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VIBE

VIBE
Informal abbreviation of ‘vibration’

noun. ‘a vibe’

An emotional state, or the atmosphere of a place, as communicated to and felt by others.

verb. ‘to vibe’

To transmit or give out a feeling or atmosphere.

THE VIBE ECONOMY
UNDERSTAND IT
UNDERSTAND IT

In a TikTok captioned ‘perfect sunset vibes…’, a girl clad all in white glides along a pier at sunset. On YouTube, an anthropomorphised Game Boy superimposed onto a background of pastel-coloured clouds bobs along to a lofi hip hop beat. Its title? ‘Just vibin’. On Spotify, playlists like ‘Chill Vibes’ (which has over 2 million likes) offers listeners off-the-shelf ambience.


The popularity of this type of content highlights the growing emphasis placed on the broad body of digital content categorised into the genre of ‘vibes’.


And it is broad. But much of the content within it is united by a common purpose – to elicit a specific and recognisable emotional response that unites all who engage with it. This is a new generation of social content – one that connects people through moods and feelings, not just simple interactions.

Of course, vibes and social media are already comfortable bedfellows. When Instagram launched with iconic filters like X-Pro II and Clarendon, it was beloved for giving its users the tools to translate any everyday image into a #vibe. On Tumblr, each person’s page was a window into their own personal vibe: at its peak, a place for teens to be in their feelings, and connect with others who felt the same.


But the emergence of TikTok – and the exclusively ‘sound on’ experience of social it’s hailed in – has increased the prominence (and value) of vibes. And as we move into the metaverse, this convergence of multisensory inputs will only grow more central to the way people experience digital spaces


A whole new genre of content and creator has moved to the fore: one defined by curating a specific mood or feeling.

“Increasingly, what we’re after on social media is not narrative or personality, but moments of audiovisual eloquence.”

Kyle Chayka, theorist and writer via the New Yorker

THE VIBE ECONOMY
WHAT’S DRIVING IT?
WHAT’S DRIVING IT?
@violetvibelet

not that my aesthetic has changed at all since then #tumblrcore #tumblr2014 #2014tumblrphase

♬ chocolate - ✧・゚: *✧・゚:*
Nostalgia for old social is thriving.
IN CULTURE
Social nostalgia. Amid a growing cynicism towards major platforms and the commercial culture they house, many people are yearning for the simpler days of social. For older Gen Zers and Millennials in particular, the blog-style version of ‘00s social media – defined by platforms like MySpace or Tumblr – was one built on the curation of moods and feelings, as an outlet for teen feels. Today, vibes hark back to that simplicity.
On sound
The most popular social app is a video app
ON PLATFORMS
Sound-on. Largely driven by the mainstreaming of TikTok, social is increasingly a sound-on experience: indeed, almost a third of 18-34s (30%) globally use social with sound on more now than before the pandemic . Rather than being an afterthought, music and audio have become central to creative success in the digital landscape – and platforms are adapting to facilitate this shift.
THE VIBE ECONOMY

THE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

THE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

CORES AND AESTHETICS UNITE TEENS ONLINE

From cupidcore to cabincore, the prevalence of ‘cores’ in the digital landscape speaks to young people’s desire to evoke an emotional response through the curation of audiovisual cues and references that span cinema, fashion, art, pop culture and more.


@iridessence_

Still here, still #chonky, just #vibin'. #princesscore #cottagecore #angelcore #nymphcore #softblackgirl #blackfemininity

♬ Running Away - VANO 3000 & BADBADNOTGOOD & Samuel T. Herring
Angelcore is an aesthetic defined by the feeling of wanting to escape reality and drift into the clouds.

MULTISENSORY MEMES TRANSCEND GENERATIONS
The video of @doggface208 cruising along to Fleetwood Mac on his skateboard, carton of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice in hand, drew over 12.9 million views by embodying a carefree joy that only a track like Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ could have inspired.
@420doggface208

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac
@doggface208 created a vibe that united people across generations.

CURATORS WITH INFLUENCE
Creators no longer need authenticity or personality to get big: they just need to be great at curating relatable moods, feelings and aesthetics. @meta_visions is one of a number of Instagrammers who exclusively posts mood boards – carousels of up to 10 images or videos, all centred around a common theme – while US apparel brand Friday Beers has built a following on weekly moodboards that elicit that ‘Almost Friday’ feeling. On TikTok, @vibes.you.crave does the same with video.

US brand Friday Beers creates weekly moodboards that elicit that ‘Almost Friday’ feeling.
THE VIBE ECONOMY

USE IT

USE IT
We’re seeing a shift from an emphasis on narrative in social content to an emphasis on emotionally potent moments. This growing genre of creativity presents an opportunity for brands to curate their own mood or feeling.
Rimowa created a selection of content that matched the vibe of selected Instagram curators, to assimilate into their aesthetic.
Learn from Rimowa. Brands can collaborate with curators to assimilate into specific cores or communities. Many of the creators driving this form of creativity set the tone for aesthetics and feelings that define niche groups. Luxury luggage brand Rimowa understands this, and recently partnered with a number of fashion mood board accounts on Instagram, effectively showing up where people go to get inspired at the very start of a potential customer journey – contextualised in the vibe set by the curators’ tastes.
On sound
LEGO collaborated with Spotify to help audiences unwind.
Learn from LEGO. Brands can harness digital media to curate a mood around products and services. As part of its recent launch of mindful, grown-up sets, LEGO launched an ASMR album with Spotify to help audiences relax and unwind, as part of a bigger campaign to launch a set of products designed to elicit calm. Meanwhile, Tinder worked with the platform to create custom date night playlists.