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What is lemon8? A deep dive into bytedance’s new app

The social media app without the social aspect 

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Friday, 28th of April 2023

If you’re obsessed with TikTok and familiar with its parent company, Bytedance, then you’ll undoubtedly have heard about Lemon8.

Considered to be a combination of Pinterest and Instagram, the sister app of TikTok may seem like just another social media app – but without the social aspect.

The app is currently growing steadily in the US and has even climbed into the top 10 on America’s app stores. Initially launched in 2020 in Japan, Lemon8 looks to rival China’s social app Xiaohongshu (which means Little Red Book) with its photo-heavy layout and peer-to-peer reviews. 

With TikTok facing a ban in the US over data privacy concerns, Bytedance seems to be undeterred – and instead is focused on its new app.

But what is Lemon8?

Classed as a cross between Pinterest, Instagram and Canva with its editing tools and long-form captions, it is reminiscent of a blogging page. It has close ties to TikTok with a similar algorithm, but Lemon8 looks to stand out against its competitors. 

Combining the best aspect of the 2016 era of Instagram with product focus and categories seen on Pinterest, Lemon8 is built for content curation. 

TI @ladmeetsmakeup

The top trending topics on the app so far are fashion, beauty, food, travel, wellness, fitness and pets. Under each category are suggestions and recommendation content from get-ready-with-me styles of video to aesthetically pleasing content.

Nail inspiration, outfit details, food recipes and workout routines also seem to dominate the app. Creators post slideshows of their content including the name of the products used as text on the image. On fashion posts, creators are seen tagging their outfits with where they bought specific items and food creators usually post a video of them making their dish or share a slideshow of the several meals with the recipe in the caption. 

Lemon8’s user interface is perfect for those who enjoyed the pleasing and curated aesthetics of Instagram but hated the algorithm style of TikTok. Much like all other social platforms, you are able to scroll through video and photo content on the app. It even has a For You Page. 

The new platform has grown in popularity since its soft launch in the US, where creators were relied upon to help pull audiences over to Lemon8. A report in the New York Times confirmed that micro-influencers were paid to start posting on the app with specific guidelines on how and what to post, and to promote the app using #Lemon8partner.

Since its stealth launch in February, it would seem the paid strategy behind Lemon8 has worked well as more and more creators are joining the app. 

@kyyahabdul Lemon8 would face the SAME FATE as TikTok if this Restrict bill were to pass. Let’s continue to educate ourselves and focus out energies on contacting these reps! #lemon8 #tiktokban ♬ original sound - Kyyah Abdul

Lemon8 seemingly attracts creators with smaller followings on other platforms, such as TI (also known by his pseudonym ladmeetsmakeup). Interestingly, it would appear that creators with millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram have yet to migrate, but it’s more a question of when. 

With the official launch in May, we look forward to seeing the app grow to discover new creators alike.

Is Lemon8 better than TikTok? 

Well, like most social media platforms, Lemon8 allows users to create content that will serve audiences differently, but Lemon8 seems to lean towards influencer marketing more than TikTok.

Lemon8 is recognised as a product placement platform, where brands can work with creators to promote their products to sell a specific lifestyle aesthetic to their audience. 

Creators on TikTok, however, are typically known for their niche content that engages with a specific audience. And with video content, creators on TikTok are able to convince their audience that their content is natural. 


On Lemon8, though, there are a large number of creators who create aesthetically and perfectly curated content.

As the popularity of Lemon8 increases, some creators already want users on the platform to be authentic with their followers. Creator Issac Rochell posted: “Can we all agree to NOT ruin this app? By making it too aesthetic”. His post resonated with a lot of users, with one commenting: “I love a good aesthetic, but it sucks the fun out of social media”. 

As the app grows, will it disassociate itself from the perfectionist nature that we all know social media to have? 

The overarching question that many have been asking is: Is Lemon8 worth the investment?

For smaller creators, it is a great opportunity for them to establish themselves on a new platform. Creator Natasha Huggins is one of many creators on the platform who has seen a big growth in followers since joining. 

It may also be an opportunity for small business owners to further expand their reach. 

Monetisation on the app is currently unclear and marketers could be hesitant to invest in Lemon8 due to its parent company, ByteDance, and its volatile relationship with the US government. TikTok creator Kyyah Abdul, for example, raises a valid point that Lemon8 might face a similar fate to TikTok once it surpasses over a million users. 

Until then, Lemon8 is in its infancy stage with a promise of being a prominent contender in the social media market. With its official launch in May, The FIFTH is in exploratory mode: we are keeping a pulse on anyone of influence and learning more about the platform, and waiting to see what happens next.

AI-generated Drake and The Weeknd song raises serious artistic concerns after going viral

AI Drake and The Weeknd song Heart on my Sleeve has been pulled from digital streaming services

By Jonnie Owen

Friday, 21st of April

The interactive restrictions put on us by the pandemic forced technological advancements at a rapid pace. We relied more than ever on technology to communicate in new innovative ways by upgrading existing tools and developing new formats. 

The music industry, like all industries which rely heavily on IRL interaction, experienced a monumental void when live performances were cancelled. Music artists showed immense resilience and quickly adapted to the status quo by engaging with fans in new creative ways via virtual worlds, live streams and staying connected to fans on social media platforms. 

The same technology that had a part to play in helping the industry overcome the restrictions of the pandemic, however, is now a threat to the legal, moral and creative rights of artists and their work.

Drake and The Weeknd via Getty Images

Earlier this month, an AI-engineered song surfaced across digital streaming platforms and social platforms, and took the music world by storm. The track titled ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ was AI-generated by a yet-to-be identified ‘Ghostwriter’. 

The composition featured the AI-generated voices of Drake and the Weeknd. 

The track was met with much dismay by Universal Music Group (UMG) who told Billboard magazine that the viral postings “demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists”, as this is a clear copyright infringement. On the flipside, it has been welcomed by fans of the artists and curious music fans alike with comments to the song that include: “This would literally go No.1 on the charts if Drake released it”, and: “What a time to be alive”. 

Drake and The Weeknd aren’t the only ones. Other music artists are also being faked. Recently, a fake Oasis album which again utilised AI was instead praised by Liam Gallagher. 

The album titled The Lost Tapes Volume One under the playful name of AIsis also went viral and featured music and lyrics written by Hastings band Breezer with Liam’s voice generated by AI. Responding to a fan on Twitter, Gallagher was asked if he’d heard the AIsis album yet and responded: “Mad as fuck…I sound mega”.

Before being forcefully taken down from streaming platforms by UMG, the Drake and The Weeknd track wracked up over 600,000 Spotify streams, 15m TikTok views and 275,000 YouTube views.  

Watching this unfold over the last week has given me deja vu as it brought back memories of the catastrophic events between music rights holders and Napster. Up until 2001, Napster was a peer to peer file sharing platform that allowed users to upload and share millions of files, in particular music tracks, globally yet illegally. 

Piracy choked the music industry of billions of dollars of profit each year. The Napster controversy came as a result of a few events. The digital revolution – in particular the ease of sharing music via mp3 married with the global connectivity capabilities of the internet. But I would also argue music piracy came as a reaction to the price tags put on physical music formats. 

At that time the CD was king. I remember paying £15.99 for Idlewild the Remote Part in HMV. It’s a great album but something I could never justify today. Now I’m one of the 9 million Brits with a Spotify subscription for a fraction of that cost per month for unlimited music wherever I am. 

What Napster proved then was just how unprepared the music business was for technological advances. Piracy on sites like Napster happened en masse. Music was freely available in huge clusters globally to a point where it became difficult to stop until legal action was taken at source and directly against the pirate sites for copyright infringement. From this, Digital Service Providers (DSP) platforms arose out of the dust like iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music with the major music labels on board to help counteract the file sharing and make up for lost revenue.

Could fake AI music have similar consequences that Napster had in the music industry? At the time of writing, duplicate versions of the Drake and The Weeknd song are still being shared across social media platforms in video form. So how do you make it stop?

TikTok has seen a huge rise in popularity, with users creating their own sped up and slowed down versions of popular songs, becoming the new ‘remix’. They are similarly illegal as they are not authorised by the rights owner. Are these new AI versions the new cover versions? 

And what if the fake AI track had featured offensive lyrics? This could have damaged the reputation of the artist and a lot of time and money might have been spent to remedy the false narrative with the truth. 

The wider concern for music rights owners is the fact that AI engines are being fed already existing musical compositions, which begs the question: how will music labels crack down on identifying when an AI creation has infringed? Especially when we’re talking about millions of pieces of music data being fed and then spat out into a new-(ish) stitched together, tangible creation. This will be a priority for music labels to mitigate before it spirals out of control. 

Interestingly, it’s also been reported by Music Business Worldwide that Drake himself is actually being investigated for copyright infringement by Ghanaian artist Obrafour for allegedly using an unauthorised sample from the Ghanaian’s 2003 track, ‘Oye Ohene’, in one of his own compositions: ‘Calling My Name’.

