10 cultural tensions to take a stand for

Do you know how a cultural tension can affect the way consumers of a brand behave? For example, people talk a lot about conscious consumption nowadays. However, brands insist on speaking otherwise.

Thinking about that, the following question come up: does it not make more sense to talk about what really matters to the audience?

This is just one scenario inside many other cultural tensions.

But, what really is a cultural tension? Do you know the meaning of it? How can we create relevant content for the audience using cultural tensions as a theme?

What are cultural tensions?

To understand the term “cultural tension”, it is important to understand the meaning of these two words separately.

“Cultural” has to do with a way of life shared by a group of people. On the other hand, “tension” is a feeling generated in a situation where people are anxious and do not trust each other. This feeling is liable to conflict or violence.

Therefore, cultural tension is a society’s perception of a particular issue that is a problem of most people.

Why is it important to understand cultural tensions?

Cultural tensions are issues that affect the lives and behavior of many people within a group — both positively and negatively. 

But bringing it into the advertising context, agencies are able to have a more accurate targeting for their campaigns when deciding to use them as a base.

But is this really true?

Go back a few years and remember the campaign named Real Beauty of Dove. Why did it do so well? Because Dove encountered a cultural tension, which was that society imposed an unattainable standard of beauty on women (and it remains true!)

Understanding where the product is and how cultural tensions can be addressed will allow:

  • Create timeless campaigns;
  • Have a clear direction for advertising campaigns;
  • Generate surprising results for brands.

It’s no wonder that Ogilvy Brazil won 14 lions at the Cannes Lions Festival. It’s no wonder that 7 of the 10 most creative agencies address cultural tensions in their campaigns.

10 cultural tensions to take a stand for

Anxiety, therapy, fake news, new normal… There are many topics that don’t leave the newspapers and people’s minds around the world. 

To find really relevant tensions, our Strategy team at Winnin analyzed the themes that best address social problems. The study was based on an analysis of the last 12 months.

Discover 10 cultural tensions to take a stand for below and understand how brands can enter this conversation.

1. The need for therapy

We’re under a growing mental health crisis. Illnesses such as anxiety, depression, burnout and ADHD affect millions of people around the world everyday.

Professional aid is often inaccessible, so social media is becoming more and more a source of information for a large part of the population. However, as a big watch out, people are relying on it to self-diagnose and self-medicate with the help of creators.

2. The panic of aging up

From Instagram filters to TikTok trends, social media puts youth as an extreme ideal. Being old, having wrinkles or looking tired seems bad or shameful.

In parallel of the self-love movement, people are chasing “social media look” with aesthetic procedures – even when they are young. Reality is never enough.

3. Farewell to social media

Time dedicated to social media is higher than ever an people are constantly comparing their reality with what’s posted on influencers’ feeds.

Trying to fit in and keep up with trends is draining people’s mental health and making them feel FOMO. That’s why there’s a trending movement of leaving social media and live reality at its fullest.

4. Lifeaholics: ‘me’ over work

Global warming, pandemic, economic crisis and the exponential growth of labor related mental illnesses have made people rethink their lives.

People are prioritizing their wellbeing over their jobs and quitting to seek for new lifestyles that fit better with their ideal work-life balance.

5. Cancel Culture: the new bullying

What once was a way to pressure celebrities and companies to take accountability for their actions has now become a powerful public shaming tool.

Besides its mental health impacts, cancel culture is driving misinformation and ideological polarization by making people find comfort only in groups that share the same opinion.

6. Is It The End Of Monogamy?

The pandemic has intensified already existing tensions inside relationships leading to a boom of divorces and a lot of rethinking.

New ways of relating are being more considered than ever and different agreements need to be made to fit in this new family’s set up.

7. The rise of domestic violence

Many women had to give up their jobs during the Pandemic so they could take care of their families.

Because of doing that, many of them became more financially dependent on their partners, which made them trapped into relationships where they’re vulnerable to different types of domestic violence.

8. Urge for market (trans)formation

Trans people are the most discriminated group in the LGBTQIA+ community, and don’t have many formal jobs opportunities.

Companies are hiring more transgenders to follow the diversity speech, but don’t provide a safe atmosphere.

9. Is fake news the new normal?

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has sparkled once more the debate over freedom of speech vs. censorship.

Many people are using freedom of speech as an excuse to make hate speeches, empowering ideological polarization.

10. Is food waste real entertainment?

Food is being thrown away by privileged creators just to make viral content, with millions of views.

Other creators are calling out this waste culture and questioning about how disrespectful and unsustainable this is specially in the ongoing climate crisis context.

Where to find other relevant cultural tensions?

Cultural tensions are problems that affect different social groups, the whole society and even the world.

The social problems presented are global, but it is impossible not to recognize them in our country as well or wherever you are.

That’s why the discussion about them is so necessary to shape behaviors and change directions.

The agencies that are able to find and insert these themes into their campaigns become relevant. And even better, they turn campaigns into memorable videos in the minds of consumers.

But where to find these cultural tensions? 

On Winnin Insights you will understand the issues of a specific audience, where they are spending their screen time, what matters to them and how these cultural tensions are being addressed. From there, you will have key insights to create culturally relevant campaigns. 

How does your agency want to impact brand audiences going forward?

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