Heather Elder Represents
Reps Journal

Dear Art Producer, with Liz Aviles, Future-Forward Trends

As we approach our 100th episode of Dear Art Producer, we’ve reflected on our guests and the insight they’ve brought to our audience. It has been a rewarding experience taking conversations we have at the beginning or end of a creative call, or client happy hour, and creating a space to expand on industry topics. In our most recent episode, we are joined by Liz Aviles, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Cultural Insights at Upshot. Her current role taps into her passion for identifying signals, patterns, and shifts across categories, industries, and the culture that empowers brands to grow, spurs consumer desire, and prepares for the future today.

The conversation was a tapestry of insights and wisdom, exploring the delicate intersection of culture and commerce. Diving deep into Liz’s annual trend report and highlighting the vital importance of embracing a forward-thinking mindset within the creative industry. 

If you haven’t been able to immerse yourself in Liz’s trend report, this episode provides a shortened analysis of all that it offers, and we hope it inspires you in your creative pursuits. Described by Liz as a “labor of love”, her annual trend report originated from her work as a strategist at Upshot. With a diverse background spanning various categories, Liz emphasizes the importance of observing consumer behavior through a curious lens. She collaborates with research partners and stays well-read to understand how consumer values, attitudes, and behavior evolve over time. By connecting the dots between different industries and cultural shifts, she aims to inspire creative business innovation. 

We can’t talk about trends, without identifying the mood of the moment. Liz credits the pandemic to the emergence of the concept of “peak nostalgia”, or leaning on emotional comfort during times of stress and upheaval. She emphasizes that brands should not solely rely on nostalgia, but rather embrace a future-forward mindset. Younger generations like Gen Z, crave newness, innovation, and new ways of living. Breaking with convention becomes essential to inspire and cater to evolving consumer desires.

The shared experience of the pandemic has prompted a collective shift in mindset, creating a line in the sand that influences the work artists create. We both celebrate the excitement of witnessing the transformation in artistic output and the importance of participating in cultural changes. And in this changing world, there has been a shiting notion of authenticity.  In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, the hosts note that authenticity is no longer about preserving a static, unchanging ideal. Instead, it stems from individuals embracing their multifaceted identities and creating from a place of genuine self-expression. This redefined authenticity allows for cultural cross-pollination, inspiring creativity and delivering fresh, engaging experiences to consumers.

Where we are now, impacts where we are going. In the episode, we discuss three of the seven trends from Liz’s report. Read on to learn more about Mindful Maximalism, The Kid in All of Us, and Wanderlust Reawakened.

Mindful Maximalism: A Desire for Joy and Reinvention

Against the backdrop of a seemingly constant state of crisis, the podcast delves into the growing desire for joy, exuberance, and immersive escape. Termed "mindful maximalism," this trend reflects a yearning for positive experiences and a respite from the negativity that pervades our feeds. People are actively seeking novelty, emboldened individuality, and courageous reinvention. Brands and creatives have an opportunity to tap into this desire by delivering authentic and uplifting experiences that connect with consumers on a deeper level.

The Kid in All of Us: Rediscovering Playfulness

Another trend discussed is the resurgence of playfulness in adulthood. The hosts highlight how adults are increasingly engaging in childhood-inspired play, fueled by a desire for intentional living and a reprioritization of time and energy. Traditional toy companies, such as Lego, have successfully tapped into this trend by targeting adults who seek the joy and escapism associated with play. Collecting items like Sonny Angel dolls and jelly cat stuffed animals has become a way for individuals to embrace their inner child and connect with like-minded micro-communities.

Wanderlust Reawakened

The podcast also touches on the concept of wanderlust reawakened, emphasizing the enduring desire for travel and exploration. Despite the challenges of the past year, the urge to venture into the world and discover new experiences has not waned. The notion of revenge travel, coined to describe the surge in travel following the pandemic, reflects the renewed zeal for exploration. This trend presents opportunities for the travel and hospitality industries to cater to the growing demand for immersive, rejuvenating experiences that offer a break from the daily routine.

This episode is a reminder of the importance for brands and creatives to approach these cultural shifts with care and consideration, ensuring their involvement is aligned with their core values and resonated with their target audience. There is power in social media and the use of micro-communities to have individuals engage in shared experiences that foster a sense of belonging and connection, something that our world needs a whole lot more of. 

Thank you Liz for your incredible insights into our industry and world, do not miss this episode!

Link Here for Episode 96 – Liz Aviles on iTunesStitcher, or Spotify.

This weekly series shares conversations with Art Producers in Advertising, where together we can envision the future for this industry and take steps forward as a community. If you are interested in being on the podcast, please email me at Heather@Heatherelder.com – we are still recording episodes. And if you like the podcast, please consider sharing it on social media and leaving an iTunes review. We would love help spreading the word.

“We know historically that points of disruption are a catalyst for art and it creates new ways of seeing. The work that we do from a marketing perspective, is we now have a new vision for what our lives are, what our lives look like, what the world looks like, and at the same time what it could look like.” - Liz Aviles