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HOW BOOKTOK IS DIRECTING HOLLYWOOD

WITH THE HASHTAG GAINING OVER 200 BILLION VIEWS ON TIKTOK, HOW IS BOOKTOK INFLUENCING HOLLYWOOD?

By Jack Redmayne 

Friday, 17th of May 2024

Since the early days of Hollywood, film makers and financiers have sought after one thing above anything else, a guaranteed audience. Across the decades this desire has resulted in a plethora of different strategies such as casting popular actors or producing films within the most favoured genres. As of 2020, Hollywood’s strategists have turned their sights to the social media phenomenon, BookTok. 

The BookTok hashtag started to gain popularity during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown. This growth has certainly not plateaued, with the community now having over 200 Billion views on TikTok gaining recognition from media outlets and major publishing companies. Penguin Random House has even developed a built-in knowledge assistance tool to make the vast community even more interactive and informative. The trend has provided lesser-known and self-published authors with an unprecedented platform which has resulted in some miraculous success stories. The most notable example of the platform’s unsuspecting influence is Colleen Hoover, otherwise known as The Queen of BookTok. It is fair to say that when Colleen Hoover published her debut novel Slammed in 2013, she was far from a success. However, in 2021 Hoover experienced a colossal surge resulting in her book It Ends With Us achieving #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers List.

How does this influence Hollywood?

BookTok began as a place for people to recommend books to viewers. However, in the last few years it has become a hub for book-to-screen adaptation content with thousands of TikTokers taking their favourite books and creating their dream casts for when they are ‘inevitably’ adapted.  

Hollywood has finally got what they wanted, a guaranteed audience. Over the last year, numerous flagship titles of production companies have come from BookTok, such as ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ and ‘Conversations With Friends’. 

This is a seminal moment for the consumers of television and film. Previously, the decision making power stayed firmly inside the executives office, but now it seems as if their metaphorical door is wide open and ready for suggestions. No longer do you have to sit and wait patiently for your prayers to be answered and your favourite book to be adapted. BookTok has a seat at the table.

Overall, BookTok’s influence on Hollywood reflects the evolving relationship between social media, popular culture, and the entertainment industry. As platforms like TikTok continue to shape consumer tastes and preferences, they are also reshaping the way books are discovered, promoted, and adapted for the screen. By tapping into the cultural zeitgeist and amplifying diverse voices, BookTok has the potential to influence the types of stories that are told and celebrated in mainstream media.

Trendsetters: The Rise of Finfluencers

A breakdown of why finfluencers are impacting our financial decision making

By Bella Hales

Wednesday, 30th of August 2023

In recent years, a new breed of influencers has emerged, capturing the attention of millions across various different social media platforms. Known as ‘finfluencers, these individuals have gained remarkable popularity by offering financial advice, tips, and strategies to their growing audience. With their engaging content and expertise in personal finance, they have effectively carved out a space in the financial advisory landscape.

Here, we explore the multitude of reasons as to why finfluencers are taking over the financial social space, and explore the impact of their influence on individuals’ financial decision-making.

Accessibility and Relatability

One of the main reasons behind the increase in of finfluencers is their ability to make financial advice more accessible and relatable to a wider audience. Unlike traditional financial advisors who may seem intimidating or unapproachable, finfluencers use social media platforms to share their knowledge in a casual and engaging manner. They break down complex financial concepts into digestible bites, making it easier for people with little to no financial background to understand and implement the advice. They also often share their personal experiences, including financial successes and failures, fostering a sense of authenticity that resonates with their audience. This genuine connection builds trust, leading their followers to consider their advice more seriously.

Millennial and Gen Z Appeal

The rise of finfluencers is closely tied to the demographic shift in the audience seeking financial advice. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, form a significant portion of their followers. These younger generations often prefer digital platforms and social media for information consumption, finding more affinity with influencers who understand their unique financial challenges, such as student loan debt, housing affordability, and gig economy work.

Educational Content and Empowerment

Finfluencers have made it their mission to increase financial literacy among their followers. They offer educational content that covers a wide range of topics including budgeting, saving, investing, and retirement planning. By empowering their audience with knowledge, they encourage them to take charge of their finances and make informed decisions. With the cost of living crisis in full force, this is something that is more in demand than ever.

