Near Death Experiential and Our Increasingly Strange Future

Expect haunted houses, roller coasters, or puzzle rooms that can quite literally scare you to death (after you’ve signed the waiver) and marketing that’s so in your face, it could kill you.

Our vision of the future is very much informed by our current cultural landscape. As we work together to create a more tangible version of that world, it's important to understand how social systems are coalescing. That's why we've created the Elements of Culture, a networked collection of 80+ macro trends that define the world at large. Broken into humanity, aesthetics, science/technology, ideology and media, this framework serves to guide everything we do at sparks & honey. We've just released a report detailing 10 of the most important elements of culture for 2014 (and beyond!). As part of this exercise we've imagined the extremes of these trends, viewing their trajectory into the future. Here's a sneak peek of four big ideas reflecting how this future may come to be. For six more, make sure to check out the full report

Near Death Experiential: 

In an effort to cut through social noise and the declining ability to surprise people, marketing and entertainment companies will push the boundaries of human tolerance. Expect haunted houses, roller coasters, or puzzle rooms that can quite literally scare you to death (after you’ve signed the waiver) and marketing that’s so in your face, it could kill you.

Ultra Anonymous Living:

Cities will spring up that take anonymity to a logical extreme (in opposition to modern panopticons, like London and New York). Names will not be allowed, citizens will be required to wear masks at all times, housing will only be temporary, forcing residents to rotate where they call home. No one will ever card you at a bar, because no one will ever know you existed in the first place.

The Longest Con:

Faking is gaining steam as a tool to create buzz and conversation. As this movement escalates, new examples will be forced to grow more and more outlandish in order to compete. Expect a long con, international in magnitude that presents something unquestioned as fact as an elaborate marketing stunt – for example, the entire North Korean military regime being a fictional setup for the next installment of Mission Impossible. 

Microbial Entrepreneurs:

The sharing economy and interest in microbes have evolved in parallel. Look for communities growing more comfortable with the idea of sharing each other's best microbes for health and wellness. Pioneering entrepreneurs will take advantage of this shift by building businesses that specialize in the sale of exceptional microbes to those who are deficient.

Nate Graham is a Cultural Strategist at sparks & honey, a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.

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