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anti-trend. E-commerce may be booming, but real world retail is far from dead. Has retail changed in response to ecommerce? Sure. But look at excited shoppers in Apple stores from New York to Shanghai, and it’s clear that both online and offline retail have many years of opportunity ahead of them. Similarly, while underground habits influence mainstream culture, they won’t just suddenly dominate and replace it. That’s just now how it works. Observing the world around you, with an open mind, is something many professionals have unlearned, but it’s something that we’re all born with. Just ask yourself why

whenever you notice something new, instead of immediately looking for shortcomings. Curiosity is everything. Groundbreaking innovations and bar-raising customer experiences may well be happening in industries other than your own. Take the best, and adapt and apply it, and you’ll be endlessly inspired. Benefit from the unprecedented abundance of resources: in a world that is more connected now than ever, there are countless resources that you can use to identify new trends. From magazines to social media (check out Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Quora), from TV to travel, from shops to air-


Rocky Horror Picture Show


With a cast comprised mostly of real carnival performers, this was a film that conservative 1930s moviegoers were not ready for. Having been cut to a short 64 minutes by the studio censors, the film nevertheless grew into a classic decades later as taboos began to be broken.


Fun, camp and neither as good as die-hard fans suggest nor as dire as critics would have you believe, Rocky

Horror is central to the history of cult films, having kick-started the craze for fancy-dress-wearing, food-throwing, midnight-screening cinema going.


plan 9 from outer space

the big lebowski

There are few film characters that trigger fanatical devotion, but Jeff Bridges’ lethargic layabout, The Dude, is one of them. Not impressive at the box office, the Coen Brothers’ film nevertheless struck a chord with home cinema audiences, so much so that it inspired not only the annual Lebowski

Fest, but also its own spin-off religion, Dudeism. The Dude abides.


From the infamous director Ed Wood, Plan 9 has generally been heralded as the worst film ever made. However, remember there is no such thing as bad press, and with infamy came spin-off video games, comic books, stage shows and remakes with puppets.


Good-looking ‘indie’ lead actor? Check. A moody convoluted


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ports – inspiration is everywhere. Don’t worry about timing, life cycles or regional suitability.Worried about being either too early or too late? Well, major consumer trends are about deep social and cultural change, meaning things typically won’t change tomorrow – it takes time. Think that a trend is too distant? Take it back to basic needs and desires, and see how when it comes to brands and consumption, people’s similarities worldwide far outnumber the differences. Applying trends is all about innovation. Ask yourself if the trend you’ve spotted has the potential to: 1) influence or

donnie darko

The Room

storyline only relatable to an audience of angst-filled teenagers? Check. Patrick Swayze? Check. A demonic rabbit called Frank? Check. This movie has all the necessary ingredients for a cult classic. Despite failing to make money on its cinematic release, Donnie Darko garnered a dedicated army of fans who were so devoted that a trendy cinema in New York ran midnight screenings of the film for 28 months.

shape your company’s vision, 2) come up with a new business concept, new venture or brand, 3) launch a new product or service, or 4) speak the language of consumers currently ‘living the trend’. This way you’ll have a better idea of where you’re going with the information that you’ve gathered. And a final bonus tip: have some fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Trend watching is about coming up with exciting new products and services for your customers: nothing more, nothing less. So relax, observe, adapt, apply, and enjoy the ride. Henry Mason serves as Head of Research and Analysis for



The phrase ‘so bad, it’s good’ was invented for this film. The largely ignored $6 million vanity project from actor/director Tommy Wiseau was given a new lease of life when independent cinemas picked up on viral YouTube videos of the film and the commonly held belief that The Room was officially ‘the worst film of all time’. After Ed Wood’s Plan 9, of course.


You know a film is weird when even its oddball director David

This Is Spinal Tap

Lynch labels it his most ‘spiritual’ movie ever. Taking more than five years to make, the terrifyingly barmy film went on to inspire directors like Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas.


The fact that it was deemed ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’ by the US Library of Congress highlights just how well this rock musical mockumentary has done for itself – especially as most of the dialogue was ad libbed. 51

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Cult Films  

Open Skies magazine – May 2012