Here’s to another month of WNOS – our monthly report where we update you on the latest news, trends and tips in Social & Digital – helping to keep you constantly in the know. We’ve made a few changes to our tried-and-true recipe, and we hope you love our update as much as we do.
Ready for Wrapped?
Spotify Wrapped is one of the most iconic moments of the calendar year, when the music streaming service releases data on users and tells you who’s been listening to what, in a snackable and shareable format on social media. This year, the arrival of Wrapped has seen fans tweeting their predictions, desperate attempts to rectify their algorithms, and even a teaser dropped by Spotify itself. In this month’s WNOS, we’re going to break down for you how exactly Spotify Wrapped became ‘The Gen Z Met Gala’.
Zara launches on TikTok Shop
Zara has just launched a retail arm on the popular short-form video platform TikTok, aimed at enticing younger users who use social media for fashion inspiration and fun. While this new development stands to disrupt the entire e-commerce model, there’s still doubt around how it will fare with consumers – especially with the growing consciousness around trend-based purchasing and the sustainable fashion movement.
Why should you care
That’s a Wrap!
Spotify Wrapped has managed to evolve itself from a snapshot of year-long data to one of the most highly anticipated events of the social media calendar. When it started in 2015, it was known as Year In Music, allowing users to look back on all the songs they streamed the most over the course of that year. However, it really took off in 2017, when they launched their now-iconic graphics, commentary, and sharing function to social media.
Spotify encourages the sharing aspect of its Wrapped, spinning it out of being a data dump and into something that heralds the end of the year, similar to the Starbucks holiday cups or the sudden deluge of Christmas ads on TV. Spotify Wrapped season is a time that people use on social media to organically share what they have been interested in, flex their fan love, and find out more about their friends. Spotify has also enlisted artists to celebrate their fans, encouraging creators like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift to record messages accessible only to the highest percentile of their listener base.
Spotify have cracked the algorithm to fandom. By providing disparate fans a connection with their favourite artist, and each other, and a tangible way to prove their fandom, your Spotify Wrapped has become a badge of honour, rather than just a platform. It’s that feeling that drives hype around the Wrapped season, developing from it just a fannish moment into an entire fandom movement. How can your brand pivot from just providing a service to becoming a way for users to express themselves?
E-commerce’s Next Evolution
Zara, the fast fashion retailer, has launched TikTok shop capabilities. This means that users will be able to see a Zara outfit on their TikTok feed, and buy the entire ensemble directly on the app, without having to be linked to the Zara site.
According to online database Socialnomics, TikTok users are 1.4x more likely than other platform users to purchase something they discover in-app, and are a further 2.4x more likely to make content about that product. This clearly seems like the right move for TikTok in an increasingly diverse e-commerce landscape, but people with their ears to the ground – and eyes to the screen – know that tides are turning.
Just this November, Wrap report announced that all the good work being done in the fashion industry to reduce its 10% stake in the world’s carbon footprint (such as decreasing both the carbon intensity and water volume in the manufacturing process) is being cancelled out by over-eager and wasteful buyers. This absolutely isn’t going over the heads of young consumers, or TikTok’s userbase, who are deinfluencing each other, going zero-waste, and revitalising the secondhand industry.
While e-commerce brands should feel nervous about the shift in the landscape with the introduction of TikTok Shop, TikTok should feel nervous about the shift in consumer values. They will not be able to authentically forge connections with their userbase, in a way that makes them feel understood and valued, if they are so obviously not aligned with the beliefs of their users.
Snoop Dogg made waves on the internet with the outrageous statement that he was giving up smoke. After much debate, theorising, and mourning on all corners of the internet, he finally announced that he’d be giving up smoke when he grills – it was all the work of an ad for Solo Stove. Is this the way the marketing world is going?
JD Sports Has It In The Bag
Young people for generations have been using carrier bags as a fashion accessory, whether that’s the elevation of the Abercrombie and Fitch paper bags, or the Balenciaga rip-off IKEA tote. What JD Sports has done is tapped into its own cultural legacy in a way that brands ought to sit up and pay attention to.
