Gen Z: The generation that will either save, or destroy, the World

The entire marketing, research, innovation and strategic industry is intrigued by people between 13 and 24 years old because of their strong contradictions. Here are a few examples:

So, more than the contradictions themselves, the fundamental insight into this generation has to do with the integration of perspectives and added on layers and meanings, something that makes everything seem more complicated in the eyes of other generations:  Something may seem just fine to Gen Z, but the exact opposite seems just fine to them also, and this blows the top off the rest of society.

To explain them better, let´s take a look at THEIR TASTES: Gen Z is excited about hundreds of things (animation, videogames, music, sports, etc). FOMO rules their choices; they do not want to be left out of anything that is going on because that´s how they push through their own apathy and add perspective to their own views.

However, for Gen Z, it is THEIR EMOTIONS that really hold meaning.  If we analyze the lyrics to songs created by Gen Z, we perceive a sense of desolation, desperation and even hints of suicide. When an adult reads them, they are scandalized, but for Gen Z, they signify catharsis. They are growing up in a very pessimistic world that is hit hard by major upheavals, which is probably why they “get it out” through cultural content and then move on.  Did you watch Euphoria on HBO? If you didn´t, give it a go, so you can understand these people a little better.

Even in the face of this desperation, Gen Z is resisting giving up on leaving its footprint behind. And, actually, a generation with little enthusiasm for life would not focus at all on taking advantage of every resource at its fingertips in an intelligent, and realistic, way.

In this 2020 ad with Billie Eilish representing this generation, the idea that Gen Z is apathetic and distracted with their phones is refuted; the ad emphasizes that they are, in fact, creators, and proactive. They will save the world.

At the same time, saying they are the generation that capitalizes most on its hobbies says that they are the generation best trained in capitalism, the generation that is most comfortable selling its time online, and the generation that is more sensitive to mental health. They will destroy the world.

What are the implications of being the most undefined generation, or the generation that is defined most by its contradictions? We would say that, psychologically, a middle ground is difficult for them to get to. A “strong” psyche comes from defining spaces, having things really clear, calling them by name and even classifying them. The psychological bias that makes processing information even easier tells us that they prefer certainty to uncertainty.

Since we don´t know where to situate ourselves, we don´t know how to go forward.  What happens when a generation does not take a clear stance? How will that generation communicate their ideals, dreams, or build proposals that really bring about their advancement as a generation? How will they, if they are politically apathetic?  (And really, who can blame them for being so?).

We do not have a definitive answer, but it would seem that they have more elements to save the world with than to destroy it with: Never before have there been young people with so many skills, educated from early on with “truths” and not “bubbles”, and so aware of their own mental health and of saving money. They have a lot in their favor on which to build a world where they will be the first ones to find new ways to feel good that will also be truly sustainable.

Do they have an alternative to capitalism?  No.  But, without a doubt, they do have more tools than generations before them did.

REFLEKTOR

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BREAKING THE FUTURE

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THE POWER OF FANDOMS

“We live in the most individualized and selfish times”. “We don´t have anyone to admire anymore”. “The sense of community has been lost and the sense of belonging is not that necessary”.

False.

All of this is false.

Here we go:

While it is true that one of the characteristics of modernity is to enhance individuality; this does not mean that we humans no longer feel a compelling need to relate with others for a common goal.

We would love for the communities that materialize organically to have the sole objective of saving the world from climate change, but there are other interesting forms with a very socially relevant role. Pop culture has become something so mobilizing at a social and ideological level, that it should not be underestimated.

Twitter analyzed the most talked about topics on their platform from 2016 to 2019 at a global level (1); the term Fandom grew 292% and Fan Armies 410% the armies or fandoms are the entertainment industry’s groups of fans; sports, television, films and music.

What distinguishes them from the classic fan clubs and why such a “military” name?

