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How brands align with Meta-modernism to appeal to young consumers.

week in review

Insights on Marketing Campaigns, Influencers, Brands, and Competitive Strategies.

How brands align with Meta-modernism to appeal to young consumers; Dove partners with Animated Influencer; & Ikea’s Towel Chic

November 29, 2023

metamodernism graphic

Welcome back. To kick off this week's insights, let's learn the current philosophies passing generations to understand how companies can adopt them to further their vision.

Modernism, emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was a revolutionary movement breaking from past traditions, incorporating minimalism, cubism, Bauhaus, & pioneered by artists like Picasso and Dali. The movement was highly romantic and dramatic, paving the road for driving narratives of the time to whip their people up into frenzies for a chosen ideology.

Post-modernism, taking root in the late '60s to '90s, was a rejection of the supposed sincerity in grand narratives and ideologies, embracing instead the irony and meaningless of purpose, led by figures like Warhol, Basquiat, and Nauman, who rebelled against the modern believe of the day.

Meta modernism comes in by taking a step back, incorporating the modernist sincerity for narrative while balancing the nihilistic tendency of post-modernism to form a mindset that is constantly aware of one's own perceived narratives and beliefs. Meta modernism is believing there is something worth fighting for, even if you know nothing.

Surprisingly, the US Air Force provides one of the most straightforward case studies to showcase the difference in philosophies when applied to marketing.

To operate its multi-million-dollar equipment, the Air Force requires highly talented and intelligent personnel, which means tactical recruitment is vital in strategic planning for the future. The original Top Gun, released in 1986, saw a 500% increase in interest to join the Air Force & Navy, with the second iteration, Top Gun Maverick, also boosting the recruitment drives across the US to gain the best of our nation. Top Gun is a perfect example of modern cinematic work. The movies provide a traditional good vs bad dynamic, having the Top Gun team fight an evil enemy on behalf of the American public.

The two Top Gun movies were able to serve their purpose both at the box office and the recruitment centers, but the modernist approach only spoke to some of those in the younger generations. To that end, the US Air Force social media and other military departments have begun to employ Meta modernist posts to their feeds to broaden their recruitment scope and appeal to an entire generation.

For instance, this post is a video compilation of the US Air Force conducting military exercises while the trendy TikTok song “IT GIRL” plays in the background. The post and many like it show the Air Force is self-aware, ‘meta’ to the contents’ purpose of military recruitment but delivers it through an ironic and relatable perspective. The reaction to the post was telling, as it generated thousands of comments, mainly from young users who played along with the contents’ obvious propaganda appeal. One user’s comment, “This is the kinda propaganda I live for,” gained 38,506 likes.

The US Air Force marketing campaigns show that the careful balance between modernist and meta-modernist approaches can create a winning combination that targets generations.


Next Up... Dove partners with Lennnie an animated influencer to promote mental health.

Ever heard of Lennnie? If not, take notes because this animated dynamo is not just a social media sensation but a prime example of how authenticity, relatability, and purposeful content can drive engagement and build communities.

In just a year, Lennnie has skyrocketed to nearly 4 million followers on TikTok and Instagram. Impressive, right? But it’s not just about the numbers. Lennnie’s content hits home—tackling crucial topics like mental health, positive self-talk, and overcoming life’s hurdles in a way that’s as relatable as chatting with a friend over coffee.

What sets Lennnie apart?

It's the genuine connection forged with the audience. People resonate with authenticity, and Lennnie embodies that perfectly. This character isn't just a face on a screen; it’s a voice for those who feel unheard, a beacon of hope in a digital sea. But here’s where it gets intriguing for you. Lennnie’s not just a lone star in the digital galaxy. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, and Jennifer Aniston have shared Lennnie’s content. Collaborations with artists like Julia Michaels and Andy Grammer? Check. Partnerships with big-league brands, from skincare companies to mental health apps, TED, UNICEF, and more? Absolutely.

Now, imagine the possibilities...

What if your brand partnered with an influencer like Lennnie to create a campaign that’s not about selling a product but about making a difference?

Take Dove, for instance. Their campaign focused on mental health, driven by authentic content that genuinely improves people’s well-being. Instead of pushing sales, it’s about creating impact and fostering conversations that matter.

If you’re eyeing a creative use of animation design or contemplating impactful influencer partnerships, consider this: Authenticity wins hearts, purposeful content builds communities, and partnerships driven by genuine intentions have the potential to create movements, not just campaigns.


Finally, Ikea takes some jabs at Balenciaga as they compete in Balenciaga’s new ‘towel chic.’

Of course, that’s for laughs, but Ikea seriously showed a creative use of content marketing by linking their brand with the virality of Balenciaga’s new Towel Skirt apparel selling for $925. Even though Ikea and Balenciaga share no common market or even target audience, they both are brands that carry a substantial weight in their communications.

Balenciaga is mainly known for creating questionable avant-garde fashion pieces that often miss the mark and are especially easy to troll. And well, this is not the first time Ikea has come to Balenciaga. In 2017, Ikea had a laugh at Balenciaga’s $2,145 blue “shopper tote” that many thought looked remarkably similar to Ikea’s 99-cent Frakta shopping bag. Ikea devised a clever advertisement for their bag, announcing it as this season’s must-have piece.

While some may see the trolling and internet backlash against Balenciaga as damaging their brand, you’d be wrong. Balenciaga enjoys the bad press, the ‘haters’ going against them. It’s precisely what the target audience of Balenciaga wishes for attention.

RDLB Agency offers a marketing communication triad, a service made up of three pillars of support to strengthen and bolster your brand's engagement and market impact.


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