Why should you care
Where’s There’s Smoke…
Snoop Dogg’s announcement that he was going smoke-free shocked the internet, and indicates a new stage in viral marketing – using star personality, not just power. Pop culture has progressed so far that these celebrities aren’t just actors, or musicians, or comedians, they all have their own backstories and lore with which their audiences interact and understand.
This can be seen in how Taylor Swift has moved from a singer-songwriter to cultural phenomenon, with fans understanding every intricate detail of her life hidden in easter eggs or secret messages, and how social media has elevated users from just watching the stars; they feel like they actually know them through parasocial house and bag tours. So when Snoop announced that he was going to give up smoke, he didn’t have to elaborate – everyone knew what a big deal that was.
Many people have broken down the shock and outrage around the stunt that was Snoop Dogg giving up smoking and revealing it to be a stove ad, however here on WNOS we’d rather talk about how Snoop Dogg’s ad was a great example of how marketing, and marketers, have to evolve with the times.
Brands have to understand that audiences are clever enough to put the pieces together, and don’t have to be handheld anymore. With such a large audience on a level playing field thanks to being endlessly online, brands should consider this an opportunity to make ads with more freedom, more references, and more clues for fans to suss out. Being able to interact with marketing, even if it’s just by recalling something, will make consumers feel like a better fan, more invested – and most importantly, it’ll turn the brand into a gateway for that sort of relationship with their icons.
Bag For Life
We’ve all seen the Buzzfeed listicle entitled ‘Things Only XXs Kids Will Understand’, where memories that you thought were personal to you turn out to be a uniting force of a generation. From opening a tub of biscuits only to realise it’s a sewing kit, or the fact your school banned playing British Bulldog in the playground, it’s these shared and organic memories that really sum up that particular era of childhood, community, and friendship.
JD Sport have done the same thing in their new TV spot ad, where they highlight the fact that their carrier bags – not their products – are used across the UK for a multitude of reasons. Whether it’s carrying home leftovers, or packing up your PE kit, the bag became, and still is, an integral part of youth culture. It’s the same way Heinz has acknowledged its role in chip shops, or KFC in chicken shops, owning up to their roles in culture.
By recognising their own place in culture, JD Sport are able to authentically connect and interact with their consumers, reaching out to them as the people who help forge these connections and set up these moments in their lives. It positions JD Sport not as a retailer, but as a culture brand, ever-present at the beating heart of adolescence and growing up. This is an ingenious move from the brand, and marketers should learn to look to their audience, their communities, and understand the real impact of their brand on their lives.
with the trends in September
Film – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel installment of the hugely successful Hunger Games franchise, has blown everybody away. The story has captivated TikTok, with people heralding it as the return of the teen movie. Drawing in newer audiences, the film also appeals to people who have been long-time fans of the series, capitalising on that mid-2010s nostalgia for a whole new generation.
Music – My Marmalade
The internet has gone completely insane for the song My Marmalade, a playful Russian language song from 2004 with an accompanying dance. People are loving roleplaying the fantasy of being a wealthy Russian person in winter, coming out with large fur hats, coats, and lipgloss. The sudden popularity of a song that quite possibly no English language speaker has ever heard of is the perfect proof point for how TikTok is the ultimate disruptor in all industries, exposing generations of people to new music, trends, and fashions.
TikTok – The Hesitant Fiancée
Who thought fine art would ever be a category we’d cover here on WNOS? Toulmache’s 1866 painting, The Hesitant Fiancee, has been making its rounds on TikTok as an encapsulation of feminine rage. It is one of the many viral symbols of feminine anger, ranging from Beyonce trashing a window in Lemonade to Artemisia Ghentileschi’s Renaissance rendition of the beheading of Holofernes. Young women around the world are connecting to the painting’s direct, Fleabag-esque stare, and take-no-prisoners expression.
Fashion – In The Purple
From Millennial pink to Gen X turquoise, every generation has their defining colour palette, and now it’s Gen Z’s turn. The generation has landed on a lilac-y purple, reminiscent of products like Flo By Mills and Olivia Rodrigo’s album covers. It’ll be interesting to see whether this changeable generation sticks to this colour, but for now, everything seems to be coming up lilacs.