Trends

Urban Pride

I’m from Chicago. The suburbs, to be exact. When I was a teenager, I saw my first concert at the United Center, and that started a lifelong love of this city’s acclaimed music culture. I’ve been to most venues, most record stores and most festivals, and all are important to me—they’ve become part of my identity. So if a brand wanted to interest me in their product, they might appeal to my civic pride and the connection I have to Chicago and its music. Brands today that successfully understand people’s love for their city and how that love connects to their identity are tapping into Urban Pride.

Globalization continues to make a lot of things the same, but it’s also motivating a lot of people to celebrate their differences too.

As a consumer, I’m not alone in identifying with my city and specific aspects of it. There are people all over the world now who call a city home and are connected to that home in a variety of unique and culturally specific ways. The world is becoming more and more urban, in fact. Globalization continues to make a lot of things the same, but it’s also motivating a lot of people to celebrate their differences too. The city itself is becoming a central identifier for many people. And smart brands are capitalizing on that.

For instance, workspace startup Breather, located in New York City, has found a unique way to celebrate the city it calls home. Their Sounds of New York app plays ambient noise from different neighborhoods of the city, such as Chelsea, Harlem and Greenwich Village. It offers both current and former New Yorkers the chance to calmly work to the soothing (and bustling) sounds of the city they love. It also promoted the Breather startup simply by tapping intelligently and creatively into Urban Pride. Success.

What’s brilliant about the Heinz “Chicago Dog Sauce” stunt is that the video doesn’t just trick people, it celebrates their Urban Pride.

Back to Chicago. You may have recently seen the “Chicago Dog Sauce” story referenced on the 88 Brand Partners Twitter account. If you haven’t, here’s a recap: Chicagoans don’t put ketchup on their hot dogs. They really will just not do it. It’s a cultural thing, and one they won’t shake. So Heinz created “Chicago Dog Sauce” and tricked a few Chicagoans to admitting they liked what they were using on their hot dogs—ketchup that Heinz had cleverly renamed “Chicago Dog Sauce.” What’s brilliant about this ad is that the video doesn’t just trick people, it celebrates their Urban Pride. We see Chicagoan after Chicagoan passionately say that you don’t put ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog. And when the trick is finally revealed, one person goes so far as to say “don’t tell my dad about this” with a smile, hinting at the strong cultural ties that lie behind this ketchup-less phenomenon. You might think that the trick would turn people away from Heinz, but the entire campaign is an intelligent nod to Chicago culture. It’s a document of Urban Pride.

Urban Pride is all about celebrating the city you call home, and brands that want to engage in this trend need to authentically get in touch with the real pride that exists in cities around the world, and celebrate that pride with consumers. And if it happens to involve music in Chicago, I’ll be first in line.

Trends inspired by trendwatching.com/premium