Welcome back to We Are Social’s monthly social and cultural trend digest, covering the best that the internet has to offer.
Since the meteoric rise of apps such as TikTok, the speed of the internet life cycle means trends are becoming increasingly harder to pin down. Trends tend to reflect the state of consumer attitudes and can be successfully spotted when it connects to broader cultural movements, unearths new behaviours, or reattaches itself to cyclical or generational trends.
We Are Social’s Junior Strategist, Sarah Moody, has identified five key trends that set the internet alight in the past month.
1. The Taylor-verse
It all started when Taylor Swift announced the release of her 10th studio album, Midnights, at the VMAs. From then, there was a long conspiracy-fueled social media campaign full of what the Swift fandom loves most; chaotic hints and easter eggs delivered late at night. Taylor is notorious for enticing fans with deeply personal breadcrumbs.
The campaign started with a TikTok video series called “Midnights Mayhem With Me,” wherein she released the 13 track names one by one via bingo, followed by a full launch schedule via Instagram and a teaser trailer announcement during the NFL on Twitter. Taylor Swift generated 2x more tweet volume than the game itself. Leaving no platform stone unturned, she even joined YouTube Shorts to unveil the #TSAntiHeroChallenge.
After Spotify tweeted about the album’s release, Midnights became the most-streamed album in a single day, causing the platform to crash. Songs such as “Anti-Hero” (145K videos), “Midnight Rain” (33K videos) and “Vigilante Shit” (38K videos) have quickly become trending TikTok sounds. By leaving hints across channels, fans have their eyes peeled on all corners of the internet for any clue they can uncover, creating a Taylorverse of sorts.
Brands without a dedicated fanbase can still take learnings from Taylor’s masterful marketing campaign. Gamified, puzzle-oriented marketing drove anticipation and hype while actively engaging audiences whilst helping sustain interest post launch.
2. …With Prosecco in it
Google searches for the “Negroni Sbagliato” were sent to an all time high and some bars saw a 30% bump in Negroni requests after the TikTok interview, with House of The Dragon’s Emma D’Arcy and co-star, Olivia Cookie, went live. The video has over 26 million views and the sound, “Negroni… Sbagliato… with Prosecco in it” quickly went viral with over 66K videos created using the original sound.
The trend speaks to how much of an impact language, tone, pacing and cadence has to a viral sound on the platform. When it works, it works, and when it doesn’t, it’s mocked (in true TikTok fashion).
Reminiscent of other viral food trends like #FetaPasta (1.2B views), brands can look to weigh in with their own Negroni recipes or use the sound as a template to showcase their own product. When it comes to entertainment brands, interest in talent through BTS and interviews has proven to be an important TikTok tactic, helpfully impacting series promotion.
3. Nice Spaces
About a month ago, Architectural Digest (AD) welcomed in a whole new audience after collaborating with Gen Z icon, Emma Chamberlain. Emma’s video quickly made the rounds across socials, with many claiming it to be one of the best AD videos to date.
Despite 30% of young people still living with their parents and unlikely to purchase a home anytime soon, apartment-hunting videos have risen in popularity on TikTok. #ApartmentHunting (276M views) and #ApartmentTour (2B views) videos take on a variety of formats, including the agent taking you through ridiculously expensive homes or the vox pop.
Emma Chamberlain is known for her down to earth charm and genuine relatability. However, many have responded to the tour with a sense of longing and regret, instantly picking out the overpriced items you would fail to notice with any other celebrity home tour.
The trend speaks to striking the fine balance between aspiration and inspiration. 65% of people use social media as shopping inspiration, and 60% are influenced to buy products creators recommend. Brands should look to tap into relatable characters for their more aspirational products (Francis Bourgeois for Gucci x North Face) or a more affluent public figure to speak to more everyday products (BTS for McDonald’s).
4. It’s Scorpio Season
#Manifest (10.6B views) has been trending for a while on TikTok, incorporating content around intentional living, journaling, gratitude practices and visualisations.
Manifesting videos on TikTok often incorporate a call to action for the user to “claim” their good fortune in the comment section. Popular parody accounts, such as Sydney Affirmations and Melbourne Affirmations show the astrology format is also easy to parody and remix, as jokes about each sign have become universal.
Astrology apps such as Co-Star and The Pattern have skyrocketed in popularity amongst Gen Z, as they explore their spirituality and seek purpose through community. The popularity of astrology for Gen Z doesn’t necessarily speak to their strict belief in it, but more to their quest for guidance. This guidance typically comes in the form of the #WitchTok (33.5B views) community, turning to spells, crystals and manifestations to deal with stress and anxieties.
Young people have a love for astrology, and brands such as Heaven by Marc Jacobs know to tap into the trend to strengthen their appeal. 58% of Gen Z is willing to pay more for products that are targeted towards their personalities.
5. Rejecting The Uninteresting
With the casual, lo-fi ‘photo dump’ now becoming an act of curation, users are starting to reject the obsession with categorising ourselves. As a result, messier things appear more appealing to users. From ugly NFTs, to messy baked goods, people are leaning into consuming and celebrating everything ugly. #Maximalism (600M views), #UglyCore (6.7M views) and #WeirdGirlAesthetic (1.1M views) are all surging in popularity and spearheaded by the likes of Bella Hadid and Sara Camposarcone.
During Fashion Month, we saw brands such as Balenciaga and Heaven lean into weirdness and ultimately capture the attention of fans and non-fans alike. Balenciaga staged their most recent show in a mud pit, with models and the celebrity guests attending were made up with bruises and stitches on their faces. On the other hand, Heaven is tapping into #WeirdGirlAesthetic for their latest influencer campaign featuring the likes of Pamela Anderson and Charli XCX.
For content creators or brands, embracing weirdness and stepping outside of rigid standards allows them to cut through and make a statement.
Sarah Moody is a Junior Strategist at We Are Social. She loves to find cool stuff causing chaos on the internet. The tackier the better.