As one Love Network participant said to us this week, “No December news is complete without a mention of the queen of Christmas herself…” referring of course to the iconic Mariah Carey. This week youth audiences basked in the glow of not just one but three Christmas divas, when both Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson joined Carey for a surprise on-stage performance at her Madison Square Garden show. From the incredible on-trend mini dresses, to the empowered display of sisterhood, for many watching it was giving us the 90’s/00’s, mega girl group festive feels that we all needed.


On the subject of iconic female power, Taylor Swift is finishing the year in the most apt way possible as Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ 2023. Time’s choice of cultural icon is summed up as “This was the year Taylor Swift perfected her craft—not just with her music, but in her position as the master storyteller of the modern era.”

From her impact on the US economy, through to her successful move into film-making and her meme-worthy Benjamin Button cat cover photoshoot, Swift epitomises young people’s aspirational vision of personal success through impact on the world around them. Her openness to share the good and bad experiences behind her art through her unmatched talent for modern pop writing wins her the hearts of all but the Grinchiest of music fans. As interviewer Sam Lansky shared, in 2023 Taylor Swift didn’t just rise to global fame, “she became the main character of the world.”

“I don’t give Taylor advice about being famous. She doesn’t need it.”

Stevie Nicks, Time Magazine Dec 2023


For brands looking to drive relevance with digital-first audiences, cultural fame and talkability is key. Discount retailer Aldi UK achieved just that, with their Kate Moss-esque stunt this week in Manchester. With celebrities like Kirsten Stewart and Jenna Coleman in town for Chanel’s exclusive Métiers d’Art show, the scene was set for celeb spotting. A snap of a glamorous blonde with dark shades and an Aldi re-usable shopper bag sitting outside a popular coffee shop in Manchester drove wild speculation that Kate Moss (known as being somewhat reluctant to enter the spotlight) was not only in town for the show - but also a discount retail fan. Conversation bounced from social channels to Reddit, and both local and global news sites; with younger audiences applauding ‘Moss’ for being a money saving ‘eco qween.’ This was eventually revealed as a proactive stunt - with the Manchester local lookalike commenting on the believe-ability of the idea as being key to its success on BBC news, saying “I don’t know why she wouldn’t shop at Aldi…” Younger people's verdict? According to Tiktok comments, it was a hit - done with a savvy, tongue-in-cheek tone with the lookalike appearing more like Kate Moss, than Kate Moss herself it seems!


Google has just released its curated download of the top global search themes and topics driving conversations throughout 2023. Unsurprisingly (especially if you’ve been reading 52INSIGHTS) Barbie topped the table as no. 1 global movie of the year - underpinning its entertainment & all-round iconic cultural moment status. We also saw sports celebrities like Travis Kelce step from US renown to international stardom; as global artists like Shakira and The Jonas Brothers continue to top music conversations all over the world. The courageous stories of actor Jeremy Renner (who experienced a near-fatal snow plough accident) and athlete Damar Hamlin (who suffered cardiac arrest on the field) drove extensive online interest in 2023, in response to their inspirational, relatable journeys to recovery.

We noticed some familiar foodie topics pop up on the Google roundup. Snacking overall, has become a big theme for engaging Gen Z audiences in 2023; from Girl Dinner to Pedro Pascal’s snacky snack meme, foodie themes have risen in popularity with younger people all over the world. The Bibimbap conversation has been high this year, affectionately referred to as ‘bi bim bap or bi bim bop’ by younger fans & advocates. The Korean rice dish, loved for its versatility and personalisation (put it together however you like) has had #Foodtok fans obsessed in 2023. The scooped vs. non-scooped bagel controversy also made its way onto the Google roundup, with one clear takeout; however you like them, bagels are NOM.

In other interesting trend data, we enjoyed reading the Netflix viewership report (while top 10 lists are regularly shared on their homepage, these insights come from a new 18,000-row spreadsheet sharing data for all movies/TV shows from Jan-June 2023.) Rather than any one insight, the most interesting thing for us has been the uniqueness of what’s being measured - sharing data in hours consumed, rather than (compared to other types of entertainment media) numbers of people watching/reached, or numbers of cinema passes/tickets bought. Will the new benchmark of entertainment success become ‘hours watched’?


Coming at the end of 2023, the global climate summit had a decidedly sombre feeling. 2023 has been a sobering year in climate terms; where the world experienced its highest recorded temperatures amid unprecedented weather events, war, civil unrest and economic uncertainty. During this global season of light and hope, historic progress has been made this week with a landmark deal agreed to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels. It is deemed historic, as it is the first time fossil fuels have been included in a final COP text and it has channelled positivity into younger generations conversations this week.


The common thread across all our hot topics this week is their high talkability factor. From trending food topics to Taylor Swift x Time Person of the Year, and historic COP28 progress; conversation is the life-blood of the internet.

Consider how to drive in-culture talkability as part of all consistent brand communications. Whether that’s driving conversation to top the iTunes charts with GOAL Next Gen X-Change x Spark project or celebrating everyone’s favourite Lynx fragrance using AR Tech there are as many ways to drive conversation, as there are themes to engage audiences with.


COP28 CREATIVITY: To mark #COP28 this year we've compiled 28 pieces of climate storytelling - work that we believe is helping to move our narratives forward in the direction of lives that future generations would thank us for. From using satire and humour to getting experimental with creative tech, each is a useful source of inspiration. Some examples help connect us with what is urgent, honest and problematic - while others invite new possibilities of active hope, beauty and impact - because, as author & artist Oliver Jeffers puts it, “Storytelling is the most powerful force humans have.” Explore here.

THE B CORP JOURNEY FROM A TO Z: THINKHOUSE Founder & Head of Creative Innovation Jane McDaid spoke with the IMJ about the path to B Corp. Read the interview here.

MEASUREMENT & IMPACT: Our commitment to better business often starts with measurement. Read THINKHOUSE’s most recent Environmental Impact Case Study to see our ongoing efforts to track and reduce our business carbon footprint.