Skip to main content

A couple days ago, in a trip to Target, my eleven year-old daughter asked for an AC/DC t-shirt. I couldn’t help but laugh because, by the time I was her age, AC/DC had become passé. It also got me thinking about how time breathes new life into past pop culture, and the strange pattern that it follows.

In the eighties, sea-foam green, leather jackets and the nostalgia of “Back to the Future” had a tremendous influence on the decade. We embraced an older, patriarchal Republican president, as we did with Eisenhower. Our attention moved away from Vietnam to slightly west, as the Cold War became real once again, along with our aim to end it.

Peace, Love + PepsiThe L.A. Riots of 1992 were the largest racially-fueled events our country had seen in decades. The rest of the nineties more-or-less focused on an era of peace and change, with a newer generation donning tie-dye, peace signs and Woodstock (this time, with a much bigger budget). The nineties echoed the sounds of sixties rock, reggae and funk. We ushered out the existing political regime in favor of someone younger; more handsome and eloquent. It only lasted a few years again, before we had an older Republican in office. Ironically, the presidents that closed out the sixties and nineties would both leave the office under monumental disapproval.

The turn of the century saw a resurgence in seventies interior, fashion and graphic design sensibility, incorporated into the technological advancements of our time. Seventies icons like ringer t-shirts with iron-on transfers were re-introduced and became property of this new generation as they protested a war that made no sense to many of us. We saw the rock music world re-capture the fashion and musical style of Lou Reed and The Rolling Stones, while disco was digitized and re-introduced in nightclubs around the world.

Now that we’re about to close this decade with horrific inflation and unemployment, a global energy crisis and car-makers in turmoil once again (don’t forget, Congress approved over a billion dollars to save Chrysler from bankruptcy in 1979), what do you see in store for the twenty-teens?

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.


  • motagg says:

    I see a world of anger, confusion and apathy. The future has a debt to pay for the excesses of the last twenty years and an american politics stultifying into parody that will drag us all down further. I look at my young kids and I wonder how they will pay for it. Innovations will be driven from the east, points India and China. Slumdog Millionaire proves the world will accept Bollywood now; it is innocent, entertaining and cheaper. Rock will will revisit psychedlic music and piano yoga. The happy places will be people who had nothing anyway. Africa, Brazil, India and China again! We will see more eastern influences in thoughts, design and philosophy. We will see the rise of the punks.

    • I agree. That is a tough pill to give our children. I only hope that the mistakes of our generation can serve as effective lessons for theirs and that, through this mess we’re in, a solution can be found.

      By the way, would you be open toa dialogue regarding our respective businesses? Thanks!

  • Carrie says:

    I fear that my children will not have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams because of the tax burden that will placed upon them to pay for our growing deficit.

    But I will tell you a story about how things come around again. A few years ago, I was walking with my boys, past a store’s shoe department, when we saw a pair of platform shoes for sale. My children commented, “What Dork would wear these shoes?” I responded with,” This Dork!” Because they looked exactly like a pair that I had worn in the 70’s when I was about their age.

Leave a Reply

© 2004-2023, Imagine. All rights reserved, whatever that means...