One month, two cameras, six cities… oh yes, and a couple of researchers. These were the ingredients for our latest UK Tribes venture. Insight and innovation exec Berny McManus reports...
For those of you who don’t know about UK Tribes, it’s a long-term project commissioned by Channel 4 and run by Crowd DNA. It takes a candid look at UK youth culture from the street up and has done for the last nine years.
Our aim? Exploring tribal identity among young people; evaluating the continued relevance of enduring tribes and the emergence of new ones.
How? A road trip (naturally).
The big questions? Have vloggers and bloggers changed the face of celebrity? Do they sit comfortably alongside the creatives? Have former Aspirant tribes moved into the Mainstream? And where have all the Hipsters gone?
So, the C4 Road Trip brand was born, contacts were made and the team were ready to hit the road.
Our road trip has seen us protest for free education with the Young Greens, (watch) beatboxing in Cardiff with local boy Jpegg, fly through the air with the Bristol Jets Cheerleading Squad and everything in between. Our approach was low-key but always inquisitive – our aim wasn’t to disrupt behaviour but to be a part of it. The outcome was the ‘uninstagrammed’ version of their lives.
This is the sort of project you get really excited about. It’s a totally immersive and fast-paced experience and makes you feel as if a part of every single tribe becomes clearer.
So having just returned from the final leg of our C4 Road Trip – what has stayed with me?
First off, someone give Kim Kardashian a medal because posting your every move on Twitter (follow us @C4 Road Trip) is a full time job. And it looks like ‘brand me’ isn’t just for the Kardashian clan…
Style has always been important to the tribes – that’s not new. What has shifted is the mentality around the power that comes with your choice of clothing. Previously, snapbacks and a pair of Jordans would have signalled that you were part of a certain tribe, that you listen to a certain type of music, and that you had a specific outlook on life. Brands and key items continue to do that but tribes have started to manipulate these items to create ‘brand me’. YouTube, Twitter, Instagram… Social media has created this need-state for the everyday 16 – 24 year old to package themselves as commodity that can work across a multitude of platforms.
It’s a challenge to get to the core of what makes a tribe when there is such self-censorship going on. But this is why UK Tribes works and will continue to work. Our totally immersive approach strips away that veneer, allowing us to pick up on the subtle cultural cues that we know may develop into seismic shifts.
To read more about our UK Tribes work, click here.
In the meantime, here’s a little glimpse into we’ve got up to over the past month…