Strategies for Choice Paralysis

Sarah Owen Senior Editor, WGSN Insight

Did you know that the average person scrolls through 300ft – roughly the height of the Statue of Liberty – of content a day?

That statistic was touted at Cannes Lions in 2019, and at times, doesn’t even seem like enough. The issue with all this content is the resulting effect on over-consumption that has created an attention deficit.

In a world where 15 seconds can be regarded as long-form content, attracting attention is a challenge that some believe can be tackled with creativity. Despite having more channels than ever to connect across, storytelling at scale means nothing if you’re screaming into the void.

These are three key strategies for 2020 on how to tackle choice paralysis and connect with consumers on a more meaningful level.

Creating Noise by Collaborating

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of brand partnerships that have catapulted collaborative efforts onto a global stage. Collaborations continue to be a crucial means for capturing consumer interest by leveraging and targeting new audience segments.

The newness here is brands moving beyond unorthodox collaborations and instead integrating with other industries in a way that adds extra context, service, convenience, and innovation to the consumer.

Luggage maker Rimowa is no stranger to collaboration, having partnered with the likes of Off White, Supreme, and Fendi. Most recently, however, the brand aligned with travel platform Skyhour, a travel platfom, to offer an experiential suitcase.

Customers who purchased the limited-edition luggage received monthly rewards of 12 Skyhours on the platform over a year. Each Skyhour equated to one hour of travel – so within a year, shoppers earned 144 hours of travel for any flight on the platform.

Smart partnerships not only help brands to scale their message but more effectively offer consumers a new layer of seamless luxury.

Scaling with Social Media

Social ad spends outpaced traditional media in 2019, representing the world's third-largest channel at 13% and expected to jump to 16% by 2021. In 2020, updated social media tools will enable brands to enter new consumer spaces.

For instance, Facebook's Horizon, currently in beta, is a virtual world available via Oculus Quest and the Rift Platforms, where audiences will be able to create their own virtual realities in solo or group formats. Brands will likely be able to get involved as well.

There’s also WhatsApp, which is parting from its initial mission to deliver an ad-free app experience by launching in-app ads this year. In 2020, brands will turn to WhatsApp Stories to scale their stories, with ads living between the status updates posted by those within a user's phone book.


Today’s authenticity-obsessed consumers are bombarded with advertising and more resistant to traditional campaigns. A survey by Morning Consult found that 63% of Americans reported noticing more advertising, while about 75% described it as intrusive.

Through disruptive tactics that are sometimes known as ‘hackvertising’, marketers are scaling their stories by creeping into new spaces in a manner that garners viral traction.

Budweiser’s Tagwords was a great example of this. The OOH ad prompted audiences to Google search some of the key words on its billboards, linking the beer brand’s history to iconic moments from the music industry.

The piece of work featured the search words that would generate photographs of musicians drinking Budweiser via Google instead of using the actual images that would run into copyright issues. The creative effort resulted in a total of five million searches for the designated word combinations.