Trends 2016: post-perfection

Smart: The car brand's ad is a great example of post-perfection advertising
Smart: The car brand's ad is a great example of post-perfection advertising

In an article written for Marketing in October, Daniela Walker, a journalist at trend forecasting agency LS:N Global – the editorial arm of consultancy The Future Laboratory – proclaimed the death of the hipster and, with it, the rise of "anti-authenticity" marketing. In a call to arms, she asked marketers to "ban buzzwords such as heritage, experience, curated and authentic from the brand lexicon".

Marketers should present something leaning more toward raw realism

True authenticity – synonyms of which include genuineness, accuracy, trustworthiness – is still paramount in principle, especially in light of the current ultra-transparent climate. However, there does appear to be a growing lethargy toward the above buzzwords, which have become diluted by almost abusive corporate misuse.

"In 2010, it was novel to show behind the scenes of your brand," continues Walker, "revealing the handcraft and dedication behind each stitch. But in 2015, these heritage craft tales feel tired."

This doesn’t mean that your brand fans won’t still want behind-the-scenes content, but they probably know that any polished broadcast is likely to be either completely or semi-staged. To overcome craft-related ‘cringiness’, marketers should present something leaning more toward raw realism.

Raw realism

The launch of live-streaming video apps, such as Periscope and Meerkat, has already brought this more honest means of communicating backstage action to the forefront. And now there’s Beme, a social network, launched in August, that aims to inject greater realism into the digital-sharing experience. It restricts control over video recording by using the iPhone’s proximity sensor to start filming.

Once the video is complete, to prevent editing, it is automatically uploaded to the Beme network. All this results in candid content that fits with Beme’s tagline: "Share video. Honestly." There is also an opening for something more representative of mainstream failings in advertising.

Car brand Smart released an ad in June 2015 that is a great example of post-perfection advertising. Called ‘Swearing kids’, it plays cleverly on the stresses of family driving and the colourful language of road rage, with the strapline "Drive the wrong car, teach the wrong words." As the title suggests, it features cute tots saying not so cute words.

This idea of post-perfection can also go beyond marketing into the fabric of organisations, which will increasingly have to adopt a start-up mindset of "It’s OK to fail." People are happy to test beta environments and content, and don’t mind seeing brands fall down – as long as they feel like they’ve been fully consulted.