This report looks at what Horizon Media deems the seven most consequential trends to emerge from a year of pandemic living.
With 48% of adults 18+ fully vaccinated, people are anticipating a summer of well-deserved, responsible normalcy. After a year of isolation and distancing, people are longing for Sense-thesized experiences that titillate all the missed high-contact senses – like smell, touch, and taste – to enhance feelings of wellbeing. In fact, 51% of US adults agree, “Once I am vaccinated, I am going to indulge and participate in everything I couldn’t do during the pandemic.”* People are ready for sensational experiences, and many brands are hyping up the anticipation of a lively summer.
People are dreaming about post-pandemic experiences – like going to a bar. With more vaccinated states loosening restrictions, it’s so close they can smell it. In late March, Miller Lite released a Bar Smells candle collection online, teasing the aromas of summer bar gatherings, and it sold out in 24 hours. The scents covered three distinct bar experiences: Dive Bar (pine, tobacco, and yeast), Beer Garden (pretzel, green moss, and wood), and Game Day (jalapeño, bar peanuts and cracked leather), hyping up future debauchery.
While the smell of warm weather vibes ignites excitement, some brands are teasing the taste of summer. This month, Krispy Kreme is releasing tropical themed doughnuts that exude the flavors of summertime drinks and desserts. They are introducing a Piña Colada Doughnut and reviving the Key Lime Pie Glazed Doughnut – a fan favorite. A third doughnut rounds out the tropical retreat: the Island Time Doughnut which features blue icing, a gummy palm tree, and graham crumbs resembling a sandy beach. Now people can savor the flavors of a sweet getaway.
Brands are also building excitement for the resurgence of human touch. Extra Gum’s “For When Its Time” ad, which was released earlier this month, imagines an exaggerated reality where the transition to post-pandemic life is instantaneous. In the spot, parents literally ditch their kids and WFH to hug it out at the office while other disheveled folks emerge from isolation to engage in shameless PDA. The visceral relief resonates with the masses, with the ad garnering over 3.3M views on YouTube.
Other brands can evoke summer sensations, too. An airline brand can tease the smells, tastes, and textures of reopened international destinations to entice vaccinated people to get up in the air. Host pop-up experiential Sensational Travel Markets in high-traffic areas of cities where people can immerse themselves in their future destination. Imagine enjoying Peruvian Choclo con queso (street corn) while listening to the Day of Creole Song and taking home a sampling of woven alpaca wool. Promote the pop-ups across TV and radio to maximize reach, and grant discounts on flights for people who book trips at the event.
Source: *Finger On The Pulse New Normal Tracking, 5/4/2021-5/11/2021 N=896