Why Ugly Is The Trend That Won’t Die

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

An intentionally ugly aesthetic is earning likes on social media and proving a bankable trend for brands…

Ugly is so in right now. You might have noticed it: the seemingly unlikely popularity of clunky, perplexing footwear, the intentionally ugly selfies that have gone viral. As the staged perfection of social media has become a norm, backlash has been building against carefully curated feeds, full of envy-inducing photos that are anything but an accurate depiction of the life behind the lens. An ugly aesthetic challenges the un-reality of our digital reflections, and is anything but mainstream. Nothing sticks out on a page quite like a brown gravy-laden dish in a feed full of avocado toast or an un-flattering selfie in the (popular photo-editing app) Facetune era. Being “aggressively unglamorous,” as Quartz calls it, works on the ‘gram because Unique is the New Cool among young consumers, and ugly is anything but basic.

For some, ugly isn’t just a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Eyebrow-raising aesthetic choices could be considered acts of transgression in a turbulent time, when young consumers are feeling record levels of anxiety and pressure to appear perfect. The Paris Review explains that ugly fashion comes from a long tradition of sticking it to the status quo. The ‘80s had punk, 2018 has clogs. The founder of the @cloglife Instagram account explains that ugly looks go far beyond an affinity for clunky footwear; it’s an escape from sometimes hard-to-handle world: “When I think about ultimate planet clog, there is no news. There are no politics, no bad doctor’s appointments. It is a stupidly comfortable place of bad good taste,” and clogs are just “a ‘tiny part’ of this vision.”

So, from doodle-grade tattoos and bruised bananas, we took a look at 5 things getting an ugly makeunder:

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


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Most social media is an echo-chamber for immaturity.”—Male, 30, MD

Violent video games don’t cause violent behavior, according to “one of the most definitive [studies] to date.” At a time when several states are considering tacking on extra taxes to violent video games, the Oxford Internet Institute’s study found that playing content considered violent did not cause 14-15-year-olds in the U.K. to act more aggressively. The study’s co-author says that previous studies have been influenced by “researcher biases” that led to studies that gave “undue weight to the moral panic surrounding video games.” (GamesIndustry.biz)

A new rosé brand is winning over Millennials with its Instagrammable bottle. The Wonderful Company, known for brands like Fiji Water and Pistachios, brought a new wine brand to market just in time for Valentine’s Day—and it’s already outselling their other labels. JNSQ (an acronym for the French phrase “je ne sais quoi”) sells rosé and sauvignon blanc that come in glass containers designed to look like retro perfume bottles. Influencers and a national marketing campaign helped propel the brand. (Adweek)

Minecraft for mobile made more money than ever in 2018. According to Sensor Tower, the gaming sensation’s mobile version raked in $110 million last year, rising 7% from last year. In addition, 48% of that revenue came from the U.S., followed by just 6.6% from Great Britain. All eyes may be on Fortnite, but the Minecraft Effect still has a hold on young gamers, and Gen Z & Millennials still rank the game as one of their favorites. (Venture Beat)

Nostalgic Millennials can soon set sail on a Golden Girls-themed cruise. The experiential, adults-only cruise will include themed activities like a “One Night in St. Olaf Dance Party,” a game of Ugel and Flugel, and a costume contest for fans dressed up as the main characters. There will also be plenty of trivia, bingo, and cheesecake on this five-night experience aboard the Celebrity Infinity. This isn’t the only cruise ship catering to adults recently; Virgin’s first cruise ship is 18-and-up-only and even has a tattoo parlor on board. (People)

Daquan, the meme account with 12 million followers, is teaming up with All Def Media for a slate of original content. The premium videos will signal a departure from what Daquan is known for: gritty, homemade content that ranges like blurry SpongeBob SquarePants screenshots transformed into memes via clever captions. The new videos will debut across All Def Media and Daquan’s social channels, which include Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, IGTV, and YouTube. (Tubefilter)

Quote of the Day: “I think social media can bring light to issues that are of importance such as animal rescue and environmental awareness.”—Female, 22, MI

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