1) Diversity and inclusion is dominating conversations right now in the industry. As a whole, advertising is embarrassingly behind on all fronts. It’s our duty to reflect the values and perspectives of our consumers – within our work and our workforce. But more importantly, if we give our work a diverse voice, the work will be so much more impactful. And if we don’t change rapidly, as an industry, we’ll start to see brands and companies forcing agencies to change. It’s either that or move on.
2) I once read that our brains are built with a greater sensitivity toward negative news. Psychologists call it “negativity bias.” We’re seeing this now as we’re constantly bombarded with political news, immigration laws, gun violence, climate change, pollution, bullying, and so on. This rise in negativity has given advertising agencies the tension to create some really compelling work for social good. Society needs this. The industry needs this. It’s going to take ingenuity, creativity, and innovation to help solve some of these critical societal problems we’re facing, and, in some respects, reverse the effects of “negativity bias.”
Burger King did a nice job of taking on bullying and net neutrality. Trash Isles was a brilliant idea to confront the country-sized plastic trash build up in the North Pacific Ocean. The Parkland shooting yielded some great work against gun violence in our culture, too. There was just such good work this year, a year we really needed it.
3) From a business lens, we’re seeing all the necessary components of machine learning coming together to truly transform how we work on a bigger scale. It’s pretty scary, if you think about it, as we inch closer and closer to a singularity. I guess as long we can solve business with creativity, we’ll stave off the impending world domination of computers. We can only hope, right?
Creatively, I think we’ll see more AR/VR technology influencing our work. The possibilities are endless in this arena and I think we’ve only scratched the surface on how we can provide valuable information and even entertainment to our consumers. It’s pretty exciting because it’s an entirely new medium we can create within.
4) Three interesting themes emerged for me. The first is obvious. Creativity always wins. The simple, most engaging ideas just win. They always have and always will. The second is real-time experiences from brands. We saw a lot of brands taking advantage of creating experiences in real-time making it very personal for consumers. And lastly, technology. There were tons of ideas that infused or hacked technology to enhance the consumer experience.
5) As a company, we’re obviously investing a lot into technology for the years to come. We have to move faster than the world and continually be at the forefront of innovation for our clients. It’s imperative. This has translated into setting some pretty exciting creative goals for our department. We want to solve problems not only through creative execution but through innovation. The combination of the two makes for the best work, in my opinion.
6) The production industry unfortunately is just as behind as the advertising industry in terms of diversity and inclusion. Collectively, we have to do a better job of giving equal opportunity to all. At 22squared, we’ve made the pledge with Free The Bid – a non-profit organization advocating on the behalf of women directors. We’re also looking to hire more women and people of color for a variety of roles, including a Director of Photography, editors, composers, and more. It’s so important to have diversity of thought, background and perspective from those who touch and influence the work.