Visual Trends – How they work in Advertising


Following on from Hannah’s blog on Getty’s visual trends for 2016, we explore how these trends actually work out in the big wide world of advertising.

Outsider in

This outspoken outré and odd trend can be seen alive and well in these campaigns:

Ethel + Frank, a vintage handbag company launched their new website with the tagline ‘Give no fucks in Style’, using feisty older models.

Even in business the very un-outsider like Bank of America is getting in on the act by using Billy Idol in their rewards campaign

The real estate site Trulia has the slogan ‘find a home where you can be you’ and depicts people indulging in nude scrabble and whale speak

Divine Living

Soul search and contemplation being the key elements of this trend, brands are starting to focus on values instead of consumption. Check out these adverts to see how this trend pans out.

UBS advert still - business man sat at desk

UBS, wealth Management Company connects the concept of wealth with introspective thought, with their new campaign shot by Anne Leibovitz.

Volvos new campaign states that luxury is sanctuary

Extended Human

Technology is changing the way we live our lives, and the parameters of human and tech are blurring.

This campaign; Cars That Feel by Soap Creative encapsulates this.

wearable tech advert - glove

Wearable tech is a growing industry. These cycling gloves with turn signals built right in — a giant flashing amber arrow on the back of each hand. Two metal contacts between the thumb and forefinger fire up the arrows: Hold them together, lift your arm, and your hand becomes a blazing LED beacon to drivers everywhere.


…Is a rebellion against the order and predictability of everyday life and returning to something a bit more primeval, more visceral, more natural.

Reebok – be more human campaign gets down and dirty and explores the need to challenge ourselves.

Intermarché advert - wonky fruit and vegetables

To fight against food waste, Intermarché, the 3rd largest supermarkets chain in France, decided to sell (30% cheaper) the non-calibrated and imperfect fruits and vegetables: “the inglorious fruits and vegetables”.

Silence V Noise

This trend focuses on the consumers need to breathe and reconnect with minimalist images and lots of space for contemplation.

See how it works with VW latest ad campaign ‘Then, now and always’

Going against the grain, Kit Kat has created an advert that gives people a little break with a witty and observational take on the Christmas season as the accompanying voiceover asks if ‘just absolutely nothing’ isn’t nice for a change?


This trend represents how we feel about the rapidly changing and diversifying visual culture around us. Mental? Confusing?

MTV advert - surreal print images of miley cyrus

MTV’s 2015 awards campaign is filled with surreal imagery.

Max & Lola surreal advert - girl in woods

Max & Lola. The Belgium design label Max & Lola always have a dramatic and amazing kids photo-shoot for their campaign images. ‘Kids will be teens’

What next?

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Author: Sue Coghlan

Sue is a Senior Creative at AB. She brings over 15 years of experience in graphic design, having worked in the Far East, Italy and London.


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