But despite the fact that AI is receiving a bad rap within the industry, there are many ways in which this technology can do the industry a lot of good. It could be a useful tool for music label A&R departments to save time and money to test collaborations before getting major artists into a studio only to find their voices or playing styles are not compatible. We could experience Marvin Gaye perform a cover of Gabriel’s track, could dig out some of Kurt Cobain’s unfinished demos and use AI to help finish them off, with David Grohl and co directing it as a gift for die hard fans. 

There are, however, many issues to work on in terms of mitigation. Music distribution companies (i.e. Distro Kid, Tunecore, Sound:On) for example, are responsible for making music available across DSP’s and social platforms, and it is a requirement between music labels, artists, DSP’s and social platforms.  

They work on behalf of music artists, labels and music rights owners to ensure the music being uploaded for consumption is delivered correctly, legally and properly tracked for royalty payouts and stream and sale counting. So, it feels like a tougher vetting process needs to be applied at this intersection. The social platforms where videos of the AI track are still running free should also be held accountable as this feels like the wild west, yet platforms and DSP’s should know the rules of the game by now. They have a duty to protect artists’ intellectual property as they are given the privilege to exploit musical creations to their customers.

In regards to live concerts, the success of ABBA Voyage is testament to a balanced relationship between technology and human interaction. Voyage is a VR experience where a live band performs on stage led by avatar versions of the Swedish pop group known as ‘ABBAtars’, performing pre-recorded moves by younger performers with the original vocals from recordings added on top. With this in mind, If the future allows me the opportunity to see John Lennon perform ‘Mother’ in a live environment I can experience with an audience, then I’m in…

AI being used as a tool in addition to or as an idea starter to a human-made creation sounds useful. Music artists have worked with machines such as synthesisers, guitar fx pedals and drum machines since their introduction to popular music. I throw AI in the same bracket as these, as it’s a tool to aid creation but not to solve creation. I’m not a supporter of music or any form of art being solely created by an AI engine. I want my favourite artists to share with me their blood, sweat and tears. I want the real heart on sleeve, not bot on dot. 

Trendsetters: What is Nostalgia Marketing?

a go-to guide to incorporate it into your marketing strategy

By Bella Hales

Friday, 21st of April 2023

Nostalgia is described as ‘an affectionate feeling you have for the past, especially for a particularly happy time.’ 

When it comes to marketing, nostalgia is typically used to evoke consumers’ emotions by tapping into their fond memories and associations with the past to build trust for new campaigns. Examples of brands that have successfully used nostalgia in their marketing strategy include Coca-Cola, who brought back its favoured “Hilltop” ad from the 1970s; Nintendo who released the NES Classic Edition, a mini version of its iconic video game console from the 1980s and more recently Supreme who collaborated with Tamagotchi – the quintessential 90s toy.

The latest nostalgic trend to take 2023 by storm is low-fi and old-school looking content.

Remember the camcorder? Well, it’s back and @Kyliejenner is one of many well known faces to have jumped on the bandwagon and used it to create social content. Whether it be in a shoot teasing her upcoming Kylie Cosmetics makeup collection or a post exhibiting her Oscar’s outfit, the low-fi content of both evoke positive memories of the old-school home-movies of the 1980s.

Some may question why, in an age where technology is at its height, low quality content is being favoured. Here at THE FIFTH, we believe it’s down to the ongoing craving audiences have for authenticity and honesty from content creators. Posting low-fi content almost reverts social media back to the old ways of capturing content, where there wasn’t the false reality of filters and edited images, making creators seem more relatable and trustworthy. 

A further example of a creator using nostalgia successfully in their content is @Fajereats, a food content creator from Kuwait who is well known for her mukbang content. In a recent collaboration with The Cheesecake Factory, Fajer created one of her classic mukbang style videos, but used the caption to reflect on her childhood memories of the restaurant. Her Reel is evidence that nostalgia sells. According to Corq, the Reel resulted in an engagement rate of 2.7%, which is higher than her usual 2.46%.  

@thefifthagency All the nostalgia 🙌🏼 check out our new trendsetters piece about nostalgia marketing on our website #nostalgia #nostalgiamarketing #officetok #london #agencytiktok ♬ original sound - Sam Munro

So, why should brands look to incorporate nostalgia into their marketing efforts?

By tapping into shared experiences and memories, brands can create a sense of community among their customers. According to research by Wildschut et al. (2006), this sense of community and connection places people in a positive mood, which can make them more willing to spend money.

Nostalgia evokes strong emotions. It can transport people back in time and trigger memories of happy experiences. By tapping into these positive emotions, brands can create a strong connection with their customers which can lead to increased brand loyalty and advocacy.

It sets brands apart. In a crowded market, it can be challenging for brands to stand out. By leveraging nostalgia, brands can differentiate themselves and create a unique selling proposition that resonates with their target audience.

It appeals to multiple generations. Nostalgia is not limited to a specific age group with people of all ages having fond memories of the past. Therefore, using nostalgia in marketing can help brands reach a broader audience.

It can be cost-effective. Nostalgia marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Brands can use existing assets, such as old logos or advertising campaigns, and repurpose them in their marketing efforts. This can be a cost-effective way to tap into the power of nostalgia.  

Overall, nostalgia marketing is a powerful tool that brands will continue to use to create a sense of familiarity and comfort to connect with their audiences and drive actual results. 

Trendsetters: is snapchat a dating app?

“Can i get your snap?” the line that begins many a love story

By Milan Charles

Wednesday, 5th of April 2023

Snapchat, also known as ‘Snap’ among its users, emerged as a social media app that offered a unique alternative to text messaging. Its popularity soared in the mid-2010s, particularly among younger users, who found it to be an ideal platform for communication. 

The app’s primary feature is that any media, be it a picture, video, or message (or ‘snap’), can only be viewed by the recipient for a limited time before it disappears. This temporary nature of Snapchat was intended to promote more authentic interactions.

Snapchat has, however, evolved beyond its original purpose and transformed how we communicate online. It is now much more than just a media-sharing service and can even help you find your perfect match. 

Snapchat dating has emerged as a new way for modern teens and young adults to navigate the dating scene in the digital age. By facilitating intimate and immediate multimedia conversations, Snapchat surpasses the limitations of conventional dating apps. Here’s how:

@haleyybaylee And he didn’t even snap me back. 😭#snapchat ♬ Sonic - MoneyGamer

The Intimacy Bubble

Snapchat’s approach to privacy is highly personalised and designed to safeguard users’ content. The app allows users to customise individual ‘snaps’ to disappear in as little as one second or as long as 24 hours, ensuring that their content is not available permanently. Additionally, the app notifies users when someone takes a screenshot or saves their snaps. Snapchat also uses encryption for all photos and videos sent within the app, providing an additional layer of security.

As a result, users feel a sense of safety on the platform, knowing that their private thoughts and feelings can never be saved or shared without their knowledge. This sense of security is especially important given that social media platforms are often geared towards a larger public audience. Snapchat’s direct line of communication, however, enables users to share their most genuine and innermost feelings in a controlled and contained environment, making it an ideal platform for private and personal conversations.

Context in Communication

Snapchat offers a unique advantage when it comes to communicating with your partner. The app’s multimedia ‘snaps’ allow you to contextualise your thoughts and feelings through a range of formats such as video, voice messages, text notes, selfies and Bitmojis.

This provides a high degree of precision in your communication, ensuring that your partner understands your intentions exactly as you mean them to be. Whether you’re teasing, flirting or pouring your heart out, the multimedia format allows you to express yourself authentically.

In contrast, texting can often feel awkward and limiting. Snapchat’s informal and playful environment makes flirting and getting to know a new potential partner more fun and low-pressure. With face filters, backgrounds, games, chats, and cute selfies, the possibilities for playful interactions are endless. This makes Snapchat an ideal platform for those who want to build a connection with their partner more naturally and enjoyably.

The Snap Map

The Snap Map is a feature that allows Snapchat users to share their location on a digital map with others. When using the Snap Map for the first time, users have the option to choose who can view their current location, providing a sense of control over their privacy.

The Snap Map provides a useful tool for discovering interesting people in their local area, helping users to expand their social circle and make new connections. By customising the settings, users can choose which contacts can see their precise location, ensuring that their privacy is protected while still enabling them to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Overall, the Snap Map offers a unique way to connect with others and explore new opportunities in your local area, while still providing the necessary tools to maintain your privacy and security. Whether you’re looking to make new friends or find someone special, The Snap Map can help you achieve your goals in a safe and controlled way.

Long-Distance Doesn’t Exist

Dating on Snapchat has revolutionised how we bridge physical space in long-distance relationships. The app provides the necessary tools to have a three-dimensional relationship with a faraway lover, enabling partners to feel connected in a way that distance has never allowed before. While phone calls and text messages are limited in their ability to convey emotions and experiences, Snapchat’s personalised videos of you in your everyday life, walking the dog or having breakfast enable your partner to feel like they are there with you.

