1) As a result of the #MeToo and Time’s Up Movements, brands are taking a harder look at themselves and the consumers with whom they are trying to connect, and making strides in engaging with female consumers in positive and constructive ways. Given this, we’re seeing an increase in campaigns with pro-female messages, and imagery to empower women and girls, which has helped to insert positive messages into the public narrative. There are new rules for marketing to women, and I imagine this will be very prevalent in 2019 as well.
2) As an independent agency, we’re able to evolve and grow our company in ways that are of the greatest benefit to our clients and our work. This year, that translated into increased investment into our production, post production, social and experience design capabilities in particular.
We also have a mantra of using creativity as a force for good, and this year we partnered with social issue-driven communications firm RALLY to add more firepower to our work in this realm. Together, VB&P and RALLY work with a variety of entities, from brands to advocacy organizations, to develop impactful communications campaigns and guide them through political and social opportunities and challenges.
From a talent perspective, we’ve brought on a number of amazing folks across departments this year. I recently joined VB&P to head integrated production and couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity.
3) I’m very proud of our work on the global Audi e-tron launch. As an official automotive partner of the Emmys, we created a multi-platform launch to introduce the e-tron, which was revealed the same night as the awards ceremony.
Because the Emmys were technically a few hours before the actual reveal of the car at the San Francisco Auto Show, we were unable to actually show the car in the ads. We aired the “Unleashed” series of teasers which gave viewers sneak peaks of the e-tron, building the excitement for the full reveal in a 60-second spot that told the story of how electric mobility is about to change.
On the heels of the unveiling of the e-tron, we created a four-day interactive pop-up of a futuristic charging station in the middle of San Francisco. The activation consisted of a kinetic energy capture, LED swings, an innovative menu of reimagined “electric provisions” curated by James Beard award-winning chef Stuart Brioza and chef Nicole Krasinski from State Bird Provisions. The entire experience ran on social currency where the visitors received special LED bracelets that provided access to the station’s amenities when they shared or posted about the experience on social media.
4) Vertical video is a standard deliverable for pretty much every piece of content we create. With Instagram Stories now reaching 400 million users a day, we will start to see a bigger push for social media advertising. I envision the rise in Stories ads will result in agencies creating content specifically for vertical video. This is a great creative opportunity for brands to create shareable and compelling content. One might think the size is limiting, but I think the sequential nature of Stories is a fun format to use in the concept.
5) In the year ahead, we’ll keep pushing ourselves to creatively raise the bar of our work and solve business problems in innovative ways. As an agency and as individuals, we’ll also work to take care of our own corners of the world and affect positive change—a theme that Paul Venables talked about recently at the 3% Conference, and which I think is hugely powerful in today’s divisive culture.
Also, as part of our work with RALLY, I look forward to being a part of more social good related projects with brands and advocacy organizations.