Community Building and Peer Support

Finfluencers excel at community building, creating supportive environments where their followers can interact, share experiences, and learn from one another. This sense of belonging can be particularly valuable for those who might feel isolated or overwhelmed by financial challenges. The community aspect fosters a collaborative learning space where members can openly discuss their financial journeys without judgement.

Digital Disruption in Financial Services

The rise of finfluencers coincides with a broader trend of digital disruption in the financial services industry. Fintech innovations, robo-advisors, and online investment platforms have already transformed how individuals access financial products and services. Finfluencers fit into this evolving landscape, offering a human touch and personalised guidance that complements the convenience of digital financial tools.

It must be said that taking advice from finfluencers does come with its own risks. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, finance expert Bola Sol explained how ‘the accessibility of social media means new creators crop up frequently and produce content that takes advantage of people.’ There are, however, new measures being introduced to tackle the new social financial landscape. 

Money Week reports how the Financial Conduct Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority have teamed up to warn finfluencers that some financial promotions could be a criminal offence and aims to provide them with clear guidelines to follow which they should check before agreeing to promote products.

As a result, many financial influencers are taking the IFA (independent financial advisor) certification to boost their credibility and expand their content. Experts like John Sommerville, head of learning at the London Institute of Banking and Finance, are huge advocates for this, arguing that “if creators aren’t educated enough, there’s a risk that somebody may be put into some form of financial distress.”

Overall, it is clear that the rise of finfluencers represents a paradigm shift in financial advice and education. With their accessible and relatable approach, they have successfully reached and inspired a vast audience, particularly Gen Z and millennials.

While traditional financial advisors and institutions still play a crucial role, finfluencers have demonstrated their impact in increasing financial literacy, building trust, and empowering individuals to take control of their financial futures. As with any source of financial advice, however, it is essential for followers to exercise discernment, cross-reference information, and consider professional advice when making significant financial decisions.

Why are influencer pr trips so controversial?

We look at how badly PR trips can go, and what happens when they go right

By Laina Claydon

Friday, 18th of August 2023

PR trips are a little controversial of late, aren’t they? We’ve seen an influx of brands send content creators on trips with free airfare, accommodation and products in exchange for posting content. These types of trips aren’t exactly new, but since travel has opened back up again it might seem as though there have been a lot more influencer PR trips happening up and down our social media feeds. The hashtag #brandtrip on TikTok, for example, has 134.1 million views and counting. 

A lot of these trips have been received negatively and rightly so, while others have shown exactly why they’re worth it when they’re done right. 

@sheinofficial

The most recent influencer-PR trip to hit the headlines came from Shein. The fast fashion brand took a group of influencers to their factory in China to get an inside look at how their garments are designed, manufactured and shipped, and used it as an opportunity to change people’s opinions on the sustainability of the brand. Audiences soon began questioning the influencers’ decision to accept the invitation from Shein despite the numerous reports alleging labour abuses, potential use of hazardous materials, poor working conditions, and contribution to the climate crisis. Both the brand and influencers that took part in the trip were lambasted on social media and it soon became a lesson on how not to do a PR trip.

Lots of brands have also been slammed for a lack of diversity on creator-press trips. Lifestyle blogger Kirsty Merrett shared her thoughts in June, tweeting: “Is it just me who is seeing press trips and events with less and less diversity?!”. Beauty creator Gary Thompson aka The Plastic Boy also asked on Threads last week: “Is it me or have we got back to 2019 I’m seeing events and PR trips with no inclusivity! No boys, No POC, just straight up copy and paste”. 

There’s also been cases where brands or events have tried to raise their profile by inviting large content creators to attend, even if the person hasn’t expressed an interest in them or what they do. TikTok It-girl Madeline Argy told her followers the story of being invited to the F1 and even got the chance to meet drivers like Lando Norris, despite admitting she knows nothing about Formula 1 and therefore had nothing to say to him. Fans of the sport quickly took to social media to complain that ‘it’s like a slap in the actual F1 fans faces’. 

Some brands have, however, got it right. 

