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So, 2020. Not been much going on, has there? Bit of a quiet year.


As long as you ignore the handful of world-changing events, that is. It seemed bad enough when there was just COVID-19 to deal with. Everyone quickly realised that this was going to lead to a ‘new normal’, as it was quickly called. But that was just the beginning. With talk of economic crashes and social uprisings, we’re in an era of change.

It’s been a lot to deal with. Most people who know me think I’m someone who can live a bit too much on the dark side. Every silver lining has a cloud (I think I’m more a realist). But I’m also a creative, and creatives are some of the most optimistic people around.

When 99.9999999999999% of the ideas you produce never see the light of day, you have to be optimistic. That the next brief, the next idea will be the next big amazing opportunity.

That’s why I’m really upbeat about what the next version of the world, and industry, we’re stepping outside to find will be. New normal or not, things have to change.

There’s been a lot of articles about how the industry has adjusted to lockdown. We’ve learnt a lot. It’s been like a large-scale live research project. But what’s next?

Working from home full-time has proved that this can work for agencies and people alike. Better mental health and families that feel more connected than they have for years. That’s going to lead to better working environments and I’m sure better work (it already is). Not to mention the recent report about air quality improving due to less commuting. Maybe one step that can help climate change too.

We’ve found other ways to make ads in these times (OK, we’ve all seen enough of ads on TV that have been created over Zoom), but it’s opened up thinking. Let’s not just follow the default route into production of ‘brief, shoot, post’. If budgets are getting tighter for the ‘same old’ approach, let’s change the approach. How can we make things differently? That’s not to say I’m ruling out every shoot on a beach somewhere hot.

Look at the revolution in comedy and publishing. Twitch, TikTok, Podcasts and more are chewing up traditional broadcast spaces. Different channels being used to speak to people who are now living in a different way. New voices finding new ways to speak. More people from more varied backgrounds is something the industry desperately needs and it’s necessary that we make that change. It’s up to each of us.

Even though our jobs are changing, ultimately consumers remain at the heart of everything we do. And although our audiences have changed as the world changes, our strategists continue to do even more research into what they now want. It gives the opportunity to steal a march with our clients with whom we’ve worked tightly through this, so that they’re prepped and ready for the new audiences they’ll be talking to.

Hopefully reading this hasn’t brought anyone’s mood down. Change can be worrying, but it’s not bad news; it’s great. It’s the next brief and the wide-open door. We’ve adapted a lot over the last few months, but we shouldn’t stop with the things that have changed so far. What else can we do? How can we make our work, our agencies, our industry better? And beyond that, how can we make changes to make the world better?

Bring on 2021*.

*unless thing continue to escalate and we have to work out how to make the best of nuclear armageddon or alien invasion. But I’m sure with some creative thinking, we could.

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