Now Trending: Food – Sustenance or Lifestyle?

Now Trending is a Lab column penned by Agency Access Creative Consultant Karen D’Silva. A few times a year, Karen will take a look at emerging and current trends in the advertising industry to help commercial artists gain insight into what art buyers and other creatives are looking for.

There is a movement growing in our society. We started to see it with “green,” then “authenticity,” and even in “conscious capitalism.” This movement is the emergence of a social mindfulness – the drive to be better people and make a better world to share. This movement affects our desire for happiness, defines us as parents, causes us to take a stand for the kind of people we want to be — and the food we eat often takes center stage in this social revolution.

Why is food so important to our society? Food is the center of life. It brings us together. It connects us to our family, our community and our environment. What we choose to eat is a reflection of our basic values and beliefs. Even how we eat can make social, political, religious, or moral statements. Whether or not we think about it, eating is a reflection of character.

I’m not just talking about food, but the food culture that is being woven into how we as a society choose to live – and astute marketers are taking note. Today’s food marketers are shifting their campaigns towards what and how our societal influencers are eating. Brands are embracing a healthy perspective on food, and how these values can be harmonious with society. When brands are perceived as sharing the same principals and morals as their target audience, they become a lifestyle brand. More importantly, they become a trusted lifestyle brand.

Think about how many images we are now seeing of models preparing and sharing a meal. It’s becoming the new iconic advertising moment. In a single shot, a brand can illustrate its strong belief in the integrity and sustainability of society as a whole.

Even traveling out of the literal food category, we’re starting to see general advertising center around a family preparing a meal or eating together. Brands are setting their campaigns at farm, picnic or garden locations. Even editorial clients are building images about the story of the food and the compassionate people working towards creating a better planet for all things great and small.

The biggest indicator of this shift is that lifestyle photographers are beginning to build “food” galleries for their websites. Food marketers are no longer just looking for a beauty shot of a product, but rather a narrative for the product which tells of its origin, the way it is handled, and how it got to your plate. I believe that food culture is quickly emerging as the next big trend in lifestyle photography. Have a look at this recent advertisement for Swanson. It perfectly illustrates the type of personal and heartfelt social integrity that advertisers are implementing in their new campaigns.

A Swanson food ad

Comment below and let us know if you’ve seen any examples of this emerging advertising trend!

Karen D'Silva

Karen D'Silva is one of today's most influential creatives in the commercial photography community. She founded Karen DSilva Creative Services, a trend, marketing and research company designed to help photographers understand the marketplace, find where their images fit, and profile and market to clients who share the same photographic vision. She is also currently a Creative Consultant at Agency Access.

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