Get to The Point with our monthly take on the hottest topics.

This time, we explore what a changing summer means for culture, consumers and brands.

After two years of mask-wearing and intermittent lockdowns...
Summer is finally back, baby.

Albeit not quite how we’re used to.


As the mercury rises and clothes change and come off in the sweltering heat, the cultural conversation around our bodies comes to the forefront too.

The ‘Hot Girl Summer’ era of a pre-COVID time in 2019 inspired women everywhere to unapologetically live their best lives - dressing for the occasion, the warmer weather and their own confidence. But there’s more than one way to show up in summer. In 2022 we’ve seen this sense of freedom go one step further – enter TikTok trend ‘Feral Girl Summer’ which embraces messiness, comfort-over-style, and the reality of a long, hot season ahead.

Gone are the ‘beach body ready’ days of summer. The endless stress and pressure to fit a perfect body narrative, or otherwise keep your body covered and only wear the clothing deemed acceptable for you. These things aren’t binary, they are another manifestation of the cultural and media fragmentation we find in our digital world. As social and cultural attitudes change, so do aesthetics. Smart brands need to recognise this or risk looking like dinosaurs on the beach.

Staycations are a signal of another major cultural shift towards locality. Yes, the lockdown made many people rethink foreign travel, but the shift has been bubbling up for much longer. With the lack of staff at airports, the constant revision of travel requirements, the rising costs, and the overall headache and hassle of travel we’ve had to fall back in love with what’s right on our doorsteps.

Airbnb has built an industry on encouraging holidaymakers to live like a local and that extends to your own country. It’s happening everywhere, in Australia they highlight hidden gems and help boost local tourism making it even easier to say yes to a staycation.


Consumers are looking to brands to play a relevant role in their lives. For example, what to do with the kids during the holidays...

IKEA, famous for being where parents can seek respite from their children, now have an answer for the kids too. With the school break occupying a massive chunk of the season, IKEA have created the Summer Funhouse, extending that summer feeling to their stores in London and The Wonderful Everyday into the summer holidays.

The last few years have been tough, and consumers are finding moments that remind them of the good times and making the most of everything.

For many, that means summer – conjuring memories of easier, better, joyful times with family or friends. A source of comfort and pleasure, triggered by all of the senses. So, it’s no surprise we are attracted to brands which connect us back through multi-sensory experiences.

The beach holiday, the summer festival – close your eyes and you can feel it, smell it. Brands are starting to realise the power of tapping into associations, short-cutting to good feelings through senses. Sunscreen brand Vacation have realised this. On top of its highly-stylised retro vibe they’ve created an eau de toilette which brings that sunscreen smell off the beach and takes you to your happy place, giving credibility to their claim of being the world’s ‘best smelling” sunscreen.


With the changing cultural and consumer context of summer, brands are tapping into ways to better connect and make the most of the shifts.

One category which has always been central to summer is beverages. Now, that’s changing too.

This year, the market is more crowded than ever before, with non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic beverages (NOLO), and more traditional brands taking a new approach, in an attempt to challenge the go-to summertime tipples of Pimms, Prosecco and Rosé.

In line with its playful look, Vizzy is taking every opportunity to ‘own summer’. From their ‘Sun is Out’ campaign to their merchandise line of funky fruit-flavoured swimwear, Vizzy not only frames itself to be sipped poolside but understands the importance of aligning closely to their core target, in a genuine, authentic way by bridging the gap between brands and lifestyle.

Iceland, a major supermarket chain famous for its frozen food in the UK, has always prided itself on being the place where mums go for practical and affordable food. During the recent heatwave, they saw an opportunity to amplify a truth at the heart of the brand by creating a ‘Chill Out Zone’ – a place where consumers could cool down – and support their brand focus on frozen food, innovation, convenience and value.


The secret is that summer has always changed. It’s just the most successful brands that have always found a way to keep themselves meaningful.

How do they do that?

They don’t chase trends, instead they look for the opportunities in cultural shifts and find a space for themselves, something that lets them play out their own brand idea. You don’t have to change your brand to get hot in summer, you just need to work out what role your brand plays when your consumer puts their shades on and steps into the sun. Long live summer.