICENSING:
- Expect the already intense interest in Asian-themed design to grow with Steven Spielberg's release of a film adaption of the bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha.
- Manga (Japanese comics) and anime (Japanese animation)--visually stimulating meshes of reality and fantasy--will see even more licensing opportunities in the new year.
- Gen Y-focused WhirlGirl, a 5-minute weekly Web-series found at http://www.sho.com, offers licensing activities to promote the sassy twentysomething superheroine, Kia Cross (a.k.a. WhirlGirl), and her sci-fi adventures.