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Trends with Tension 2017


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Every year, planners at Y&R share a roundup of today’s most interesting trends and their inherent tension. This year’s North American Trends with Tension report takes on an array of topics from privacy, wellness, and gender fluidity.

Published in: Marketing

Trends with Tension 2017

  1. 1. Trends with Tension 2017
  2. 2. Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 The Wars for Wellness Mental Fitness Let the People Tweet Oversexed and Over Sex Engineering Consciousness Gender Revolution Privacy for Sale We Eat What We Are Giving to Give / Giving to Do Trust Nothing / Trust Authenticity Chasing Truth Anywhere But Now
  3. 3. The Wars for Wellness Wellness was once a casual lifestyle of yoga mats and granola bars. Now it has become a nearly dogmatic obsession. Consumers have developed highly strategic, yet conflicting approaches to ultimate health: Natural Purity vs. Engineered Efficiency. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  4. 4. The Wars for Wellness SAID “Before using Honest Company products, I’d have to use gloves to touch some of the products I used.” – The Honest Company CRUNCHED 55% of Americans think that organic produce is more healthful than conventionally grown produce. – Pew, 2016 OBSERVED To illustrate the high quality of her goop skincare line, Gwyneth Paltrow ate her product on The Tonight Show. SEARCH IT Amanda Chantal Bacon SAID “You want to spend three bucks on liquid doubt? Be my guest. You want clean? Get a cleaner with bleach in it.” – Clorox CRUNCHED The dietary supplement category is projected to reach $278 billion by 2024. –GlobeNewswire OBSERVED Soylent, maker of a meal replacement product, touts how it “engineers” food to make a healthful diet more affordable and convenient. SEARCH IT Multiply Labs Seeking Natural Purity Engineered Efficiency 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  5. 5. “Wellness” is no longer one size fits all. You can’t just tell consumers that your products are good for them; you must illustrate how your brand fits into their own healthful approach. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  6. 6. Mental Fitness With stars from Kid Cudi to Selena Gomez openly discussing anxiety and depression, mental health is no longer a taboo topic. Now it’s normal – just another thing we all work on to keep ourselves up and running. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  7. 7. Mental Fitness SAID “Technology has opened a new frontier in mental health support and data collection. Mobile devices like cell phones, smartphones, and tablets are giving the public, doctors and researchers new ways to access help, monitor progress and increase understanding of mental wellbeing.” – NIH CRUNCHED The “brain-training” game industry is estimated to reach $6 Billion by 2020. – TIME, 2016 OBSERVED The boom in apps geared toward mental health, from mood tracking wearables (Feel), to VR therapy (Oculus) and meditation apps (HeadSpace). SEARCH IT SAID “An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.” - Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine CRUNCHED According to a recent survey, 9 out of 10 people suffer from “low-battery anxiety.” – Huffington Post, 2016 OBSERVED We see a rise in the advent of “digital detoxes” and tech-free sanctuaries like Camp Grounded (motto: “Disconnect to Reconnect”). SEARCH IT Phone stacking Plugging In to Sanity Unplugging for Zen 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  8. 8. Don’t think of mental health as a scary topic that you have to tiptoe around. Consumers are ready and open to thinking of mental health as just another form of personal upkeep. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  9. 9. Let the People Tweet Social media has long been viewed as the voice of the people. But for the first time this year, that collective voice became powerful enough to reshape the fundamental relationship between the public and its institutions. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  10. 10. Let The People Tweet SAID “Diversity is multiple voices at the table, and social media has made that table bigger and easier to get to.”– Kerry Washington CRUNCHED Online petitions are at an all-time high, with alone boasting more than 100 million users in 196 countries. – New York Times, 2016 OBSERVED During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users checked in at Standing Rock to express solidarity with the protesters and confuse police. – CNN, 2016 SEARCH IT #icantkeepquiet SAID “Trolls are turning social media and comment boards into a giant locker room in a teen movie, with towel-snapping racial epithets and misogyny.” – TIME, 2016 CRUNCHED In a recent survey, approximately 34% of students reported are experiencing cyberbullying; 12% admitted to cyberbullying others. –, 2016 OBSERVED Melania Trump has made cyberbulling her official FLOTUS cause – The Guardian 2016 SEARCH IT Rachael Ray + Lemonade The Power to #UNITE The Power to #DIVIDE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  11. 11. Harness the social voice of your consumers and foster conversations around your brand. But don’t let your own voice get lost in all of the noise. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  12. 12. Oversexed and Over Sex Sexual media and imagery are everywhere and on the rise thanks to developing technologies. Yet, we arepracticing sex “in the flesh” less and less. