Dentsu Creative 2023 Trends reveals the age of volatility and hope

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Marketing communications group dentsu’s creative agency Dentsu Creative launched its 2023 Trends Report exploring an age of volatility and hope. 

Report named “A Tale of New Cities” explores the modern dualities of progress and regression, optimism and anxiety, a shifting balance of old and new, technology and humanity, innovation, and tradition. Increasingly volatility, conflict, recession, climate change, and inflation have become our global reality, and it has an effect to how brands communicate. 

Most relevant for brands is that in response to above, new patterns of influence are emerging as people look to new sources of leadership and inspiration.

Marius Tianu Dentsu Creative Creative Director.png

Marius Tianu, Creative Director for Dentsu Creative in Southeast Europe, recognizes the tensions are present also in this region:

- While we are pounded by a host of grim subjects - inflation, war implications, cost-of-living - we also see the green shots of hope that tip the balance in our favor. It is encouraging to see that communities are writing their own stories, and new unforeseen opportunities are provided by new tools. So, instead of clinging to the negative, let's set our mind on how we can offset the problems using creativity, imagination, and innovation in 2023, Tianu states.

Trends for the report are gathered from all across the world, and while majority of the trends are truly global, there is great relevance for Europe and Southeast Europe.

The 12 trends that reflect the shifting sands for businesses and culture are:

  • The end of Monoculture > The quest for Culture Shock
  • Mental Health in Crisis > The joy imperative
  • Toxicity in Technology > Meta Diversity
  • The Great Opt Out > The Great Outdoors
  • Rebel without a filter > AI-dentity
  • Handbrakes on growth > Imperative for good

As the past years changes to our secure living standards looms in the background, Europe is facing a mental health recession, and people seek for self-care from simple small luxuries, and new generations seek for new sources of inspiration.

Quiet quitting, which became a phenomenon in 2022, sees a response in desire for low stakes hobbies, just to spend time together with loved ones or just to be in nature. This happens without stress of striving too much for career progression.

- We also see in social media an interesting juxtaposition: While metaverse, NFT’s and crypto’s are in talks for a group, there is counter trend where people show their unfiltered lives through Be Real and TikTok more than ever.

- To cite a classic, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Whether our personal outlook is glass half full or glass half empty, it is clear that for 2023 a tale of new cities, new cultures and communities is there to be written, Tianu concludes.

Download your copy of the report from or get to know them in short below.



Top down sources of authority and inspiration are less relevant in a world where younger generations can see all too clearly the havoc their elders have created. A generation are looking at the systems and stories they have inherited and daring to imagine something different.


As Western economies struggle, young consumers seek new sources of inspiration - craving genuine culture shock after “lost” pandemic years. The rise of Korean culture continues, while Asia Pacific embraces the full richness and diversity of the region for inspiration versus looking further afield, a trend we call “East meets East.”



Rising anxiety levels fueled by a bleak economic outlook are powering a mental health crisis. In China, we see the gamification of mental health and self analysis. Meanwhile Europe is facing a “mental health recession”* as post pandemic anxiety meets a cost-of-living crisis.


Set against a darker macro-economic crisis we see the desire for small moments of joy and play. “Pickleball”, a playful and silly racket game is one of the fastest growing sports in the world while small luxuries such as flowers have become everyday acts of self care.



Consumers are questioning their relationship with technology after years of accelerated growth during the pandemic. Concerns over privacy, cyber bullying and misinformation have eroded consumer confidence while a challenging economic outlook slowed adoption of NFTs and cryptocurrency. Screen fatigue has set in, while growth in eCommerce sales slipped backwards post pandemic.  


In parallel, independent voices are campaigning for greater inclusion, representation and accountability within the metaverse and the wider online space. Consumers are campaigning for much greater diversity of representation, while engaging in social media through smaller, niche networks. The balance between privacy and anonymity is being debated with more nuance than in previous years.



Building on 2021’s Great Resignation, 2022 gave rise to the “Quiet quitting” phenomenon; a response to hustle culture where employees simply decided enough was enough. Performative play -think competitive sourdough baking-is being replaced with “low stakes” hobbies and a desire to just be, and be together, rather than relentless self-improve.


While opting out of the hustle, we are opting in to nature. Chinese consumers have embraced camping in their millions while parents have embraced a post pandemic desire to give their children the freedom of the great outdoors. Meanwhile new city models are emerging based on clean air and quality of life.



Consumers are drifting away from polished images towards more authentic personas that embrace their inner geek and confound the algorithm. “Goblincore”, “dark academia” and “ugly chic” and the rise of platforms such as Be Real show that surrealism and silliness win versus polished perfection.


Dall E, Stable Diffusion and others are creating new models for how we think about creativity, work and identity.  V Tubers use avatars to maintain privacy but engage their fandoms in authentic dialogue. Some consumers are, ironically, finding it easier to engage with two dimensional idols and personas. 



A perfect storm is creating a challenging environment for growth. The rising cost of living meets the rising cost of goods together with ongoing supply chain problems to act as a handbrake on economic growth.  Major economies are predicted to narrowly avoid, or experience, recession.


As a result, businesses are realising that growth and good can no longer be pursued in parallel and that a fundamental reset is required to align commercial success with new business models that rely less on a relentless cycle of consumption.