Smart Cup or Empty Vessyl?

On Comedy Central’s Colbert Report last week, Stephen Colbert questioned the marketing strategy behind the new Vessyl Smart Cup produced by San Francisco-based startup Mark One. Designed by Yves Behar of fuseproject, the Vessyl is a digital cup with molecular analysis sensors that display the exact content and calorie count of the beverage within. In terms of attractive design and ingenious technology, the Vessyl is spot on. But to Colbert’s point: is there really a mass market need for it, especially at a cost of $199 per cup? Market research is a critical pillar of product development; without it, what you end up with is a geeky “parlor trick” that draws ooohs and aaahs, but few sales.


Puma Designers Thinks Outside the Box

Puma calls their new shoe container their “clever little bag.” Twenty-one months in the making, Puma and Yves Behar’s fuseproject collaborated to design more earth-friendly shoeboxes. They experimented with new folding, shipping and waste reduction techniques, but the improvements were more incremental than monumental. Finally they decided to get rid of traditional shoeboxes (the source of 21 tons of waste a year) altogether and look for an entirely new design solution.

The result is a “clever little bag” that uses 65% less cardboard than the standard shoe box, has no laminated printing, no tissue paper, takes up less space and weighs less in shipping, and replaces the plastic retail bag. The bag is also “stitched” with heat, instead of woven, thus reducing labor and waste. It fits compactly into a suitcase for travel, and afterwards can be recycled.

Puma also claims that the millions of shoes packaged in their bags will reduce water, energy and diesel consumption by more than 60% per year on the manufacturing side alone. Switching to bags will cut paper usage by about 8,500 tons; electricity by 20 million Megajoules; fuel oil by 1 million liters, and water consumption by 1 million liters. On the transportation side, Puma expects to save 500,000 liters of diesel oil. Also by replacing traditional shopping bags, the difference in weight will save almost 275 tons of plastic. Very clever, indeed.