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  13. 13. Oversexed and Over Sex SAID “It appears that online pornography is causing, in some men, including a lot of men in their sexual prime, an emotional and psychosexual disconnection that is manifesting physically with real world partners” – The Huffington Post CRUNCHED The number of dating sites/apps has increased at least 387% in the past 10 years. – OkCupid 2016 OBSERVED From Reddit threads, video comments, and other web offerings, it is clear that pornography has gone mainstream among young males. – Thought Catalog, 2015 SEARCH IT Camsoda gas mask SAID “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture” – Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy CRUNCHED People are 19% less likely to consider sleeping with someone on the first date compared to ten years ago, with significant drops in every gender and orientation. – OkCupid, 2016 OBSERVED In terms of getting a late start having sex, millennials most resemble those born during the 1920s. – CNN, 2016 SEARCH IT Hinge app Oversexed Over sex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  14. 14. Sex no longer sells the way it used to. Free access to sex media is the new normal. Short of crafting new technological ways of enhancing actual sexual experience, using sex to sell products has become boring and outmoded. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  15. 15. Engineering consciousness The line between human and robot is getting thinner. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  16. 16. Engineering Conscious- ness SAID “Robots have traditionally been used as tools, and now they’re becoming more companions and social partners.” - Yale Social Robotics Lab CRUNCHED Over 250 AI startups collected total venture capital funding of $1.7 billion in the first half of 2016, up from 176 companies and $1.2 billion a year earlier. – Fortune, 2016 OBSERVED AI implications have reached The White House, because “replacing decisions made by human-driven bureaucratic processes leads to concerns about how to ensure justice,fairness, and accountability.” – SEARCH IT Moral Machine SAID “I don’t love the idea of being a house cat, but what’s the solution? I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer.” – Elon Musk CRUNCHED Kuzweil, The Direcor of Engineering at Google, claims digital immortality is going to exist by 2045. – The Creativity Post, 2015 OBSERVED The popular journal e-flux covers AI issues on the premise that “virtual reality reformats the very relation between the self and the unconscious.” SEARCH IT Transhumanism Humanizing Robots Robotizing Hummans 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  17. 17. Investment in AI – whether through consumer experience, brand optimization, or in stock – is lucrative for brands and relevant for consumers. AI can make brand experience more predictive and personal, but pay careful attention to avoiding the uncanny valley when riding the line between smart machine and moral being. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  18. 18. Gender Revolution A new binary has emerged: gender fluidity. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  19. 19. Gender Revolution SAID “My big thing right now is the multiplicity of identity, and allowing people to have what they really have which is 5, 6, 10, 50 identities and supporting that and celebrating that.” – iO Tillett Wright CRUNCHED Facebook now offers nearly 60 different gender options. – New York Times, 2016 OBSERVED Louis Vuitton featured Jaden Smith as a model in their spring-summer women’s wear ad campaign. – New York Times, 2016 SEARCH IT Tinder gender update SAID “After a historic court ruling, I am free. I am the first non-binary person in the United States to be officially recognized. I refused to be classified. And now, I’ve been vindicated.” – Jamie Shupe CRUNCHED 56% of 13-to-20-year-olds said that they knew someone who went by a gender neutral pronoun such as “they,” “them,” or “ze.” Over a third of Gen Z also strongly agrees that gender does not define a person as much as it used to. – JWT Inteligence OBSERVED Oxford University called for a removal of gender- specific titles such as Mr. and Mrs. from their websites and pamphlets. – Daily Mail, 2016 SEARCH IT Agender Adding Definitions of Gender Removing Gender Altogether 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  20. 20. Inclusion within organizations and their advertisments looks a lot different now. There is a fine line between representation and exploitation, and people are more aware of it than ever. Enabling more diversity will continue to be key. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 What this means for brands