This creates a new level of intimacy in long-distance relationships, as partners are able to share moments and experiences in a more momentous and original way. With Snapchat, physical distance is no longer a barrier to building a strong and healthy relationship. It allows couples to stay connected and engaged in each other’s lives, fostering a sense of closeness that can help strengthen the bond between partners.

In conclusion, Snapchat has evolved from its original purpose as a media-sharing app and has become a valuable tool for modern dating. Its personalised approach to privacy, multimedia communication format, and the Snap Map feature have all contributed to making Snapchat an ideal platform for private and personal conversations, low-pressure flirting, expanding social circles, and bridging the physical space in long-distance relationships. By providing a safe and controlled environment for intimate and immediate conversations, Snapchat has transformed the way we navigate the dating scene in the digital age. 

WILl 2023 see a social media platform become music’s major record label no.4?

What were once clear lines between streaming and social platforms are now blurred

By Jonnie Owen

Wednesday, 29th of March 2023

TikTok has music at its core. Its ‘sound on’ mantra has helped break new artists, led songs to receive their highest-ever streaming numbers after appearing in videos and catapulted music from the past right back to the top of the charts. 

It therefore came as no surprise when TikTok launched SoundOn: an all-in-one platform for music marketing and distribution, designed to empower new and undiscovered artists, helping them develop and build their careers.

If they get SoundOn right, we might see TikTok pivot further towards establishing itself as a more central player providing more holistic music services such as recording advances; development deals; merchandise (live shopping); live events, sync, brand partnerships and 360 contracts. And as a result, they could create their own artist roster for whom they can provide the above services. A one-stop shop for artists both old and new. 

Two recent major developments have taken place that signal a major change at TikTok.

@snoopdogg Tha Dogg checcin in. Excited to tell y’all Death Row Records music is back for you to enjoy. Go get the songs on TikTok’s curated Death Row playlist available now 👊🏾🔥💨 #blackmusic #superbowl @musicontiktok @soundon ♬ Gin & Juice - Snoop Doggy Dogg

Firstly, TikTok recently conducted tests in Australia by restricting some users’ access to the plethora of popular hits usually provided by the major labels via UGC licences. This could indicate they are exploring going at it without major label music catalogues. The catalyst for this is the ongoing complications reported between music rights holders (labels, publishers, songwriters and artists) and TikTok over licensing terms. According to research firm Data.ai, the results for this test have been mixed, with some results that ‘suggest the company is still dependent on its access to popular songs’. It is difficult to account for this wave alone, especially with the current scrutiny the Chinese-owned app is under from global governments which may sway usage.

Secondly, TikTok has attracted established artists such as Snoop Dogg who recently became the first large artist to distribute music via SoundOn, namely the Snoop Dogg-owned Death Row catalogue which features hits by hip hop megastars 2Pac, Nate Dogg, Kurupt and Snoop Dogg himself. This ultimately shows that Snoop Dog recognises TikTok is paramount in today’s music ecosystem in successfully reintroducing music from the past to a new and hungry young audience and creates longevity. Snoop Dog even launched this collaboration during the Super Bowl. A proper PR touchdown.  

Over at Spotify – the platform that claims responsibility for clamping down on music piracy and leading the music consumption race – they announced at their annual Stream On event that they’re introducing short form video content on the home feed, as well as an AI-powered DJ tool which will service streamers.

The purpose of the AI DJ and the 30 second video clips will be to encourage artist discovery by tapping into a feature similar to that of the TikTok ‘For You’ page, where users are algorithmically served content they may like based on their scrolling habits. You can’t help but think, however, that this comes with both negatives and positives for the artists. 

Starting with the positives: there are some opportunities for artists to be innovative in getting closer to their fans with this feature by offering the story of the song, behind-the-scenes footage, fan tokens (NFT), outtakes, special guests (i.e. a collaborator or producer) and thus casting the net out wider in aiding fandom. Perhaps in the future, this feature will also allow artists to leverage the power of influencers and offer takeovers or collaborations and tap into a new audience. Opening the feature up to brand sponsored posts could also provide a lucrative additional revenue stream. 

The negatives however may result in low uptake as it is yet another task upon the already digitally burned out artists who have a long list of social content output in their exhaustive schedule. Thinking long term, the big issue is: will this feature follow the suit of all social platforms and look like a golden cloud to begin with until they flip the engagement and force artists to pay to reach earned and new audiences? Thus, adding another cost on top of a mountain of existing ad costs. This also isn’t the first attempt by Spotify to introduce short form video with failed attempts like Spotify Stories in 2020.

Spotify also beta tested a direct-to-artist distribution service in 2018 only to be shut down a year later. You’d think now was a good time to revisit this type of service that sits more within their lane. 

It does feel that artists, especially independent artists who operate without teams, will now more than ever need to be strategic and selective with what platforms will best benefit them or they could risk burnout. Understanding their audience by conducting litmus tests with their content output and monitoring with the data analytical tools provided by all platforms will be key to getting the balance right. 

I think TikTok might just pip Spotify for being the champions of the platform era, as TikTok parent company Bytedance has in its arsenal a secret weapon: Resso. 

Resso is a streaming service that is yet to be launched in the UK, Europe and USA which has recently filed for patent in the UK under TikTok Music. The BPi reported that 81% of music consumption in 2022 resulted from streaming and so it makes sense for TikTok to want to get in on the action. TikTok Music has a unique opportunity to use learnings from the current Spotify model and offer more favourable royalty kickbacks to artists from streams, and by doing so, providing them with some leverage to heal some of the wounds from feuds with music rights owners. This puts them in a very strategic position.

What were once clear lines between digital streaming platforms and social platforms are now blurred.

SoundOn and Resso, under the umbrella of TikTok Music, could form a music powerhouse: a progressive one stop shop label that earns ad revenue from monetised content that helps drive extra royalty kick back through to its sister streaming service and compete for the majority market share.

Millions of users waking up to a new streaming tab on the TikTok app will rattle the cage for Spotify and others. If a mass exodus of major artists follow Snoop Dog and gain good yards, we may be looking at the beginnings of major label no.4: TikTok Music. I’ve got my popcorn at the ready…


we deep dive into how filters have changed over the years and why people are Turning their backs on them

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Friday, 24th of March 2023

We’ve all tried a filter on social media at one point or another. Whether it’s the flower crown or the dog ears, when they first came out they were a super fun way to keep us entertained and share with our friends and family. 

In 2015, Snapchat initially offered basic augmented reality (AR) filters which went viral. They were a game changer. Since then, Snapchat has evolved. In 2017, they released Lens Studio for users and advertisers which allowed everyone to create custom filters and apply them to personal snaps and sponsored content. 

The popularity of those filters led other social media platforms to create their own, with Instagram introducing AR filters in 2018. This was a huge step in the world of AR.

Following in the steps of Snapchat, Instagram allowed creators to show off their creativity with their own personalised filters. Content creator Coco_floflo even had her own filter named ‘filenoir’. 

The introduction of AR allowed everyone to have fun whilst being creative. It was a great business opportunity, allowing them to get closer to their followers by creating personalised filters that reflected their brand identity. 

Fast forward to now and AR filters are now being replaced by AI filters. 

Snapchat is still considered the leading platform, but as TikTok has gained users, they’re now challenging Snapchat for the title – something Instagram tried and failed to do.

Back in December 2022, we were all introduced to the viral ‘magic avatar’ feature on the photo-editing app Lensa. The app allows users to transform selfies into AI-generated avatars. 

Launching to meteoritic popularity overnight, Lensa became one of the most downloaded photo and video editing apps on the app store. 

Some may argue that Lensa’s AI-generated filter opened the door to TikTok launching its own in the form of ‘Bold Glamour’. Creator Chiara King posted a video to the platform after it launched to show how the filter makes her look like a “completely different person”. 

Since its launch in February of this year, there have been 1.5 million videos and counting using Bold Glamour and over 400 million views. Suffice to say, the filter has taken over our social spaces and made a big splash. 

The filter uses AI to assess your face and then completely re-moulds it as though you have undergone an actual cosmetic makeover. The filter has been created so that it’s difficult for others to know you have used it. It’s both simultaneously over-the-top in its transformation and scarily subtle. And there’s a reason it’s so realistic, TikToker zhangsta explains that it was created using machine learning.

She says “Unlike traditional beauty filters that use an augmented 3D face mesh that is overlaid on top of your face, filters like Bold Glamour and Teenage Look use a machine deep learning tech called GAN (generative adversarial networks), meaning every pixel on your face is regenerated and then outputted after referencing a dataset of images – which is why the filter looks so realistic”.

Since its release and rise in popularity, there has been a lot of backlash around the effects of filters on mental health. Beauty brand Dove introduced a campaign initiative called #TurnYourBack which encourages everybody to turn their back on using Bold Glamour.

Dove’s campaign acts to encourage people to reject the ideology that filters make you look better and instead encourages you to celebrate your natural beauty. 

