From the controversy of Donald Trump to the style influence of the Kardashians, the top 2016 pop culture trends were anything but conventional. While these universally revered and reviled figures made the most headlines, some of the more interesting pop culture trends were less intrusive on the public consciousness. The most interesting trend that can be observed in this past year is the leaking of practices that were once mostly specific to more private online platforms, into the mainstream. Brands are taking a bottom-up approach in order to absorb social movements that began from their targeted demographics themselves, rather than attempting to influence the ways in which those demographics think and consume.
One particular example of this is one of Covergirl's newest brand ambassadors James Charles, a self-taught makeup artist who began on YouTube. Males wearing makeup was once a practice that was kept in private spheres in the home and in drag communities, which then leaked into social platforms that younger Millennials and Gen Z demographics tend to consume – with the end result being a mainstream makeup company capitalizing on this movement. This trend reveals a significant shift in terms of once-conservative brands adopting the beliefs of the demographics that they hope will drive their future sales, rather than choosing what those demographics can and should consume on their own. Brands are recognizing that consumers, particularly young ones, now have many opportunities to carve out their own paths – and are using this movement to inform their own business models and ideas.
Another example of brands taking a bottom-up approach was the 'Desigual' fashion show at NYFW. The show featured models wearing makeup and accessories that were reminiscent of some popular Snapchat filters – a decision that allowed the brand to relate to younger demographics. As this move brought the brand attention from Gen Z and Millennial demographics, it improved brand perception as a result. Where events such as NYFW were once aimed at targeting elites, its participants are now recognizing that to remain relevant they must target demographics that have vastly different priorities than its predecessors.
For more information on how to use pop culture to harness the buying power of different demographics, Trend Hunter's annual innovation conference Future Festival will reflect on this topic and many others.
Top 100 Pop Culture Trends in 2016
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Realistic Disney Princess Depictions
Controversial Celeb Exhibits
Expecting Disney Characters