Why 'eat the rich' will be the dominant creative narrative of 2023 | Contagious

Januar 2023

Pop culture villains tell us a lot about society's anxieties and fears, and right now they're telling us that people are no longer in thrall to the rich.

The creative industry operates in the market for ideas. Success depends on our ability to understand what ideas are in demand. Or as Victor Hugo famously concluded: ‘No one can resist an idea whose time has come.’

So what is the idea whose time has come at the beginning of 2023? A good place to look for clues is in popular culture. Film, art, fashion, food are typically reflections of their time. That is what makes it popular culture. People can relate. There is a demand.

And the more popular the piece aspires to be, the more it relies on contextual relevance. Like the James Bond franchise, for example. Bond films are designed to work in every market. So the threat, the villain, must reflect something in the zeitgeist. Something everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, can relate to.

Jamie Russell writes in Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema (2010): The monsters that dominate any particular culture or period offer an unusual insight into the specific fears and anxieties that characterize that historical moment.

In sum, the last recession made capitalism the villain, and a global distrust in corporations led to the birth of purpose the single most transformative change in the recent history of marketing and branding.

"This recession, suddenly, the rich are not the aspirational icons of our dreams, they are the villains in our films"

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