The Rise of the Brat Summer

neon green background with the word "Brat" written on it in black text

If you’re anything like me, (a 21-year-old PR intern) your feed has been flooded with news of the infamous “brat summer” following Charli XCX’s newest album release. The album cover, sporting a neon green background and the word “brat” printed in a blurry Arial font, has faced much criticism. Though it may not look like much to the common eye, the album and its cover have taken this summer by storm, with social media doing much of the work for Charli’s team to push the brat summer agenda into the mainstream. I’ve personally been converted to having a brat summer of my own and believe there are a couple of takeaways we can learn from Charli and this year’s brat summer. 

Simple Is Effective 

Iced Matcha with the word "brat" on the cupNeon green birthday cake with the word "Brat" written on it in blackThe brat cover art is probably the most iconic part of the brat summer. Though the campaign is simple, the underlying advantage is that it is easily identifiable and replicable. The neon green serves as a beacon that you are on track for having a brat summer. Fans on TikTok have been changing profile pictures to a green background with their names in the same brat font, buying all the neon green available, and finding every way to replicate the brat cover art. (My personal favorite is the brat cake) Businesses have also integrated the trend on social media, with coffee shops posting your average matcha latte as a “brat” latte. The great thing about this stylistic choice is that being in on the trend is accessible to everyone, and because it is so recognizable, each hit of neon green you see will automatically make you want to stream. This brat summer urges us to focus on the visibility reach of our campaigns. 

The Brat Wall 

Girl on concert stage taking photoscreen shot of a TikTok

A photo op, ad, and activation all in one, Charli has placed brat walls in several cities worldwide. The Brat walls feature the iconic green album cover, allowing fans to take pictures and create more mentions and visibility for the album than before. Don’t let its simplicity fool you, the brat walls are also interactive. Charli has done concerts and DJ sets at the brat wall allowing fans to create their own content centered around the wall. Across various cities, walls are being changed on Charli’s TikTok live stream to announce a deluxe album and various collabs. Who knew a green wall could be so effective? 

She’s in on It and Loves It 

Charli XCX in a media interview

I think most would agree being on the outside of an inside joke never really bodes well. Charli is not only aware of the brat summer but is more than on board. Charli’s social media presence during this album rollout has been crucial to building a strong community around the album. More than anything, Charli comes off as authentic, responding to videos of fans giving their renditions of what a brat summer means to them. Charli has taken the lead in interviews and podcast breaking down all the essentials for a brat summer.  

Anyone Can Have a Brat Summer, Even You! 

If you are confused about what a brat summer entails, you are in luck! Fans have been posting comprehensive guides to a Brat Summer everywhere while outlets like The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times have also done their deep dive into how to have a brat summer. Though most of the lists are quite cheeky, a great part of this rollout is that fans everywhere feel like they can play a role in defining what a brat summer means. As the album rollout has followed with tour dates to see Charli live, this interactive approach shows how engaging with your audience can create lasting moments beyond a specific launch or release. I’m sure the brat summer will be a topic of conversation for Charli fans long after the summer ends.  

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