@jackwills The party HAS ARRIVED 🔥 Welcoming the Jack Wills Ski Squad to the chalet 🎉 Remember to shop all these looks via the link in our bio ✨ #JWSkiSZN #JackWills @George @Mariam @Maddie Grace Jepson @Joseppi Baggzelini @Grace @coleandersonj @yourboymoyo @max_balegde @georgeclarkeey @bambinobecky ♬ Canyons - Official Sound Studio

There was a time when Jack Wills was extremely popular. Fashion brands Abercrombie, Hollister and Jack Wills were the epitome of cool for teenagers up and down the country and they featured on every young person’s Christmas wishlist. Recently, Jack Wills has had a comeback. Their rebrand has certainly got them talked about again on social media, after they made a group of UK-based TikTokers the faces of the brand, sending them on photoshoots and taking them on multiple holidays where they wore Jack Wills throughout. All you need to do is type ‘Jack Wills’ into the TikTok search bar to see the influencers they chose to take part, from Max Balegde to GK Barry, Joe and George Baggs, alongside others.

Earlier this year, they launched their ski collection by taking the group of prominent UK TikTokers aka the ‘Jack Wills Ski Squad’ on a ski trip. This was similar to when they launched their summer collection last year and flew them out on a private jet to stay in a luxury villa – and audiences loved it. With a cost of living crisis currently going on in the UK, not everybody finds this type of content relatable but audiences obviously enjoyed seeing their favourite down-to-earth TikToker’s reactions to experiencing five-star treatment for the first time. Max Balegde, for example, felt ‘overwhelmed’ and titled his video: ‘you go on a private jet but you’re a scruff’

@jackwills

One great thing about this type of influencer trip is that it brings lots of organic content, where the creators are already wearing branded clothes and the content is more natural. And of course, bringing a group of influencers together can also mean their followers are brought along too which maximises eyeballs on the brand. Choosing to work with the same creators over and over again also enables audiences to become familiar with the brand, and makes the connection between brand and creator more authentic.

Sustainable skincare brand Biossance took 11 influencers to Kokomo Private Island in Fiji, with the aim to help spread the word about sustainability and ocean conservation. Why Kokomo? Christine Tusher wrote on their website that they wanted to give influencers a firsthand look at what was happening to the world’s coral reefs and ‘how we as a brand are making a difference to our oceans. Our hope was that the added exposure would raise awareness and help consumers make informed, sustainable shopping decisions’.

She says they chose Kokomo Private Island not only because of ‘its proximity to the environment we’re trying to protect, but also because of its sustainability efforts. Kokomo is completely self-sustained, from the water in their refillable bottles down to the vanilla beans in guests’ dessert. In addition Kokomo is well known for its ocean conservation efforts, which range from a no-take fishing zone around the island, to coral restoration, ocean cleanup and manta ray protection.’ It was therefore important to them that they share this perspective so that audiences could adopt and share a more sustainable lifestyle. This was therefore an example of a brand using their marketing activities to also spread awareness and be a force for good and education. 

Put simply, it’s about choosing the right creators for a brand trip.

Vegan content creator Jacob King uses his channel to highlight the importance of flavour and spice whilst educating his followers that many cultures have been following a vegan diet for centuries. Recently, him and fellow creator Rose aka Cheap Lazy Vegan travelled across South Korea courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization to experience the culture, highlight all of their delicious vegan offerings and of course eat good food. Meanwhile, Olimata Taal was sent by the British Triathlon, the national governing body for Triathlon, Aquathlon and Duathlon in Great Britain, to a swim, bike, run retreat. Speaking about the experience, she said “growing up in a low income household, sports has always seemed pretty inaccessible, but I’m grateful to @brittri for challenging that”. Both creators are passionate about what it is they’re posting about, and already have an established connection with the subject matter which their audiences obviously recognise. 

There are certainly a lot of learnings for brands when organising creator-led PR trips going forward. It’s important that the right influencers are chosen to take part who already have a love or interest in the brand, or who have the same views. It also goes without saying that brands need to ensure that those who take part are diverse and that a broad range of people are invited to take part that are representative of wider society. There might be the age-old saying that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ but in some of these cases, that certainly isn’t the case and no brand should want to find themselves in the press for the wrong reason. 

