Expert Outlook 2022The ContrarianNot wanting to take life too seriously, people are ‘doing me’ and owning their contradictions.

Not everyone is out to change systems or redefine cultural norms. For many, the only way to deal with the state of the world is with a dose of quirky, camp, and totally unapologetic humour. Likely to go vegetarian after watching Cowspiracy but stealth-eat a post-party kebab, the Contrarian is down-to-earth and embraces their contradictions. Whether they’re idolising Instagram influencers yet supporting body positivity, attending murder mystery parties and still making memes about JOMO, or talking about therapy and then seeking spiritual guidance from a pug on TikTok, these people are hunting for new experiences, living for today, and are determined not to take life – or themselves – too seriously.

How are they behaving?

Whether through inside jokes or meme culture, the Contrarian engages through comedy. Both a way of life and a coping mechanism, they use humour as a lens through which to view social or political issues and to highlight the complexity and contradictory nature of it all.

On the Library: Memes for good? The science of digital civicism

On the Library: How are ‘huns’ defining British identity?

Lockdowns made the Contrarian realise exactly how much they were missing and all the things they would still like to do. They are living for today because they are secretly fearful of tomorrow and want experiences that take them out of the ordinary.

On the Library: Chinese Gen Zers meet for murder mystery game

On the Library: Japanese households hire chefs for lockdown cuisine

The Contrarian knows they aren’t perfect and doesn’t expect others to be either. They are an active participant in the influencer economy and so they’re suspicious of those who seem to know and have it all. The Contrarian knows that modern life is full of paradoxes and they want their cultural leaders to embrace their imperfections as well.

On the Library: Bella Davis: promoting body-positivity via Instagram

On the Library: How are expressions of digital self changing?

What our experts have to say
We will see an emergence of KOLs (key opinion leaders) and COLs (cultural opinion leaders) take over from influencers and celebrities. There are simply too many voices and no one knows who to follow or listen to, so an emergence of a different class of credible voices will find its way into the conversation and directly affect consumerism.Jenk OzFounder
People are finally noticing the value of internet money, brands, and personalities. Whether it's crypto or NFTs or the creator economy, we will continue to see our internet lives become so much larger than they were pre-pandemic.Jules TerpakGen Z Council advisor at Google
We are one of the biggest populations on social media platforms – everything in Brazil is a meme. The next year is going to be chaotic because we have an election and a World Cup – that is a lot of emotions for Brazilians in one year.Nayara MoiaFreelance foresight strategist
India has the kind of optimism that's just unstoppable. India's greatest strength is its people. We're optimistic, resilient, and because we are a young country, we always think something better is waiting for us.Nonita KalraEditor-in-chief
Many French people have left big cities like Paris to try to find a home elsewhere. COVID-19 showed that we were happier outside a big city. But now we have firms trying to hire people through TikTok. Nobody would have thought of that even a few months ago.Isabelle MusnikFounder
With the elections so close in Brazil, there is like a small gap between recovery and whatever happens next. People are really worried that the economic growth might be very slow next year, but they are willing to spend a lot of money compared to their incomes. They care a lot about being seen.Veronica FerrariEditorial/publishing consultant and media analyst
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How to speak to the Contrarian
Have fun and embrace humour
The constant stream of negative news means the Contrarian is always on the hunt for some comic relief. Engage them through humour, harness the power of satire, and – above all – don’t take yourself too seriously.
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Help them live for the moment
The Contrarian wants to live their lives experience by experience, so helping them be present and delving into the unknown is key. They are keen to escape into the real world – but also want to be able to capture experiences to share online later.
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Champion relatability
Social media is rife with comparisons, and though the Contrarian exudes a sloppy confidence, they are not immune to insecurities. Providing educational support, championing self-love and relatability, and nurturing self-acceptance will attract these consumers into your fold.
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Upcoming LiveMeet the Contrarian: FOMO to hun cultureDec 16, 2021 - 17:00 GMT / 12:00 EST / 9:00 PSTHome chefs, motivational listening, and meme-based dating – we take a closer look at how this mindset is shaping sectors and revealing itself across different markets.
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