Future+ Fridays | Issue19

E.l.f beauty on Roblox, Toys R Us' AI film, Digital celebrities and more.

Welcome to our 19th issue of Future+ Fridays!

In this week’s issue, we explore the E.l.f beauty brand's expansion into Roblox, the incredible Sora-produced AI video by Toys R Us, digital celebrities and what brands should know, spotlight on Future+ member Karta’s newest launch with Nascar and more.

We're thrilled to welcome our newest member, Aura Blockchain Consortium, to the Future+ network! Stay tuned for more announcements next week with new partnerships and upcoming events in Geneva, Singapore and Paris.

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📖 In this week’s issue

👩‍💻 Also on our radar, in case you missed it

🔎 Deeper Insights

Courtesy of E.l.f. Beauty

What's happening: E.l.f. Beauty is integrating real-world shopping within its E.l.f. Up! experience on Roblox in partnership with Walmart where users are able to buy physical products through the game. This partnership also includes virtual items, enhancing the brand's digital engagement with younger consumers and receiving over 12 million visits.


  • Users (over 13) can visit a virtual kiosk to purchase a selection of physical products in Roblox.

  • Offer includes a Roblox-exclusive e.l.f. Up! Pets Hoodie - E.l.f. Up! Pets Hoodie, showcasing the brand’s commitment to being cruelty-free among other products.

  • When purchasing an item, users get a "digital twin" of the product. These items were co-created with Roblox creators and come enhanced with wings, wigs, etc.

  • The brand has committed to giving a $50,000 donation to the Humane Society of the U.S, pushing the purpose-driven experience.

  • E.l.f uses the Walmart API which was previously used for their own experience: Walmart Discovered, a significant step for beauty brands in digital and real-world commerce integration (refer to the previous newsletter here).

  • E.l.f. Beauty is just the latest brand in a long list of brands extending their reach into the digital space of Roblox. Brands like IKEA, Netflix, Hilton Hotels and NASCAR to name a few.

Why it matters: E.l.f. Beauty's integration of real-world commerce on Roblox marks a significant evolution in how beauty brands can engage with younger audiences in virtual spaces. This approach could lead to increased brand loyalty among new generations as well as stimulate new revenue streams, proving the potential of blending physical and digital retail in innovative ways.

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What's happening: Toys R Us is the first brand film using OpenAI's text-to-video tool, Sora (not yet available to the public). The toy retailer collaborated with its entertainment production arm, Toys R Us Studios, and creative agency Native Foreign to produce a commercial that narrates the story of founder Charles Lazarus and the creation of the brand's iconic mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.


  • Toys R Us creates the first brand film using OpenAI’s new text-to-video tool, Sora.

  • The film, produced with creative agency Native Foreign, tells the story of founder Charles Lazarus and mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe.

  • The video premiered at the Cannes Lions, festival demonstrating significant time and cost savings through generative AI tools.

  • Generative AI tools are central to Toys R Us's major brand relaunch and industry growth strategies.

  • Toys R Us joins other notable brands like Coca-Cola and Starburst in leveraging AI for campaign creation.

  • Beyond individual brands, generative AI is becoming integral to growth plans for tech giants such as Google and Meta, and major advertising agencies including Publicis, WPP, and Havas.

  • Despite being very exciting on the innovation side, it received a lot of negative criticism and backlash for being filled with errors, being creepy and unnatural-looking.

Why it matters: Toys R Us's use of generative AI for its brand film underscores the potential of AI in content creation. Not only it does accelerate production timelines but also reduces costs, providing a competitive edge in the marketing landscape. As more brands and agencies adopt AI tools, the industry is likely to witness a surge in creative efficiency and innovative marketing approaches, redefining how stories are told and brands are built in the digital age. However, this shift is not without its critics.

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3. Digital celebrities and use of deepfakes: what brands should know

What's happening: In April, British singer-songwriter FKA twigs addressed American senators on intellectual property to demonstrate how she used AI to develop a deepfake of herself, aiming to control her digital replica rather than allowing unauthorised versions of it - setting a precedent for artists to protect their likeness. Brands and celebrities are increasingly partnering with tech companies to create digital twins using generative AI to engage with fans. Meta and TikTok have also launched AI tools to create AI avatars and interactive experiences.