@zhangsta Lots of controversy around this viral new filter #boldglamourfilter and how realistic it looks. 🤯 i was curious on how it works, s/o to @luke.hurd for explaining the tech behing this new filter! #deeplearning #augmentedreality #zhangsta #todayilearned #newtech #machinelearning #viralfilter #explained #teenagelookfilter ♬ original sound - ZHANGSTA🫡

American Actress Gabrielle Union co-signed the #TurnYourBack campaign on Oscar night, taking a stand against unrealistic beauty standards. In her video, she says: “The Bold Glamour filter dramatically distorts reality and reinforces narrow and unattainable beauty standards. As a parent and someone who’s felt the pressures from social media to look perfect, it’s important to me that people realise the negative impact this can have, creating appearance pressures and low self-esteem, particularly among young girls. They need to know they are enough! I’m proud to join Dove and turn my back to the Bold Glamour filter.”

Content creators such as Lou May joined Dove’s #TurnYouBack campaign too, sharing their take on why distorting images can be harmful and why they have joined the initiative. 

This isn’t the first time there’s been a backlash. In 2021, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated they would be sanctioning creators who use misleading filters in beauty ads. Oglivy followed suit in 2022 by stating they will no longer be working with creators who edit their faces or bodies for #ads.

Over the years, we have grown to see filters develop from one fun, creative and exciting idea to another and AI filters are no different. As AI continues to infiltrate our everyday lives, it’s important to remember that filters are part of our online culture and something that is rooted in self expression and experimentation. 

From the introduction of Adobe Photoshop to AI filters, image editing has been and will be part of our lives for a long time to come. As more sophisticated filter technology emerges, it will be interesting to see brands either sanction or utilise them. Time will tell. 

The fifth attends first sxsw festival

the top trends and highlights from austin, texas

By Charles Ifegwu

Tuesday, 21st of March 2023

SXSW was bigger than ever this year. Spread across the city of Austin, TX, the conference and festival serves as a convergence of tech, entertainment, art, music, brands, and everything cool. It’s impossible to see and do everything, but here are highlights and trends we noticed while on the ground in Austin.

Bigger In Texas

The festival felt much bigger than last year, and is back to pre-pandemic proportions. An estimated 300,000 people attended the festival or events alongside the conference. A bigger festival also meant bigger, more immersive activations. 

Dolby took over an entire building to create Dolby House, complete with a gaming, music, and wine lounge.  Porsche took over a city block to sport its new partnership with Transformers. Amazon Prime made its own little town with studios, a nail salon, a cantina, and of course a saloon; all with a Prime Video spin.

Sales Overnight; Brand Overtime

The key challenge with brand and experience first marketing strategies are time, cost and stakeholder buy-in. But brand marketers are fighting back with a massive amount of activations at the SXSW festival. Brands have introduced sales overnight, brand overtime (SOBO) strategies that interject discreet branding efforts into a series of results-driven marketing programs. It struck us all week that Influencer marketing is uniquely positioned to solve this challenge, given its ability to collapse the marketing funnel quickly and authentically build brands alongside social commerce tactics.

It Takes Everyone 

We saw and participated in more convos, panels, and activations this year with female, Black, Latin, AAPI and other diverse and underrepresented leaders than ever before. Not only were panels and activations more diverse, but there were also many panels that specifically addressed issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion across industries.

Social Is Evolving

Social played a part in everything going on around SXSW and the brands that activated and participated there. Social was a tool to promote (pre and during), connect, activate, and amplify, and will be important in maintaining connections afterward. It served as a microcosm of the “Everything Is Social” ideology that we believe drives culture forward.

Building And Retaining Audiences Require Boldness

It was clearer than ever that audiences have so many options, in just about every space and vertical, in 2023. One of the themes that seemed to repeat itself was how to respond to those challenges, and being bold in attracting and keeping attention was one of the responses that continued to resonate the most.

Innovation And Adaptation

Innovation comes at a blazing rate these days. SXSW had an entire track dedicated to the Metaverse and VR/AR. There was a keen interest in AI, with the founder of OpenAI Co-Founder Greg Brockman hosting an official fireside chat detailing the origins of the company and its AI apps ChatGPT and DALL-E.

The Disney Imagineering panel also stunned us with amazing innovation…a real life LIGHTSABER!

Kill “The Metaverse”, but Virtual Worlds are Coming

At SXSW, many want to kill the term ‘metaverse’ as soon as possible. Instead, attendees started talking about virtually enhanced worlds. This was inevitable.

Enhancements to our physical experiences and realities will continue to blend with new technology. The “metaverse”, as a social construct might be over, but it’s clear from our conversations that the industry is turning back to VR & AR and that the future of the internet will be built on gaming DNA.

A special thanks to our friends over Brand Innovators for continuing to bring the marketing community together in such a meaningful way. They hosted some great panels like the Future of Entertainment Marketing with executives from HBO Max, Peacock, and Warner Bros., The Impact of New AI Developments on the Future of Marketing, and the Woman in Leadership Panel.

Our SXSW trip wouldn’t have been complete without their partnership!

The fifth celebrates international women’s day


By Bella Hales

Wednesday, 8th of March 2023

Today is International Women’s Day: a day to celebrate, recognise and champion women around the world. This year, the theme is #EmbraceEquity because despite significant progress in recent years, women continue to face discrimination and inequality in various areas of life, including education, employment and politics. This year’s theme serves as a call to action for organisations and individuals to work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society for women.

“Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.” International Women’s Day

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important for us to recognise the incredible women who work at THE FIFTH and in the wider industry. Here, we have asked some of our male colleagues to share the women who inspire them. 

Jess Markwood and Oliver Lewis

Olly Lewis, CEO

Jess Markwood (COO at THE FIFTH) truly makes the world a better place. Her drive and passion for people and for a fairer, greener, more inclusive workplace and society is a constant source of inspiration to me. Where Jess leads I will follow”.

Barry Louth, Client Growth Director 

I had the pleasure of working in Sophia Ahmad‘s (CMO Xfinity Comcast) Media and Marketing Planning team during my time at Sky. Sophia was an inspiration as she had a massive job but always prioritised being present for her son. She managed to balance a demanding role with her family life and did so without breaking sweat. Sophia had a wealth of insight and always provided sound advice. I am grateful to have been in her team”.

Lucas Mompo, Senior Paid Social Specialist

I admire Juliette Hill (Senior Account Director at THE FIFTH) as she is the kind of woman that is always willing to assist others in making everything work. She makes decisions with sensitivity and intelligence with a positive attitude without boasting of her abilities. Juliette is like the vital mechanism of a clock, moving all the other pieces to keep them functioning. I am impressed by the way she successfully balances her life as a new mum and a demanding work schedule”.

Joel Newman, Senior Creative
“I can always count on Candy Green (Creative Director at THE FIFTH) to push my work to the extremes. Good is never enough – it has to be perfect. It’s amazing watching her energy and passion for the industry, her knowledge is second to none. Working closely with her has taught me invaluable lessons and information which I now use in my day to day. I wouldn’t be the Creative I am today without her”.

Juliette Hill

Robert Stevenson, Head of Business Strategy 

Cathy Hackl (Founder & Chief Metaverse Officer at Journey), known as the ‘Godmother of the Metaverse’, has become one of the most respected and influential voices in the field of futurism and metaverse strategy.

“She speaks about the role of technology in society with a healthy dose of pragmatism and makes complex concepts tangible by making them more human, such as talking about her kids buying digital clothing within Roblox.

“As a woman in a male dominated field, Cathy is inspiring the next generation of female leaders and innovators, which is something society, whether IRL or digital, needs more of!”.

Sam Coleman, Managing Director

My first agency job was as an entry level TV Buyer at a media agency called PHD way back in 2004. PHD was known as the most progressive agency in London in those days and was unique in that the two most senior people at the agency (the CEO and Chairperson) were both women.

Tess Alps was the Chairperson and I will never forget the energy, time and interest she showed in me, one of many graduates in a large media agency. She met all of us individually, got to know us as people and ultimately made us feel part of the fabric of PHD from our very first day. As a grad, I never worked closely with Tess, but that didn’t matter, the way she led the agency with empathy, heart and humour still impacts the way I see my role at THE FIFTH to this day”.

Rom Reddock, Account Manager

Kathy Dover – my first line manager and what a legend. Always there to help, lend a hand, support and push me to higher standards. Started with a coffee and ended with a hire. Really inspired me to go for it all as she put the trust in my hands from day one, allowing me to make my own mistakes – but also guided the process. In turn, she started the process of sculpting the account handler I am today”. 

Courtnee Haley and Alice Thompson

Sam Hills, Midweight Creative 

“It’s gotta be Alice Thompson (Creative Strategy Lead) and Courtnee Haley (Midweight creative strategy at THE FIFTH). They are the Queens of strat and have just the most unbelievable brains… The insights they deliver blow my mind daily. They hold the agency to such a high standard and that inspires me to create the best work possible just so I can do their insight justice. A couple of real Strater-G’s”.

Joe Regan, Campaign Director 

“It’s an absolute pleasure to work with Jess Myers (Business Director at THE FIFTH). A true professional who doesn’t take things too seriously, always makes work fun, and always offers the best advice on both a work and a personal level. A truly great woman”.

