Ideas & Insights

Hipsters vs Nerds: What Sells?

Who sells more stuff? Geeks or hipsters? Rolf Wulfsberg, global director, quantitative insights at Siegel+Gale, recently shared his insights with The Guardian and the verdict is:

  • Hipster brand messaging makes more of an impact than ‘nerdy attributes’
  • Businesses that deal with design, online, dating and food do well with hipster branding
  • Companies the seem to be ‘hip’ are seen as attractive workplaces (for now!)
  • Anything to do with technology and hardware should stick to ‘nerdier’ messaging

Major food brands (both fast food and grocery) have been getting hipster makeovers to attract Millennial customers, and there are certain product categories that have done really well out of the Millennial desire for authenticity, like craft beer and personal grooming. But even hipsters age. The ‘hipster’ brand now feels dated, and I reckon it is time to move on.

Here is some good supplement reading:

The Fall of the Hipster Brand: Inside the Decline of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, Racked, March 3, 2016

“What was once considered “hipster style” has gone completely mainstream. Urban Outfitters and American Apparel are trying to sell an aesthetic that is no longer fresh and exciting. Your mom can buy herself a pair of skinny jeans at Eileen Fisher. Warby Parker has brought thick, Buddy Holly-style glasses to the masses.”


Hipster Dollar Carries Heavy Weight as Millennials Come to Market, Financial Times, January 29, 2016

“Now hipster products are spreading beyond urban centres like Brooklyn, San Francisco and London’s Shoreditch, where they originated. Mainland China imports a lot of its hipster culture, often from South Korea, which has been enjoying a surge in microbreweries as the country’s younger, affluent seek a change from the limited array of drinks enjoyed by their parents’ generation.”


The Hipster is Dead, Let’s Start an Anti-Authenticity Movement, Marketing Magazine UK, September 29, 2015

“Authenticity – or this essential idea of genuineness – remains important of course. Anti-authenticity is not about shunning the principle itself, but all of the visual language and buzzword overkill that has thwarted it.”

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