1) There was a lot of doomsday talk for the ad industry as a whole this year. In-house agencies became an answer to faster and more efficient. And consultancies became an answer to the rising demand for immediately measurable ROI and a more comprehensive understanding and implementation of data. Time’s Up and #metoo shed much needed light on injustices in this industry and beyond. Diversity and the need for equal pay and equal opportunity became a greater focus and conversation. All of this added up to an industry that is in the midst of a big shift. An exciting shift. A shift that puts a greater focus on ensuring the people and voices in this industry are as diverse as those it serves. And that the experiences and connections we create reflect the innovative desire and interactions of today’s consumer.
2) As a fast, modern, independent agency, we embrace change. Rather than focusing on the doomsday conversation, we got to work doing what we do best: problem-solving. We evolved our production studio to be even more nimble and fully integrated into the process of all our brand relationships so we could deliver content and campaigns faster. We reoriented the agency to more agile, collaborative working groups: low numbers, high accountability. We continued our search for talent that looks, thinks and acts differently. We embraced new creative inputs and launched a campaign for NBA 2K that used data as its muse and driver. And we continued experimenting with new processes, structures and approaches to building brands in unexpected ways. We don’t have it all figured out. Which is good. We’re at our best if we’re always in beta.
3) We were able to make some great work with our friends at NBA 2K. The 2018 launch campaign, “They Will Know Your Name”, kicked off with the reveal of cover athlete LeBron James and a cover design that featured the different names he’s known by. The cover went viral, with people creating their own versions. We then hijacked the NBA Draft, having future phenom Trae Young expose the campaign tagline “They Will Know Your Name” stitched into his suit jacket on his way up to the stage. And finally we launched a TV spot that had Lebron challenge the world to take the throne. The launch was a success, and inspired a follow-up OOH and pre-roll campaign that creatively used data to reveal how many players, teams and rivalries were on at any given time, showing just how big the NBA 2K party really is.
4) There will be a continued move toward faster, more collaborative and more adaptable. Agencies that are able to orient themselves as an extension of their brand partners’ in-house capabilities will find new opportunity. There will also be a continued focus on data and the ability to dissect it in creative ways. More and more, creative agencies will need to know when to be driven by the data and when to simply be inspired by it. But in the end, brands will still need big ideas, storytelling and smart strategy. Creativity and the power of disruptive ideas will ultimately always win.
5) BSSP’s New Year’s resolution is to continue living up to its mission of Fast, Modern, Independent and Unexpected. To continue bringing in diverse talent and supporting initiatives that promote more diversity in this industry. And to create work that impacts culture in the biggest, most positive way possible.