Basically, they are defined by the times: tools and current resources provide them with an unprecedented capacity to propose, produce and organize themselves. Their power is impressive. In music, they are the ones who position their idols today. Billboard’s rankings use different variables to choose the best; one of them is the number of listening’s on Spotify and the searches on Shazam. These armies organize themselves to reproduce a song an unreal amount of times; all night long while they are sleeping, all day long while they are at school. Anything it takes for their favorite artist to reach first place and stay there.  In sports, fan pressure has even caused the removal of Club presidents.

Size is also a key difference to consider: for example, when comparing Taylor Swift’s fan base with that of BTS, the most important K-pop band, the American singer’s fandom is a mere 5% of the Korean band´s volume. This enormous quantity of people propose novel content, they organize massive cheering, they do choreographies, they record themselves, they upload videos on TikTok, they illustrate, they travel. We have already talked about how 50 Shades of Grey was written just because an internet fan made a Fan Fiction of Twilight in which instead of vampires there would be businessmen. All of this is produced and “given away”. The prestige comes from the amount of people who acknowledge it, give it a like, and admire it. But what is most interesting is why they do it.

After studying the fandoms, it has been found that they comply with a set of 3 basic psychosocial human needs: identity, self-care and social connection; which is why they are compared to religion and political ideology. Fandoms ultimately define who you are. It is evident in sports, one of the most passionate armies, in which the type of connections with complete strangers (other fans of your same team) can become even stronger than family ties. The symbolic connection gives us identity. It is more likely for a person to introduce himself as a “Barcelona fan” than as “Peter’s son”. To root for a certain team fills and completes them.

A key to understanding them, is that the motivation is inherent. Idols don’t always approach them more than they do other less “organized” and “disciplined” fans –although there is always the desire of feeling more heard. But fundamentally, it is something they do for their own well-being, without expecting much in return. Just being convinced of how admirable their team or player is, and feeling they are part of a community with a common goal, is more than enough to encourage them. Producing content makes them creators, their self-esteem increases. They show commitment to their idols; this proves their dedication and turns them into exemplary individuals. A virtuous circle.

And there may even be politics behind it. In Mexico, in 2019 the overwhelming phenomenon of Aristóteles y Cuauhtémoc emerged; two characters who portray a gay couple in Televisa’s prime time soap opera (the most important open TV network in Mexico). The fandoms positioned hashtag #Aristemo (the combination of the two names) on twitter for 20 consecutive weeks. They achieved the first homosexual kiss on open TV and removed a deputy of a political party in power for criticizing them. In Spain the fans of OT, are able to convert those who are who are more emotionally connected into stars and not necessarily those who are better singers, year after year.

Knowing how to approach this phenomenon is “pure gold” for brands. Contact us to talk not only about how these consumers represent a level of influence and vastly increased spending power, but about the model we created to understand which are the conditions that will cause a brand to arouse similar passions.

WORK ANXIETY

This year put your work anxiety aside

Close your eyes and imagine you have an ice cube on your back. Now imagine a pastor taco with lemon or an Iberian ham sandwich. I bet that (if you did do it) your back felt cold or your mouth watered. This is because the brain works in wonderful ways. It has the incredible capability to make real what is not real; by just imagining it we feel it.

When we BELIEVE that we are doing it badly or we BELIEVE that someone doesn’t like us we REALLY feel anxiety in our bodies. They say that dreaming doesn’t cost a thing, but they are wrong. Neurologically, dreaming of bad things, causes us real stress. It costs us headaches, stomach aches, gastritis, colitis, dermatitis, etc. All of those “minor” conditions that are increasingly more common.

It would seem to be one of the consequences of capitalism and one from which we can hardly escape. The number one rule of the capitalist system is do more; be better than the other, compete. The problem isn’t in trying to be better than we are, and it wouldn’t even be a problem to try to be better than the other; what is slashing our spirit is the anxiety of feeling inadequate. We are all in the same loop. Even though you may hate reguetón, you have surely heard that J. Balvin is the globe’s #1 recording artist on YouTube. Well he has talked openly about his anxiety disorder (1) and has even become a spokesperson for mental health- not even the most listened to recording artist in the world is saved. Chris Evans suffers from social anxiety, Ryan Reynolds has talked openly about the same thing. To suffer from anxiety is to have worries and intense, excessive and persistent fears in everyday situations, and these fears happen to all of us.

