2021 was full of surprises. But this time of the year gives us pause to consider what might be yet to come. We asked our 750 people across 12 countries “What creative ideas have you seen that you think will spark a revolution in 2022?”
The answers were shaped by a wide variety of experiences, cultures and backgrounds, and the examples displayed a multitude of views on how we see the world and how it will change. From metaverse nuptials to ‘antiwork’ communities, to psychoactive food ingredients and seaweed-based sustainable packaging.
True to the spirit of creative revolution, here at Superunion we are all united in the belief of the power of ideas to create positive, meaningful change. The best is yet to come.
THE RISE OF METAVERSE AND NFTS
Firstly, many of us pointed to the rise of the metaverse, and the increasing importance of our digital presentation, as we begin to live our lives more and more online.
“Metaverse is a new platform for creativity to thrive. Behind every experience lies a gang of passionate thinkers, makers, artists, coders, writers, producers, who put “a lot of blood, sweat and pixels” into it, to create and delight people. So brands need to approach the metaverse like any other form of creative expression, be it music, cinema, literature, and recognise the creatives that make it a reality. When a movie or music touches us, the artists behind become part of the emotional connection.” — Samuel, London
“The metaverse 'dematerialises' consumption since it isn't dependent on manufacturing and shipping. Its crypto foundations are being made less energy-intensive too, meaning the metaverse could bring about a revolution in sustainable consumption. Physical products could be tested virtually, as NFTs - allowing brands to gauge interest before launching for real, producing only to meet demand.” — Cecylia, Hong Kong
"Mining the ability to assert ownership to digital objects or imbue scarcity to digital objects as NFTs is only going to get bigger in 2022. Brands, and people, are already applying themselves to this space as they transfer physical qualities to digital projects. And we’re already seeing the implications for brands in the metaverse take off."
After months of teasing, Adidas announced its first-ever NFT drop, in collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club. Titled ‘Into the Metaverse’, the drop consisted of 30,000 NFTs, each purchasable for 0.2 ETH. Owners of the tokens will get exclusive access to Adidas experiences and product - both in the virtual and physical, starting in 2022. This speaks to Adidas’ principles: embrace the edge, open the door for the new and act with rebellious optimism. — Matt, London
Snoop Dogg is setting up his own mansion in blockchain-based virtual world The Sandbox. Players could get access to a variety of venues, exclusive events and NFT drops (like it’s hot), or even a chance to see the rapper perform on your own virtual property. A collector even spent half a million dollars for the privilege of becoming Snoop’s next-door virtual neighbour.
“As in 2022 we’re likely going to witness even more brands rushing into every Web3 buzzword, hoping to signal that “they get it”. It seems like once again artists and their fans will set the new standards for what a premium experience can be in these emerging worlds.
It will be fascinating to see how companies can find inspiration in the “play to earn” and “create to earn” models, as a way to reward people’s investment with their brands and make them the stakeholder of the experience. Experimenting with a more decentralised philosophy can be quite a change of paradigm for over controlling brands, but looking at Adidas’ $22M glitchy NFT sale, the business opportunities might be worth the leap of faith.” — Samuel, London
Forget Zoom weddings, one Florida-based couple decided to hold a virtual wedding ceremony in the metaverse, whilst simultaneously getting married in real life. The ceremony was staged by Virbela, a company that builds virtual environments for work, learning and events. The avatar bride walked down the aisle, guests danced at the virtual reception and watched the best man’s avatar deliver a toast. The recent virtual nuptials showcase the possibilities of living a digital life, unfettered by the traditional bounds of reality. — Aleksandra, London
“I’m excited to see what happens as NFTs and their cryptocurrency foundations move from ‘proof of work’ to ‘proof of stake’. It means the whole process of minting and trading NFTs will become much less energy intensive and more sustainable. Meaning that artists or brands who might have been reluctant to jump on the bandwagon because of the environmental impact will start to get involved. Whether or not NFTs end up being a flash in the pan, I’m sure we’re about to see a whole load of new weird and wonderful creations in the coming year.” — Cecylia, Hong Kong
EMPOWERING HUMANITY AND AUTHENTICITY
Many of today’s processes and procedures are being outsourced to algorithms and artificial intelligence. We saw the war on AI in The Terminator, but society today is already going above and beyond to overcome the technological gatekeepers in the world today. And it’s not stopping any time soon. — Matt, London
2021 was the year of TikTok. We drifted from Instagram, an environment that’s about presenting an image, to an environment that’s about presenting reality. And going forward, authenticity will be key to brands achieving success on the platform according to TikTok’s ‘Authenticity, Happiness and Joy’ research. Authenticity underpins content on TikTok, transferring to perceptions of advertising, generating brand trust, with half of users admitting they trust brands that advertise on the platform. – Matt, London