Choose the right creators for your brand, think wisely about what you want your trip to do (and say) and think hard about your audience and theirs – and whether they’re really the right fit. If they are, it’s a no brainer. 

What is the Quiet Luxury Trend?

It’s less about the rich and more about conscious consumerism

By Nana Akosua Frimpong

Friday, 13th of July 2023

What exactly is quiet luxury? 

According to TikTok creator Charles Gross, loud luxury is all about ‘logos, brands and conspicuous spending’. It’s a shirt or bag that screams ‘I spent a lot of money on this’. Quiet luxury, however, is about purchasing pieces ‘that to the naked eye don’t seem luxury at all. They could be a dollar or a million dollars’. 

It’s expensive clothing that nobody can recognise.

The aesthetic is less concerned with projecting wealth than creating a wardrobe full of high-end everyday staples that speak to sophistication. Smart tailoring, clean-cut lines and elite craftsmanship. Logo-less t-shirts, cashmere sweaters and baseball caps. The quiet luxury aesthetic rejects seasonal fashion trends and instead honours timeless pieces, almost mirroring the ‘buy less, buy better’ promotion of conscious consumerism.

In the last few years, fashion and consumers have become obsessed with the ultra-flashy styles of the Y2K era. From sky-high shoes to mini bags, the resurgence of the early 2000s took over the 2020s. Nostalgia was and still is ‘the’ moment. As of recently, however, runways have focused on perfecting wearable styles. TikTok It girls are deeply invested in the quiet luxury aesthetic, trading Y2K-inspired trends for muted colour palettes. Thanks to the widespread interest, the search term ‘quiet luxury’ has surpassed 40 billion views on TikTok, with ‘stealth wealth’ growing to over 620 million views. 

Drawing inspiration from shows such as HBO’s Succession and celebrities like Sofia Richie Grainge, creators have theorised that by not looking obviously wealthy you are in fact rich. 

Take Mark Zuckerberg for example, he has always been seen wearing casual and unrecognisable branded clothing and yet he is among one of the richest men in the world.

Creators have been providing tutorials on ways we mere humans could attempt to recreate this nonchalant aesthetic, from ‘old money’ outfit inspiration to ‘how to dress like the 1%’. Lydia Jane Tomlinson and Coco Bassey are a few creators showing us ways we can imitate the ‘old money’ aesthetic in our everyday lives.

@newsfash #stitch with @Rae Is it quiet luxury if you won’t shut up about it? #therow #quietluxury #olsentwins #marykateandashley #greenscreen ♬ original sound - NEWSFASH

The concept of the trend itself can be traced all the way back to the 19th century Gilded Age era when minimalist aesthetics and practicality were made infamous, and to 1700s France when conspicuous wealth was all the rage. The fall of the French monarchy and the rise of urbanisation is a great example of stealth wealth. 

The pandemic was our modern equivalent. We saw young aspirational buyers panic buying and investing in large logos and statement pieces. Three years later and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, ‘quiet luxury’ is the new buzzword. 

The desire for those who are financially stable to inconspicuously wear high-value items without garish logos suggests their desire to not obviously flaunt their wealth during hard times. 

There is an argument to be made on how ‘quiet’ quiet luxury is. TV personality and businesswoman Bethany Frankel shared on TikTok her thoughts on why quiet luxury may be considered passive-aggressively loud. She states ‘it’s like when someone tries so hard to look like they didn’t try.’ 

Coco Bassey

Fashion journalist Mosha, known on TikTok as NewsFash, talks about Mary-Kate and Ashely Olsen’s The Row and says wearers of the archetypal ‘quiet fashion’ brand seem incapable of not talking about it, with the running joke being ‘how do you know if somebody is wearing The Row? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you’. She questions: “is the desire to proclaim the antithesis of quiet luxury? Or are we all seeking Olsen-style validation at the end of the day?”.

It is also a fair assumption to make that as per our history books, the quiet luxury trend very much reflects the state of our economic uncertainty. The trend does not necessarily reinforce wealthy stereotypes and ‘rich people blending in’, rather it’s a shift towards conscious consumerism and investing in wearable pieces and most importantly is about putting experience over status.

