The media industry should embrace hygge
A view from Sue Unerman

The media industry should embrace hygge

The hygge trend has collided with the FOGO trend, leaving a wide-open opportunity for cosiness for audiences this autumn and winter.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower
– Camus

Autumn is well and truly upon us now. The nights are drawing in. The clocks are going back, we’re stocking up for Halloween and many of us are thankfully donning the black tights of concealment.

The ad industry is gearing up for party season, and many brands too will be exploiting the season of nights out and chronic hangovers. Try and squeeze into a busy person’s evening calendar for the next couple of months and you’re probably already too late. 

There is another seasonal opportunity offered by this time of year which fewer brands exploit. November and December are absolutely the times for going out and enjoying yourself, but it is also a fantastic time to stay in quietly and hygge.

Hygge (pronounced "Hoo-gah" should you be reading this out loud), is a Danish concept of cosiness. Its aficionados claim it is much more than this however, and if you want to know more, there are a dozen new books to explain exactly how to do it.  

Put simply: sitting by the fire with friends in candlelight sipping hot chocolate is hygge. Watching boxed sets cuddled under a duvet.  Reading a really good book with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.  Formerly known as "me time" or "we time", it is now the hygge. 

"It's an idea so rooted in the Danish sense of togetherness, and perhaps even in Denmark's social democracy, that a Brit might struggle to grasp its historic and social significance," says Patrick Kingsley, author of the travel book How To Be Danish – but then he would say that wouldn’t he?

Nothing more hygge, if you ask me, than dunking a digestive, but I’m not an expert. 

Normally the ad community might assume that this is a trend confined to later in life, the older and more traditional consumers.  Nice promotion opportunity for hot water bottles perhaps but less relevant for those targeting younger audiences. 

Not so, the hygge trend has in fact collided with the FOGO trend to ensure that there is a wide-open opportunity for cosiness for mass audiences this autumn/winter. 

According to New York Magazine, FOGO – Fear of Going Out – is the new FOMO. 

Gabby Bess, a writer for Vice, says: "Going to parties is a type of work. I already work all day and I don't really want my social life to feel like work also." And, she adds: "There's just so much good TV to binge-watch right now." 

So, parties are work, you have to dress up and look cheerful.  Instead for those with FOGO there’s lots of great TV, some of which you just need to watch to keep up with any normal conversation.  If you’re a gamer, there’s plenty to be getting on with.  Maybe you’ve had enough of the social media version of reality where everyone is out, is in a selfie with a celeb, and on holiday somewhere sunny. It’s great to see your friends are enjoying themselves, but the images are so omnipresent that it’s hard to summon up any FOMO anymore. 

Thanks to the second screen to which we are all joined constantly, now Hygge is a great time as an advertiser to send a relevant message that will reach the potential consumer of your product just when they’re in the mood to stay home and consume it. 

In fact media are full of great hygge moments: the boxed set VOD opportunity; magazines and the biscuit dunking (or wine swilling moment); cinema and a box of popcorn to share with a loved one (or a box of Maltesers all to yourself!); Sunday night prime time drama; Saturday morning lie-in with croissants, coffee and a radio soundtrack.

Welcome the Hygge.

Sue Unerman is the chief strategy officer at MediaCom.
@sueu