Iron clad self-esteem is required to avoid falling in the trap of “everyone is better than me”. Everyone has fun, everyone is productive, everyone enjoys life and they don’t suffer. The problem is that all those thoughts are BELIEFS;it isn’t true. It isn’t true that everyone else has more fun, nor do they produce more, they don’t have better relationships than yours, nor do they wake up with less circles under their eyes than you nor do they do more exercise than you.

Taking it to the occupational sphere, believing that our co-workers work better than we do fills us with anxiety. That they get along better with the boss, that other agencies do it better; that they are subjected to less changes, that they are less pressured. That we are going to lose pitch, the account, the fee. All of this generates stress that far from making us more competitive, it is making us sick. In fact, there are already several very accessible scientific as well as “pop” contents that help us to reduce stress through very simple tips: meditation apps to do in the office, imagine scenarios linked to nature in the work place, install aquariums, decorate with plants, include outdoor activities in your agenda, etc. (2)

And the numbers are not the very encouraging:  since 2017 Mexico is the country with the most stressed work force in the world and Spain is #1 in Europe. In Mexico 75% suffer from burnout syndrome or fatigue due to occupational stress. In Spain 40% of the workers and more than half of the employers admit to suffering from stress (3, 4). Could it be that the work culture itself favors this stress thinking that if we demand more of ourselves we will produce more? If you have people in your charge: do you know how much stress your orders put on them? There has been much talk about how burnouts entail layoffs, absenteeism, things that in the long run cause real economic costs. But beyond this: do we want to carry the burden of the impaired health of our people? Or of our own health?

What is interesting is to understand that this belief-reality relation also works in the positive pole. If as professionals, we focus on what we consider our strengths, on what others have praised us for, or the projects that have been successful throughout our careers; we will surely project that self-confidence to others and while we’re at it we can reduce our imposter syndrome a little- like even Margot Robbie!- (5)

If, as a company, WE BELIEVE that the competition does it better than us, it is probable that we are setting the conditions for this to become a reality. What if instead of believing this, we change the perspective a little and we focus on what we are doing well. How about punishing ourselves less as an innovation, planning and research area. What if we take more breaks to celebrate the achievements. IF WE BELIEVE IT. If we are less demanding of ourselves. If we value the work from 2019. Start with a meeting to understand how your team feels, how they can go from being more productive-without-intention, to more focused, more compassionate with themselves. Maybe then we will release the business endorphins necessary to start the year with a more open attitude towards what is good. If we become less anguished and enjoy more, surely we will end up getting closer to our goals.

ANTI PRODUCTIVITY 2020

DON’T DO IT

The season for reflecting on what we have done during the year and making lists of wishes, resolutions, plans and projects for the year to come is upon us.

(Lists of tasks that in the end we don´t carry out, ideas that overwhelm us, self-imposed pressures that don’t leave space for thinking about neither important nor different things)

Today we propose that if you are going to make a list, make it about the opposite. About doing nothing, about procrastinating, getting bored, making excuses. Today, together we will launch an ODE TO INACTIVITY.

——-

Without a doubt we live in an era in which our worth is determined by what we do, what we have done and what we will do in the future.

Social networks are just a reflection of our chaotic and busy minds: be it uploading Instagram Stories of our busy social weekend, or complaining on Twitter about our heavy work load, or filling out LinkedIn with everything we have done professionally in recent years. The point is to be doing something constantly.

What would happen if we do the opposite? If, as Mafalda says, we stop the world because we want to get off.