Gen Z has changed the perception of quiet luxury from expensive cashmere sweaters and muted colours to a mindset that forces us to take a slower more conscious attitude to what we are buying whilst making it accessible to everyone.

Pre-loved and vintage garments that can be sourced through avenues such as eBay, Depop and Vinted enable anyone to shop sustainably. In today’s climate, by taking time to be savvy with our shopping habits, we can all achieve an elevated aesthetic, whilst shopping sustainably.

Quiet luxury may be considered a trend that is so obviously not quiet and very much aligns with the current state of our economy, but will it last? If we were to refer to our history books, then this is a trend that is likely to be surpassed by garish and logo-centric maximalist fashion once we all get accustomed to the current state of our economy. Nonetheless, what this aesthetic has taught us is that prioritisation of sustainability will remain key – no matter the trend. 

Trendsetters: has alcohol lost its cool?

A look into how popular culture and social media are reflecting the changing attitude towards alcohol

By Carla Watts and Bella Hales

Friday, 23rd of June 2023

The pandemic forced us to reevaluate the ways in which we were living, and it’s no surprise that since then people are prioritising their physical and mental wellbeing.

Health and wellness trends are taking off all over social media and with that has come a growing interest in mindful drinking and sobriety.  

Cutting back on alcohol has been linked to improved sleep, increased energy levels and enhanced mental clarity. With this in mind, more and more people are embracing the concept of mindful drinking, choosing to abstain from alcohol completely or moderate their consumption. 

It’s fair to say that social media has played a significant role in popularising this trend. On TikTok, we have seen the ‘sober curious’ movement where hashtags like #damplifestyle have 47.6 million views on the platform, and #sobercurious has 557.3 million views and counting. Through these trends it is clear that an increasing number of young people are beginning to question their relationship with alcohol. 

A DrinkAware survey looked into the UK’s drinking behaviour and found that just 8.1% of 18-to-34-year-olds drink four times per week or more, compared to 25.2% of those aged over 55.

There have also been many influencers joining in on these conversations, whether it’s talking about going completely tee-total or just reducing their alcohol consumption. One of the leading voices in this community is Millie Gooch who, after being sober for nearly a year, set up an online community for sober and sober curious women to have a safe space to speak about not drinking. Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews gave up alcohol after having his first child and even created a hugely successful non-alcoholic spirits brand called CleanCo.

Millie’s Sober Girl Society Instagram page now has 197,000 followers, proving how popular this type of content is. When speaking to Corq.com, she credits the rise in popularity to ‘an increased focus on mental health, conscious consumption and the cost of living crisis’.

Following on from the success with her community, in May Millie hosted her first ‘Dry Disco’ alongside fellow sober influencer @stephelswood. Dry Disco was a non-alcoholic day festival for women which included panel talks about self-love and sobriety, dance workshops, breathwork classes and a disco party.

@milliegooch

Other influencers who have joined in on the conversation are The Michalaks, who recently celebrated 9 months sober and former Love Islander and mental health activist Dr Alex George who shared that he has gone 100 days without alcohol.

On top of this, social media platforms seem to be implementing stronger restrictions on alcohol content meaning younger generations are now not as exposed to content including alcohol which could also explain the shift in attitude. 

The Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) guidelines on alcohol state that it is illegal to promote ‘excessive consumption’, or suggest alcohol can be used to boost confidence or have any other positive outcomes. It is also worth noting that alcohol ads cannot be targeted to under 18s – and you have to be over 25 to feature in an ad. 

This shift is not only evident on social media but in other forms of popular culture too. 

@hannahmichalak

E4’s Skins, which first came out in 2007, heavily glamorised alcohol and other substance abuse. The TV show followed a group of British teenagers through sixth form who liked to party and drink alcohol below the legal age. Despite this, one of the main characters, Effy Stonem, became somewhat of an icon for teenagers.

TV shows today, like Euphoria for example, now tend to portray excessive drinking as a serious problem, rather than ‘cool’ or ‘trendy’. This is reflected in a study carried out by Google which found that 70% of Gen Z would consider binge drinking a ‘very risky’ activity, while 41% associate alcohol with the words ‘vulnerability’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘abuse’.  

