It’s that time when we take a look back at what made the past year what it was and take a glimpse into the future to see what new trends are coming that will help shape the new landscape.
Here’s our rundown of three creative themes that ruled in 2018:
- Micro-video exploded: With shortening attention spans and changing algorithms, video length shrunk—and I mean, REALLY SHRUNK—to as short as five seconds. The reaction (after the cries of disbelief subsided) were to use these short bursts of branding in more creative ways: Buying multiple ads within commercial breaks and throughout a broadcast show or event to tell a more complete story that had viewers recalling the brand in a stronger way. See what Tide did during the 2018 Super Bowl.
- Stunts: For a few weeks, all anyone could talk about was iHop (or was it iHob?) and how they were abandoning pancakes for burgers. In the end, they didn’t, and never intended to. Rather, the ad-announced shift yielded a social and earned media tsunami that converted an ad campaign into a PR campaign. Engagement went through the roof and when the dust settled iHob reverted to its old brand, having gained new awareness and new customers with its short-lived brand redo.
- Brands taking a side in sociopolitical causes: Regardless of your affiliation, political activism and conversation hasn’t been this loud in a generation. In 2018, as political issues spilled over impacting our daily lives, was iHop (or was it iHob?): Nike fused its brand to the “Take a Knee” movement by using Colin Kaepernick to endorse its products; Dove rode the #MeToo movement with its “Like a Girl” campaign and even Burger King jumped on the net neutrality bandwagon. This new attitude of risking alienation of an audience with a political statement will likely continue into 2019 as the political conversation grows.
There are plenty of other trends we saw emerge in 2018—from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to voice search—that we expect will grow in the coming year. The key to success will be how these tools allow marketers to tell stories to audiences that motivate consumer choices. Articulating value and values together will be the key to success.