It’s OK to be alone. While in the past, advertising may have conspired to makes us feel utterly inadequate unless surrounded at all times by a coterie of guffawing supermodels, images of solitude are the growing trend in global visual culture.
So say Getty Images whose Map Report claims to “capture the concepts that are shifting global culture and will become hot themes for the world’s media”. According to Getty, “advertisers will no longer shy away from depicting the individual without relationship ties.”
Having spent decades deriding singletons as losers with all the social skills of a rock, advertisers now want to make friends with those of us with just the one toothbrush in our bathroom. And it’s not just because, with no family to support, single people are wont to fill their empty lives with pointless new purchases. Being on your own is now, apparently, an aspiration.
Instead of fretting at your lack of mates or your pathetic inability to attract a partner, advertisers now want you to think of the Single Life as a Good Thing: “The label of ‘loner’ or ‘singleton’ will give way to singleness as a value. Advertising will reach out to those without ties, who can do things that you are not able to do in a couple, as a family or in a group,” claim Getty, who reveal that over half of their top 500 selling images feature solitary people. “We are likely to see imagery around the concepts of peace and quiet as a lifestyle choice enabling thinking time, reflection and freedom from chaotic lifestyles.”
Getty are calling the trend One Life. It’s based on analysis of buying patterns on its website, a study of 50,000 searches conducted in the last 12 months, 120 re-branding exercises conducted for its clients, tearsheets from the 260 magazines read per week by its Creative Research department and a survey of 500 advertising creatives around the world.
It’s all wrapped up in an 11,000 word report which, though blighted by some of the worst marketing bollocks ever committed to paper, nevertheless contains some intriguing insight. We’ve read it so you don’t have to – OK, we didn’t read it all, it’s not like we’re some sad loser with no friends…