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Pitch & Sync Talk Trends and What’s Connecting in Today’s Swiftly Moving Cultural Landscape



Pitch and sync reveal the most dynamic ad industry topics, people and initiatives in this feature trend report

Pitch & Sync Talk Trends and What’s Connecting in Today’s Swiftly Moving Cultural Landscape

At Pitch & Sync we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve, finger on the pulse, always.

Being in the thick of it is invaluable, and for us it is imperative to keep our eyes and ears to the ground in this swiftly moving cultural landscape. Partly, it is our job to know what is connecting with audiences so that we can connect brands with the newest and best talent.  More than that though, we are genuinely fascinated by the abundance of creative innovation that is bubbling up from the underground all around us.

Instead of keeping our findings to ourselves, we have decided to start sharing our insights on a quarterly basis, spanning across music, fashion, media and culture. This is our take on it, do with it what you will.

For us, 16-24 year olds are the most dynamic demographic so we have focussed on those coming up through the ranks, and who and what they are engaging with. These young people are vibrant, creative and keen to seek out the new and interesting. This group moves with the times, they are inquisitive and ever-changing in their interests and identity, and they love sharing these interests with others.

So here goes, some insights from this effervescent group with the aim of understanding what matters to them and therefore how brands can look to connect with them.



A few weeks ago we took a look at upcoming music trends in our ‘Can You Hear The Future?” think piece, and every day since we are continually discovering more and more artists to be excited about.

The key thread running through all of the artists that are coming up is authenticity. They are bold, unashamedly themselves and unafraid to bend the rules.

As ever, emerging artists are drawing on influences from the world around them, and genres that have been lurking in the shadows are able to come to light through the power of social media. We recently noted that New London Jazz, Portuguese House, Angolan Kuduro and Hard Drum are growing arms and legs and that pop has seen a rejuvenation, with many indie-pop artists adopting a softer more DIY style. Below we have picked some of our top emerging acts ranging from Audio Noir and Abstract Techno, to New Age R&B and Scottish Grime.




One of our favourite acts to come out of 2018 is south London’s Puma Blue. His lucid and wistful tales of romance delivered by fragile falsetto feels incredibly personal, and it’s this vulnerability that makes him so relatable.


In the DJ scene we are lusting over Berlin based South Korean DJ Peggy Gou for her distinct percussive abstract compositions, inspired by African World music. Her take on dark house and techno is carving her out as a highly unique and singular artist and we love her.


Releasing her first official music video in March 2018, Clairo signifies a new direction in indie-pop music. Exhibiting an interesting amalgamation of R&B beats and dream-pop, Clairo is one of many artists of the moment who are creating vibrant pop music with many DIY elements. Following the release of Superorganism’s eponymous debut LP, it is clear that indie music is taking a softer direction in 2018.


This soulful 20 year old is leading the way for the Toronto R&B scene, the same scene that birthed Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR amongst others. Drawing on influences from the world around him, his songs contain a refreshingly earnest quality. Having already been publicly praised by longtime friend Shawn Mendes, Vinyl is destined for big things.


Many might look to London as the epicentre of British rap music, however Shogun is a shining example that there are great rappers from all around the UK. With a strong Paisley accent, Shogun defies the expectations of those who would expect a white Scottish rapper to be nothing more than a novelty. Having already been featured in i-D’s ‘Class of 2018’ list, Shogun is one to watch this year.


Trends this year seemed to highlight the desire for many music listeners to have experiences that were special and unique to them. Whether these experiences were nostalgic, heavily personalised or just merely curated, it is clear from these trends that listeners are keen to experience music as an overall sensory package that prompts an emotional response.


We’re seeing a proliferation with all things retro with many brands focusing on the past. This was perhaps most clearly seen in Burberry’s recent capsule collection that contained re-designed pieces from previous collections, or in that cassette tapes (which are now firmly considered as retro) saw a 35% sales rise in 2017.

The popularity of photography app Huji, which places disposable filters on photos taken on a camera phone also showcased the wide interest in the past.




Ah yes, the 80’s. Some of us remember them well, others were only just born in the time for Calvin Harris’s first hit to be applicable. Love them or hate them, there has a been a resurgence in interest around this colourful decade.

With last year’s acclaimed ‘After Laughter’ by Paramore, it is clear that today’s musicians continue to be influenced by 1980’s synth pop. This interest in 80’s sounds has led some to remix some of today’s biggest pop hits, with the likes of Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Rihanna and Dua Lipa receiving the 80’s treatment.


A study by Chartmetric this quarter found data to support the idea that an increasing number of users of music streaming sites such as Spotify and Apple Music prefer to listen to contextual playlists.

These playlists arguably capture the zeitgeist at a particular time and and seemingly cohere with events and instances that affect listeners in the outside world, such as International Women’s Month, as well as capturing their perfect mood.


