Subscribe to industry newsletters

Marketing & Media jobs

  • Research Coordinator Johannesburg
  • Account Manager Johannesburg
  • MoreSubmit a jobOpen account
    Search jobs

    [TrendTalk] 2015 was a hairy year

    From manbuns to nutscaping, political meltdowns and economic downturns, The Donald Trump reality show, global terrorism and war, 2015 was a challenging year, to put it mildly. But it was also the source of much social media merriment and the slaughtering of holy cows. At least we still have bacon. Oh wait...
    As we start the New Year full of hope and optimism (try), it's always good to reflect, dear readers, on the year that was (cue Llamas, The Dress, clip-on man buns); and what we don't really want to see again (clip on man buns, colourblind dresses), what we would like to change and what we are looking forward to in 2016...

    2015 was a hairy year. Literally. There is nothing that defines the hipster, organic, authentic space more than the beard (apart from these buzzwords). Beards came in all shapes and sizes. And the hairy horrors didn't stop there unfortunately.

    [TrendTalk] 2015 was a hairy year

    All that glitters: Beards came with Glitter and Christmas decorations this year, to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. But it seems to be their last hurrah, as even The Guardian predicts that beards will be hair today, gone tomorrow, as the trend wanes. But for those of you die hard facial follicle fans, here's a video instruction on how to glitter your beard for special occasions from YouTube stars The Gay Beards, including all their glitter beard faves from this past holiday season... Sparkle y'all!

    Source: Groupon
    Source: Groupon

    Mullet of the moment: I like the bearded he-man lumberjack look as much as the next girl, but man buns? No. It's the mullet of this century and as indefensible. And 'clip-on' man buns? That's as cheap as a bad 80s perm. "A grooming trend too far" as The Telegraph pegs it.

    Big, hairy balls to 2015! So, here's a chance to reflect on the year you would like to have, on the contribution you will make to humanity and a better society. Please let it not be "nutscaping". That this is a 'thing' doesn't bare contemplating for a single second. How is it even possible? There are things one just can't unsee.

    Searching for... But apart from this aberration, this is actually what people talked about in 2015: Google's 'Year in Search' is now a regular thing and this short film was made for 2015 by Los Angeles ad agency 72andSunny and Google's head of brand creative Michael Tabtabai, in a moving collaboration to remind us of some of the important stories of 2015. Stories that dominated 2015 throughout the year included the global refugee crisis; the almost daily mass shootings in America; #BlackLivesMatter campaign against the shooting of unarmed black civilians in the United States; and the American Presidential race.

    #Hashtag uprising: The hashtag has really came into its own in the past few years as a rallying point for various movements, social causes and as a way to express solidarity with an issue. Locally of course, South Africa also saw the beginning of our 'hashtag revolutions' #FeesMustFall and #ZumaMustFall. The hashtag will continue to be a rallying cry for many in 2016, as well as humorous interludes, the things that keep us sane when the rest of the world seems to be going insane.

    [TrendTalk] 2015 was a hairy year
    Even the respected Fast Company magazine writes that we demonstrated our humanity in our googling, rather than just our fascination for the weird, obscure and silly, celebrity world. Yes, LOL Cats featured, but so did social causes.

    Best of...

    Bringing home the bacon: One of the most discussed pieces of research released in 2015 was the one that said bacon and other processed meats can cause cancer. Social media exploded in uproar: "I'd rather have a short life with bacon, than a long life of misery and lentils," read a lament on NewsThump. I concurred in my ode to the joy of bacon last year. Viva bacon viva! Long live!

    Source: AdWeek
    Source: AdWeek

    Merry Christmas: What did Santa bring you for Christmas? If it was socks, I hope it was Netflix socks. Boring 'dad gifts' will never be the same again with this invention: Netflix socks that pause the show you are watching if you fall asleep! Given that Netflix has just launched into South Africa this week, it's a gift to get dad for Father's Day this year! Only problem is, there's a bit of knitting and assembly involved.

