by Colin Jowell
Trend spotting is a dangerous game. One risks uncovering something so fringe that it’s actually a fad not a trend. Or something so obvious that it’s impossible to apply with any focused use. But with any luck, sometimes one can strike the balance just right, so that it describes things that are our new reality, but are yet to be applied.

This article in Vice Magazine does a fairly withering expose of a new breed of young British gentleman, distinguished by his loutish behavior, and muscular physique. But the truth is, this phenomenon is not unique to Britain - it can be spotted across the landscape of Australian youth. And swept up in this phenomenon is the well documented, ever declining age for cosmetic procedures that include insertables, injectables for men and women of all persuasions and orientations. And just down the street, someone else is making the opposite decision, eating their way into making us one of the most obese nations on the planet. No matter which way you look at it, we are indeed, the Swollen Generation.

The “Why’s” behind this phenomenon are numerous - unrealistic expectations driven by photoshopped advertising, edited distortions of life created by reality tv, social media-fuelled feelings of inadequacy all add up to a collective epidemic of body dysmorphia.

For the type of people described in that Vice article, the selfie has become the ultimate form of social egotainment. While on the other end of the spectrum, they are doing everything they can to hide. But by applying these principles, you could attract them both to your brand.

Ego - Does it make me look good? Preferably better than I am.
Ease - Does it offer a short cut to feeling better about myself. Minimum effort, maximum response. Cure that nagging sense that some one out there is better than me.
Evidence - Will the results be obvious? Subtlety is neither appreciated or desired.

While every generation has looked at the one following them and given a shudder of disapproval, trying to fight this phenomenon seems fairly futile. Ethically, some might try, and on issues such as obesity that carry a public health cost, undoubtedly that’s a good thing to do. But equally so, we might as well accept we are dealing with adults, making their own decisions, and we would be better off understanding what it is in our brands that may resonate with this audience.