Another trend we’ve spotted is the re-imagining of songs in particular instances or places, such as in an empty shopping centre, in the bathroom at a party or from another room. Whilst videos and songs of this sort have been floating around the internet for a few years, they seem to have re-emerged in the past few months. Arguably this re-emergence is in line with the increased desire by listeners to have emotive experiences with music, nodding to the nostalgia of somewhere they have experienced the track before, with many being very distinct moments and atmospheres.


For the last while these tend to be models, stylists and fitness fanatics, however, the most popular ones tend to be the ones who are more effortless in their approach, as this demographic sees itself as genuine and wary of inauthenticity. 2018 has shown an increase in people using their social platforms for good.

Given the prevalence of events that have affected all corners of society, influencers have used their high follower count in order to convey messages of tolerance and peace, as well as a desire for social change.


Using the experiences of BME women as an influence on her artwork, London artist Joy Miessi has already worked with the likes of galdem and British Vogue in an effort to provide a voice for those who are seemingly demonised by society. Growing up in a Congolese household, Miessi aptly conveys the British experience from the perspective of a multicultural woman.


Manjit Thapp is another artist that draws on the experiences of ethnic minorities in the UK,

doing so because she felt that women who looked like her were underrepresented in illustration in particular. Having illustrated the newly released book ‘The Little Book of Feminist Saints’, which features illustrations of feminist icons such as Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart, Thapp is already making a splash in the art world.



The tragic events of the Parkland shootings in February 2018 could’ve easily been written off as another American school shooting, however, the survivors of the atrocity took it upon themselves to form a movement in support of gun control. Primarily using social media, the survivors of the attack created ‘March for Our Lives’, a series of protest marches in various cities in America calling for an end to gun violence. Attracting many other social influencers and celebrities, the events also saw multiple music performances from the likes of Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.


18 year old Amika George is leading the fight against period poverty through the #FreePeriods campaign, which was launched in an effort to provide free sanitary products to British women who cannot afford them.

Founding the Pink Protest, George has already collaborated with a myriad of activists, social influencers and celebrities in order to achieve the goal of conquering the issue of period poverty in the UK.


Whilst key celebrities are famous in their own right for their talents, many of the key celebrities for today’s young people tend to increase and maintain their fame by engaging with fans via social media. Whether they are actors, models or artists, these celebrities find ways to connect with their fans and bring them along on their journey.

It was noted that the reason they connect so well is because there was less of a disconnect between themselves and the celebrities and allowed them to see the celebrities as normal people.


This model, actress and activist has been around for several years already, but has really made waves over the past few months. Taking her initiative GURLS TALK over to New York for the 2nd GURLS TALK festival last March (the first being in London back in July), Aboah continues to use her platform to encourage young girls to talk about their problems, no matter how big or small.



This Danish artist has been a favourite within the fashion world for a while.

With a minimal style that is heavily influenced by Picasso, Spansberg has already exhibited around the world. With her first London show ‘Outcasts’ in June 2018, we’re sure we’ll be seeing more of her artwork.


This RuPaul’s Drag Race alum has used his platform to enter the fashion world.

With a look heavily inspired by the New York Club Kids of the 1980’s and 1990’s, Milk has already featured prominently in campaigns for Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood to name a few.


This year has seen a whole host of fun apps and platforms pop up. Some of our favourites being from Hip-hop artists such as Kanye West and Drake who sought to connect with fans on social media via more non-traditional means.


With apps such as Tinder and Bumble already proving to be popular in the dating world, this quarter brought the news of a dating platform solely dedicated for Kanye West fans.


With music often being an important factor in determining romantic compatibility, this new dating app truly has the music lover in mind. Given that hip-hop boy band BROCKHAMPTON formed after meeting on a Kanye West fan forum, perhaps this dating app could result in some great new music produced by Kanye-influenced fans. Only time will tell…


This quarter also saw many memes in response to Drake’s worldwide hit ‘God’s Plan’, with many playing on the music video’s concept in which Drake gave out money to strangers in Miami.





Our research into the trends of the first few months of 2018 has highlighted the increasing importance of social awareness for young people, as well as music as an overall sensory experience, rather than just a listening activity.

Identity is important to them and feeling as though they are adequately represented in the media is of utmost importance, as is finding relatable musicians and social influencers.

The key for brands is to be relatable, and authentically so. They must use their weight to positively change the world during this greatly transformational time. If you’re trying to pull a fast one with lacklustre or lazy ideas, you’re not going to get very far with this lot. Their overall awareness is leaps and bounds ahead and they spot ingenuity a mile off. To get it right, brands must be adding positive value to the community that they are aiming to connect with, and if you get that right then you’ll find yourself with a fiercely loyal squad who’ll grow with you and shout about you from the rooftops.

To check out more from Pitch & Sync, visit their website or follow them on Instagram.

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Pitch & Sync, Fri, 13 Apr 2018 15:16:03 GMT