Frank Reality

12 Dec 2014|Cultural Insight Team

Shake off the shackles and bare all.

The glossy world is being discarded. People are rejecting the drive to seek perfection. The time of living through our immaculately curated online selves is being turned on its head. Instead the gritty is becoming aspirational and genuine candour will be valued as people begin to crave interactions that are authentic and open.

People are seeing through polished perfection and recognise it as untruthful. Air-brushed celebrities, overproduced television programmes, constructed phony personas, and contrived elaborate experiences are being seen for what they really are: a façade. Society is starting to repel or even ignore the contrived and manipulated as smokescreens shatter to reveal the frank reality behind it.

The emergence of no longer wanting the pressure to live up to idealistic expectations but instead crave what is honest and real will become important in people’s lives as we move into 2015. In fact, this is already emerging on the fringes of culture. Rick Owens went against the fashion grain and sent curvy women down the catwalk for his Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Showing how fashion can be accessible and enjoyed by all without having to live up to unrealistic expectations of being skinny, tall, or anything else we’ve been led to believe is the ideal perfection.

The same rings true in the world of Hollywood. Manicured online profiles are being cast aside in favour of those celebrities and public figures who bare their souls. The rising popularity of Lena Dunham from HBO’s ‘Girls’ is testament to how people appreciate her honest depiction of herself, writing a candid and revealing memoir so others could learn from her mistakes; “I want to tell my stories and, more than that, I have to in order to stay sane: stories about waking up to my adult female body and being disgusted and terrified. About getting my butt touched at an internship, having to prove myself in a meeting full of fi fty year old men, and going to a black-tie event with the crustiest red nose you ever saw… And if I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile.”

Charities too have been quick to see the trend. Breaking away from traditional fundraising tactics that pull at our emotional heartstrings instead celebrating our natural selves, ‘Make-up free selfi es’ for Breast Cancer Awareness raised over £1 million and UNICEF’s #wakeupcall campaign, launched by Jemima Khan, is estimated to have reached 300 million people. These huge viral successes have made fundraising fun, quirky and above all, real.

People will stop worrying about what others expect or think about them. Instead they will start asking themselves “who am I really?” and “what do I think?” as they realise life is for living for who you are and for now. This will see a demand in real relationships, the baring of souls and revelling in the personal. The ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ book celebrates the very personal stories of intimate connections that didn’t last. Instead of hiding the pain and hurt, they are showing courage in the truth of what really happened. Vulnerability will be an embodiment of beauty and strength.

There’ll be an acceptance in the truth of our lives, to come face to face with stark reality. People will choose to admit their mistakes and fl aws rather than suppress them. The ‘Whisper’ app allows people to tell their most candid secrets with complete anonymity. “I danced with two people at my wedding. The one I married, and the one I wish I’d married instead.” Authenticity will be essential in every part of our lives. There’ll be a growing number of people who will take notice of the world around them and stand up to do something about it. High profile campaigns and celebrities are encouraging people to get involved in issues that affect them, such as the UN’s #heforshe campaign challenging how we view feminism. Positive ageing will be embraced and celebrated as they seek to get the most out of life and become too valuable to be ignored. India Knight’s ‘In Your Prime’ is a frank account of how to age joyfully. In fact positivity will be abundant with this new sense of freedom that goes hand-in-hand with just being you.

So brands need to be genuine. Don’t hide behind polished images and perfected personas. Have true character, then live and breathe it authentically. Be open and honest so people can see the real thing. Don’t try and dress up your brand into what it could or should be. Celebrate reality. Embrace the fact your products are used by real people in their real and wonderfully fl awed lives and tell people about it. Converse adverts celebrate a story of how their shoes become a part of people’s real lives, with the scuff s to show it. While Levi’s stand proud that real, honest lives are lived in them.

But don’t mistake frank reality for the mundane of just stating the obvious. Don’t be dull. This is about capturing the raw and beautifully personal that connects and relates with people in an enticing way they can grab hold of and make their own.

In 2015 discard the perfect portrayal and reveal your brand in all its authentic glory. Let your consumers experience the uniqueness of reality. The emergence of a desire for creative expression through experience, whether outlandish or mindful, feeds into this demand for authenticity at all levels. No longer can a brand just claim authenticity, consumers want to feel it and experience it. Enrich peoples lives at every touch point. Enhance their desire to be real, help them show their honest selves and encourage them not to hide behind false exteriors.

Brands that are beginning to play here:

levis - Frank Reality

Levi’s celebrate the fact that real, honest lives are lived in them – not a perfect fiction. (




Converse celebrate how their shoes become part of people’s real lives, and have the scuffs to show it. (




When a Chevrolet exec described the car’s advancements as “technology and stuff”, the brand capitalized on the endearing real life awkwardness in social media. (



haagen dazs
Häagen-Dazs focus on wonderful, true real life emotions. (





For more on our 2015 cultural themes go to

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