In 2019, American adults spent an average 4 hours and 30 minutes a day using mobile internet, an increase of approximately 20 minutes from a year prior. There are an average of 6,000 tweets sent every second, 500 hours worth of video uploaded per minute onto YouTube, and 95 million images and videos posted every day on Instagram.
Nonetheless, these overflowing platforms ushered in the genesis of a kind of content genre, whose visual language has no narrative, is soothingly hypnotic, and is widely popular among the Millenial/Gen Z demographics. Known simply as “Oddly Satisfying,” its creations are a trendy means to draw in a younger consumer, while simultaneously putting them at ease online.
Therefore making this is an untapped space for marketers to engage and excel in.
Oddly Satisfying videos are a wide genre of Internet clips that display repetitive tasks evoking sensations of predictability, relaxation and control. Visuals involve materials (such wood, plastic, metal, slime, amongst other things.) being manipulated through crushing, molding, slicing, melting, burning, painting, falling, and much more.
Their naming convention came from a 2013 subreddit forum on the popular website Reddit and has grown exponentially. Of the 1.2 million subreddits on the site, in 2020 it was ranked at number 50 with 4 million subscribers, doubling from 2019. Instagram named Oddly Satisfying as the fastest growing niche on its platform with about one video uploaded and tagged every minute.
These videos have always existed, but once given a nomenclature, the content is classified and given the ability to collectively popularize, according to Kevin Alloca, head of Culture and Trends at YouTube.
This relief in watching the playful manipulation, the creating a moment of perfection amongst beautifully controlled chaos, is a fertile ground for exploration and significant during a time of heightened societal tension.
Some brands have ventured into this space to find a welcomed response to actively embracing social media listening, such as the following three:
- McDonald’s France tapped into animator Mattieu Braccini to create 15 clips in the oddly-satisfying aesthetic to promote the new all-day breakfast menu. The team won a Bronze 2019 Cannes Lion in Design.
- Launching last month, the new, mobile streaming platform Quibi released “The Daily Chill,” an immersive, audiovisual, meditative experience combining Oddly Satisfying and ASMR video elements for its intended Millennial audience.
- Fully committing to the trend is insurance provider Lemonade, whose entire Instagram account shows household objects being dipped in bright pink paint, their signature color, as a promise, a visual promise, to its target Millennial audience that their belongings will always be covered in more ways than one.
While there are no scientific studies into an explanation for the success of oddly satisfying videos on individuals, we know this is something acquiring an active following. Google trends shows that the queries for “oddly satisfying” content have increased exponentially, reaching popularity in 2018/2019. In 2020, 24.6 million search results, versus 4.7 million in 2019.
Why this has persisted is up for interpretation; however, we can astutely observe that there are positives for dabbling in oddly satisfying as a brand. The very style makes branding minimal, blending seamlessly into a user’s social feed. Yet, it’s one way to stand out in a crowded field of identical visual marketing motifs and make a brand even more memorable to audiences.
But more than anything, the opportunity is that oddly satisfying creates an artificial world that is intriguing to a user, regardless of their background, because even if it doesn’t reflect their direct reality, it connects at a far deeper level: our shared search for equilibrium amongst the chaos.