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The Next Big Things

It’s that time of year again when our appetites are whetted by the joy that is the annual JWT trendfest – 100 trend predications from this global ad. agency goliath. Along with our fab Account Director, Laura Oakley, we’ve picked out some of our faves.

Employ-vertising – Brands are starting to use forward-thinking employee benefits and policies as a marketing and recruitment tool. Starbucks is offering employees full tuition at Arizona State University’s online program, giving them the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree. As the economy rebounds, the job market is more competitive than ever. Simultaneously, attitudes among millennials toward employers are changing. According to a recent SONAR™ survey, millennials now expect the companies they work for to have value systems and be innovative.

Swavory foods – Mirroring changes in the consumer palate, which is moving increasingly away from sugary sweetness, a new wave of foods is straddling the sweet and savory worlds. This year Dan Barber, founder of the iconic Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York, launched a range of savory yogurts including beetroot, squash, carrot, and sweet-potato flavours. As consumers become more adventurous, overly sweet and sugary foods are falling out of favour, and new influences grow.

Inhalable flavours – The breathable cocktail recently became the latest exotic trend to hit the London bar scene. Perennial food and drink innovators Bompas & Parr created a pop-up called Alcoholic Architecture that allowed guests to immerse themselves in a cloud of gin and tonic, supposedly absorbed via the eyes and respiratory system.

Gen Z’s responsible icons – While millennial celebrities were predominately from reality TV, generation Z is demanding a new influencer type – e.g. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (who, in our research, rated higher than Beyoncé as a gen Z icon) and last year Bella Thorne published her first young adult novel—about dyslexia, which mirrors her own life. The 18-year-old has 7.4 million Instagram followers and works with a number of charities, including Thirst Project, a youth activism mission to bring safe drinking water to Africa. Gen Z is highly conscientious, progressive and empathetic.

Chefs as thought leaders – As food and issues relating to feeding the planet sustainably take centre stage, chefs are taking on the role of thought leaders e.g. Jamie Oliver promoting a sugar tax and has launched a global Food Revolution Day campaign to help children access healthy food in schools. Food is becoming increasingly central to culture, consumer spending habits, and popular discourse. It’s also an increasingly hot political point, as we debate how to feed 9.6 billion people by 2050, while also addressing rising obesity in established markets.

Un-tabooing womanhood – Menstruation, leg and underarm hair, underwear hygiene, and various other previously taboo aspects of femininity are being unearthed and bought to the forefront by fourth-wave feminism, new women’s interest media, and a fresh string of outspoken heroes and blogs. Comedienne Amy Schumer has defo taken the lead on this as periods have become centre stage. On Twitter, women have also been using the hashtag #LiveTweetYourPeriod to de-stigmatize menstruation. Health problems related to sexual function or bladder control are now being discussed openly and even addressed with sleek new technology.

Social good on steroids -Having a social mission is like free wifi—no longer a bonus but a core expectation among consumers, particularly millennials. We’ve already seen a proliferation of new brands baking social good into their business model. Now companies are taking social good to epic proportions e.g. Lego, aware of the ever-growing number of plastic toys in landfill, has invested $150 million into research on sustainable materials.

Instagram stories – Instagram’s user base reached 400 million in September 2015, and the number of US companies with more than 100 employees using the service as a marketing tool is set to reach 48.8% in 2016, according to eMarketer. As more brands pile in, Instagram is evolving from its origins and featuring more diverse forms of content. Dazed magazine has taken advantage of the high character limit on Instagram captions to publish “instastories,” bite-sized articles that feature a strong visual lead and still convey the publication’s distinct written voice. Brands are only beginning to advertise on Instagram, but haven’t yet thought about how to create native content for the platform that relies on text as much as images.

Thanks JWT, I’m off to inhale a cocktail cloud.

Rikki Weir and Laura Oakley

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