November 28, 2022
Celebrating American Diabetes Month with Sphere

The rise in candy from around the world reflects people's growing adventurous palates and the role of social media in introducing new foods globally.

History has significantly influenced what various cultures consider beautiful. Major economic and political events, along with shifts in the cultural zeitgeist, have all played a crucial part in shaping ideal beauty standards.

For instance, colonialism radically shifted beauty ideals in many Asian and African countries. Features that didn’t fit with Eurocentric beauty ideals, like deeper skin tones, smaller eye shapes and textured hair, were deemed undesirable, introducing a social hierarchy that is still being unraveled today.

In modern society, the rise of the Internet and social media has been a transformative force in shaping beauty standards. Asian beauty techniques and products have spread to the West and entered the mainstream, while Western influencer and celebrity culture has permeated globally. The conversation around beauty has become increasingly diverse and inclusive, celebrating a wider range of features and styles.

These evolving perspectives on beauty have led to the emergence of new practices, which are prominently reflected in modern advertising. Using our AI-powered Ad Evaluation App, we analyzed beauty advertisements from the 1990s and 2000s by the same brands across five different markets - the US, China, India, Japan, and Brazil. Our goal was to observe their transformation over time and identify any movements between these markets.


Previous Archetypes and Values: Sensual, Intimate, Passionate

New Archetypes and Values: Sensual, Intimate, Passionate, Inspiration, Glamorous

Brazil boasts one of the world’s most diverse cultures, but its beauty standards haven't always reflected that. L’Oreal’s earlier ads featured a light-skinned American model, which is not representative of the country's diversity. While the preferences for glamour and sensuality have remained central, modern ads now showcase a nuanced version of beauty, highlighting different ethnicities and genders. This bolder approach contrasts with the seemingly self-effacing ad of the past, redefining and embracing what beauty looks like in Brazil.


Previous Archetypes and Values: Supportive, Down-to-Earth

New Archetypes and Values:  Strong, Brave, Determined

Estee Lauder's 2002 ad in China features Caucasian model Hilary Rhoda as the ambassador, dubbed in Mandarin. This ad may have been a reflection of the period's idealization of foreign beauty and a lack of strong Chinese identity in the beauty industry at the time. More than two decades later, the 2024 ad we analyzed showcases Zhang Weili, a professional MMA fighter, training in a boxing ring. This shift indicates a move away from the consumption of imported beauty standards towards the creation of a homegrown ideal. The new standard of beauty emphasizes strength and health, qualities that Chinese consumers admire and aspire to, and see in themselves.


Previous Archetypes and Values:  Powerful, Charismatic, Visionary

New Archetype and Values: Playful, Carefree, Fun-Loving, Glamorous

The two L’Oreal India advertisements featuring long-time brand ambassador Aishwarya Rai illustrate a shift in marketing strategy over the last decade. In the earlier ad, Aishwarya embodies the quintessential beautiful Indian woman, dressed-up and perfectly coiffed. This portrayal emphasizes an idealized and somewhat unattainable standard of beauty.The updated ad presents a more casual and relatable image of the actress, which suggests an attitudinal shift among Indian consumers. While she remains glamorous, the ad focuses on portraying her in a more accessible light, thus positioning her as someone who wants to help other women feel beautiful too.


Previous Archetypes and Values: Innocent, Humble, Optimistic

New Archetypes and Values: Warm, Compassionate, Generous, Nurturing, Inspirational

Shiseido's ads reflect the evolving reality of Japanese women over the past 30 years. The 1992 ad depicts a woman at home, where women typically spent most of their time. The modern ad, however, shows Japanese celebrity Hiromi Nagasaku in various aspects of her life—at work and with her family—showcasing the joy she feels. She appears more confident and assertive, reflecting contemporary Japanese views on beauty. In the past, beauty was associated with cleanliness, but now it encompasses a woman living her life fully and enjoying every moment, illustrating that beauty comes from within rather than just external appearances.


Previous Archetypes and Values: Expressive, Imaginative, Sensuality

New Archetypes and Values:  Playful, Fun-loving, Glamorous, Entertaining

Both Maybelline ads share a similar concept, creating a fantasy world that doesn't take itself too seriously. Beauty is meant to be fun, and the 2023 version feels like a modern update of the earlier ad's playful message. The latest ad features the unexpected pairing of Bretman Rock and Martha Stewart, and utilizes both their brand personas. This shift showcases a growing consumer desire for inclusivity and authenticity in advertising, challenging traditional notions of beauty and expanding the idea of who gets to wear makeup.

Our analysis of ads from these five markets reveals three key ways ideas have traveled, highlighting the shift from one-dimensional to multidimensional beauty. The meaning of this shift varies across cultures.

Many modern ads demonstrate a shift in the relationship and power dynamics between beauty brands and consumers. In the past, the beauty industry focused on highlighting imperfections and promoting unattainable standards that could only be achieved through their products. Today, consumers are more empowered and seek brands that affirm their beauty and support them in their journey to become the best version of themselves.

