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The Influence of Pop Culture Trends on Content Marketing

A woman poses in pink sunglasses, a pink overshirt, a yellow and blue striped top

Pop culture influences society. From fashion trends influenced by pop stars to teens adding movie quotes to their vocab, pop culture has a way of seeping into our everyday lives. Since pop culture is a global language, it’s easy to see why more brands leverage pop culture in content marketing. 

By referencing hit TV shows or iconic events, for example, brands drop their corporate facade and embrace a more relatable persona. Leveraging pop culture in your content marketing strategy can help your brand connect with a large audience, show relevance, and entertain new and existing customers. 

If you’d like to utilize pop culture in your next blog, video, or social post, here’s what you should know: 

Understanding pop culture

Pop culture marketing helps brands connect with audiences through popular trends, genres, and subcultures. While pop culture is derived from a wealth of sources, including music, movies, TV shows, fashion, and events, its commonality lies in its mass appeal and connectivity.

Why pop culture is relevant for every brand

Marketers have an ever-growing list of responsibilities, so why should they focus on pop culture? Pop culture content is:


Pop culture can bring people together over a singular topic or event. When brands dovetail with pop culture topics, engagement spikes as people like, share, or comment on them. 


People often revisit pop culture topics by following hashtags or searching for updates. Brands can capitalize on followers’ continued interest, propelling both the topic and, by association, their product or company.  

Often light and fun

Pop culture trends allow people to unplug from the trials of real life. Brands that leverage pop culture trends get to revel in lighter, fun news, which is especially helpful for brands that promote serious products. 


Pop culture topics can take the form of a meme, video skit, picture — you name it. For brands looking to vary its content type, pop culture can give you a reason to bust out a funny meme or graphic that takes a break from usual content forms. 

The influence of pop culture trends on content marketing

Successful pop culture campaigns you can use for inspiration

Wondering how other brands generate pop culture-themed content? Take a look at these examples: 

Brands embrace popular movies

Movies are always an easy way to tap into pop culture. Look at these two brands that tapped into the popular “Barbie” movie. 

Forza Horizon 5, a popular racing game, introduced a flashy pink convertible for users, added popular Barbie dolls as characters, and sold Barbie-themed accessories, like pink controllers. 

Companies leverage trending TV shows

Similar to movies, hit TV shows provide collaboration opportunities for brands. A cell phone case retailer partnered with the Netflix hit “Squid Game” to release a special case featuring the large, motion-sensing animatronic doll, Young-hee, from the show. 

Fast-acting marketers capitalize on shared moments

Years ago, when the Super Bowl experienced a blackout that stopped play for more than 30 minutes, Oreo took advantage of the moment. The brand took to Twitter to say, “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” 

The brand leveraged the blackout and encouraged people to dunk its iconic cookies while waiting for the power to come back on. 

How to incorporate pop culture trends into content marketing

Steps to get started

If you manage content and hope to generate pop culture pieces, here’s how:

Explore trends (regularly)  

If you plan to create pop culture content, you need to stay in the loop. Since it’s not always easy to track the latest topics, use Google Trends as a starting point. 

Most social media platforms also feature trending topics. Instagram, for example, offers Instagram Explore and YouTube has a tab for trending topics too. 

Consider lesser-known trends

Blockbuster hits, national sporting events, and celebrity gossip have a wide reach, but your brand can leverage smaller trends too. Think about regional events, industry headlines, and even local politics.    

Find connections between your product and a trend

Leveraging pop culture is about bridging a gap between your product and the trend. Of course, not every trend lends itself to your brand, so be selective. Task someone in your department with checking trends regularly, and if you find a good fit, create a post that links your brand to it.

Explore content types

What’s the best way to leverage a trend? Since these topics turn over quickly, focus on content that’s easy to produce. Memes, videos, or pictures can be created in minutes. Use this opportunity to vary your content type. 

Identify recurring events that you can leverage

While most pop culture changes and evolves, some events take place regularly. Think of events like the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, or a summer concert series. All of these events generate a lot of buzz. While many pop culture trends are a bit more spontaneous, there are buzz-worthy events you can plan campaigns around.

Consider partnering with an influencer

To add authenticity to your campaign, ask an influencer to produce content for your brand. A cosmetic brand could ask an influencer to share a look that mimics a celebrity from a movie, for example, or a baking influencer could give your audience Super Bowl recipes.

Do’s and don’ts to craft pop culture content


  • A five-minute “trends check” each morning to stay in the know.
  • Be mindful of stereotypes and derogative implications.
  • Embrace creativity. 
  • Monitor competitors in your industry for pop culture inspiration.
  • Use trending hashtags. It helps people find your posts. 


  • Force a trend. If it doesn’t fit, don’t try to leverage it.
  • Select divisive trends. Always think of your audience’s reaction.
  • Overthink it. Simplicity is best.
  • Feel the need to overproduce the content. Quick, engaging posts will work. 
  • Go pop culture-heavy. Sprinkle in pop culture posts, don’t let them dominate your feed.

Pop culture impacts society and as a result, marketing efforts. Capitalizing on trends is an ideal way for brands to stay relevant, show their playful side, and subtly promote products or services. With these tips, your brand can start weaving pop culture content into its regular mix.