2021 Industry Outlook Survey Response

Justine Armour
Chief Creative Officer
Grey New York


What’s the most relevant business and/or creative lesson you learned in 2020 and how will you apply it to 2021?

When we all live the same life, we all come up with the same ideas. Last year was like a bad creative experiment, millions of isolated people in a massive monoculture. You would have an idea, and then the same idea would pop up in five other places. I found this very disturbing. I’m still inside my house, but this year I’m being more intentional about filling my eyes, ears and mind with more interesting stimulus.

How will the events of 2020--from the pandemic to the call for social and racial justice--impact the content you create and/or the way you work? 

We made a number of projects with P&G for their equality mission last year; a piece for gender equality in the pandemic, a heartfelt LGBTQ+ story for Pride, and a 90 second film on white privilege called The Choice that Oprah gave notes on. We’re lucky to work with P&G because they’ve been in the race conversation for years, so they’re not afraid to make work that takes a strong stance and moves the conversation forward. Last year increased the urgency to create a company culture where our Black coworkers really feel their value at work, because we want and need their perspectives to impact the work and get into the public psyche. Advertising can influence the masses in powerful ways, and we certainly see our role in shaping a more equal future for Black people through the work we make.

Gazing into your crystal ball, what do you envision for the industry--creatively speaking or from a business standpoint--in 2021? 

A greater emphasis on truth, depth and meaning. Also frivolity, comedy, and escape.

What are your goals, creatively speaking and/or from a business standpoint, for your company, division, studio or network in 2021?

A team that’s genuinely happy and supportive of each other, making work they’re proud of. It’s always my goal.

Tell us about one current project you are working on for early 2021.

I’m superstitious when it comes to talking about things before they go out into the world. Even a fully finished project can be cursed by the gods if you get too cocky. We have some fun work for new clients, a Super Bowl spot, a gun safety thing I’m excited about, and some interesting work coming for P&G and Volvo. That’s all I can say without tempting fate.

How did your company, agency, network, service or studio adjust/adapt to the marketplace in 2020 (new strategies, resources, technology, health/safety expertise) and what of all that bodes well for 2021? 

We live on Microsoft Teams, and I see a future where we always will. Even after the vaccine, I expect we’ll all be working remotely some of the time. 

What’s your New Year’s resolution, creatively speaking or from a business standpoint, for your agency, department or company?

WPP announced the merger of Grey and AKQA toward the end of last year, and some trade press called it the death of the Grey brand. There was a tombstone and everything. Grey is not dead, but the image of that, at the end of a year like that, was somewhat of a near-death experience. We’re heading into this year wanting to make the most of it all, waste no time, and just really live our best creative lives (all while being stuck inside our apartments for probably another six months).

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