Friday, December 18, 2009

The end of the year show. What was it all about? And what next?

If like me, the end of the noughties finds you frantically trying to get things done before the break, then you probably haven’t had time to read the cascade of end-of-year reviews and lists that are pouring in to your inbox. So here is a digestion of the end-of-decade to save you some time.

100 moments – from The Telegraph
This cultural chronology is worth speed-reading, not least because the moments chosen reflect just how celebrity has dominated the decade – in broadsheets as well as tabloids. Celebrity has been with us for centuries, but a lot has changed since Big Brother first aired in July 2000, both in terms of who our celebrities are and how we interact with them. So here among the “moments that signalled a change in the cultural life of Britain and the rest of the world” the collapse of Lehmans is mentioned merely as an addendum to an entry about Damien Hirst. The article came out in October, so it tantalisingly omits the last defining celebrity moment of the decade – the fall of Tiger Woods.

20 brands – from Coolbrands
The last 10 years have seen technology not only transform lifestyles, but change the consumer landscape. Over half of Coolbrands choices for 2009/2010 are technology brands. Even more remarkable, Apple, iPhone and iPod hog 3 of their top 4. Apple was in apparently terminal decline until the 1998 launch of the iMac. The iPod launch was not instantly dramatic because it happened in November 2001, when we all had other things to worry about (no matter how good your story, you can never control the PR agenda), but it became the product story of the decade – a winning combination of usability, aesthetics and business-model.

10 consumer trends – from Trendwatching
Anyone trying to get into tomorrow’s consumer’s head should start here. Just how do we connect with, and invent for, change-adapted, city-living, connected yet fragmented, engaged yet cynical consumers – who may even be beginning to reject that classification? This picture suggests there are many opportunities to do things differently – and with it no doubt diminishing return for doing things the same. An exciting prospect – but marketers’ roles will certainly not be getting easier.

12 great ads – from The Guardian
Greatness is typically subjectively defined (for great, read personal favourite?). But the combination of memorability and favourability make reasonable proxy evaluation criteria in the absence of each campaign’s precise objectives and sales figures. The Guardian’s list captures that better than most. Bravia Balls didn’t do it for me – a beautiful film but could be any HD/LCD TV. But Levi’s Odyssey, John West’s Bear Fight, and Cadbury’s Gorilla have all made lasting impressions. Comparethemarket’s meerkats may get there too, though it’s really too soon to tell. (And I am flattered to have had a walk on part in the project that led to the gorilla.)

10 bad ads – from BNET
Sadly, there’s always more entrants for this category... this list only covers 2009! Its dangerous to pass judgement – we’ve all made mistakes. But we should all spend more time reviewing failure, for our mistakes can haunt us. YouTube may have taken down the link to the WWF World Trade Center video (in the process naming DDB as the agency), but its still easy to find on Google. In a digital world, ill-considered marketing can have lasting consequences.

In 4 words – from Plan Phoenix
The most concise summary of the last 10 years?
How about “terror, technology, celebrity and debt”.
(Book-ended by 9/11 and Lehmans, with Big Brother along the way, maybe we should be glad to say goodbye?)
And these four elements will shape the landscape ahead of us.

And 0 predictions
As thoughts turn to the teenies, uncertainty has never been so uncertain. It would be a brave business that bet its future on a single path. A secure world or an at-war world? At war with extremism or carbon? A "V", "W" or "L" shaped economy? Who will be the influential figures? What will be the breakthrough technologies? Uncharted territory. I look forward to navigating it with you.