Furthermore, excessive drinking on reality TV shows has been significantly reduced too. 

In the early 2000s Big Brother frequently showed alcohol being consumed and contestants were noticeably intoxicated. This is in stark contrast to Love Island which first launched in 2015 and limits participants to 2 drinks a day. 

Even in music, rappers seem to be mentioning alcohol and partying less and less. Dave and Central Cee’s latest release Sprinter (currently number 1 in the charts), for example, doesn’t mention alcohol or going out – unlike the majority of rap songs released twenty years ago. 

As we look ahead, it’s evident that the health and wellness trend, coupled with the growing interest in sobriety and mindful drinking, is here to stay. 

This transformation represents a broader cultural shift towards prioritising holistic wellbeing, conscious consumption, and mental health awareness. By embracing these changes, individuals are redefining their relationship with alcohol, fostering healthier lifestyles, and promoting a more balanced approach to self-care and personal fulfilment.

Is this the end of the clean girl aesthetic?

We’re all entering our cool – and messy – girl era.

By Laina Claydon

Friday, 9th of June 2023

The internet appears to have chosen its newest It Girl. 

Alix Earle is a 22 year-old US-based TikTok creator and college student living with friends in Miami. She is one of the fastest growing creators on the platform, and is known for her chaotic ‘get ready with me’ (GRWM) videos – and for never turning down a party. 

Boasting over 5.3M followers, Alix Earle’s GRWM-style of video offers a good insight into the lifestyle she leads, which includes a lot of partying and travelling. As her follower count has grown and engagement increased, she has taken part in big brand trips – all whilst finishing her college degree. And yes, she can be found doing an exam at a beach with friends on holiday.

@alixearle Update: outfit took 2 hours i had a breakdown and almost didnt go . 😭👍🏼 #umiami #grwm #ootd ♬ original sound - alix earle

Something her followers love is that Alix Earle has always kept it real in her videos, often getting ready in her messy bedroom or regaling stories of when she was out partying the night before, and sharing her drunk TikTok drafts. She has also been incredibly candid about her journey with acne and kept her audience updated on her accutane journey. 

Some say she’s like the real-life Serena Vanderwoodson, the character played by Blake Lively in Gossip Girl. Both have the same unbrushed hair, last night’s clothes and way of living. Many have also said Serena ‘is the blueprint’ of the ‘messy girl aesthetic’.

So, is this the end of the clean girl aesthetic

Blake Lively as Serena Vanderwoodson

The messy girl aesthetic is the complete antithesis to the clean girl look, which is all about embracing a seemingly casual but also minimalist and effortless lifestyle and beauty. The hashtag #messygirlaesthetic is currently sat at 20.6M views vs #cleangirlaesthetic’s 4.1B views. It might not be as many, but it’s certainly on the rise.

As if there aren’t enough trends to keep up with already, there’s also the ‘French girl beauty’ trend that has been featured in the likes of Vogue, which is all about being undone and effortless. The hashtag #frenchbeauty currently has 67.2M views. Want to achieve the ‘messy’ French girl makeup look yourself? Watch this. 

These trends aren’t really anything new but they are relevant again. Remember Kate Moss in the 90s and early 2000s with her smudged makeup and undone hair? Showing it’s back in fashion, she recently brought back her iconic messy bedhead hair at the Met Gala last month.

Another example of the ‘undone’ look was showcased in the Miu Miu Fall Winter 2023 fashion show, where they debuted models with messy, frazzled unbrushed hair. They were described as ‘strutting down the runway with fastidious confidence, frazzled but possessed with purpose’. Their purpose being ‘beyond getting dressed for the day. So rushed that they accidentally tucked their prim, buttoned-up cardigans into their pantyhose and didn’t have time to smooth their unkempt hair’.

As Dazed says, ‘hair that’s a little bit messy has never been cooler’.

Why are people oversharing on social media?

And how social platforms are encouraging this trend

By Laina Claydon

Friday, 19th of May 2023

We’ve all been guilty of oversharing in the past. 

It’s that feeling you get when you get home and think: I could have kept that to myself. 

In an age of social media, the line is blurred and sometimes it’s hard to know where we should stop sharing. 