HERE ARE 10 IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO BE MORE INACTIVE IN 2020. OPEN YOUR MIND AND DARE TO DO IT.CLICK HERE.

GENDER FLUID

In the last few weeks we have seen at least 4 interesting manifestations that are talking to us about a phenomena that we can’t ignore:

1. Mattel launched Gender Neutral / Gender Inclusive dolls. (1)

2. Mercado Libre launched their Genderless clothes line which can now be seen on OOH (2)

3. Increasingly more designers are betting on high heels for men as part of their collections (3)

4. In the new GQ edition Pharell Williams appears on the cover talking about new masculinity. (4)

All of this together with an announcement made last June indicating that boys in Junior High in Mexico could choose between wearing skirts or slacks to school. (5)

Pharell joins celebrities such as Ezra Miller y Sam Smith, who have been vocal on this issue for a while. The way I dress is not necessarily related to my sexual preferences. The gender I was born into doesn’t matter, if I want to dress a certain way and use certain accessories; this shouldn’t limit my identity, on the contrary, it brings me closer to who I really am. While Pharrell accessorizes but is openly heterosexual, Sam Smith wants to be referred to with the pronoun “they”. As for Ezra Miller, he classifies himself as a non-binary gender, stating: “I don’t identify myself as a man, I don’t identify myself as a woman. I barely identify myself as a human.”

One of the things that defines each generation are their “mottos”, the causes or struggles that shape them: while for the Millennials (from19-37 years old) it is caring for the environment, for the Z Generation  (13 – 18 years old) it is the struggle for equality and “gender fluidity” (6). This doesn’t mean that only this generation is fighting for these issues, but that they are values of these times and everyone is paying attention. Generation Z refuses to allow a social norm oblige them to be or look like a specific way because you were born with genitals or because it has always been done like this. They refuse to wear make-up because they are women or not to because they are men.

Let us not confuse the ways with the heart of the matter. Gender Fluid is not a fashion, it is not a way of dressing, it is not a nickname or the use of a different article for referring to people, and it is not the neutralization of genders. It is just the tip of the Iceberg regarding a profound and promising social change:

Aspirations to which genders, no matter which one we identify with, aspire: do not straightjacket us, do not limit us, don’t put a bullseye on our backs, do not victimize us, and don’t hurt us. This is part of the many revolutionary struggles to be accepted as one is; but it is also the way youth is rebelling with a very particular and current stamp. Why is this more important than ever before? It probably has to do with the opposite pole becoming more threatening. Radical statements and traditionalist hype from Trump, from Bolsonaro or the dystopian fiction in Hand Maid’s Tale which is increasingly less fiction- are the catastrophic consequences of a closed and even backward society that can be felt in this type of cultural content-.

Even though it isn’t completely new, it is probable that Gender Fluid shines and glistens now at this particular time, due to the fact that we cannot deny the discriminatory and hateful comments in light of the 5 points we listed at the beginning of this article. At the same time we find blurred gender manifestations, there are things such as the Frente Nacional por la Familia (National Front for the Family), or Mexican movies such as “Hazlo como hombre” (Do it like a man), an ultra-traditionalist statement. Both co-existing in the same public sphere in which an average adolescent has to choose a personal stand with all of these references in the air.

Although not defining oneself as a man or a woman, allowing sexuality to flow and navigate between identities is very contemporary; putting judgement aside, it is interesting to think about it from the point of the human need of delimitation. Today these expressions oppose this human bias of looking for stability, familiarity and knowing what to expect, which is why it easy to assume that this is what makes a large percentage of people immediately reject them. It could be that they don’t even understand it, because it doesn´t enter any known rules in any ordered world. Some honestly confused fans ask themselves “When I go to a Sam Smith concert should I say I liked him, I liked her, or I liked them?” Attacking something strange is always an answer we can expect simply because it is human to reject that which is unexpected. We need to reconfigure this bias and navigate between empathy and openness.