Jordan Carroll, Innovation Director 

Katie Wallwork (Director of THE FIFTH TALENT) stands for the right things when it comes to people and the planet, and is unwavering in her ambition to make sure our work is always a force for good. It’s super inspirational to see a business leader who is extremely successful whilst always doing the right things and upholding these values.

“This attitude resonates with the whole of THE FIFTH TALENT and every team member that joins is brought into her vision. If every business leader thought like Katie then the world would be a much better place!!!”.

Jonnie Owen, Commercial Partnerships Manager – Music

“I am very privileged to work with Jess Markwood (COO at THE FIFTH). Her energy is infectious and she will always make time for everyone. Jess is a great leader and provides us with the support and confidence that enables us to work at our very best.

“It’s never a dull moment and always a giggle”.

Which women in your life inspire you? Tell them today, and remember: women shouldn’t just be celebrated today, but everyday. 


it’s a battle between accountability vs. accessibility

By Bella Hales

Friday, 3rd of March 2023

TikTok is one of the biggest platforms for fashion trends, and has become a hub for hauls and reviews. The latest trend to take over on the short-form video platform is ‘Dupes’. The term, which is short for duplicates, is the Gen Z abbreviation for knock-off versions of more expensive items. The hashtag #dupe has now been viewed more than 2.7 billion views. 

Interestingly, dupe culture is not an entirely new phenomenon. The nature of the fashion industry has always involved reinventing popular trends and themes from the past. In previous decades, fast-fashion brands would more often than not target high fashion companies, and use their designs to ‘inspire’ clothes in a more affordable collection. Nowadays, however, when a particular item or brand goes viral, the aim of a dupe is to recreate the product in its most similar form for a fraction of the price. It is no longer a product of inspiration but a mirror image.

Previously, owning an overly obvious knock off was seen as something to feel embarrassed about. With Gen Z’s adoption of this trend, however, finding ‘dupes’ and ‘copies’ is an achievement and now seen as something to be proud of. The ‘hot girl’s don’t gatekeep’ trend, which you can read more about here, is reflective of this new concerted effort on TikTok to reveal your best kept fashion and beauty ‘secrets.’ A great example is when TV presenter Annaliese Dayes proudly took to TikTok to flaunt her very own House of Sunny dupe. The video gained 767,000 views.

Dayes isn’t the only creator to gain success through this trend. Blythe Snyder went viral when she pioneered the parody version, labelled the ‘doop’ trend. Whilst shopping in Target, Snyder started to notice how many items reminded her of higher-end products. She took to TikTok to document this, holding up products like a black tote bag, calling it a ‘prada dupe’ with an exaggerated pronunciation of the word “dupe”.  The video quickly went viral, and received over 2.9 million views, with many creators recreating it.


So why is the dupe trend so popular?

When thinking about the main age demographic on TikTok – Gen Z and millennials – it is understandable as to why the trend has taken flight. These groups are less likely to have disposable income to spend on high-end products, and are generally more trend-led when it comes to fashion and beauty. Dupes encourage accessibility to those who may not have the means to purchase the original product, allowing everyone to have access to trending designs regardless of their budget. With the current cost of living crisis in the UK being an ever prevalent issue, dupes allow people to feel involved.  

There are, however, challenges that come with dupe culture. Firstly, fashion and beauty trends are ever changing, and therefore the production of dupes requires a quick turnaround. In order to meet such tight deadlines, fast fashion brands often don’t meet environmental and social standards. 

According to the Fixing Fashion report, textile and garment production contributes more to climate change than aviation and shipping combined and is responsible for 20 percent of industrial water pollution. Moreover, Fashion Checker reported that 93 percent of fast fashion brands don’t pay garment workers a fair living wage, meaning dupes encourage an exploitative work culture. 

@thefifthagency What is dupe culture? We find out in our new trendsettters piece. Thanks @SheerLuxe for the inspo #dupe #dupes #dupemindset #officehumor #officetok #london #agency ♬ original sound - THE FIFTH / CREATIVE AGENCY

Shein, the Chinese fast fashion brand is a key example of this. In an Instagram post by @Highsnobiety, it was reported that Shein adds over 1,000 new styles to its website every single day and has no sustainability initiatives nor transparency around its production and manufacturing processes. Despite this, the fast fashion giant has quadrupled its revenue over the past three years, reaching $15.7 billion in sales, confirming the popularity of cheaper alternatives. 

Secondly, there is the issue of intellectual property and who owns the design, and whilst high end brands do not tend to mind when they are ‘copied’, there are many cases of litigation in the mid market territory.

Overall, when it comes to dupe culture, there is clearly a battle of accessibility vs. accountability. It can be argued that it is elitist to assume people can afford designer clothes or always shop ethically, whereas others would argue that the sustainability concerns outweigh the argument of accessibility. 

World Book Day: Celebration of BookTok creators

WE Honour world book day by celebrating one of tiktok’s biggest communities

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Thursday, 2nd of March 2023

BookTok is a subcommunity on TikTok which is focused on literature and books whereby creators post videos analysing, reviewing and discussing the books they read. 

What began as a small group of people sharing their favourite book has since grown into an influential community that has the power to propel authors out of relative obscurity straight onto the bestseller lists. 

With over 111.2 billion views, this subcommunity has already won several awards, including being awarded the FutureBook person of the year award. It has also had an overwhelmingly positive impact which has led to increased book sales and the discovery of new writers. 

Collen Hoover is a prime example of an author who saw her book sales increase exponentially, with 427,000 copies of her book It End With Us being sold in the UK in 2022.


This subcommunity is continuing to disrupt the publishing industry as both publishers and booksellers scramble to scoop up the latest success story and stock up on the latest TikTok-trending book. 

Due to its huge success, TikTok announced a collaboration with Penguin Random House and launched a feature which allows creators to link to books in videos using the popular #BookTok hashtag while also working with various creators to curate content.

Leading the march on unveiling book hauls, challenges, book wrap-ups and reviews, Booktokkers continue to thrive within their community. And in honour of World Book Day, we’re sharing just a few members of the BookTok community who have inspired our reading habits.

@jackbenedwards buying books and reading books are two different hobbies #booktok ♬ original sound - Shep Gold

Joel Rochester posts about ‘books and beverages, sorcery and swords’ on their channel. That’s how Rochester  – the man behind the YouTube channel Fictional Fates – sums up his content. With a combination of book hauls, reviews, and bookshop tours, the Cardiff graduate is a go-to for book round-ups and recommendations.

Jack Edwards is a lifestyle content creator and book addict. While his content is mostly education-oriented, his TikTok channel is dedicated to sharing book reviews alongside pop culture and political commentary. Kate Wilson started her account during lockdown but has since been known to hop on all the TikTok book trends such as ‘convincing you to read my favourite books based on their aesthetics’.


Mireille and Elodie are sisters, 15 and 13, who run a shared page dedicated to sharing their favourite reads and honest reviews. Their summer review on Where the Crawdads Sing went viral with over 1.3 million views. 

Tammi is mostly known for her beauty content but as of June 2022, she started a TikTok channel dedicated to her love of reading where she shares some of her favourite books and takes part in book challenges. 

Nokukhanya is a PhD candidate, a cafe connoisseur and an avid reader. Her passion for reading has led her to review and recommend her favourite books. Her profile states that followers should ‘Come for Books’ and ‘Stay for Aesthetics’.

Kenya is a French content creator and book addict who often shares her book hauls, unboxing and reviews with her audience. She is slowly building her own library and loving it. 

Taylor Rosen is a book and movie buff whose passion for literature and cinematic classics has led him to be part of the BookTok community. He also creates humorous content alongside recommendations videos. 

BookTok is a growing community and one that is sure to last for a long while. As brands continue to work with creators within the community, it would be interesting to see other communities capitalise on the importance of having an engaged audience. Happy World Book Day, readers! 

Is it ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ or toxic positivity? 


By Bella Hales

Thursday, 16th of February 2023

What is Lucky girl syndrome? It’s a form of manifestation. A way of thinking or willing your dreams into reality. It’s also trending on TikTok right now, and the hashtag #LuckyGirlSyndrome has been viewed over 402 million times. 

Lucky girl syndrome is most popular amongst young women, and encourages people to share their success stories and positive experiences to social media platforms, explaining how they have been fortunate in life and have achieved their goals through luck – rather than hard work and determination. 

The term first started trending in December 2022, when @lauragalebe took to TikTok to tell her followers how she gets offered “the most insane opportunities” as a result of simply “expecting great things” to happen. The video now has over 3 million views.

The trend continued, with @Skzzolno and her friend posting a TikTok a few weeks later. In it, they explained their positive experience with lucky girl syndrome, and argued that by repeating the words “I’m so lucky, everything just works out for me”, they have passed their exams with flying colours and got the best bedrooms in their new college house. This video then got over 5.3 million views. 

This isn’t an entirely new concept. Manifestation and affirmations are phenomenons that have been around for a while and all stem from Neville Goddard’s book The Law of Assumption. The theory suggests that if we believe we have something, we will eventually get it.

