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52INSIGHTS: 2021 UNWRAPPED

We’ve seen a few people talking about things being unwrapped/wrapped on the internet the past week so thought we might do our own twist on the trend. This week, we’re recapping your favourite insight editions from The Youth Lab over the past year - many of these youth perspectives and brand takeouts are worth a recap (or a first read if you’re new here!) as we head into 2022 planning.

MOST READ: YOUR FAVOURITES UNWRAPPED

You’ve all really understood the assignment! What sparked your interest? Here are the top 52INSIGHTS of 2021 according to our readers:

FAME: TIKTOK & SEA SHANTIES

Back in January, just after the young poet Amanda Gorman took the stage at Biden’s inauguration in the US - and Bernie Sanders became the meme of 2021 - we looked at some of the ‘memes, moments and movements’ breaking the internet at the time. Sea shanties were taking over TikTok content - with many stuck in lockdowns this content provided younger generations with lighthearted entertainment and outlet for creative expression. Original content (bonus if it’s funny) paired with a sense of virtual togetherness is something we’re still seeing desired by younger cohorts. TikTok is still providing the soundtrack to much of Gen Z’s lives - search TikTok trending music or songs to explore more!

A Key Takeaway Still Counts: Embrace the organic creativity that comes from creators!

Read ‘Memes, Moments and Movements Breaking the Internet’ in full here.

Related: Also explore our related piece about TikTok, ecommerce and music here.

TRANSFORMATION: CELEBRITY CREATIVE DIRECTORS

In September, we looked at the rising trend of brands hiring celebrity Creative Directors. From Kendall Jenner to Molly Mae - one viral announcement after another led to many conversations about the value of young creators taking on more than just an Instagram post with brands. The trend speaks to the importance of collaboration and creator networks for brands looking to connect authentically with Gen Z. However the watch out is ensuring real depth behind the role, rather than just using it as a short-lived PR stunt. Partnering with different voices and with people with unique experience can also provide great opportunities to bring your audience closer to things like brand purpose and more emotional messages you are looking to communicate.

A Key Takeaway Still Counts: Consider who you are partnering with beyond just for a big reach moment, young people will see through it.

Read ‘The Rise of the Celeb Creative Director’ in full here.

Related: Also explore our notes (written before his death, back in May) on the incredible creative force of Virgil Abloh here.

PLANET: CODE RED FOR HUMANITY & CLIMATE

“Code Red: What Does the IPCC report mean for brands?” was unsurprisingly one of the top read articles of the year. Sustainability and climate topics are front of mind for many as we head into the new year, post Cop26. The report made for stark reading. There should be a ‘before’ this report and an ‘after’, according to commentators. Cop26 drove critical conversation and saw huge progress. But we’re still in the writers room.... Our Youth Culture Uncovered 2021 ‘Emerging in an Emergency’ report reinforces the importance of this topic for younger audiences - social and environmental responsibility is consistently called out when it comes to expectations young people have for brands.

“69% of 16-24 year olds claim to consciously choose to support businesses that deliver more sustainable products and services (up from 66% in 2021).” Youth Culture Uncovered 2021 (x500 Irish respondents)

A Key Takeaway Still Counts: There is no avoiding the impact of the climate crisis - time to step up and deliver.

Read ‘Code Red: What Does the IPCC report mean for brands?’ in full here.

Related: Our Earth Day webinar content ‘Delay is the new Denial’ was also hugely valued by many clients and collaborators. Read or watch back here. Our guide for sustainability in action for IAPI is also available here.

Our friends at Purpose Disruptors presented some incredible work at COP26 for the marketing and ad industry. Catch up here and here on GoodLife2030 and here (and here) on Advertised Emissions.

TOP READ 2021 RUNNERS UP

Other top read editions of 52INSIGHTS 2021 include:

  • An introduction to the Metaverse ‘Mega about META’
  • #MeToo 2.0 an exploration of #MeToo youth culture and conversation, 3 years on.
  • Clubbing is Culture - notes and takeaways from our Thinkhouse documentary about clubbing culture in Ireland.

BRAND TAKEOUTS

Thank you for reading! We love bringing you the latest in youth culture and conversation each week.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see us to explore in more detail in 2022, feel free to email your suggestions to theyouthlab@thinkhousehq.com with the subject line “52INSIGHTS INSPO 2022”.

IN OTHER NEWS

ICYMI: We loved the Pete Davidson and Machine Gun Kelly takeover of Calvin Klein's Instagram account on Monday. The two went live on the account and stripped down to white CK underwear, joking and making fun of the brand’s saucy aesthetic. It felt completely unfiltered (like a finsta approach to marketing) - and so much fun. Pete perches on a couch with his jeans half off as Machine Gun Kelly pours popcorn into his mouth. Watch it here.

See also

CODE RED: WHAT DOES THE IPCC REPORT MEAN FOR BRANDS?
CODE RED: WHAT DOES THE IPCC REPORT MEAN FOR BRANDS?

“The IPCC report is a code red for humanity.” António Guterres, UN Secretary General

MEMES, MOMENTS & MOVEMENTS BREAKING THE INTERNET
MEMES, MOMENTS & MOVEMENTS BREAKING THE INTERNET

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” Amanda Gorman, youth poet...

THE RISE OF THE CELEB CREATIVE DIRECTOR
THE RISE OF THE CELEB CREATIVE DIRECTOR

“Kendall at FWRD, Bella at Kin, Molly Mae at PLT. We are ushering in a new era of influencer “creative directors” and it is going...

Meta About META
Meta About META

There is change in the air and it’s pushing us towards new frontiers - in real and virtual worlds. COP26 is still in motion with...