The Z’s have understood this very well because they have become more sensitized with  bullying, feminism… all those deep social transformations that the majority  are still figuring out how to integrate them into their lives. This should be told to the brands! The brands as well as the kids that have understood, know that in reality Gender Fluid is living fluid. It is living with open minds, it is embracing difference and freedom, it is embracing opportunity and not “missing out on anything” It is evolving.  

References

HIT MAKERS I

Recently we wrote about the Like Culture. Consequently, we wanted to know more about the topic, so we read the book “Hit Makers: the science of popularity in the era of distraction” by Derek Thompson, a journalist who writes for the Atlantic.

It is a book plagued with examples, based on interviews and several studies from different universities, which bring to the table an analysis of why we like what we like regarding cultural content. One of the ideas it develops is aligned with the article we wrote a few months ago; Thompson explains that the real hits lie in a continuum between fluency and disfluency; between the ease and fluency of thought. The key is to surprise with familiarity.

On the one hand, we humans naturally prefer fluency and familiarity; thoughts that feel easy. This is why we prefer ideas that we previously agree with (we talk about this in the article The other’s surprise). A familiar idea is easier to process and insert in the mental map.

Today, when we see a Monet painting in a museum, we get goose bumps preciselybecause we have been exposed to it excessively and we feel that we like it more; not necessarily because Monet is the most talented impressionist painter of all, but because we have seen it so many times that it now seems familiar, popular, and therefore it is highly emotional for us. When people see a work of art that reminds them that they have been told that it is famous, they feel the emotion of recognition and attribute the emotion to the painting.

People prefer that which they have seen more times; songs that sound the same as always, the habitual landscapes, Instagram photos following the same known pattern. For example, in different experiments, they have found that average faces are considered the most attractive because they are the most familiar. That is why we go back to the same content and repeat cultural experiences over and over again (we never stop watching Friends, we go back to our favorite playlist repeatedly, Luis Miguel’s concerts are always sold out); the interesting thing, as the book suggests, is that we do this not only to recall the break up episode of Ross and Rachel or to hear the Bikina again, but because we want to remember ourselves at the moment we saw it or enjoyed it more intensely, and in the act of remembering, there is joy.

On the other side of the spectrum there is “disfluency”; images or symbols that are more difficult to process. We like them because they are demanding, but the key is that they shouldn’t be too complicated because when something is difficult to process, we tend to transfer that discomfort to the object of thought. This is why experimental band recordings are more expensive and prone to bad reviews; this is why the more demanding and “sharper” series are not an instant hit for audiences (i.e. Seinfeld, The Sopranos; the type of things that HBO has historically invested in). For example, Spotify’s very successful Weekly Discovery is made up of songs you are not familiar with, but it always includes at least ONE song you know. Something familiar validates the rest of the unfamiliar recommendations.

Both have their dark side; that which is too easy becomes obvious and tiring (such as the click articles “The ten things that you didn’t know about your ex, the 3rd one will surprise you”); while content that is too complex or conceptual generates rejection among many (Twin Peaks was never a really massive success).

 The majority of people listen to music that they have already heard and see films they have already seen, but what is interesting is that “the greatest joys often come from discovering fluency in unexpected places”. This occurs because people want to be challenged, scandalized and forced to think, albeit a little. All the greatest hits are in reality the same story we already know and are familiar with, placed in a different context or with an unexpected twist that challenges us. A story that alludes to another unique story is not very original, but in cinema or literature, a story that is too novel, that doesn’t allude to anything is incomprehensible. Star Wars has been defined as a western in space; It is in that fine line between what has never been seen and that “Aha, I´ve seen this before” moment. The same thing happens with Harry Potter or Game of Thrones and its touches of Lord of the Rings; or 50 shades Grey, inspired by Twilight.

