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The Changing Zeitgeist


Celebrity partnerships with retailers, brogawear, the rise of the robot and the death of the cookie are just some things we can look forward to this year, writes Sinead Dennis.

If experience in the advertising industry has taught me one thing, it’s to be prepared for the inevitable sidebar question: ‘What’s the next big thing?’ It’s a recurring conversation with an ever-changing answer. Whereas a few years ago there were request to ‘make me a viral’, these days it’s more likely to be ‘how can we activate snapchat to engage with our younger audiences’. But what always strikes me about this scenario is that in most cases the next big thing has already arrived and we’re simply jumping on the bandwagon.

Our colleagues in the States invest in and realise the importance of trend watching and predictive consumer watching, and that’s still a trend we’ve yet to pick up on. As a nation that’s the second largest exporter of information and technology services globally, and proud host to the European HQs of Google, Facebook and Twitter (to name but a few), we really haven’t any worthwhile excuses. We have the skills, the ideas and the workforce to be on the pulse of consumer trends and technologies and this should result in us doing award winning creative marketing. And yet…

At this point I place my disclaimer that I firstly do not have a crystal ball, nor do I claim discovery of the following trends, but  I have however, binge-read as much trend analysis as possible from 2014 in order to give a snapshot of what’s to come in our marketing comms in 2015 and 2016.

New York’s JWT Intelligence identify itself as ‘a center for provocative thinking that focuses on identifying shifts in the global zeitgeist’. Worthy and wordy, but you get the idea. It takes a global look at research and conversations and break them down by demographic and geography. No mean feat. Then, each December it releases its trend predictions for the following year.  I’ve taken the liberty of cherry picking a few worth noting.

What’s up next?

The Individual

  • In lifestyle trends we can expect to see teetotal millennials; charcoal becoming the new must-have beauty product and a surfing renaissance (hat-tip to the Surf Summit held in Ireland in 2014 in partnership with the Web Summit). Brogawear is being cited as the next thing in mens fashion and this lust for a more active lifestyle will see families shift toward adventure tourism.
  • This sense of adventure will carry through to consumers demanding to be excited and engaged in experiential spaces by brands. Brands will need to evolve to a more holistic offering to match this expectation, so expect to see airbnb offering more to consumers and shifting into flights and hospitality.

Brands and Technology

  • In the thread of expansion and divergence, we will also see creative collaborations becoming the norm – heralded by H and M partnerships and, closer to home, the likes of the Dunnes Stores and Helen James partnerships. Beyonce and Topshop are one of the most talked about collaborations to come in 2015.
  • In the world of tech, expect to see the growth of budget smartphones along the lines of Xiami. And, while we have been talking about the potential for gaming for years, 2015 will see live gaming events going mainstream along with more female participation in this renowned male dominion. (gamers are 52% female in the UK).
  • Staying with tech, the folks in Silicon Valley have promised to turn their attention towards ageing and how to stop it, while the CEO of Hailo, Jay Bregman, announced at last year’s Web Summit his plans to set up a registrar of robots. We only need to look to Amazon to see his rationale, as they currently have a whopping 15,000 robots, named Kiva, who at 320lbs and 16 inches tall don’t need breaks.
  • 2015 will also herald the long-awaited death of the cookie, as demonstrated by Facebook’s acquisition of Atlas. What this means for us in the world of marketing is that we will be able to measure ad campaigns across screens, and in doing so, be able to target real people across mobile and web. The dream idea of custom messaging  per user is within reach with this, and is certainly a wildly more measurable model for ROI when it comes to digital spend and conversion metrics.

This really is bitesize information and is just scratching the surface as to what we can expect to see trending in 2015/16. Keeping an eye on JWT Intelligence and indeed trend companies such as  Sparks and Honey are great ways to keep our eyes looking forward.

So keep googling, bookmarking and sharing content – some of the most interesting articles are stumbled upon across come via social platforms, from the old reliable Twitter to the new kid on the block, Ello.

(And let’s all stop trying to make snapchat work.)

Sinead Dennis is an account director with Cawley Nea \ TBWA

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