We’re encouraged to pour our hearts out online and social platforms like Facebook will ask you before you post a status to share ‘What’s happening?’ or ‘What’s on your mind?’. 

We’ve also seen trends emerge where oversharing is seemingly encouraged. The Get-Ready-With-Me (GRWM) style of video, for example, includes video topics like ‘GRWM for my nans funeral’ and ‘GRWM while I tell you about how my small business is failing’. 

Why does Gen Z feel so comfortable sharing so much of their lives?

@mollypashbymua My heart will forever be broken but i know your happier and out of pain! Love you always my angel 🫶🏻🕊 only a short video #fyp #foryoupage #candycrush10 #makeup #mua #grwm ♬ Possibility - Lykke Li

It might be because these types of video feel personal, as though you’re on Facetime with a friend while getting ready and that’s when you’d typically share that kind of information. Also, the medium of makeup being a distraction from personal news may make it easier to talk about and for a viewer to digest.

A recent trend that also may be considered an overshare is the Notes app trend. This is where you quite literally just share a photo carousel of what you keep in your Notes app, some of which can be quite personal – for example Amelia Dimoldenburg’s version of the trend showed topics to bring up in therapy and an ‘I think we’re better of as friends’ text.

There are, of course, positives to oversharing. This can be the fact that talking about mental and physical health issues may help not only the creator but the viewers feel better and less alone. Dr Gerrard, a lecturer in Digital Media and Society at the University of Sheffield, says: “On social media, you see people sharing stuff online in a way which they simply can’t with their friends or families. If people are sharing a lot but they’re creating a space they don’t otherwise have in their life — then that’s amazing and can be integral to their survival.”

In this age of social media, people also have other ways of sharing – but only with the people they choose. This can be in the form of a closest friend account, or a private Snapchat or Instagram ‘close friends’ story where you can select exactly who is seeing the stuff you share, and what you’re ‘oversharing’.

The Giggly Squad podcast has a bit more of an extreme view on oversharing, stating that people who will post themselves crying on Instagram for example are “not trying to solve the problem, you just want to be heard”. 

On the other end of the spectrum, some choose not to share their lives regularly on social media and rarely upload an Instagram Story. They therefore can come across mysterious and unbothered. People won’t know much about their lives and it might lead to people wondering: what are they up to?  

It has even been described as being ‘sexier’ if you have no social media presence at all. In this Vice article, they discuss why ‘the “zero online presence” person is the crème de la crème of the internet’. 

But why is being offline so attractive? Vice says, ‘being offline suggests inner confidence. You are presumably not bothered about being “seen”. You are not bothered about the opinions of others. You do not need their likes and follows. You are just out there, living your life. This points to self-assurance, a solid sense of self-esteem – all attractive qualities.’  

Being off the social grid, then, will lead others to be intrigued and a sense of mystery or unavailability can be attractive to some. 

Crucially, there is also a lot less to judge. 

There are now even how-to guides on ways in which you can be mysterious. Instagram accounts such as @newyorkercartoons and their 3.6 million followers are sharing tips on how you can be a mysterious woman because ‘everyone loves a mysterious woman’.

If you type into TikTok ‘how to be mysterious’, you get lots of results like this TikTok from dating coach Jacob Lucas who states ‘mystery builds attraction because you become a puzzle for that person to work out, and that is exciting to them’. 

It is, of course, down to an individual how much they want to share on social media. It’s about what makes a person comfortable and what information they’re happy sharing. You might have a friend who posts a Story of everything they do in a day, whilst you might also have a friend whose account you have to double-check to see if it’s even active anymore. Everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong way to do things. 

How can a brand use this sudden interest in oversharing in its marketing strategy? 

Over on TikTok, @thesilklabs makes a fantastic point about how companies perform much better on social media when the branding is contains more personal content, such as videos like ‘a day in the life of a founder at..’, or sharing Stories throughout the day behind-the-scenes of your business. 

At THE FIFTH we have found the same thing to be true. When our content was based on aesthetically pleasing graphics, it didn’t perform nearly as well as a team TikTok would do. 

So overshare with your audience – sometimes it’s the random things and little niches of a business which garner the biggest interest.

why should marketers embrace  chatgpt?

