“We live in an age of noise. Silence is almost extinct. You must create your own.”

— Erling Kagge, author of Silence in the Age of Noise

Pings, dings, things. More, constant, newer. Brighter, faster, shoutier.

The world has self-gorged and stuffed itself silly. Our age reeks of excess and anxiety.

Attention is our illness. But the antidotes are arriving. And they’ll change our values, our systems and our consumption.

They are silence.

And absence.

The world is ready to Zero Out.

The always-on is about to get some time off.

And nothing is going to be our everything.


As Valentine’s day rolls around this year, I have zero FOMO of being in a romantic relationship. Why? Because culture has been feeding me the truth about relationships for some time now. Some of it bad, some of it good, mainly just nuanced.

The podcast that lets you eavesdrop into couple’s counselling.

The Netflix original that shows the real Marriage Story.

The Hollywood star’s acceptance speech that makes digs at the ex-wife.

The aftermath of Love Island where the Botox lasts longer than relationships.

The book that reveals the biological underpinnings of love.

The lecture that calls time on unrealistic…


The rite of passage for youth used to be about going wild. Today they “Get Mild.” In their free time, individuals embrace leisure defined by moderation, health, and relaxation. Here are four provocations on the new youth wellness culture.

I. GENERATION CONTROL FREAK

Today’s youth have been branded as a group of swipe-culture flakes and noncommittal side-hustlers. But we would argue, youth today are actually a generation of control freaks.

And it makes sense. Uncertainty and insecurity define their world. Devoid of traditional milestones like home ownership, they lack a clear and linear path forward. …


Work defined us, but we’re losing our religion

“All hail, Work” has been the declaration of a decade. A cultural cry driven by “work-ism” — the belief that work isn’t a means to an end, but rather, the end itself. As global businesses claimed lofty brand purposes, they set their sights on employees for evangelists. Work turned faith in a company’s vision for the future and employees, its dutiful disciples.

But as we exit one decade, we look to the next. Say hello to the new Work Secular. People are giving up the desire to self-actualize through the visions of employers. Instead, they’ll actively put work in a…


I. A Solo World

You’ve probably heard by now that we’re in a “loneliness crisis.” And certainly the numbers seem to confirm it — a 2018 study found that 9% of adults in Japan, 22% in America and 23% in Britain say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated.

And with record numbers of single-person households globally, and the rise of remote working — which 50% of us worldwide now do half the week — we’re leading more solo lives.

So how is this cultural shift — coined ‘Soloism’ by Backslash — changing the nature of both…


  1. Vulnerability Is The New Strength

We’re reclaiming perceived weakness as strength as mental health comes out of the closet to become the centerpiece of our personal brands. Frank discussions of mental states are taking hold across media touch points, people are finding power through owning their struggles, and stigma is the new taboo.

Think Kanye West calling bipolar disorder his superpower and Michael Phelps using his battle with depression to fuel his work with therapy app Talkspace. Or even founder and CCO of ban.do Jen Gotch designing necklaces that proudly brandish “anxiety” and “depression” in 14K gold lettering. …


At SXSW ’19 Backslash led a panel called “Wacko World and the Rise of Memelord Brands.” The discussion honed in on a trend that Backslash has identified in culture (we call them ‘Edges’), named Wacko World: We’re all weird now. The absurd, inexplicable and plain silly have become common vocabulary in memes, fashion and marketing. This is a reaction to over-consumption and logic and signals a desire for the unique and irrational.

Audience thresholds for weirdness increase on a daily basis, and what was weird yesterday is no longer weird today. Ka5sh thinks that in practice this increased threshold means…


At SXSW ’19 Backslash led a panel called “Wacko World and the Rise of Memelord Brands.” The discussion honed in on a trend that Backslash has identified in culture (we call them ‘Edges’), named Wacko World: We’re all weird now. The absurd, inexplicable and plain silly have become common vocabulary in memes, fashion and marketing. This is a reaction to over-consumption and logic and signals a desire for the unique and irrational.

Injecting weirdness into a product (think Snapchat’s AR filters i.e. the vomiting rainbow) gives people an avenue for exploring their stranger side, and creates space for a brand…


At SXSW ’19 Backslash led a panel called “Wacko World and the Rise of Memelord Brands.” The discussion honed in on a trend that Backslash has identified in culture (we call them ‘Edges’), named Wacko World: We’re all weird now. The absurd, inexplicable and plain silly have become common vocabulary in memes, fashion and marketing. This is a reaction to over-consumption and logic and signals a desire for the unique and irrational.

In Wacko World, people become brands, and brands become people. With many first impressions now taking place online, we’re seeing people curating their content and branding themselves in…


Baby Shark is a 136-second song about a family of sharks.

Here’s how it became a global cultural phenomenon, thanks to a bunch of drooling pre-schoolers.

Baby Shark has broken the internet, the Billboard 100 and YouTube records for most-watched educational content — 5 billion views and the 25th most-watched video of all time. It’s become a dance craze, an internet challenge and a celebrity obsession, with tributes from Cardi B to Ellen. With a Netflix series, merchandise and an Amazon Alexa game in the pipeline, we are also not even at peak Baby Shark.

So how did a silly…

TBWABackslash

Translating cultural blur into business opportunity.

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