And although it would seem very simple, it is also complex. For example, a lot of people like Taylor Swift because she is popular; others like her without paying much attention to how popular she is, but others don’t like her precisely because of her popularity, they are suspicious of her and think she is fake. The key is to understand that not all of us are prone to like fluency, or to prefer disfluency all the time. So one of the conclusions is that we are all prone to prefer fluency/ disfluency in certain aspects of life than in others. Someone that usually asks for chocolate ice cream in an ice cream parlor that has a thousand options, can like very complex Haiku poems and at the same time buy their clothes in Gap and their favorite film director could be Godard. 

The above should make us think that even if “we find a formula” for why we like what we like, in reality the complexity of human beings is too deep and difficult to predict. Throughout the book several examples are presented in which finding a pattern is more than complicated. Many of the hits were circumstantial, almost exclusively quirks of fate. Many other times everything lied in the networking that was done and who the creator knew. Many others depend on a key and powerful person believing in the project and investing in it over time. But we will talk about this in the second part of this Book Review.

Reference

Thompson, Derek (2017) “Hit Makers: the science of popularity in the era of distraction”. Oceano.

THE LIKE CULTURE

COMPLACENT CONTENT VS PROVOCATIVE CONTENT

Why, even though  hyper-fragmentation and more diverse and specific tastes are mentioned time and again; does it seem nowadays more like homogenization and that  all of us are consuming the same content?

Never has content offer been as extensive as it is today… so why did all of us see Game of Thrones? All of us saw Stranger Things, the Ted Bundy clips or You. We all listened to J Balvin or Gorillaz (fewer of us listened to J. Balvin and Gorillaz).

To look for a band that no one has ever heard or find a movie that isn’t in theaters or on your favorite streaming service, you really have to give it your all (and  time).

Is this something new? Of course not. Before we all watched the same cartoons, soap operas or variety shows. We all watched Siempre en Domingo or 1, 2, 3… and we sang Hombres G songs. The difference is that in theory now the catalogue is not only huge, but all the content is on demand to be seen whenever we want. So why do we get to work or school on Mondays to talk about what episode we saw  of the series we are all watching?

Despite believing that these new platforms would come to propose something very different, the actual tendency and main current are in line with pleasing the audiences:

These are only some examples of how complacent the formulas are at the moment of creating content. Less is risked and they work well.

What is interesting is that once the formula is understood and proven, it can also be played with. Roma is a clear example of risking it within mainstream culture: an art film, with a rhythm and narrative that only high culture lovers were used to suddenly bursts on everyone’s screen. It becomes mainstream culture a little because the feeling is “be patriotic and watch Cuarón” and a little because all that was needed was a click on the remote control in the home living room. And from there on we all know what happened. An enormous discussion was unleashed between those who loved it and those who hated it. The former, as we said, were maybe more accustomed to art films, the latter were probably used to blockbusters.

It would seem that (once again) what is behind this is polarization; so frequent in our times. While the TENDENCY is to produce that which is complacent and endorsed by likes for more conservative people, it would seem that nowadays being provocative is a COUNTER-TENDENCY directed towards those who crave new experiences; whether it be to go entirely against the current (such as the Nrmi music festival in Mexico City that books bands who are really emergent) or simply place your content in an unusual context (such as Roma in Netflix).

How interesting and valuable it is to understand that even though the like culture is what reigns today, once you understand the rules of the game, it isn’t imperative that we should stay there. Neither the audience you have already captivated want to see the same thing over and over, nor do likes necessarily promise good material. Taking a risk with different proposals and inserting them in mainstream culture or being a referent for what’s to come can distinguish you from the rest.

BANSKY

IS IT TRUE OR NOT?

It doesn’t matter, as long as it is inspiring

At this point we all know what Banksy did a few days ago. Almost instantaneously it has been considered a historic world event (for those who haven’t seen what he did, he shredded one of his art pieces at the precise moment in which it was auctioned in the prestigious Sotheby’s).

