It’s the time of year for planners to make up weird portmanteau words and indulge in the dark arts of Nostrotrendos. One macro geo-political topic that interests us at CP+B is the dramatically collapsing oil price. Much has been written about the effect this is having have from an economic, political and military point of view. But, it hasn’t really been explored from a consumer culture viewpoint.
The last time oil prices were as low as this in relative terms was in 1986. An era we all know and love for two things and two things alone. Shell suits and Top Gun. Our prediction is for 2016 to be the year when the far-from-flame-proof-shell-suit makes a rustling revival. Expect to see Caitlyn Jenner sporting one any time soon. In addition to this, we are likely to see the boom in cyclists sporting Lycra move into the mainstream, with skin tight Spandex suits becoming the new norm on Saville Row.
We also predict a rise in the number of AGAs being installed up and down the country. Whereas last year it would have cost £600 on average to cozily heat your house, warm your bottom whilst reading Country Life and burn your food, this year the running costs will have halved. Not only will more be installed, but we expect to see the likes of Ed Milliband install two. One for each kitchen.
Following on from the cushty world of AGAs we expect homes to run at a record high ambient temperature. 30 years ago the average household temperature was 16’c. In 2015 it was 23’. We expect this to rise to 26’. The effects of this could be dramatic – with all sorts of scary bugs being incubated by the snug warmth, rather than being knocked into oblivion by an icy blast. Good news if you are a cold bug. Bad news if you are human.
Where lawns once lay like mini Lords cricket grounds, we expect them to become astroturfed in a frenzy of fake grassing. And, even more bizarrely we predict that people will use their existing lawnmower out of a mixture of embarrassment and habit to keep the stripes in check. After all, if the petrol is almost free, why not.
Further down the road at Poundland a new promotion is launched in time for the new financial year suggesting that people spend the £365 a year windfall they get from the falling oil price on a ‘treat a day for a pound’.
George Osborne latches onto this in his budget by responding to effects of global drenching by giving out free wellies for all.
The BBC respond to the lust for fast cars with ridiculously large engines by reinstating Jeremy Clarkson. In other news Elon Musk launches Tesla’s first petrol powered car.
The beauty industry capitalizes on the rock bottom oil price by promoting perfumes for pets in conjunction with Dizzy Rascal and Tinie Tempah. Rimmel starts promoting lipstick for men. And Vaseline starts a new crowd-sourced #Vaseline365 campaign to promote the scary number of ways you can use their product. From helping you get into your Atsuo Kudo dress to men enhancing their cheek bones.
Up in Scotland where the Fishes predicated Scottish independence on surging oil price, creativity comes to the rescue of the off shore oil industry by turning redundant oil rigs into boutique hotels and micro distilleries – in 2024 we’ll be able to celebrate Hogmanay with a dram of 8 year old Dogger’s Delight.
Finally, down in the Middle East, Qatar can no longer afford to host the world cup; Saudi Arabia introduces a one prince per royal household policy; and Al Jazeera launches a new TV Show – the Billion Pound Drop.
As ridiculous as these themes might be, we should all be thinking laterally about what the effect of the low oil price will be. Creativity is the cure we prescribe for all businesses facing up to the prospect of an awkwardly low oil price.