The Feed: DINK, Nonplayer Characters & More
What are the most engaging and popular digital and culture trends from this month? Our editorially-led Instagram publication, The Feed, informs followers of the latest news from around the globe, because when culture moves at the same speed as social, we have to keep up.
From the glamourising of DINK (double income, no kids’), to Neutrogena’s parody TikTok dating show, to the blurring of real and virtual worlds, the opportunity to explore fresh creative avenues is seemingly endless.
DINK content is glamourising child free lifestyles
Where DINK was once a marketing term to describe young people with cumulative disposable income, it’s now become a proud symbol of self-identification. With the stigma of not having children becoming less prevalent, DINK content, which has taken over Tiktok, takes this further in glamourising the lifestyle of couples who have disposable incomes due to not having kids. Tiktok’s feature couples enjoying luxuries such as extravagant holidays, dinners and quality time together, without the implied financial burden of offspring. Is this a new stage of focus in life for brands to explore in their marketing?
People are blurring real and virtual worlds by pretending to be ‘nonplayer characters’
During an increase in virtual worlds influencing offline worlds, 150 million videos inspired by #simulation theory have stormed to TikTok. People are impersonating NPC (non-player characters) by adopting the slightly off-kilter movements and blank expressions of nonplayer characters accompanied by iconic video game music. The term NPC has been reclaimed by creators, having previously referred to video game characters controlled by the computer, rather than real players. The languages, aesthetics, characters and plotlines of gaming and fiction are becoming inseparable from offline life and for brands that want to drum up interest in metaverses and VR, the cult fandom around IRL NPC footage provides an opportunity to explore how virtual worlds are influencing offline worlds.
Neutrogena’s reality TV show parody is a roast of ‘authentic’ branding
Skincare brand Neutrogena has launched its own parody TikTok dating show, ‘Hydro House’, borrowing cast members from series Too Hot To Handle and The Bachelor, with contestants fighting not for each others’ affection, but for Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Cleanser. On the side of user-generated content, TikTok already has a strong culture of irony, with people often subverting or mocking ideas of authenticity and packaging it up as entertainment. By ironically placing the product at the centre of the show, Hydro House is a good case study of how brands can tactically respond to a parody-obsessed, post-authenticity cultural space.