Markets Demostrating this Theme: USA. Brazil, Japan.

Modern beauty ads seem to share a common thread: beauty is about play and passion. It’s meant to be fun and accessible to everyone who wants to take part in it. It's believed that happiness and fulfillment in life radiate outwardly. When you feel content and satisfied, it enhances your external appearance.Brands need to promote the idea that their products are a means to explore, have fun, and express joy, reinforcing where true beauty comes from.

Markets Demostrating this Theme: USA, Brazil, China, Japan, India.

Seeing yourself on screen is more important than ever before. Consumers are demanding to see people who not only look like them but also reflect the unique interpretations of beauty in their respective countries. They want to see individuals who mirror their ideals and lifestyles and with whom they can emotionally connect.

The expectation is for brands to understand them on a far deeper level and cater to their beauty standards, rather than setting the standards for them.

Markets Demostrating this Theme: USA, Brazil, China, Japan.

Candy remains a favorite in ASMR eating videos due to its visual appeal and sound when chewed. Recently, popular candies with crunchy and sludgy sounds have become especially soothing.

Consumers' tastes now favor sharper, tangier flavors. Sour candy offers a refreshing contrast to sweetness and stimulates dopamine release. It is also believed to be a quick antidote for anxiety, as it distracts the brain from negative emotions and focuses it on the tingly sensation in the mouth.

Nostalgia has hit the candy market, with 90s and 00s favorites like Ring Pops, Airheads, and Nerds topping Amazon’s Best Sellers list, indicating consumers’ craving for childhood snacks.

Write to [email protected] to learn about AI-powered market research and the latest consumer trends.

As beauty standards become more inclusive and diverse, it is clear that consumers are driving a transformative shift in media and advertising, seeking representations that are authentic, empowering, and reflective of their true selves.

If you are interested to learn more, sign upfor our product newsletter or reach out to us at [email protected].

We’re launching an updated version of our ad evaluation tool that can analyse any creative formats, from concepts to storyboard, at our September event. Learn more about AI-volution 2024 here.

Brand Insights in 3 sentences: Diabetes affects nearly 1-in-10 people worldwide, and for the millions affected the internet is a valuable resource for spreading awareness and normalizing their condition. Among the products and treatments available to diabetic patients, there has been growth in search volume for the weight-loss potential of Wegovy/Ozempic in addition to a newfound interest in mobile apps for recording and managing blood glucose levels. Diabetes patients are also looking for more stylish alternatives to their medical accessories, including shoes, insulin pumps, and blood glucose monitors.

Of the nearly 1-in-10 people that have Diabetes worldwide, thousands use the internet everyday to search for medications, alternative treatments, and to engage in dialogue about their condition. In honor of World Diabetes Day and American Diabetes Month this November, we at Quilt decided to highlight internet trends in the diabetic community using our AI platform, Sphere.

With data from Google and Twitter, we’ve uncovered some insights about treatments, cultural trends, and experiences among Diabetes patients.

Here are our results:

Top-Selling Medications Trending on Search

In the Diabetes medication market, many of the best sellers are insulin products. But the leading medication for search volume is actually Ozempic — an antidiabetic medication that improves blood sugar control for Type II Diabetes patients.

Ozempic’s generic, Semaglutide, is also sold under the brand name Wegovy, which has generated immense buzz as an weight-loss treatment this year:

Wegovy’s efficacy as an anti-obesity treatment has created a lot of interest and enthusiasm online. Type II Diabetes patients are being joined by those interested in weight loss in posting about both Ozempic and Wegovy on social media — especially in regards to insurance coverage and payment. In the past three months, this search interest has been especially strong in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The Walking Shoes Market

Diabetes patients often face problems in their feet. Nerve damage and increased risk of infection are among the reasons it’s important for those living with Diabetes to keep close tabs on their feet and take steps to protect them.

Custom and specially designed shoes are an essential part of this process, and have seen a steady and substantial search interest all year long:

One shoe getting buzz among diabetic patients is the Foot Defender, a high-top style therapeutic shoe co-created by a former Nike designer. The shoe addresses foot care issues specific to Diabetes — primarily diabetic foot ulcers — while maintaining an athletic and trendy style.

Foot Defender has also been trending in searches over the past year, revealing an interest in Diabetes management through fashionable footwear.

Diabetes Apps Gain Steam

Technology is catching up to Diabetes treatments. Nowhere is this clearer than in the many mobile apps for Diabetes management, care, and connection. There are dozens of apps available for every purpose — from monitoring blood glucose content, to finding a community of patients, all the way to building a healthy diet.

Search interest has been strong all year in this respect — though there’s also been a recent uptick in volume:

Among the many services available to Diabetes patients, the Contour app has made particular strides this year. Back in May, they announced that patients using the app experienced fewer out-of-target blood glucose readings than those using the blood glucose meter without it.