On the positive side, the lucky girl syndrome trend can be a source of inspiration and motivation for other young women. Seeing others’ success stories can serve as a reminder that anything is possible, and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Additionally, the trend can help to promote a sense of community and support among young women on social media. 

As some have pointed out, however, there is a dark side to the lucky girl syndrome. Whether it is its roots in privilege as Dazed Digital pointed out, or The Guardian’s idea of toxic positivity where if things don’t work out for you, it’s because you attract the bad in your life. 

The trend can also lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem among those who are not as ’lucky’ as others. People might compare their own lives to the highlight reels they see on social media and feel like they are not achieving enough, or that they are not as successful. 

On top of this, the trend can perpetuate the idea that success is solely based on luck, which can discourage people from proactively trying to achieve their goals. This concept also flies in the face of the famous saying by the golfer Gary Player: ‘the harder you practise, the luckier you get’. 

It is important to remember that social media is a curated version of reality, and people are more likely to share their positive moments, successes and accomplishments rather than their struggles, failures and setbacks.

Whilst lucky girl syndrome is just a TikTok trend that probably isn’t here to stay, it is indicative of the manifestation trend that is making its mark in 2023 and one that we recommend brands keep an eye on.

Trendsetters: What does Gatekeeping mean?

We dive into the viral TikTok phenomenon

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Friday, 10th of February 2023

You may well be familiar with the textbook definition of a gatekeeper: a person who controls or limits general access to something. It describes the general superiority of withholding information with the motive of keeping something exclusive.

Now, gatekeepers can include your favourite content creators refusing to share their favourite lipstick, in fear that it might sell out due to mass interest. It can also refer to someone who isn’t holding something tangible back, but an opinion on a situation or subject. 

Gatekeeping isn’t a new concept. This is a term that has been around for centuries. People are known to ‘gatekeep’ information that would likely benefit another, for the fear of too many people being knowledgeable. On TikTok, the terms #gatekeep or #gatekeeping have 226.3M and 386.5M views with the phrases usually seen in the comment sections of beauty and fashion haul videos. 


TikTok and its viral culture is known for its overnight cult following, which usually results in hidden gems becoming cult favourites. A great example of this is Fenty Glass Bomb Heat in the shade ‘Hot Chocolit’. The product went viral after creator Kimberley Possible posted a TikTok video praising the lip shade, and by not gatekeeping, saw the lip gloss sell out – with other beauty creators sharing dupes until the original was restocked. 

Despite the negative connotation associated with gatekeeping, creators on TikTok have taken to demolishing the absurdity of exclusivity. Phrases such as ‘hot girls don’t gatekeep’ or ‘soft girls don’t gatekeep’ are used with creators sharing exactly where they got the products that their followers are asking about.

Tiarna Macdonald, for example, told her followers how to achieve her home decor look, and the exact shade of blonde hair dye she uses on her hair. Faith Robertson also shared a series of her ‘gatekept’ products with her followers so that they could recreate her look. 

The gatekeeping trend isn’t just synonymous with the beauty community, and is used in relation to other conversational topics such as fashion, food and even activism. Here, creator Jessica Ufuoma showed she isn’t gatekeeping her travel destinations and clothing “because we’re all deserving of some amazing travel experience”. Another example of transparency is @iiislamo choosing not to gatekeep his Aldi food finds with his TikTok followers. 

What makes the trend so popular? Put simply, it’s the phrase itself which helps to make it so popular. By using the term ‘gatekeep’, social media users are intrigued and want to find out more about a product steeped in exclusivity. It’s as though they’re being let in on a little secret. 

Brands can easily jump on this trend by having creators insert the phrase in their content. Not only will it reach a mass audience, it will also create a buzz with people wanting to be part of the once-exclusive thing.

Streaming platforms can jump on the trend as well by having creators not gatekeep the latest show on their platform. Beauty brands can follow in the footsteps of Charlotte Tilbury when creators stopped gatekeeping the halo foundation, which resulted in it being sold out. 

It is also important to remember to not confuse gatekeeping with preserving culture. TikTok creator Natty Issues explains nicely in her video why preserving culture is not the same as gatekeeping. 

What are you no longer gatekeeping? And will you let us in on it?

Kill The Messenger: The End of Storytelling

A guide to igniting fandoms and building campaigns that last

By Brett Brown

Thursday, 9th of February 2023

Beginning, middle, and end. Even the best stories are designed to end. A company needs constant, consistent relevancy that builds a community over long spans of time. An ad, an execution, even a global fully-integrated Super Bowl campaign doesn’t automatically do that. It’s a story. By contrast, worldbuilding creates a roadmap, lays out guideposts, and establishes a clear set of rules that a brand gets to play in while welcoming audiences to participate. 

A thoughtful brand becomes the setting where many stories can take place. Ones told by us, and ones lived by our community. This is how passionate fandoms are built. This is how an ad and a campaign work to create something bigger, and more lasting in the zeitgeist.

What I’m trying to say is, let’s have some fun playing god. Building an entire realized universe where our people want to live and play alongside us. Brand worlds need a cohesive structure and flexibility to adapt to a constantly evolving cultural and technological landscape. Here are a few starting points for building your brand’s universe.

Start Where You Are Today, Not Where You Want To Be

Goals and aspiration thinking are essential. Here, they can hide important truths. Any brand that wants to last has to be built around truth. So start by brainstorming the attributes that make your company special. Keep corporate jargon and money out of it. Everyone wants to be rich and famous. Why was this business actually founded? What does it do for the world? What doesn’t it do? What do your employees think of the business? What do the customers like most and least? What emotional benefits does your offering incite? What other kinds of products, outside of your industry, elicit these same emotions?

It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. If you want to make a dent in this world, start getting comfortable being uncomfortable. When you land on a few simple core truths, you now have a foundation of where, how, and why the brand has credibility. Now build on it.

Build While You Grow

The whole point of worldbuilding is creating a larger set of rules that everything inside follows. So as you approach each decision, you now have a framework to check against. Does this campaign build on this? Is our R+D pursuing R+D that will make this true? How can my world and this other brand world come together? What has our community built within this framework?

This is where things like planning, communication goals, business design, all start to have a generative effect. When done right, short-term and long-term goals are the same. The business strategy and creative strategy are the same. Each individual story, our or our community’s, occupies a space within our world. When stories build the brand’s world, the brand builds itself.

The Simpsons is a household name. What started as an animated short became a series that became a powerhouse of immersive storytelling through movies, theme parks, toys, video games, fashion, music, art, literature, language and more. Each touchpoint was a single story moment. What made it last was how they came together. The world that Springfield exists within gives us the collective context we need to tie this story to the last & the next. Progressive worldbuilding through consistent storytelling.

Every Opportunity is a Worldbuilding Opportunity. 

Campaigns, activations, packaging, posts, commercials, livestreams, distribution channels, corporate training, employee benefits, OOH, experiential, social, everything you do inside and out is an opportunity to build your brand’s world.

As the world becomes increasingly more connected and people demand more transparency, every single thing you do is social. This is the definition of what we mean when we say “social-out thinking.” It’s why we approach everything we do with brand partners, from influencer marketing campaigns to product development to org design to global launches the exact same. We ask how this builds the larger narrative world. If it builds that, then it builds social influence.

When you think of the most successful businesses in the world, the word ‘consistency’ comes to mind. Nike is Nike everywhere you meet them. On social, on packaging, in an app, in a partnership, in an experience, at their campus, all the way down to the receipts. Everything they’ve done for decades builds a world where today ‘Just Do It’ is cultural shorthand, the swoosh logo is one that athletes of literally every level have a connection to. My 5 and 2 year olds call it out. Imagine where they’re going to take their money when they buy their own shoes. This is where worldbuilding done right can take you.

Make Tools, Not Ads

People don’t buy brands, they buy in. That means cultivating community in a very specific way. The world you build must provide multiple ways for people to contribute, participate, and benefit.

Rethink your goals, we aren’t just telling people stories. We’re arming them with the tools they need to tell their own. So ask how this ad does that. How does this commercial, OOH, experience, activation, campaign, post, program, thing arm the people I’ve brought into this world?

That’s how an ad is so much more than an ad. You’re trading customers & community for champions. The people who join your world and bring their own following. This is what you see when worldbuilding is done right in pop culture. Look around Comic-Con. People don’t build a lifestyle around a one-off. They go deep into the world, the lore, the characters, the imagination it unlocks. They make their own fanfic of the stories they experience. They leap to any chance that allows them to authentically immerse themselves within that world they care about.

This is the goal. Storytelling as most people think of it is small. But done right, stories build entire realities worth escaping into. What will your next story build?

Top tips for applying for an apprenticeship in the marketing industry

We’re celebrating national apprenticeship week here at THE FIFTH

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Monday, 6th of February 2023

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from 6th – 12th of February, we hear from Nana Akosua Frimpong who joined THE FIFTH as the very first apprentice at the agency. 

Nana has now been with THE FIFTH for 12 months, and has split her time between studying for an extracurricular course alongside working for the Talent Research team. 

