We’re sharing the biggest trends in Gen Z’s world this week. Want these trends sent directly to your inbox? Sign up for The Screenshot, our weekly Gen Z insights newsletter.
Rihanna has had a heck of a year. From having a baby to winning a “brand disruptor award” under Savage X Fenty to joining the Forbes billion list, she’s living rent-free in our minds right now. To add to her accolades, Rihanna will be headlining the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show — a performance attended by 103.4 million viewers in LVI. Gen Z, who grew up on Pon de Replay and fell in love again with Diamonds, immediately went to the internet to express our excitement. Comments mainly were about her long music hiatus and her focus on Fenty during the break, as well as predicting the setlist. On TikTok, @jordan_occasionally guessed, “When Rihanna performs a mashup of every single hit in her discography and ends … with a NEW SINGLE and then she announces a tour and the entire world is changed forever.” There are already Spotify playlists with user’s set ideas. Rihanna’s announcement post, depicting her holding onto a football, has been replicated by brands. For example, Teddy Grahams Tweeted “must be teddy grahams on the brain,” riffing off of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain.” JUV also posted our own version! This template is easy-to-replicate and bound to be a touchdown with followers.
As we enter October, it’s time to don a witch hat and buy some candy corn; Halloween is coming! Unofficially Gen Z’s favorite holiday, the day is an excuse to wear something out of the ordinary and reinvigorate our youthful spirit. Of course, it’s also a time for brands to give their pages some fall energy. SpongeBob posted their own version of Hocus Pocus and Cinnabon jokingly asked “how is it november already.” Our generation is back to posting Spirit Halloween memes as the holiday approaches. Rachel Elizabeth Tweeted “the spirit halloween store is home goods for hot goth girls” and Pumpkin Spice Rat Tweeted “My talking stages have been lasting less than a Spirit Halloween takes to get set up.” Anything Halloween- or fall-related will immediately attract young people, so prepare your October mood boards!
On September 27, young people took to the streets to demand change: this time, against Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin’s proposed mandate that students use facilities according to their sex assigned at birth and receive parent approval for pronoun changes has faced much criticism in-state and nationally. The Human Rights Campaign’s statement says: “Glenn Youngkin has repeatedly used his platform to promote anti-equality and anti-choice policies that are out of step with the views of everyday Virginians [and that] blatantly stigmatize and isolate our most vulnerable children.” The protests amassed 10,000 advocates from around 100 Virginia schools. Youngkin’s policy is a stark difference from his predecessor Ralph Northam, who allowed students to use whatever names and gender they wished. Along with protesting, students are attending school board meetings to testify and push back against the proposed changes. More than 18,000 online comments have been posted so far. These rallies are some of the many occurring nationwide in light of “Don’t Say Gay” bills and other restrictive policies. The human rights of trans and nonbinary youth should not be up for debate.
With falling leaves and pumpkin spice comes the NFL. And, of course, fantasy football. In 2017, there were 59.3 million fantasy football participants, and the number has only increased since then. Around 50% of this demographic is between the ages of 18 and 34. Where Gen Z has the most fun is in fantasy football loser punishments. From running while eating Wendy’s to getting a spray tan, our generation is coming up with the craziest retribution for last place. Brands can connect to this network by connecting games or players to the product or suggesting punishments that the company could provide. For example, pancake stores (which are often used in forcing losers to stay for 24 hours) could offer discounts or football-themed items. Whatever route is chosen, taking advantage of young people’s love of football will increase engagement.
Looking for a sign to get back to the gym? The fitness attire company lululemon is debuting its new app, lululemon Studio, on October 5. They will offer over 10,000 virtual classes, as well as free in-store workouts, discounts on apparel, and early access to lululemon events. Members pay $39 per month for the package and $1,495 for the required mirror, though they will offer a mirror discount of almost 50% on the release date. Studio’s hybrid model of both online and in-person workouts is a new idea that is likely to bring the campaign success. Though lululemon’s apparel is popular amongst Gen Z, the hefty price tag on the Studio may keep them away. The hashtag #lululemonhaul has over 438 million views and their feed is full of young people modeling their athleisure wear. Lululemon’s Instagram post about the Studio is full of excited comments, mainly from older folks. Either way, I need one of these, ASAP.
✨ IYKYK ✨
✨ It’s time to BeReal … on your TikToks! Viewers are looking for authenticity and out-of-the-box posts. Emily Feret, a “hot mess mom” with over 1 million followers, created a platform of authentic mothering. Duolingo’s hilarious videos — about Taylor Swift, legal teams, and Wattpad, have given the account almost 5 million followers. However cliche, it’s crucial to be yourself!
✨ “rip emily dickinson you would have loved champagne problems.” “RIP eddie munson you would have loved deftones.” “rip benjamin franklin, you would have loved lizzo.” Pair two unlikely things by connecting a product with a fictional or historical individual. RIP Deadpool, you would have loved this meme format.
✨ Does Sway have the answer? Use this trending TikTok sound to show something you or someone else argued about, and then your mindset when they realized the other person was right. Admitting you were wrong is okay if you’re using this audio!
Screenshot of the Week
Gen Z is being shot back into the early 2010s with some recent drama within the Try Guys, a group of ex-Buzzfeed workers trying literally anything. Ned Fulmer, one of the four members, publicly left the platform on September 27 after having an affair with a coworker (both were married). Fulmer’s affair was discovered when a fan recognized him and the woman at a Harry Styles concert. Of course, we have some thoughts.