This announcement coincided with a 119% increase in search interest, from March to May 2022:

These results show that the Diabetes patient community is responding to the potential benefits of cloud-based blood glucose monitoring, and to many other potential uses of technology in Diabetes treatment and management.

Spreading Awareness on Twitter

World Diabetes Day occurs annually on November 14 as an awareness campaign run by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Every two years, the IDF takes on a different theme, and 2021–2023’s theme is Access to Diabetes Care, with a specific focus on access to education for diabetic communities all around the world.

One place the IDF decided to educate last year was on the invention and proliferation of Insulin. 2021 coincided with the 100th anniversary of Insulin’s invention by Frederick Banting and Charles Best, and the IDF has made sure the world takes notice of this milestone by posting to their social media profiles and to their Youtube page:

Alongside the IDF’s efforts, thousands of Twitter users tweeted their support of the milestone with the hashtag #WorldDiabetesDay in 2021. These Tweets often focused on advocating for increased access to care (in line with the year’s theme) and affecting change:

One thing many users felt needed to change was insulin pricing and access:

Regardless of their goals, the efforts of the IDF and Diabetes advocates on Twitter clearly paid off last year. Search interest peaked for “Diabetes” on World Diabetes Day in 2021:

As the Diabetes patient community continues to celebrate Insulin’s centennial anniversary this year, expect a similar buzz on Twitter — especially when it comes to increasing access to vital drugs.

Cultural Visibility

In addition to awareness building efforts on World Diabetes Day, Diabetes patients also work towards cultural acceptance and visibility through social media.

Many change the discourse around the disease by embracing their illness as fashion. There’s the aforementioned Foot Defenders, but also carefully styled Insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors:

Other Diabetes patients are signaling their identity through customized sneakers, tattoos and other accessories:


synthesizing vast data into actionable insights that reflect each market's unique cultural and economic backdrop


grasping the distinct consumer perspectives that these diverse regions offer

Curated digital profiles:

-Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (US)

-Weibo and Douyin (China)

Pulled 400 million unique searches to estimate the growth of each segment

Used Quilt.AI’s Sphere language and image capabilities to categorise lifestyle areas into specific segments

Glamour Seekers

These consumers are confident, bold, and comfortable with modern masculinity. They also often turn to social media to express their personal style and interests.

Actionable Insight: Collaborate with high-profile fashion influencers to create vibrant, trend-setting campaigns that resonate with this segment's desire for attention and admiration.

Vanity Vanguards

Highly image-driven, these individuals often seek validation through their appearance and are likely to engage heavily with both grooming and fashion products.

Actionable Insight:Leverage digital marketing strategies that feature before-and-after visuals and testimonials that showcase the transformative power of the products

Conscious Icons

These men aim to be recognized as modern, open-minded, and sensitive – embodying the image of "the woke good guy" in today's society by actively participating in movements related to activism and gender equality.

Actionable Insight:Design marketing campaigns that highlight their participation in these movements, showcasing products that enable them to express and amplify their desired social identities.

Youthful Trendsetters

They value beauty while still maintaining traditional masculine ideals of what it means to be good-looking. These men also tend to seek out methods of maintaining their youthful appearances.

Actionable Insight:Market products that boost physical appeal and suit active lifestyles, and focus on dynamic marketing that highlights masculine elegance.

Trusted Patrons

Despite seeing gender in traditionally binary terms, these men aren’t afraid of behaving in more feminine manners. They own their uniqueness and tend to be deeply loyal to brands that affirm their identity.

Actionable Insight:Focusing on brand narratives that celebrate individuality and personal expression will better engage this segment. Brands can also offer personalized services to maintain their commitment.

Innovation Advocates

As consumers who value knowledge, they embrace technology and innovation that enhances their lives. Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, they prefer brands that offer cutting-edge solutions that reflect their own mentality.

Actionable Insight:Market products to this segment by emphasizing innovation, utility, and exclusivity. Brands can focus on how their products integrate the latest technology and engage these men through intelligent content that speaks to their curiosity.

Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.
Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.

Even celebrity plays a role in Diabetes visibility and acceptance. Lila Moss — daughter of supermodel Kate Moss — has recently made waves in the modeling community, appearing on the cover of British Vogue in May:

Her rising popularity coincided with an equally large increase in search interest. She received a 300% boost in searches in the wake of her cover this year.

Lila Moss is also a type I Diabetes patient. She recently wore her blood glucose monitor during a Versace-Fendi campaign, and walked the runway with her insulin pump.

Public figures like Moss normalize and even celebrate their Diabetes for the masses. Efforts like hers and from other Diabetes patients make the internet more accepting and more aware of the illness and its importance all across the globe.

Write to [email protected] to learn about AI-powered market research and the latest consumer trends.

Visuals illustrated are to bring concepts to life only.
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