TBWA’s Backslash Reveals 36 Cultural Shifts Shaping Our World
February 16, 2022
TORONTO; February 16, 2022 –
Today Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\Worldwide that Juniper Park\TBWA is a key contributor to, released its annual glossary of Edges. More than a trend report, Edges are defined as meaningful cultural shifts that have the scale and longevity to propel a brand towards a greater share of the future.
“We spent 2020 talking about the New Normal, and 2021 worrying about new variants. In 2022, we’re taking stock of what two years of pandemic have taught us about ourselves and the world, and readying for action. As we start to make the choices and changes that will define the future we want, brands have a role to play in helping to make this new-ish world, a better world,” said Agathe Guerrier, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA\Worldwide.
“Edges have proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for us and our clients when it comes to creating culturally relevant and impactful work,” says Des Jones, Chief Strategy Officer, Juniper Park\TBWA. “More reliable than a trends forecast, it gives us enduring insights into the reality of change and a deep understanding of the motivations that lie behind that change. Our 2022 Edges bring a unique perspective on how consumers are looking back to look forward. Things we saw strongly in the 2021 release, such as the rejection of valueless rules and irrelevant institutions, have continued to build in strength.”
The glossary’s 36 Edges span categories and countries, offering a comprehensive overview of the key shifts paving a new way forward. Three Edges set to experience especially strong momentum in 2022 are as follows:
Liquid Reality: As all things physical dissipate, it will become increasingly difficult to distinguish where the real world ends and the metaverse begins. In a progressively fluid and seemingly limitless world, tangibility, intentional friction, and boundaries will keep us grounded.
Sexual Liberation: Blurred lines between objectification and empowerment have long complicated our relationship with sexuality, but a culture healing from the past is ready to get sexy again–no stigmas attached. A new era of pleasure positivity is upon us.
Wealth Hacking: From play-to-earn gaming to meme stocks, a society disillusioned with false promises of prosperity is generating wealth its own way. As trust in financial institutions declines and calls for accessibility intensifies, a growing group of people will opt for the unconventional.
Jones continues, “The 2022 Edges will be translated into more of our ‘future of’ reports, giving targeted insights into how these forces are shaping specific industries and behaviours. Based on the success of last year’s ‘Future of Finance’ report, our agency is particularly focused on the new Wealth Hacking Edge and our continuing Edge, Money Out Loud, which both indicate a huge revolution when it comes to people’s conversations and behaviour around money, and how they are interacting with financial institutions.”
Other must-watch Edges cover evolving attitudes and behaviours around mental health, inequality, death, data ownership, work, survivalism, and more.
The glossary also explores a larger cultural redefinition of progress, with the big question for 2022 being “What does progress look like?”
“It’s an exciting time. We’re starting to see the world awaken to the fact that “progress” doesn’t have to mean advancement at all costs,” says Cecelia Girr, Backslash’s Director of Cultural Strategy.
The glossary investigates this theme in three chapters, inviting us to welcome a new kind of progress that’s better for us and our planet.
The first chapter, Hindsight in Action, covers all the ways in which we’re looking to the past to inform our future.
The second chapter, Hacking the Matrix, explores how individuals are liberating themselves from the rules and institutions that no longer work for them.
The final chapter, Hidden Futures, dives into the cultural shifts leading us into the great unknown. These are the areas too nascent to be informed by the past—the beta tests, the brave new world, the impending question marks.
The complete list of 36 Edges can be downloaded at backslash.com/2022edges.
Backslash’s rigorous set of criteria requires that Edges be rooted in human values, be recognizable through consumer behaviours, and lead to clear business implications. In order to be declared an Edge, identified shifts must have sustained relevance for over a year and should continue to matter for the foreseeable future. Each Edge must also be globally relevant, manifesting in a majority of the world’s regions.
Backslash is a cultural intelligence unit powered by a global network of over 300 Culture Spotters from 70 offices across the TBWA collective. Together, Backslash closely observes and analyzes worldwide developments so that TBWA—and its clients—can better understand and anticipate cultural change. Through a dynamic hybrid of strategy, data, and journalism, Backslash turns today’s stories into tomorrow’s opportunities. For more information on Backslash, follow us on Instagram at @TBWABackslash or visit www.backslash.com.
About Juniper Park\TBWA
Juniper Park\TBWA (juniperparktbwa.com) is The Disruption®
Company: the cultural engine for 21st century business. A global, award-winning agency located in Toronto, Juniper Park\TBWA uses Disruption®
methodologies to develop business-changing ideas for brands. The 130+ team of world-class creators and thinkers serves clients across North America, including CIBC, Nissan, PepsiCo, GoDaddy, among others. It is part of TBWA Worldwide (tbwa.com), named Agency of the Year and Grand Prix winner at the 2021 Effie Awards, and one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and included on Ad Age’s Agency A-List in both 2019 and 2020. Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or like us on Facebook for the latest updates from the Park.
TBWA is The Disruption® Company. We use creativity to help businesses challenge the status quo and capture an unfair share of the future. Named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2021, 2020 and 2019, and Adweek's 2021 and 2018 Global Agency of the Year, we are a creative company that uses trademarked Disruption® methodologies to help businesses address their challenges and achieve transformative growth. Our collective has 10,000+ creative minds in 41 countries, and also includes brands such as Auditoire, Digital Arts Network (DAN), eg+ worldwide, GMR, The Integer Group®, TBWA\Media Arts Lab, TBWA\WorldHealth and TRO. Global clients include adidas, Apple, Gatorade, Henkel, Hilton Hotels, McDonald's, Nissan and Singapore Airlines. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and like us on Facebook. TBWA is part of Omnicom Group.