    Source: PixieRah Designs
    Source: PixieRah Designs

    Best colouring book, like, ever: If like me, swearing is your first language, this will go onto your future gift wish list. I would have liked this for Christmas, to doodle in on 'those' days. This cursing colouring book by illustrator Sarah Bigwood contains some of the most satisfying curse words to doodle on and colour in. F*cking brilliant indeed.

    Top marketing word of the year: As 'snackable' content becomes another marketing category for Boardroom Bingo, 'listicles' will proliferate. We sure do like our lists. For more Google lists on absolutely every subject, click here.

    Best social media campaign: Groupon nailed it with their social media team's response to their rather racy new product, the Banana Bunker. Given its rather obvious shape, the comment section on its daily deals earlier this year went a bit nuts. But it was the poker-faced response from Groupon's social media team that won the internet in 2015.

    Quote of the Year: Half of new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet ministers are women. When a reporter asked him why, he said, "Because it's 2015."

    [TrendTalk] 2015 was a hairy year

    Best word of 2015: Adult; adulting. As in "I can't adult today. I am not adulting, I want to be a cat instead."

    Tweet of the year: World first successful penis transplant by a South African medical team led to this contender for tweet of the year in: 'Man gets world's first successful penis transplant after circumcision cock-up'.


    Millennials: Product innovation in 2015 and 2016 is all about wearable tech and ideas that solve problems. Millennials are the influentials of the moment and their consumer habits are having a massive influence on brand strategy.

    Sustainability: Purpose-driven marketing and the fact that each brand needs to be sustainable in terms of impact, footprint and renewable, was the thought that went into these sneakers from these French businessmen.

    Virtual reality (VR): Explore Mars in this virtual reality experiment, launched in 2015.

    Wearables: From the Apple Watch to various health devices, techno-clothing, wearables are a trend that will dominate more and more in 2016 and the years to come.

    Artificial intelligence is at a tipping point according to Harvard Business Review and almost ready to be integrated into business.

    You can't make this stuff up...

    That Dress: There is no doubt 2015 was the year of social media squabbles, none more so over the ridiculous blue/black or gold/white dress debate. Brands wrapped themselves in the controversy outdoing themselves with witty repartee. Kudo's to Ireland Davenport who won global acclaim for their quick turnaround on advertising for the Salvation Army, referencing The Dress in a powerful domestic violence ad.

    Source: Ireland Davenport
    Source: Ireland Davenport

    Llamas on the loose: Then America went Llama loopy on how the internet handled the Great Llama Escape of 2015. It was a day that would go down in 'hysteria', as in "You can lasso our Llamas but you can never take their freedom..."

    Worst ad of 2015? Or the best? Australia's stoner sloth was the perfect ad to end 2015 with, summing up the weird and the insanity that 2015 seemed at times. One tweet asked "How high were the people who made the ad?" It was intended to discourage weed smoking among teens but has become a popular meme instead.

    Pissed off: We had that awesome innovation by Grey London for Volvo with bike paint to make cyclists glow at night, but this hydrophobic paint project gives public urinators taking a slash outdoors in one German town, an unwelcome surprise - a splash back!

    [TrendTalk] 2015 was a hairy year

    Happy New Year! So, begone 2015 and take all the nuts with you! (Same goes for the 'Scrote n Tote'). Here's to an interesting 2016, may your most important dreams come true!

    TRENDAFRiCA is a trend watching portal on consumer insight, research and trends from South Africa and further afield on the continent of Africa. It includes DAiLY trends headlines from around the world, influential Trendspotter columnists and in-depth reports on industry segments. Louise Marsland is the founder and editor.
    Go to:

    About Louise Marsland

    Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is Founder/Content Director: SOURCE Content Marketing Agency. Louise is a Writer, Publisher, Editor, Content Strategist, Content/Media Trainer. She has written about consumer trends, brands, branding, media, marketing and the advertising communications industry in SA and across Africa, for over 20 years, notably, as previous Africa Editor:; Editor: Bizcommunity Media/Marketing SA; Editor-in-Chief: AdVantage magazine; Editor: Marketing Mix magazine; Editor: Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor: BusinessBrief magazine; Editor: FMCG Files newsletter. Web:

      Let's do Biz