From helping to source talent for key campaigns with clients including Wimbledon and Fenty Beauty, to writing regular long-form opinion pieces for THE FIFTH’s website and helping with social content, Nana has thrown herself into the work – and become a crucial part of the agency. 

Here, we wanted to catch up with Nana and hear about her tips for those considering applying for an apprenticeship in the marketing industry, and find out how her first year has been.

For those considering applying for an apprenticeship in this industry, what advice would you give to them?

Do your research. 

Make sure that this is what you want – an apprenticeship is an investment for your future career, so make sure that you are joining one with a purpose in mind. Also, remember it is an opportunity to not only work but gain a qualification, so make sure the qualification you will be completing is something of interest to you. 

How did you apply and what was the interview process like?

I first saw the ad for the apprenticeship on Instagram via Social Fixt (a community with a mission to put more Black talent in the boardrooms and not just on billboards). 

The application process was straightforward and broken down into three parts: the application process, a phone interview and an assessment centre. 

When applying, I had to answer three to four questions relating to any interesting ads I had seen recently and why I thought they worked well. I also had to talk about a few of my favourite content creators which included Jackie Aina and Patricia Bright

After my initial application, I had a 15-30 minute phone interview, where I had a chance to talk to a member of the team/HR and explain more about my experiences. 

Lastly, I took part in the virtual assessment centre (this was during the pandemic and before hybrid working was introduced). It was a great opportunity to learn more about THE FIFTH, meet some of the team and showcase my skills and experiences. 

How have you found the last year at THE FIFTH as an apprentice?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year working with the team and have had the opportunity to work on exciting projects with amazing clients such as Disney and YouTube. 

It’s been great to be able to take part in discussions around social trends and identify ways in which brands can utilise them to their advantage. Working in the talent research team has also given me the opportunity to grow my knowledge and challenge myself in identifying niche creators as well as developing interpersonal skills. 

The opportunity to work on the job whilst applying my course knowledge has been invaluable. Not only have I been able to work on getting a Level 4 Sales Executive Accreditation, I have also been able to build on my influencer and social marketing skills and knowledge that will help further my career in the industry. 

The team has been incredibly supportive throughout my apprenticeship to help me meet my course criterias and goals.

What has been your biggest learning since you started?

As someone who joined the apprenticeship scheme due to a career change, the last year has been a worthwhile experience and one that I know will be invaluable in my future career. 

One of my biggest learnings is: celebrate the small wins just as much as celebrating the big ones.

What top tips do you have for somebody about to start an apprenticeship?

My top tips are:

1. Immerse yourself in every stage of the apprenticeship

2. Try to meet as many people as you can: in and out of the industry. Build relationships and go to events. Say yes to any and all new opportunities that will help develop or improve on your skills?

3. Working and completing your apprenticeship course may be stressful at times but learn to communicate that with both your employer and course provider

4. Be kind to yourself and remember you are allowed to make mistakes – you are learning

5. Most importantly, always ask questions and don’t limit yourself – remember this is an opportunity for you to learn about the industry you are working hard in so ask and learn from those around you

Don’t simply Google it, TikTok it instead

How important is TikTok SEO and should brands consider it?

By Carla Watts

Monday, 30th of January 2023

It’s undeniable that TikTok has more than made its mark in the social media world. The app, which is known for its crazy dance trends and perfectly personalised ‘For You’ pages, has been downloaded over 3.5 billion times and has been the most downloaded app three years in a row now.

The app’s popularity, however, does not stop at singing and dancing. TikTok has proven to be an extremely influential and powerful app which leads to products – from mini uggs to Dior blush – completely selling out after trending on the platform, with the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit being used over 39.3 billion times. Now, users are turning to TikTok to find top beauty products, the best spots for dinner or even reviews of the latest skincare – rather than Google.

LinkedIn: Georgia Branch

This recent shift has not gone unnoticed. Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan highlighted how younger generations were using social media platforms as search engines, instead of Google, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference in 2022. Raghavan also mentioned that according to internal research, approximately 40% of young people will use platforms like TikTok to search for lunch options, rather than Google. 

It is important to note that TikTok is not the first social media platform to have been referred to as a search engine. YouTube has been increasingly used to search for products, tutorials and recommendations over the last decade. Furthermore, the same can be said for Amazon, as well as Instagram which has also provided users with the latest fashion and beauty trends. 

It would appear, however, that TikTok’s short and snappy videos provide up-to-date and instant answers which is perfect for Gen Z’s decreasing attention span. 

Moreover, TikTok users are given recommendations from their favourite content creators and can check the legitimacy of any recommendation with a quick scroll in the comments section. Even the creators themselves are talking about how they are ‘TikTok-ing’, not ‘google-ing’.

TikTok has acknowledged that users are beginning to use the platform as a search engine and have added in more features accordingly. When you start a search in the search bar for example, you will now see a list of other suggestions –  just like on Google.

When you click on the search bar it also shows you some of your past searches, as well as a “You may like” list of searches.

Furthermore, there are also search suggestions in the comments section.

It would seem, therefore, that TikTok is becoming the go-to Gen Z search engine. 

Jumping on the increased interest, TikTok have also recently released an advert showcasing the ‘search’ feature on the app, and the advert ends with the words “search it with TikTok”. 

If TikTok is being used as a search engine, what does this mean for brands and content creators?

As users of TikTok are increasingly finding content through the search bar, brands and content creators need to ensure that their videos are at the top of the search results if they want to keep increasing their views and building their audiences. 

But how do you do this?

This is where TikTok SEO comes in. Thankfully, this is not as complicated as it may sound. Let’s break it down. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has traditionally been used in regards to increasing a website’s chance of being discoverable on search pages. When applied to TikTok, it means making your content more discoverable, and therefore more likely to get views and engagement.  

How can you incorporate TikTok SEO into your marketing strategy?

Luckily, TikTok SEO is super easy to incorporate and one of the best ways is to use keywords. 

Just use keywords? Almost.

The best place to start is to do some keyword research. This doesn’t mean hours of reading and note-taking, just a quick scroll on TikTok is all you need to do. 

Search the product/topic/content your video is about. If your TikTok is about skincare, for example, search skincare in the search bar.

You will then have a list of related words which you can then use in your videos, like “skincare routine”, “products”, “aesthetic” or “must haves”. You can use these by saying them in the video, putting them in captions and hashtags, and including them in any on-screen text.  

This should increase the likelihood of your video showing up in the search results.

Is TikTok really going to overtake Google as the number one search engine? 

Whilst TikTok may be great for searching for the best rooftop bars in London, there are some things you just can’t TikTok. 

The *very* important questions: what time does Starbucks open? Or where is the nearest Joe and the Juice? They may be more efficiently answered by a quick Google search. Furthermore, it seems like this shift in using social media as a search engine is more prominent amongst younger generations. 52.3% of all TikTok users, for example, are aged between 18 and 24. Furthermore, more than 75% of all users are aged between 16 and 34. Therefore, I don’t think Google will be disappearing any time soon. 

The way that people, and particularly younger people, are searching and using social media however has shifted. Consumers are looking for instant and direct results from the creators they trust. Brands and creators would therefore benefit from incorporating TikTok SEO into their marketing strategies if they haven’t done so already.

Trendsetters: Influencers are The New TV Stars

As their reach and influence expands, social media stars take on prime-time TV

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 26th of January 2023

The social media star-to-celebrity pipeline is no secret. With thousands, sometimes millions, of followers across their social media platforms, this celebrity stardom should come as no surprise. 

Red carpet invites and fans stopping them in the street for pictures are to be expected given their reach, but many social media stars have now made their way into mainstream media too. 

For the most part, social media content creators have a younger following than traditional celebrities and television stars, so when introducing them to prime-time television shows, not only does it benefit the reach and career of the influencer, but the success and viewership of the TV shows too. Knowing this, over the past few years TV networks have begun to welcome talent outside the traditional celebrity.

Gen Z now watches almost seven times less broadcast television than the generations before them, according to a report from regulator Ofcom. It said 16 to 24-year-olds spend just 53 minutes watching TV each day, a two-thirds decrease in the past 10 years. Understandably, this is not great news for television networks. 

Social media stars tend to have millions of followers who are of the generation that no longer engages with TV in the way we used to – incredibly loyal followers who, more often than not, are prepared to follow the lives of their favourite creators wherever it takes them…even if that means turning on the TV. By utilising some of the most influential online personalities, TV shows are strategically increasing their own audience, viewing ratings and engagement.

YouTube star Nella Rose and her co-host Oobah Butler

Many prime-time shows have therefore welcomed famous social media faces to their line-ups. The most pivotal is YouTuber Joe Sugg who appeared on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2018. Joe was one of the first social media stars to appear on such a show, making quite an impact. Strictly Come Dancing’s social media presence almost doubled, with Sugg’s jive being viewed by over 1.3 million people compared to the 80,000 average. With Sugg alone potentially bringing his 8.2 million YouTube subscribers to the BBC, it is no wonder that the show saw such an increase in viewership. That is no coincidence. 

