Only a fool would state that they know with absolute certainty what the landscape in adland will look like in six months’ time. We are living through a time of almost unparalleled unpredictability but one overarching and undeniable trend that appears to stretch from here to eternity is the fast march of digital transformation.
Even traditional forms of advertising (print, OOH) are beholden to technology in this third decade of the 21st century and advertising continues to evolve to meet this ever-expanding digital frontier. With that in mind, I thought I’d spend a few minutes of your time (and hours of mine) exploring the potential trends that might take advantage of this digital-focused society in 2023. It is predictions month, after all.
Short form plugs the patience gap
Maybe my age is showing, but I struggle to connect with short form videos. We’re not talking about 5-minute short films here but 5-30 second clips, geared towards the TikTok crowd that you’ve undoubtedly noticed clogging up your social media feeds over the last 12 months. Well, expect agencies to double down on that tactic in 2023 because, frustratingly, it’s working.
The real test is going to be seeing which (if any) are able to pull something truly inspiring out of the hat here. Capturing the attention of somebody who believes that 15-seconds is pushing it is easier said than done. The only real benefit I can see from a creative perspective is that content of this nature can be churned out quickly enough to be genuinely reactive. So more of that this year would be great.
Storytime all the time
People crave stories. In whatever medium you choose to indulge, it’s always the stories that anchor you and give you something to invest in. Advertising has been telling stories for generations now and it’s the ads that manage to weave those compelling narratives into a legitimate sales pitch that hit Cannes Lions pay dirt.
But with today’s audience demanding everything right now all at once, creatives are going to struggle in 2023 to create genuine stories in 10-second bursts. One way to bring the audience in is to make them feel part of the narrative by creating interactive activations. This is something Tesco managed admirable last year with their “voice of checkout” campaign and it’s perhaps going to be the greatest headscratcher of 2023 – how can I tell a story in under 30-seconds.
Adland tries to make us smile again
It’s been a tough few years and things don’t appear to be getting much better in the short term. In times of great depression, however, there’s never a better time to be a comedian and that’s why I foresee creatives leaning into their funny bones in 2023. Hope, humour, and heart are the three big H words I want to see making an impact because I think we all need it.
Yes, social causes need a spotlight and sustainability and diversity need to remain front and centre if we want to see a fundamental shift in the zeitgeist, but we need a laugh too. So come on ad people. Give me something to smile about this year... Please?