  21. 21. Privacy for Sale We observed a heightened awareness of personal data over the past year. In 2016, we went to greater lengths to reclaim our privacy. But the price of our personal information is low when exchanged for timesaving products and services. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  22. 22. Privacy for Sale SAID “I think much current thought around technology is still naïve, but no one even pretends that the outcomes will be utopic now.” – Roddy Schrock CRUNCHED 86% of Americans have tried to remove or decrease their digital footprint on the internet. – ASecureLife OBSERVED Starting with Mark Zuckerberg, Americans have begun to cover their webcams – whether with tape or the “C-Slide” webcam cover. SEARCH IT DuckDuckGo SAID “I think privacy will be stripped away, because people are permitting it — one trade at a time.” – Pew, 2016 CRUNCHED When deciding what information to share with companies, 50% of Americans are confident they understand what will be done with that information. – Pew, 2015 OBSERVED “Uber’s New Tracking Tool Is More Convenient Than Creepy” – Mashable headline SEARCH IT Visa and BioConnect We’re Obsessed with Privacy We Exchange it for Convenience 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  23. 23. Give consumers the chance to choose which information they’d like to share, yet clearly articulate the benefits of sharing. Consumers are far less protective of the personal information they so closely guard when they understand the details and benefits of sharing. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  24. 24. We Eat What We Are Technology and convenience have fueled a disorganized relationship with food. We have become more distant from the journey it takes to our plates and the role it serves in our lives. Meanwhile, we have put more time and energy into understanding our food and mending the broken relationships we have with what we eat. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  25. 25. We Eat What We Are SAID “Understanding where food comes from and the work that goes into producing it ensures that children value their food.” – Lauren Weller CRUNCHED 65% of Farm to School grand recipients plan to add cooking classes or related activities to their schools. – Epicurious, 2016 OBSERVED Consumers are more accepting of the “ugly” produce that has been sweeping the nation when they are familiar with its source. Idaho farmer Richard Johnson sells ugly produce altogether with top-notch produce. For the same price. – Capital Press, 2016 SEARCH IT SnapIt! by Lost it! SAID “It is precisely that cost differential in food that has opened the door for food to be- come a symbol of social status.” – CRUNCHED 19% of 21-24 year olds have borrowed someone else’s food to take a picture and post on social media. – MediaPost, 2014 OBSERVED The obsession with posting photos of food on social media has led to an age of “instagrammable” foods, for which looks are more important than taste. SEARCH IT #blacktap Food is Personal Food is Social Currency 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  26. 26. Consumers want the opportunity to better understand the foods they eat. But brands cannot expect their love by merely showcasing this information. Consumers want to understand food through their own lenses, and often these lenses are social. Consider experiential ways of sharing the journey your brand takes to their plates, such as cooking classes. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  27. 27. Giving to Give / Giving to Do Philanthropy has changed in so many ways. Donations are growing annually, albeit slowly, with the largest rate of growth from those making the smallest donations. We want to give and the world needs us to give. But more of us are being asked to give more often than ever before. And in more different ways. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  28. 28. Giving to Give / Giving to Do SAID “Most donors across all age groups do not plan to expand their giving in the coming year.” – Blackbaud, 2016 CRUNCHED Total giving in the US is at an all-time high since 1975 at $375 billion (inflation- adjusted dollars) with a slow overall growth YOY of 1.6% – Giving USA Foundation, 2016 OBSERVED The expansion of corporate alliances that leverage the “ask for a donation at register” has created more, smaller donors with less commitment to their giving. SEARCH IT SAID “Crowdfunding is particularly attractive to younger donors who are looking for a more direct connection to the causes and people they’re supporting.” – Katherina M. Rosqueta, Executive Director. Center for High Impact Philanthropy at UPENN CRUNCHED 22% of all donors are enthusiastic supporters who contribute in a variety of ways. – Mintel, 2016 OBSERVED BrandAsset Valuator has identified that the cause-related brands with the greatest momentum are those, older and newer, that are action-oriented including Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity and even The Red Cross. SEARCH IT The Ice Bucket Challenge Giving to Give Giving to Do 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  29. 29. Consumers want to give for their own reasons and in their own ways. Give them the options to customize how they’d like to help. Some will take out their credit cards, others will make experiences of it. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  30. 30. Trust Nothing / Trust Authenticity We live in a post-truth, post-trust, post-PR era where fake news sites run rampant and social influencers can no longer influence. While we no longer trust “truth”, we’re increasingly and almost singularly placing our trust in what we perceive as “authenticity.” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  31. 