1) There’s a new consciousness in culture. We’re more aware than ever of the beauty in our differences and we can’t un-know what we know. This awakening, thank goodness, is seeping into our walls. Slowly, but surely, it’s kindling more conversations. We know we need diverse perspectives on our teams and we know we need to build nurturing environments where everyone can thrive. Of course it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also making us so much better. Smarter. Stronger. It’s leading to deeper understanding of our audiences and more rich, more dynamic, more meaningful ways to connect with them. It’s sparking more collaboration and creative solutions. It’s making us think differently. And that’s when amazing change happens.
3) This summer, our interns were charged to give rise to change. With no budget and pure hearts, they chose to cancel sexist tech. They found that digital assistants (almost always female voices) are programmed to respond to harassment with passive, coy, even flirtatious answers. Coders are reinforcing stereotypes of women being docile and submission. And, with predictions that 50% of searches will be initiated with voice command as early as next year, this gender bias imbedded in AI is not okay. So, our interns created a digital hub where the community can challenge big tech and help create some more appropriate responses.
I’m also proud of our work for AdventHealth this year. Instead of producing a traditional ad campaign, our team created a program to help members of our communities take their health into their own hands with simple actions. The 21-day Feel Whole Challenge was designed to rejuvenate participants’ bodies, minds and spirits and remind them to think about their health every day—not just when they’re sick or in need of care. Communities, influencers and media personalities rallied behind the challenge across the country. We received so many notes from folks saying the challenge was life-changing. Even life-saving.
4) To promote Season 3 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” our team transformed Baskin Robbins locations into Scoops Ahoy shops (the ice cream parlor in the series), complete with custom flavors and 1980s pricing.
They also ran retro commercials with a phone number that led consumers to an alternate reality game that could only be played with technology from the 80s (including land lines and fax machines!). Engagement with superfans of the show, the core audience, was groundbreaking.
Because we’re students of consumer behavior, because we build brands and brand strategies, we have been approached by other production companies to bring those same insights into the entertainment space.
5) Beyond sharing messages and stories, I’m excited to see how brands choose to show up in the world. How will they take action or create more experiences for consumers? How will they make a difference? Whether it’s as big as changing behavior or as simple as making someone smile or feel that they’re not alone, I hope 2020 brings more intentional, meaningful conversations.
There is a fierce generation coming up, y’all, and I can’t wait to see how they shake things up. This new crop of talent is more open, more purpose-driven and more fearless. They’re compelled to do all the good they can with all the resources they have.
There’s this awesome, growing murmur among them to make the world a more beautiful place. And they’re poised to do it.
6) Get back to the art of advertising. Hone our craft. Make it gorgeous. Make it sing. Make it unforgettable.
Meet people where they are with something they need to hear.
Give rise to change with each project or challenge we tackle.