Make sure you read this article right to the end…

By Bella Hales

Friday, 11th of May 2023

As technology continues to advance, it is important for businesses to adapt to the latest trends in order to stay ahead of their competitors. One of the latest technological innovations that has been gaining a lot of attention in the marketing and advertising industry is ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer).

ChatGPT is a powerful tool that utilises artificial intelligence and natural language processing to generate human-like responses to user input. This technology has already been implemented in various industries, such as customer service and healthcare, but its potential applications in marketing and advertising are vast. 

Whilst the technology has gained widespread use and acceptance in many industries, there are still some sceptics who are hesitant to fully embrace it. One of the main reasons being the concerns around accuracy and bias. As with any AI technology, ChatGPT is only as unbiased and accurate as the data it is trained on. If the data used to train ChatGPT is biassed or incomplete, the responses generated by the technology may also be inaccurate. 

Additionally, there are concerns around security and privacy, as ChatGPT collects and analyses user data. Some people may also be sceptical of the lack of human touch in ChatGPT responses, as it may not be able to provide the same level of empathy and understanding as a human representative.

@acflips17 I wrote this caption with chatgpt 😅 I bet you haven't even considered using chatgpt for your business. There are so many different ways to use chatgpt for your benefit, and here are some starting points! It can save you so much time so at least try it out! #chatgpt #gpt4 #aiforbusiness #ai #amazonseller #reseller #amazonfba #amazonfbaseller #aientrepreneur #entrepreneur #levelup ♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose

With this being said there are many brands who have already successfully implemented AI technology, namely beauty brand Lottie London who have used it to speed up brainstorming and Pizza Hut, who in 2016 implemented a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that allows customers to order food directly through the chat interface. 

And there are many more ways in which ChatGPT can positively impact your brand.

Namely:

Streamlined content creation: ChatGPT can help streamline content creation by generating content ideas and providing inspiration for writers. By inputting a topic or seed keyword, ChatGPT can generate a list of related keywords and content ideas, making the content creation process more efficient and effective.

Personalised advertising: ChatGPT can help create more personalised advertising by analysing customer data and generating targeted messages. By understanding customer preferences and behaviours, ChatGPT can generate advertising messages that are tailored to the individual, resulting in increased engagement and conversions.

Enhanced SEO: ChatGPT can help enhance SEO by generating long-tail keywords and optimising content for search engines. By identifying new keyword opportunities and analysing search intent, ChatGPT can help improve website traffic and search engine rankings.

Improved customer service: Chatbots powered by ChatGPT can provide 24/7 customer service, handle a large volume of inquiries, and improve engagement with customers. By providing personalised and conversational responses, Chatbots can create a positive customer experience, resulting in increased satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Predictive analytics: ChatGPT can help with predictive analytics by analysing customer data and generating predictions for future behaviour. By understanding customer behaviour patterns and preferences, businesses can make data-driven decisions and adjust their digital marketing strategies accordingly.

Overall, it is clear that ChatGPT is a powerful tool that has the potential to transform the businesses helping them create more effective and efficient marketing strategies. And as ChatGPT continues to evolve and improve, it will undoubtedly become an even more valuable tool for businesses in the future.

So, would you use ChatGPT as a marketer? 

We just did. In fact, ChatGPT wrote the entire article you’ve just read.  So you have the answer directly from the Horse’s (Bot’s) mouth! 

Could you tell?

*Disclaimer*: To produce this article, we gave ChatGPT the following commands: “Write an article on: Why marketers and advertising specialists should embrace ChatGPT?” , followed up with “Why are people sceptical about ChatGPT?” and “How have brands started to use ChatGPT in their marketing strategy?”

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. 

@isaacrochell

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.

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. 

FROM AR TO AI: THE EVOLUTION OF FILTERS

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. 

TRENDSETTERS: WHAT IS DUPE CULTURE?

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.

@annaliesedayes

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.

@bookishbytammi

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’.

@mireilllelee

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? 

WE BREAK DOWN THE TIKTOK TREND THAT INSINUATES SUCCESS IS SOLELY BASED ON LUCK

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. 

@kimberleypossible_

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?

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?