Try a trend: The Barbie-fication of everything
Aug 30, 2023 – minute read
What this is: Barbie has been an unmissable cultural phenomenon this month. There have been over 3.5 billion views of Barbie-related content on YouTube since the movie has been released1, driven by some obvious trends around makeup and fashion, and some surprising trends around nostalgic life moments and pasta. Despite not having their Y2K-era version of Barbie Girl featured in the soundtrack, Aqua hit its highest daily views this year after the movie release, and has even inspired local renditions around the world. From gamers building Barbie dream homes in games like Sims 4, Minecraft, and Roblox, to dancers recreating the film’s iconic dance sequence, content Creators across all genres have found imaginative ways to participate in this cultural moment.
This maintained buzz is due in large part to audience participation ... 54% of people say they would prefer to watch Creators breaking down a major event rather than the event itself.
Why this matters: The cultural conversation surrounding Barbie began long before the blockbuster’s release, and has continued long after. This maintained buzz is due in large part to audience participation, as more and more creation has extended the topic’s shelf life. 54% of people (online 18-44 year olds) say they would prefer to watch Creators breaking down a major event rather than the event itself.2
Pair that audience behavior with the wide breadth of Creators across verticals that have engaged and created their own trends on this topic, and the opportunity for any genre to add their perspective to any topic couldn’t be greater.
What this is: Hot, Tomato, Soft - these represent a smattering of “Girl Summer'' aesthetic trends that encourage individuals to embrace their most confident, carefree selves. Originating from “Hot Girl Summer”, Girl Summer aesthetic videos have been here for a while in many iterations, yet they’re still growing and evolving on YouTube, with over 25M global views since Memorial Day.3 They have even given way to offshoot trends from long form “glow up” guides to “girl dinners”.
Why this matters: Aesthetics are audio and visual themes that communicate an identity, ultimately providing a sense of belonging and connectivity with a broader community. From picture-perfect vacations to doom-scrolling in bed, there’s a Girl Summer aesthetic for everyone, creating a comforting shared experience between Creators and viewers. In a modern day world that can often feel overwhelming and chaotic without conventional community groups, the participatory nature of a defined aesthetic trends helps fill the gaps.
What this is: Get Ready With Me (GRWM) is an endemic YouTube format in which creators document fashion or beauty processes. These videos serve as a way to better get to know someone, with many creators and even celebrities using the format to tell stories in addition to sharing tutorials, turning a mundane part of someone’s routine — putting on their makeup in the morning — into a new opportunity to connect. While GRWM has been a staple video format for lifestyle, fashion and beauty YouTubers since 2010, it traditionally tended long-form in nature with open-ended conversation.
Recently, with the growing popularity of short-form video, GRWM videos have taken another direction, often featuring focused narratives delivered with voiceovers. In turn, there has been a significant increase in views and uploads with over 6B views of GRWM videos so far this year, and even more Creators and audiences joining in every day.
There has been a significant increase in views and uploads with over 6B views of GRWM videos so far this year.
Why this matters: The GRWM format was instrumental in establishing the larger “with me” trend, which has paved the way for more participatory entertainment, in which viewers are invited to “join in” on the activity rather than simply viewing passively. There have been 4x daily uploads of GRWM videos since last year, as this trend has changed how we engage with video and turned what are often solo activities into meaningful communal ones, across all video lengths and formats.