Over the course of the past few days, The Drum has been celebrating the movers, shakers and mischief makers of 2014 in our annual New Year Honours.
Here we take stock of the phenomenons of the year – from the selfie to the rise of the YouTubers.
2013 might have been the year when the Oxford Dictionary named it as its international Word of the Year, but it was only in 2014 that the selfie became a cultural phenomenon. According Twitter the term was mentioned more than 92m times.
Who can forget the star studded Oscar selfie posted by Ellen DeGeneres? The grinning faces of actors including Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were retweeted over 3m times, in what turned out to be a not so spontaneous plug from Samsung for its Galaxy Note 3.
Then of course came the #nomakeup selfie, which saw swathes of women post images of themselves make-up free and Cancer Research UK receive around £8m in donations. Like it or loathe it, the influence of the selfie can’t be denied.
Ice bucket challenge
Following hot on the heels of the #nomakeupselfie was the ALS #icebucketchallenge; bringing with it too the growing appetite for video content over the static image. As the weather heated up everyone from Victoria Beckham to George RR Martin tipped icy water over their heads to raise money in aid of ALS (or motor neurone disease as it’s known in the UK). A movement that by the end August had raised around £48m, and saw £47,000 donated in one day.
However the phenomenon created a storm in a bucket when other charities used the concept to generate cash for their causes, and the BBC claimed to have seen a report which found that only one in ten people who took part actually donated.
Rise of the YouTubers
Adored by millions of teens the world over, the rise to prominence of YouTubers is one of the most important social media trends marketers have seen in 2014. And while you may sneer at the narcissism of it all, the likes of Zoella, Pewdiepie, Dan and Phil et al represent a huge opportunity for brands, opening up a whole new way for them to reach their target consumer, and in some cases influence audiences upwards of 32 million.
However, this new form of native advertising may have reached a tipping point recently – the BBC complained to the ASA over the unclear labelling of paid for ads, suggesting brands must approach with caution as well as creativity.
Once a seasonal trend for smaller independent merchants unable to afford a permanent store space, pop-up shops have grown to become a main-stay of the retail industry in 2014 and a lucrative experience to boot. At Boxpark in East London mega-brands Nike and Gap stand side-by-side with independent doughnut, makeup and clothing shops, while Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Nokia have invested in the trend.
Jamie Oliver also extended his foray into the pop-up world, having already run a pop-up diner in central London, bringing his digital video venture Drinks Tube into the physical world in October. For three days bartenders whipped up a range of cocktails using products from sponsor Bacardi.