New Year Resolutions May Provoke Cosmetic Surgery Drive, says Mindshare

Young people planning new resolutions are more likely than ever to consider going under the knife according to a report by leading global media agency network, Mindshare.

With the Christmas period of excess now over, technology such as Skype, Facetime and a range of photo sharing services are provoking self-conscious teens to take drastic measures to look their best from every angle – even if it means undertaking cosmetic surgery.

The study - Culture Vulture: Beauty – points to a future in which cosmetic surgery is accepted as the norm in most developed societies and technology enables people to view an ‘upgraded’ version of themselves through virtual/augmented reality and smartphone apps. 

Respondents in Asian countries including China, India, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines are most likely to put effort in maintaining their youth, with an average of 54% saying they would do so and China leading at 76%. The five countries with people least likely to do so are the Netherlands, UK, Japan, Australia, and Sweden, with only 16% agreeing.


From ‘Face Time Facelifts’, which help patients look good in video calls in North America, to a rise in pet photography in Mumbai; from a rise in ‘Food Porn’ across Asia to a trend toward beauty advice from real people through online photos and videos identified in Singapore, the world is becoming more obsessed with its looks as consumers buy more screens.

As well as uncovering the trend of image enhancement driven by technological advancement, Culture Vulture: Beauty also found a parallel trend for brands to beautify their marketing efforts in a screen obsessed world.

The New Year is a time when everyone looks to improve themselves,” said Norm Johnston, Global Digital Leader Mindshare Worldwide, “and while cosmetic surgery used to be the exception, it’s now the rule for young people for whom appearance is the number one priority."

We have always known how important it is to engage with young people, but as global perceptions of beauty change, so brands need to adapt stay ahead of the competition. Captivating young consumers, whose attention spans tend to be shorter as the pace of information gets ever-faster, means providing increasingly aspirational imagery that entices them to engage with products.

Culture Vulture: Beauty drew its findings from a rigorous process that integrated primary research from ‘Mindreader’, Mindshare’s global study amongst 36,000 people in 36 countries, with expert interviews with opinion-leaders from Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Europe. Findings were also informed by observations from Mindshare’s ‘Scout Network’, a group of individuals living in key cities all over the world whose lives are immersed in music, fashion, beauty and brands.

Culture Vulture: Beauty identified 15 ‘cultural dynamics’ – patterns in social behaviours and attitudes that capture the prevailing spirit of the times – that are related to how beauty is perceived by youth around the world. From these cultural dynamics, five umbrella themes emerged that may be applied to inspire brand communications; in addition to ‘Skin Deep’, themes identified and discussed in depth in the report included ‘Anarchy & Rebellion’, ‘Depth & Substance’, ‘Rebirth’, and ‘Experiential’.  

Beauty is the second edition of Culture Vulture that seeks to explore how today’s societies look at, appreciate, define and experience beauty in its various forms – delving beyond the realm of physical aesthetics into all aspects of culture ranging from architecture to technology to food.