J. Walter Thompson recaps 8 key trends of 2018 (served with tea)

For its holiday card this year, J. Walter Thompson wanted to warm up clients with eight hot trends accompanied by eight flavoured teas.

Why tea? Because, according to the agency, “spilling the tea” was used a lot this year to describe someone giving the lowdown or gossip about trends. It also gave it an opportunity to come up with a nifty little pun on its name (for now): JWTea.

Anyway, here’s a brief summary of the eight trends of 2018 and what they mean for brands, according to JWT, aka J. Walter Thompson, aka Wunderman Thompson.

#8 – #MomUnfiltered
Motherhood has undergone a rebrand, eschewing the soft and passive in favour of the candid and bold.
For Brands: Frank portrayals of motherhood and the experience will be embraced, allowing brands the opportunity to take part in the dialogue.

#7 – The New Masculine
Masculinity is being redefined, with the definition of manhood encompassing many definitions. The rigid expression of traditional masculinity is being turned on its head.
For Brands: Adapt portrayals of masculinity to allow for more nuance, flexibility and compassion.

#6 – IRL
Amazon launched Go Stores, Mailchimp is getting into physical mail, and Bumble has pop-up cafés. As the digital space becomes more cluttered, digital brands stand out by occupying a physical space with consumers.
For Brands: No matter how successful your brand seems, sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board and do something that feels unexpected.

#5 – Listen Up
Marketers focus on visual and verbal language, but also need to be aware of audio or sonic branding.
For Brands: Engagement levels go up when we use sound, and a brand with an audio language that brings its values to life will get noticed.

#4 – High Times
Cannabis has become part of the lifestyle movement, with luxury wellness and lifestyle brands becoming early adopters of pot-based products.
For Brands: New potentially lucrative partnerships in the lifestyle, retail and beauty sectors. But also more competition and rapid change in packaging trends for food and beauty.

#3 – Representation Matters
Society is hungry for diverse stories—stories showing people who look like them.
For Brands: Marketers must embrace representation and create emotional connections by making people feel represented, seen and heard. Brands that use this as their guiding light will connect more with their markets.

#2 – Insider art
People no longer want to just passively enjoy art, they want to step inside it and get the perfect Instagram shot. From Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors to The Happy Place, people want to become part of the art.
For Brands: Tap into this trend and create experiences that customers can curate and share.

#1 – Royal Tea
The Royal family got a very successful brand refresh this year, thanks to a massively popular wedding. A fairytale starring a rigid monarchy, long regarded as out of touch with its people, accepting a divorced TV star and woman of colour into their family.
For Brands: Marketers need to remember that human stories resonate with consumers because people want to connect with people. Not with the idea of a brand.

David Brown