Marketing Purks

Social Media is Becoming 'Ugly'

Due to Gen Z’s craving for brand transparency, we are now starting to see brands meet the needs of their audiences through there could be seen as “not perfect” campaigns or new social media apps. 

Two significant trends that Gen Z love are humour and authenticity, which has seen brands starting to take a human-like approach to their advertising and become more transparent in how they communicate.


TikTok plays a massive role in how brands can find ways to communicate with Gen Z easier or faster.

A big trend there has seen brands such as McDonald’s, NFL and even Amazon, hire TikTok graphic designer Emily Zugay to re-imagine their logos. (


Emily purposively designs low-quality and childlike logos and her 3.5 million followers agree that her new logo designs are better than the originals of these brands. 


One of her most successful campaigns was her redesign of Tinder, where she misspelt the brand’s title to ‘Tiddner’ and took a nostalgic look of Microsoft paint to create their new flame. The brand loved it so much that it was displayed as their profile picture in September 2021.


Seeing the success of Emily and how brands are willing to allow her to take a sarcastic approach and her followers to make fun of the original ones shows that brands are starting to have inside jokes with their audiences as if they are friends.

'Being Real'

The ugly approach has also been taken on to new social media apps that are becoming more popular than Instagram. 

In 2020 a French app called BeReal launched; its sole purpose was to get rid of the filters and start to connect with your friends in a more personal way. The app saw 21.6 million monthly active users in July 2022, which is compared to the previous year when they had just 921k users (2021). 

The app sends its users a notification at a random time every day to post a front and rear photo at the same time of what they are doing at that exact moment. There are no likes or followers, so it’s about connecting with your friends in real time.

The fall of Instagram is starting to happen due to the love of BeReal’s no aesthetic approach that Instagram is missing due to its audiences feeling like they need to follow in the steps of influencers that fill their newsfeeds or look like the filters they provide. 

This anti-aesthetic is something that Gen Z is starting to use and display for their followers on other apps rather than the perfect aesthetic Tumblr or Pinterest lifestyle they might have craved when they were growing up. So comes along the trends of the unfiltered photo dumps featuring candid photos and everyday moments that mean more to them than what looks good. This approach to posting on social media could see a fall in anxiety and depression around social media because audiences can’t compare themselves to someone’s blurry mirror selfie caught in the moment.

If brands start advertising to become friends with their audiences, they could quickly gain Gen Z’s or future generations’ trust. In addition, doing this will increase their social media engagement, translating into sales.

Sophie Bennett

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