1) What industry trends or developments were most significant in 2019? 

2) How did your agency or department adjust/adapt to the marketplace in 2019? (diversification, new resources/talent/technology, new strategies, etc.) You are welcome to cite a specific piece of work which shows how lessons learned in 2019 were applied.

3) What work in 2019 are you most proud of? (Please cite any unique challenges encountered)

4) As the lines between advertising and entertainment continue to blur, are clients asking you to produce more “entertainment”? Please cite an example from this year and/or tell us about a project you’re working on for 2020. 

5) Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry--creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint--in 2020? 

6) What’s your New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your agency or department? Do you have a personal New Year’s resolution that you can share?

Gavin Lester
Partner, Chief Creative Officer

1) One thing that we’ve seen a lot more of in the past year, particularly at our agency, is tight collaboration amongst creative, strategy and media teams. This cross-comms approach is an incredible useful creative tool as it gives us a keen understanding of our audience, what motivates them, the type of content they are consuming and where, etc., early in the process, which ultimately leads to creating tailored messaging that really engages and delivers.

We launched a media and analytics practice last year, and bringing these team members deeply into our creative and strategy development process has made a huge impact on our work.

2) In today’s quickly evolving landscape, we’re seeing the rise and development of many innovative communication platforms. With these endless channels, the need to be both disruptive and engaging is more important than ever, in order to deliver a message that breaks through and resonates with consumers.

This again is why we believe and have heavily invested in integrated creative, media and strategy services at Zambezi. Our media and analytics practice has been our fastest growing one since launching last year - and for good reason, as this capability helps us create and deliver the right work, to the right audience, at the right time. It’s a game changer.

3) I’m hugely proud of our “Unleashed” spot and campaign for Beats by Dre and its Powerbeats earphones. It was a very competitive pitch and we were thrilled to have won it with a unique approach of highlighting the innovative product in a way that hadn’t been done before.

Our creative focus was to show Powerbeats Pro technology in action, bringing athletes the full power of music, unconstrained, uninterrupted and unleashed. There was also a huge sense of accomplishment in filming the top athletes from across the globe to bring this story to life. It was an amazing experience to shoot this work with acclaimed director Hiro Murai, and I was extremely proud of our team’s great collaboration with Beats by Dre’s internal marketing team on this effort, too.

4) Over the years, advertising and entertainment have always been intertwined to a degree - just look at original soap operas, for example. Today, with the proliferation of content and massive challenge of capturing consumers attention, entertainment plays an even more vital role in branded communications. Without an entertainment factor, a brand is lost. Each approaches entertainment differently of course; some use borrowed interest by featuring high profile celebrity talent or the latest technology, while others tell stories in other compelling new ways. Whatever the approach, the importance of entertainment in advertising today reminds us that we must also be pushing for new ways to communicate and captivate audiences ahead.

For our team, we’re looking forward to big projects in 2020 that will be executed in unique formats, and outside of traditional media. We love these kinds of creative assignments that push boundaries and present entirely new opportunities for our clients’ brands.

5) As we move into 2020, advertisers will continue to explore a myriad of communications platforms ranging from the innovative and unexpected channels, to the more traditional TV, radio, banners type option which I believe are just as relevant as ever. It’s a complex media landscape, though incredibly exciting too, given we have so many ways to create and communicate today and in the year ahead.

I also believe we’ll see an interesting evolution in client and agency relationships in the year ahead. In this age of more in-house agencies, production shops taking on greater roles, and agencies expanding their capabilities also, the various players and dynamic between them is shifting in an interesting way. There’s less of a divide and more collaboration amongst teams, and I really welcome that.

6) Every new year, I think there is an opportunity for us to use our experiences and learnings from the previous year, and apply them to the year ahead. Ultimately, the resolution is to always be better in our work, how we treat each other, and the opportunities that we unlock together. For the creative team specifically, I want us all to be more adventurous in our approach. And to have a feeling of both immense responsibility and immense freedom, which I believe leads to powerful new ideas.

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