What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2022 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of this year and beyond?
Two major things should make agencies more introspective. One, The Great Resignation of 2021. And two, the continued discussions around where and how we work. While the immediate response when people started to leave was for agencies to jump into the pool to find new talent, the smart agencies looked inward to see how they could keep and nurture the talent they had. That includes how and where we work. Some agencies and businesses were quick to make a decision on the extremes of fully in the office or fully remote. But those who are cautiously figuring it out as the world continues to evolve show that flexibility and adaptability matter, both to the work and to people. Flexibility and understanding are important.
How have any societal issues--such as the pandemic, the Supreme court decision on abortion, calls for equity, inclusion, diversity, racial and social justice--impacted the way you do business, company policies and/or selection of projects/creative content?
Everything that has happened in the past few years is forcing us to be more thoughtful. While the pace of work has continued to increase, I think the industry as a whole is making a diligent effort to stop and think about how best to respond. No longer are platitudes, statements of support or quick fixes enough. People want meaningful action. Change can be slow. But when we are doing things within our agencies and within our work to bring more diverse voices and stories to the forefront, to rethink how we hire, to change policy, to think about what people really want and need to be happier and healthier, even if it’s slow, it means something is actually happening.
What’s the biggest takeaway or lessons learned from work (please identify the project) you were involved in this year?
Working in automotive, our clients have been faced with supply chain issues that impact inventory. This has made us all get back to the roots of brand building, to talking about what we believe and focusing on the relationship we have with customers beyond the product. While inventory issues are unexpected and not what clients want to be faced with, it is good to be reminded of the importance of the long game, of maintaining and building a brand people care about and stay with.
What work (advertising, entertainment, documentary) -- your own or others--struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?
The most shocking and impactful initiatives have been around gun control. From the video stunt to the way information was dispensed on the site itself, The Lost Class was so simple but so profoundly gut-wrenching in its execution. The recent mile-long convoy of school buses in Houston and the aerial image of the buses forming the shape of a gun were also so indescribably heartbreaking. The worst part is that these types of initiatives have to happen at all.
While gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky proposition, we nonetheless ask you for any forecast you have relative to content creation and/or the creative and/or business climate for the second half of 2022 and beyond.
Oh man, if I could have predicted anything in the past few years accurately, I’d probably be retired on a beach somewhere. I think while we’re still cautious about how we will work, and thoughtful about what we say and do, we’ll continue to take more chances and have fun with the work. It’s an exciting, interesting time for tech and creativity.