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The Year Valentine’s Got Massacred

Valentine’s day is the perfect day to talk about a topic that’s very close to my heart; Dark Creativity.

One of the year’s more interesting trends, Dark Creativity is where brands are really embracing…well…their dark side.

Driven by the polycrisis and never-ending nightmare that we’re living, people are experiencing high levels of anxiety. This, in turn, is changing world views and reshaping our collective psyches into places where negative emotions are no longer rejected, but embraced.

In short, we can’t just keep pretending that everything’s going great when it clearly isn’t. And, as a result, we’re not just removing the rose-tinted spectacles, but smashing them to pieces.

With that in mind, Valentine’s Day 2023 didn’t disappoint. For me, the real winners were the brands who lent into the paradoxical twist that a day dedicated to cliched love and OTT romance provides.

Brands such as Netflix, who suggested that there are worse things than being single.

The San Antonio Zoo allowing sponsors to name a cockroach after an ex. AKA – Cry Me A Cockroach.

The Australian radio show who devised ‘revenge therapy’…with a steam roller.

Or, again from our friends down under, the eco toilet paper brand who offered to recycle your ex’s love letters into something more useful – like toilet paper. AKA – Flush Your Ex.

Even Banksy, the king of guerrilla stunts, made an (anonymous) appearance with a new mural that highlights domestic violence – The Valentine’s Day Mascara.

There’s arguably never been a better time to show-up differently and unleash your disobedient and rebellious nature (shameless plug – ✔️) which gives rise to the rare opportunity to needle through insights and conjure ideas that were previously unpalatable.

We’re still at the early beginnings of where Dark Creativity may take us. But, there is certainly a means, motive and opportunity to embrace the unorthodox and expose ourselves to the uncomfortable.

And as this trend continues to build momentum, our prediction is that real gritty, ugly, and brutally honest campaigns will be the ones that garner the most traction, and biggest reaction, when we reflect on the year’s best work.

Fortunately for AxiCom, we decided to reserve our Dark Creativity for another day and, instead, kept things traditional with a Valentine’s Day card and a cryptic code that encouraged our colleagues to keep going beyond the bits and the bytes. (Second shameless plug – ✔️)

And because we like to share the love all year round, maybe we’ll shower you with gifts (or most likely chocolate) if you’re able to decipher and send us the hidden message.

01010010 01101111 01110011 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110010 01100101 01100100 00101100 00001010 01010110 01101001 01101111 01101100 01100101 01110100 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100010 01101100 01110101 01100101 00101100 00001010 01010111 01101000 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101011 01100101 01100101 01110000 01110011 00100000 01110101 01110011 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101110 01101110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00101100 00001010 01001001 01110011 00100000 01110000 01100101 01101111 01110000 01101100 01100101 00100000 01101100 01101001 01101011 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101110

Written February 14, 2023 by

Graeme Anthony