A 2020 Vision

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So, 2020 has started on a positive note: A threat of world war and fires the size of Germany raging over Australia, darkening skies almost 10,000 miles away. And how does the media world respond? Mild annoyance that weight watchers were using the hashtag #WW and a few Hollywood celebrities calling out climate change at the Golden Globes.

Clearly the communications world is continuing to disappear up its own nether regions as we face the dawn of a new decade. So what does the year hold for us in Soho, Shoreditch and Bankside.

A sporting chance

Sports is gonna be big in 2020; this summer we get the Euros, taking place all over Europe (we just qualified for that honour, but maybe not next time), the Ryder Cup, which seems to have become a media event darling and the big one, The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Tokyo is featuring mascots that look like Hong Kong flea market copies of Pokemon characters, morning finals to hit NBC’s prime time schedules and innovative events designed to attract a new audience such as softball and skateboarding. Sounds rad dudes.

So this is a good time to get your sports credentials front and centre in all proposals, and if you don’t have sports credentials, get your strategy director to formulate some links (no matter how spurious) between what you can do and sporting endeavour.

Brexitgram and shrinking budgets

Brexit will continue to be a debate over the year as it clearly won’t get done by Jan 31st, and economic forecasts will continue to be buffeted as everyone fails to understand what the hell it means, how it will work, and most importantly, will we need a visa to visit Cannes in June and will our health insurance cover alcohol-induced heart attacks????

Instagram will prevent us liking posts which will see the seemingly inexorable rise of influencers grind to a halt until they learn how to use TikTok and take their nonsense to moving image creative.

Briefs will continue to get briefer; one recent conversation with a marketing director went something like this:

‘Please can you write the brief for me as i’ve never done this before…’

And then we didn’t get the job.

Budgets will continue to shrink and everyone will get squeezed as big agencies try to hold on to their margins and usage will become a word that no one wants to ever hear again as buyouts and IP ownership become a standard in every contract. Payment terms will stretch into months rather than weeks and advances will get paid after jobs have been started.

Not all doom and gloom

But, but, but, this sounds like all doom and gloom and yet there will still be opportunities for creativity to thrive, it’s just unlikely to take the form that it has done over the last few years. We will all have to work smarter and harder and embrace a new world of comms and revise the old rules that have been the advertising world’s mantra since Mad Men ruled the roost in the 1950s.

Brands will discover social purpose as they lurch towards providing meaning for their customers and differentiating themselves in a crowded marketplace and moving images (i’ve tried to avoid using the word content, but that’s what i mean) will continue it’s unstoppable march to fill our every waking hour with information and entertainment.

The quest for creativity won’t stop, but it’s more likely to be conservative rather than radical, at least in the short term, and this will have an influence on the new minds and new blood that want to enter the industry. Advertising thrives on a blend of experience and innovative thinking and part of our duty is to ensure that this flow continues to constantly re-invigorate everything we do.


2020 is a new decade that will completely re-invent every aspect of commercial communication, it’s both scary and exciting, and remember, it’s always going to be better than doing a real job, and as soon as it isn’t, it’s time to do something else.

Enjoy the ride.

Header image by Alán Guzmán


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