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The 2024 trend searching for joy and how brands are implementing it: Metamodernism.

Updated: Apr 14

If you are like me, I have never heard of this term until couple of months ago. As I researched I became aware of it`s importance for brands that want to get on top of their competitors.

What is it?

In the middle of the waves of polycrisis, consumers face multiple challenges, each weighing heavily on their emotional state. They worry about money, the planet, and social problems. Young people are at the center of this and uncertainty has sparked a quest for moments of happiness and joy, becoming a focal point for marketing strategies.

This emerging tendency has birthed a novel paradigm: Metamodernism 2024, a trend that is influencing in a significant way how brands communicate with consumers.

According to cultural theorist Timotheus Vermeulen: “Metamodernism oscillates between a modern enthusiasm and a postmodern irony, between hope and melancholy, between naiveté and knowingness, empathy and apathy, unity and plurality, totality and fragmentation, purity and ambiguity.”

Meta modernism is believing there is something worth fighting for, even if you know nothing.

 It can be seen as a framework for navigating the uncertainties of the present while still holding onto hope for the future.

“This would be the metamodern mission: to create a deeply self-reflective modernity; a modernity operating not only upon nature and the environ­ment, but one that reexamines its own perspective, its own choi­ces — if you will — its own soul. Modernity did peer into the soul of individual human beings, under the auspices of psychiatry. But it never developed a full process for look­ing into its own existential foundations and to treat the maladies of civili­zation.” — Hanzi Freinacht, Metamoderna

Great examples of metamodernism in practice, are the movies Everything Everywhere at Once in 2022 and, Barbie – both strike a chord, experiencing commercial and critical success.

The main driver of metamodernism is humor.

 "91% of people worldwide express a preference for brands that are funny and 90% are more likely to remember funny advertisements. What constitutes humour for young digital natives, however, is changing rapidly. Gen Z humour, for example, is defined by chaos, bad taste, memes, and “cringe” humour – specifically those referencing other memes" (Source: WGSN.COM)

Now what?

Metamodernism can help brands adapt to cultural shifts through its dynamic approach to storytelling and engagement. Key characteristics include:

JOY AND HAPPINES: McDonald’s Colombia’s recent “A Second of Happiness” campaign shared photos of real customers receiving orders and positioned their brand as one that brings joy.

POSITIVITY : A new TikTok trend has emerged - the #Hopecore aesthetic; with 2.7 billion TikTok views already, this demonstrates the search for positivity

INSPIRATION: Pay attention to the content that fuels joy and inspiration, communicate romantic ideals. TikTok’s #RomanticiseYourLife hashtag has 1.7 billion views 

HUMOR: Campaigns using metamodern storytelling techniques like parodies, absurdity, and self-referential messages are rising in popularity.

CULTURAL REMIX AND INTERTEXTUALITY: Loewe engages in cultural remix with a sophisticated blend of art and craftsmanship while maintaining a sincere commitment to storytelling and emotional resonance

Other important aspects of metamodernism are:

Playfulness,Audience Engagement and Participation, Nostalgia and Future Orientation, Sincerity and Irony

In conclusion, this cultural movement offers a framework through which brands can authentically engage with consumers, leveraging honesty and a hopeful outlook to foster deeper connections in an increasingly complex world.

Blanca Ruíz

Brand Strategy Consultant and Identity Designer

contact to build a brand that catches the eyes and hearts of your customers.

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