The 3 Marketing Trends That Swept SXSW

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Besides electric scooters, what’s taking over Austin this week? These 3 marketing trends…

Marketers may still be doubting the impact of SXSW activations, with many starting to scale back their spend on the event last year per Adweek, but what happens there is often emblematic of what’s happening in the ad world as a whole. So, even as the event caters more to industry insiders, keeping an eye on what’s up-and-coming, and what’s breaking through, remains important year after year. Plus, the entire event is a proving ground for experience-based marketing activations that could spin off into other cities, and reel in outside-of-the-industry young consumers. Consider this: brand-sponsored entertainment and branded events are the top ranking types of marketing 13-36-year-olds say they love/like, according to YPulse’s recent ad/marketing effectiveness survey.

So, what made headlines this year? Besides abandoned scooters from trendy startups littering the streets, per the Verge, there were skating rinks, smart tampon vending machines, clever social media stunts, and plenty of science-backed beauty exhibits—like L’Oreal’s “Know Your Skin” biotech kits and Lush’s augmented reality-fueled bath bomb shopping, reports Digiday. But the real winner of headlines continued on a trend we saw rising at last year’s SXSW: purpose-driven marketing. Game of Thrones asked for blood sacrifices from its gore-loving fans—for a good cause—by teaming up with the American Red Cross for their SXSW installation, where attendees that sign up to donate blood were “recognized and rewarded for their bravery,” Vice reports. The trends that took over SXSW may not all be new, but here are the three that broke through, pervading the event grounds in unexpected ways:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingCannabusiness Grows Up

If attendees are a lot more…


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Quote of the Day: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

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