Tech, TikTok, Gen Z ...what else is new?

Rachel I., Justine V., Megan H.
Oct 2023

Three Things, Noble People's monthly take on the media landscape and the constant changes within it, has been re-envisioned. It's bolder, more in-depth, and in a newsletter delivered straight to your digital front door.

Join our monthly Three Things paper route by signing up for our newsletter, or keep reading below for this month's take on evolving media consumption habits and new technologies that better engages audiences, all in an effort to help make you even a little more informed than others.

TikTok billboard in Times Square. Brands can extend their TikTok buy IRL across a variety of physical locations. Courtesy of Marketing Dive

From mobile to billboard

How far can TikTok's influence stretch?

TikTok is now influencing the physical world with its new Out of Phone solution, which extends marketers' reach from mobile devices to physical locations. It allows advertisers to run ads and content across OOH inventory, in places like billboards, kiosks, cinemas, bars, restaurants, automobiles, airports, gas stations, retail stores etc.

This is a powerful extension for brands who are already excelling on the platform, either organically or with creators. The compounding impact from seeing a brand's message across both the TikTok app and the outdoor ad increases both linkage and recall, while remaining very low lift in terms of creative development.

As a new development, brands who jump on this opportunity will feel the first mover advantage. Creative will stand apart from the highly polished, standard out of home ads, and consumers will pay closer attention to seeing social ads in the real world.

This is another great innovation for advertisers from the social network, continuing to fuel its demarcation from Instagram.

A holiday fireplace. Customers can shop via QR codes that direct them to shoppable boards on Anthropologie's Pinterest page. Courtesy of Anthropologie

Try before you buy

How are Online and IRL shopping experiences merging ahead of the holidays?

Anthropologie teamed up with Pinterest to create a shoppable Brooklyn Heights home.

Their pop-up 'Holiday Showhouse' featured Terrain home decor products with stylists explaining them, and QR codes that directed people to shoppable boards on Anthropologie's Pinterest page. 1st-party Pinterest insights informed users of the 2024 holiday trends—a few months early. It actually ran through October 15—admittedly an early timeframe for some holiday shoppers, but not for Pinners who are known for planning ahead.

In fact, many retailers are integrating QR codes into their physical locations. Walmart did so in its 'Time Well Spent' store so shoppers could learn about the products, as well as Amazon in its first-ever brick-and-mortar retailer.

It's a deviation from the ever-growing focus on e-commerce (e.g. more and more Shopify integrations and creator partnerships). Instead, it resurfaces an age-old 'try before you buy' mindset - especially for big purchases like furniture or home decor.

Graphic of Lewis, the 8 foot tall Halloween decoration that has gained immense popularity amongst Gen Z and baffled marketers.

Planning is out, reacting is in

What can Gen Z humor teach us about their media habits?

TikTok's newest icon Lewis—a “not-a-jack-o’-lantern” animatronic from Target—epitomizes the necessary ingredients for virality from Gen Zers and is the perfect example to show how marketers can resonate in a fast-paced, hyper-social digital world.

A 2021 study on meme culture revealed the Gen Z sense of humor: a bizarre cocktail of absurdism, complex layers of cultural superimposition, omission of punchlines, and a certain unpredictability that have older generations in a tailspin to understand. But this overlooks a simple truth: young consumers are rejecting predictability in favor of novel behaviors in which we can never truly know their next move.

Marketers try to predict future desires using current trends when planning. But those who truly resonate with Gen Z forgo proactivity and instead meet young consumers where they're at in the moment.

By leaning into a reactive approach, brands will move in stride with Gen Z consumers and the generational zeitgeist. After all, the secret to anticipating what's in the cards for Gen Z is understanding that you may not be able to anticipate what's next at all.

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