There is a lot of speculation on whether it was an act previously agreed upon with the auction house, or whether it was a genuine occurrence of the artist or a masterfully executed plan, and the experts still have their doubts, but they all seem to coincide on one thing regardless of its truth, that the value of the performance is undeniable (Sotheby’s even referred to it as “the first piece of art created during an auction”). 

It is interesting for us to revisit this topic not only because of the way in which it takes the value away from what is real or true, but also because of how it gives us a lesson in marketing, as this event compiled two things that today any brand, entrepreneurship or influencer would die to accomplish:

a) Conversation surrounding it, thus inviting analysis. 

b) Monetizing a symbolic act (although in the end the artwork was purchased for the same amount of money, experts are speculating on how it was able to increase its value in the future).

It is a perfect piece of machinery that is worth taking apart just in case we want to reach these idyllic results at any given moment.

Who did it?

We live in a historic moment in which our idols are increasingly questioned, we are in an era that is “too illuminated” (1) where everything is exposed and our referents become real, more like us, less aspirational. If we are lacking something these days it is mystery and mysticism, and finding that in a human being is tremendously complicated. Banksy accomplishes this. In this era of big data he remains in obscurity (that  he is the singer of Massive Attack gives him even more conversational capital, although it is not confirmed) and he uses that low profile to mock the few things that are usually unquestionable; art: (the metaphor of Robin Hood on the table). On the other hand it is remarkable that the performance totally reveals the author’s “signature”. It made total sense that it was precisely him who did it. This is so much so, that even the gallery said “It appears we just got Banksy-ed” as an acknowledgement to his particular style. 

How did he do it?

By Impacting substance and form: He generated surprise in a society that is practically never surprised with anything anymore and he transmitted a strong message, the ridicule of the high classes and their symbols, situating art auctions as an ode to material accumulation. Banksy has developed his work in public spaces; walls and streets accessible to all, this is why it was perceived as a great way to prove that art cannot belong to one select group. On the other hand, with this event his always anti-capitalist discourse causes us to question how these investments of millions of dollars in something as ephemeral or superficial as a painting that can vanish in a second, exist.

Why did he do it?

 We are surrounded by “staged” fake, super-imposed things, whose only purpose is to sell. This specific performance is worth analyzing because although it can enter this category, it has a fundamental reason that is both coherent and disruptive. Coherent because it is aligned with the criticism Banksy has directed towards society during his entire career and disruptive because the timing, context and execution is impeccable marketing wise as well as ideologically. 

In a now classic 2009 Ted Talk, Simon Sinek (2) spoke very simply of the characteristics that make the great leaders or companies inspire action, and the key lies in WHY. When we have a reason for being, one that guides our behaviors (and innovations), this is when we really accomplish the ability to inspire. Without a core reason we are like everyone else. The doubt of WHY he did it remains: maybe to expose, to increase his value as an artist, to reposition himself after the near revelation of his identity. Who really cares about the truth if he has moved everyone? He has motivated us to run campaigns emulating him- see McDonald’s potato print (3) – and he has led us to reflection regarding a society already accustomed to superficial thought.

This is why this seems like an impeccable act from the marketing point of view and it may be pointing towards a new era concerning this subject, because it has:

Fundament: Which has driven the artist’s work all these years

Coherence: aligned with his ideology and discourse

Credibility: with the necessary “anti-system” credentials

Surprise: he is able to dislocate you

Contextual and Temporary Reading: in an era of fast virilization and strong criticism towards the high classes; taking place in the most important auction house in which art work is appraised at the most exorbitant prices.

Timing: perfect execution at the precise moment in which the piece was auctioned

From this point on it will be interesting to keep an eye out for his future ventures. What type of performances or initiatives will he awaken? And as we always like to do, apply what we learn to our day to day work.

References:

(1) Byung-Chul Han (2013) The Era of Transparency. Paidos.

(2) Simon Sinek (2009) How great leaders inspire Action Ted Talk

(3) https://mymodernmet.com/es/banksy-reinterpretaciones-pintura-autodestruida/