31. Trust Nothing / Trust Authenticity SAID “Finding information that’s objective and fact-based has never been more difficult.” (over 55% of adults surveyed globally) – Ford, 2016 CRUNCHED In 2001, 44% of global brands were highly trusted. In 2015, only 18%, or less than 1 in 5 brands were trusted. – BAV OBSERVED In the post-trust era, consumers are more likely to ignore sponsored brand content than ever before, especially on social media. The practice of brands partnering with influencers is losing appeal rapidly. Instead, consumers trust friends and family the most, and celebrities the least. SEARCH IT SAID “You can be authentic without being truthful.” (>40%of global adults surveyed, aged between 19-44) – Ford, 2016 CRUNCHED 70% of consumers said the statement “being genuine and authentic is extremely important for me and for the things and people in my life” describe them. OBSERVED Hilary Clinton placed higher on the “trustworthy” attribute than Donald Trump, but Trump was rated 6 times more “authentic” than Clinton. “He tells it as it is” became the most important aid to Trump’s presidency win. – BAV SEARCH IT Clorox Twitter apology Trust Nothing Trust Authencity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  32. 32. Consumers aren’t perfect, and they know their favorite brands aren’t either. Don’t be afraid to add dimension to your brand by showing the goods, bads, and uglies. Think Nike and Tylenol – imperfect brands who remain relevant because they reacted to crisis in an authentic way. The rose-colored glasses have come off in this information age, and “real” brands make real money. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  33. 33. Chasing Truth Truth has become a moving target. At one time, the notion of “truth” was definitive. Today, “truth” is harder to nail down. It’s much more subjective and constantly changing based on personally held beliefs or the latest clickbait. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  34. 34. Chasing Truth SAID “We can all step up and say simply and without equivocation, ‘A lie, is a lie, is a lie!’ And if someone won’t say it, those of us who know that there is such a thing as the truth must do whatever is in our power to diminish the liar’s malignant reach into our society.” – Dan Rather CRUNCHED There are 26 active fact-checking projects in 37 countries, a 50% increase since 2015. – Duke Reporters’ Lab, 2016 OBSERVED After the election news organizations such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and others have seen a rise in paid subscriptions. – NiemanLab, 2016 SEARCH IT Facebook Journalism Project SAID “The people wanted to hear this... so all it took was to write that story. Everything about it was fictional: the town, the people, the sheriff, the FBI guy. And then... our social media guys kind of go out and do a little dropping it throughout Trump groups and Trump forums and boy it spread like wildfire.” – Jestin Coler, NPR Interview CRUNCHED Eric Tucker, co-founder of a marketing company, falsely tweeted about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Trump. It was shared at least 16,000 times on Twitter and more than 350,000 times on Facebook. – New York Times, 2016 OBSERVED The Oxford Dictionaries have officially named “post-truth” the word of the year for 2016. SEARCH IT Alternative facts Searching for Truth Creating Truth 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  35. 35. In this post-truth culture, consumers will increasingly demand greater accountability, not just from their representatives but also from retailers. Brands should deliver experiences balanced with emotion as well as greater transparency rooted in facts. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  36. 36. Anywhere But Now We use technology to capture valuable moments in our lives to relive them later rather than experiencing them IRL. In turn, we look to more nostalgic, tangible analog experiences to feel a stronger connection to each other or to our own lives. But no matter what the experience is, we are never actually present in the moment. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  37. 37. Anywhere But Now SAID “Yeah, I want to tell that lady as well, can you stop filming me with a video camera because I’m really here in real life. You can enjoy it in real life, rather than through your camera.” – Adele performing at a concert CRUNCHED Ironically, there are over 165 million posts tagged #life on Instagram. – OBSERVED Elite Daily’s mockumentary series “Millennials of New York” features a chef who opened a restaurant that makes food for the purpose of Instagramming it. SEARCH IT Mannequin challenge SAID Actor Eddie Redmayne gave up his smartphone in favor of an analog phone to be more present: “It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours. The deluge of emails was constant and I found myself trying to keep up in real time, at the expense of living in the moment.” – The Independent CRUNCHED “As CD and digital sales decline in the wake of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, record sales are on the rise. In fact, the format has seen 260% growth since 2009.” – Forbes OBSERVED There is a trend for digital-tech companies to feature more analog and tactile work spaces to encourage greater collaboration and to strengthen relationships. – The New Yorker, 2016 SEARCH IT #filmisnotdead Preserving the Past Using the Past to be Present 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  38. 38. In a culture where experiences are the new social currency, consumers constantly look for different ways to find happiness in the moment. Brands creating experiences that acknowledge the unique pleasures of by gone eras and also that beg to be shared digitally will be the most successful. What this means for brands 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  39. 39. Written by Divya Darsi Claire Heaps Ethan Scott Brendan Shyrer Design by Chloe Kang