From the bushfires in Australia and the murder of George Floyd to the Trump vs. Biden election and the global pandemic the headlines from the last year would leave you struggling to believe this all happened in one calendar year.
Without using the dreaded ‘unprecedented times’ moniker for this period, the challenge for advertisers that found themselves having to adapt, or in some cases, completely overhaul creative, organisational structures and campaign tactics, was a unique and enormous one.
However, seeing creatives rise to the challenge has been testament to the adaptability and resourcefulness of the industry. From the midst of lockdowns around the world to the slow emergence back into some semblance of normality what, as an industry, can we learn from the successful creatives curated, and what trends are here to stay?
The lockdown itself saw some creative responses from broadcasters, particularly in the UK with ITV’s ‘The people’s ad break’ inviting the general public to remake a classic TV ad. Entrants were tasked with recreating one of five advertisements from past and present: Aldi, Haribo, Honda, Walkers and Weetabix. A winner was picked for each and then aired together as ‘The people’s ad break’ on during Britain’s Got Talent in late May.
Another trend associated with the rise of video conferencing is the increase of advertising within these platforms and tools, and with many office workers continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future, the opportunity for these remains ripe. The investment into these products goes against the trend of the electronics, household appliances and tech category, which according to WARC recent study on the impact of Covid-19 on the sector, saw a 41.6% drop in ad spend over the course of the lockdown as advertisers adjusted to changing priorities from consumers and looked to promote the most relevant lockdown tools.
Towards the tail-end of last year we facilitated a conversation between The Social Element’s Tamara Littleton and Polpeo’s Kate Hartley as part of our Festival Fridays programme called: Why Marketing Needs to Care About Crisis , which focused on how important it is for a brand to create a robust crisis comms strategy. Alongside, Covid-19, brands have needed to respond to Black Lives Matter movement, an array of political upheaval and disruption to supply chains and consumer uncertainty at every turn.
Of course, we want a level of normality to resume, but as a sector do we really want to go back to the way things were before? The world has changed and so have we. Let’s replace the concept of a ‘new normal’ with one of an ‘improved normal’ where we can keep implementing some of the positive lessons and strategies we’ve learnt along the way. Keeping ourselves accountable and always striving to do better. As the old adage says: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” Here’s hoping that moving forward 2021 is a calmer year with more than a semblance of sanity (fingers crossed).