Joe’s Strictly success led to other shows also casting social media talent, and this has been the case year after year ever since. Strictly Come Dancing, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here and Dancing on Ice are just three of the leading reality shows that have welcomed social media influencers with open arms. Gogglebox even aired a celebrity special featuring YouTuber KSI. The results speak for themselves.

YouTuber Joe Sugg with dance partner Dianne Buswell

Some networks have taken it a step further and given influencers their own shows altogether. MTV’s latest seasons of Catfish UK sees YouTube star Nella Rose and her co-host Oobah Butler help lovelorn hopefuls determine if they’re being duped by a devious catfish, a perfect fit for Nella who has always expressed her desire to become a TV presenter. Mo Gilligan, a renowned English stand-up comedian, who launched his career through social media skits and shorts on Instagram is now the host of his very own show: The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan. It’s a total triumph and now onto its third season on Channel 4 with celebrity guests, music, sketches, games and prizes.

Seeing the proof in the pudding, Channel 4 has completely transformed its approach to casting and viewership. Why make social media users come to TV when they can bring TV to them? 

Introducing Channel 4.0. In October of 2022, Channel 4 launched its digital-first brand Channel 4.0, a brand new content destination, home to loads of fresh new social formats all rooted in youth culture. The core focus: reaching, engaging and entertaining 13–24-year-olds.

With a dedicated space on YouTube and across social, Channel 4 gives the generation’s top content creators the chance to collaborate and give young audiences a new place to get their daily dose of entertainment. The content features a whole host of established social first creators, from Chunkz, Nella Rose and Alhan Gençay to Spuddz, Mist and Dreya Mac. Channel 4.0 is a platform for the next generation of stars, both in front and behind the camera.

So, it seems that social media content creators are continuing to prove just how impactful their influence is. And with more and more shows and networks utilising their social media stardom, could this mark the beginning of a brand-new era of television altogether?

Get to know the new FIFTH Apprentices: Carla Watts

Carla joins us on a two year apprenticeship

By Esra Gurkan

Thursday, 19th of January 2023

This January, we’ve welcomed our next intake of apprentices to THE FIFTH. 

After the success of the first cohort last year, we’re proud to announce that Carla Watts and Laina Claydon are joining the agency on a two-year basis. 

They will spend their first six weeks getting to know how the whole agency works, joining each of the key departments that make up the business including Marketing, Strategy, Creative, Accounts, Talent Research and Talent Management. 

Equipped with a solid understanding of how each part of the business works and what they do, they will then join their respective team for the duration of their apprenticeship whilst also undertaking a Level 3 Digital Marketer (Social Media Pathway) course.

Carla, who will be joining THE FIFTH Talent, spoke to us about what made her apply – and the best content she’s consumed recently.

Can you describe yourself in a sentence or two for us?

I am 23 years old, from Surrey and have just completed a degree in history and politics. I am obsessed with all things social media and you’ll rarely see me without my phone (or a coffee!) in my hand! After falling in love with making content on Instagram and TikTok whilst I was at university, I knew that I wanted to have a career in the industry. 

What attracted you to the apprenticeship at THE FIFTH?

I have always had a passion for social media, but this became particularly apparent over lockdown when I started to grow my own social pages. I knew that I wanted a career in social media but was unsure where to start, especially as I had no qualifications in this sector. When I came across the apprenticeship at THE FIFTH on Linkedin, I could not believe my luck: it seemed like a dream come true! It was the perfect introduction to a career in social media as I would be working with an agency who had worked with very well-known brands, combined with having the opportunity to study for a Level 3 Digital Marketer course at the same time. 

Can you describe your perfect working day?

My perfect working day would be an early morning trip to get an oat milk vanilla latte and a catch-up with the team. Then a productive day of work, followed by a team-outing to the pub to unwind and relax.

Which social media channel do you use the most and why?

I definitely use Instagram the most, but TikTok is a close second! I have practically grown up with Instagram and have been posting for over ten years so definitely feel the most confident on there! You can usually find me on Instagram posting about mental health, body positivity and other fun lifestyle content. 

Are there any campaigns of ours that you’d have loved to have worked on and why? 

There are so many I would have loved to have worked on – it’s hard to pick just one! I think the Lucozade #positivechain campaign would have been amazing as I thought it had such an incredible message behind it, as well as being able to work with Maya Jama and Anthony Joshua. I am hoping they do a part two!

I am definitely excited to see what campaigns I get to work on over the next couple of years!

What would be a dream campaign or brand that you’d like to work on or with in the future?

Lounge Underwear would definitely be a dream brand to work with as I absolutely love how inclusive they are and how they promote body positivity! 

I would also love to work on a Coachella campaign after growing up watching all my favourite content creators go there every year. That would be a huge career achievement. 

Which content creator are you loving following at the moment and why? 

At the moment I am really enjoying Lauren Tiby on TikTok and Instagram. I love her fashion content and she is always my go-to for style inspiration! I also love how down to earth she is and find her get-ready-with-me videos comforting to watch. 

Who inspires you? This can be in your personal life, or on social 

One of my biggest inspirations is Matilda Djerf. Not only is she hair and outfit goals, she is such an authentic and down-to-earth content creator who spreads positivity on her social media. Matilda, and her partner, have also built a very successful business – Djerf Avenue – which is always ahead of the fashion trends whilst also being ethically manufactured and promotes sustainability by creating ‘timeless’ pieces. 

Lastly, tell us your favourite piece of content that you’ve consumed recently?

I love watching Olivia Kirkby’s TikTok as she is always so positive and helps me feel confident in my own body. I always watch her videos when I need cheering up!

Get to know the new FIFTH Apprentices: Laina Claydon

Laina joins us on a two year apprenticeship

By Esra Gurkan

Wednesday, 18th of January 2023

This January, we’ve welcomed our next intake of apprentices to THE FIFTH. 

After the success of the first cohort last year, we’re proud to announce that Carla Watts and Laina Claydon are joining the agency on a two-year basis. 

They will spend their first six weeks getting to know how the whole agency works, joining each of the key departments that make up the business including Marketing, Strategy, Creative, Accounts, Talent Research and Talent Management. 

Equipped with a solid understanding of how each part of the business works and what they do, they will then join their respective team for the duration of their apprenticeship whilst also undertaking a Level 3 Digital Marketer (Social Media Pathway) course.

Laina, who will be joining the marketing department, spoke to us about what made her apply – and the best content she’s consumed recently.

Bella and Laina with singer-songwriter Tom Grennan

Can you describe yourself in a sentence or two for us?

I am 21 years old, from Hertfordshire and love social media – especially Tiktok. I often create my own on the app and am interested in makeup and fashion. I was first introduced to social media via Instagram when it came out, and have been watching YouTube since I was about 11 years old when I was obsessed with the OG Brit Crew; Zoella being my favourite. Something I was always particularly fascinated by was when YouTubers would be with their managers, and seeing them go into their management offices in their vlogs -I think that’s where I first got the interest to work in this industry.

What attracted you to the apprenticeship at THE FIFTH?

I had wanted to get a marketing job since I left sixth form really, but I struggled as I had no experience and it’s a competitive field, so I worked other jobs whilst looking for one. Apprenticeships always appealed to me as I didn’t go to university, so being able to work while getting a qualification is perfect for me. I was attracted to THE FIFTH in particular as I love what they stand for. The fact that it incorporates influencer marketing is an added bonus for me as I have been a follower of creators for years.

Can you describe your perfect working day?

Put simply: an iced coffee to start the day, a productive day in the office, a team lunch outing – and this includes filming some office TikToks for our growing channel.

Which social media channel do you use the most and why?

TikTok or Youtube. I don’t like silence so even when I’m around my house I will have a YouTube video playing on my phone. I realised how addicted to TikTok I was when I slowly replaced YouTube with TikTok videos!

Are there any campaigns of ours that you’d have loved to have worked on and why? 

I’d love to have worked on our YouTube Shorts Brits campaign. I’ve always watched the Brits so to get the opportunity to work on that and be there would be really cool! Preferably on a year when Harry Styles is there…

What would be a dream campaign or brand that you’d like to work on or with in the future?

At the moment, I’m loving Selena Gomez’ Rare Beauty makeup brand, so I would say working with them would be amazing!

Which content creator are you loving following at the moment and why? 

Alix Earle – she is trending at the moment and has suddenly blown up on TikTok. I love the casual get-ready-with-me content, product recommendations and stories she tells. Another TikToker I love is Amelia Olivia who also creates makeup content. I’ve bought a lot of what she has recommended!

Who inspires you? This can be in your personal life, or on social 

I am very inspired by my colleagues, particularly Jess and Esra, who I am very lucky to learn from and my mum who works hard everyday and still manages to do so much for others.

Lastly, tell us your favourite piece of content that you’ve consumed recently?

Zoe Sugg’s vlogmas on her YouTube channel. It gave me so much nostalgia and cosy vibes at Christmas time. Having watched Zoe from a young age to seeing her as a mum now is so lovely – and her home gives me interior goals!