  • Fashion brands have been exploring virtual humans, like Puma's 3D avatar of Neymar Junior and Eva Herzigova's who has created her digital twin (available for “hire”), to leverage new marketing possibilities in recent years.

  • Benefits of digital twins are that they offer brands easier direction, time savings, and enhanced creative control by eliminating the complexities of real-life photoshoots.

  • AI usage has sparked controversies such as Shudu's creation by a white male and Scarlett Johansson's clash with ChatGPT over voice imitation, raising questions about representation and consent.

  • Legal experts emphasise the need for robust data security protocols to protect sensitive information like body measurements and facial features, with blockchain mentioned as a potential solution to track unauthorised use.

  • Brands must be cautious of potential misrepresentation, as digital avatars may be overly airbrushed, lacking features like stretch marks or dry skin patches, leading to unrealistic portrayals.

  • On a side note: TikTok introduced tools for brands to create generative AI avatars based on creators and paid actors, and an AI dubbing tool to translate content into 10 languages, expanding global reach.

Why it matters: The rise of digital celebrities is transforming how celebrities and brands interact with audiences. For brands, they offer new marketing opportunities, streamlined creative processes, and time and cost savings. However, the technology also brings significant challenges, including unauthorised deepfakes, ethical concerns such as misrepresentation and lack of diversity, and data security, which remains a critical issue.

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4. Selfridges and Snapchat launch AR locker room for summer sports celebration

What's happening: Selfridges and Snapchat are collaborating to introduce an AR locker room at the Oxford Circus store to celebrate the summer of sports.


  • Launched this week at Selfridges' Oxford Circus, the pop-up allows shoppers to virtually try on sports kits.

  • The collaboration features AR mirror experiences for interactive brand engagement. It provides a one-time access QR code that lets customers save and share their look on Snapchat.

  • Shoppers can see themselves in custom-made team Selfridges Sportopia football kits.

  • The initiative runs throughout July and August as part of Selfridges' Sportopia event.

Why it matters: The partnership is s symbol of the merging of physical retail with digital innovation, offering sports fans a unique and immersive shopping experience. By integrating AR technology, Selfridges and Snapchat are enhancing customer engagement, demonstrating that sports enthusiasts are not just limited to stadiums but are also active in digital spaces. This initiative reflects the growing trend of combining traditional retail with cutting-edge technology to create memorable and shareable experiences.

What’s happening: Spotlight on Future+ member Karta, a UK award-winning metaverse studio has teamed up with NASCAR (America’s most popular motorsport) to launch iconic tracks into Rocket Racing in Fortnite. This collaboration allows NASCAR to enter the virtual space and Karta a chance to work with an icon of motorsports and American culture.


  • The experience launches in Fortnite with a virtual map of the Chicago Street Course mapped on the real NASCAR Chicago Street Race.

  • The initiative gives fans and players a new way to interact with the sport and get closer to the real event than ever before.

  • There are plans for a permanent fixture on the platform with more tracks planned for release later this year in this long-term collaboration between NASCAR and Karta.

  • As Karta’s CEO and founder, Erik Londré mentioned, "Working with an icon of motorsports like NASCAR  has been a dream come true. Our goal was to capture the essence of NASCAR racing - the speed, the strategy, the adrenaline – and inject it with a dose of Fortnite fun. The result is something truly special - a high-octane, visually stunning racing experience that we know players will love."

  • Karta is known for creating immersive virtual experiences, the studio has worked with brands like Nicki Minaj, Amazon Music, Spotify and McDonald’s to name a few.

Why it matters: The partnership between NASCAR and Karta signifies a significant step in integrating motorsports with the digital world, offering fans a new way to engage with their favourite sport. By creating virtual race tracks, NASCAR can reach a broader audience and provide an immersive experience that goes beyond physical boundaries.

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