“There is a recent movement in Spain gaining momentum, celebrating authentic Spanish popular culture, which in the past was considered sub-par. Check out the Lola Flores ad, a deepfake of one of the most popular Spanish artists of the last centuries, based on the same idea of “Being proud of our popular culture” which won an Effie Grand Prix last year.” — Maria, Madrid
“One of the fastest-growing Reddit communities of 2022 was r/antiwork - for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, and want to get the most out of a work-free life. The ongoing pandemic has given many people time to take stock and reassess our values, from the way we want to work - the “Great Resignation” as it’s been coined in 2021 - to how we connect with our friends. Leaving behind historic expectations and norms." — Matt, London
"No-code interfaces will become more popular as a lack of programming knowledge, or a detailed understanding of statistics and data structures, will cease to become a barrier to bringing a world-changing idea to reality. OpenAI – a research group founded by Elon Musk and funded by Microsoft, among others, recently unveiled Codex, a programming model that can generate code from natural, spoken human language. As technology like this matures and converges with the possibilities offered by cloud infrastructure, our innovation and imagination will no longer be held back by a lack of resources or technical skills.” — Ana, Madrid
A stomach-soaring fashion film for Burberry devised by Megaforce, a collective of French directors, which saw models tumble through the British countryside, flitting through the air, until they found themselves suspended above the channel, the White Cliffs of Dover a mere speck on the horizon. It was, as the label said, a celebration of the spirit of freedom, telegraphing our collective reemergence post-pandemic. — Paul, London
As our world becomes more complex, the power of simple ideas is becoming as powerful as ever. Apple is celebrating it’s 45 year history in a nostalgic and typically Apple way - with Artist-Producer A. G. Cook, who creates a song from scratch using only the iconic sounds of Apple products from the last 45 years. — Paul, London
"At a time of brokenness, chaos, and devastation, Amanda Gorman's 2021 US Inauguration Speech, "The Hill We Climb" added a feeling of hope, joy and connection. Not only were her words poetic but they were truthful and real. She was able to beautifully and critically capture our country's history, current state, and absolute necessity to evolve in a raw, yet uplifting voice. And her very presence as a 23-year old, brilliant and strong Black woman, standing on stage as the youngest Inaugural poet presented a beacon of hope for our country and the world.
Since then Amanda Gorman has been a face of many brands, spoken on countless talk shows and podcasts, starred on magazine covers and become friends and role models with many influential people in this world. Her recent book, "Call Us What We Carry" was also just released. I believe Gorman's voice and accomplishments has struck a chord in many of us. A revolutionary chord that shows that we can and must continue to acknowledge the work that needs to be done, while still seeing a brighter light ahead.
She has proclaimed that she wants to run for president. I hope she does and I hope she's inspired just as many young girls who can see themselves in her to want to do the same." — Jess, New York
“Clear/transparent medical masks by Clearmask and another, launched by Ford, is an incredibly simple idea that awakens our consciousness to the ways product design can either empower or disempower humanity. Opaque masks have made it very difficult for an entire generation of babies/toddlers to learn and develop, and for people in the deaf community to participate more effectively in society. Given the shared cultural backdrop this idea was generated in, its magnitude of raising global consciousness about inclusive design is unprecedented. This will surely catalyze a trend that was already underway in pockets of the globe.” — Evan, New York
A bit left-wing, but psychoactive ingredients are getting big in foods. Before it was meat-free or vegan. Now, there’s a whole new wave of enhanced F&B products. Forget physical nutrients, calories, your five-a-day, foods are now being served with low-level psychoactive ingredients such as CBD or magic mushrooms. Last year, PepsiCo launched Driftwell which contains L-theanine to promote relaxation. — Matt, London
“Notpla, an abbreviation of ‘Not Plastic’, is a revolutionary, seaweed-based packaging company on a mission to make packaging as we know it disappear, naturally. A sustainable alternative to single-use plastic packaging, it can be used directly to replace plastic cups, condiment sachets, as well as a coating for cardboard. Notpla speaks to Superunion’s revolutionary spirit, and is a perfect representation of our belief in the power of ideas to create positive, meaningful change.” — Mark, London
It’s no secret that the world is changing. And if these predictions are anything to go by, there’s plenty more change in store for 2022. The next 12 months bring new opportunities for our teams to follow technology and our clients into brave new worlds, to build brands that defy traditional classification, and develop ideas that are ground-breaking, revolutionary, and create positive, meaningful change. The best is yet to come.