Don’t overthink things. Aim for simple and pragmatic.

Creativity doesn’t always need to be glossy, it can often be pragmatic. Marketing consultant and former professor Mark Ritson gave the industry some sobering thoughts when he said “the only way to understand brands properly is to realise that they play a tiny little role in consumers lives. That’s not a depressing thought, it’s realistic. It enables us to do a much better job, ironically, of growing brands, than if you think your brand is some big important thing that’s always top of mind for consumers.”

Tech is an enabler. Think idea first, tech second. A lot of work won this year because it really understood a specific platform. As Margaret Johnson, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, said: “You want to play to Gen Z’s interests. It’s more interesting, as a creative, to come up with ideas that are bespoke to specific platforms, like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram. It makes your idea stronger when it’s more specific.”

The idea comes first. But the more platform specific you can be, the better.

Purpose and profit are inextricably linked and MUST be part of the core brand strategy.

Gone are the days of “good” as an adjacent strategy; it is core to your business growth plans. Which means it’s never a “one and done”. If your purposeful campaign doesn’t have long-term impact then it’s not going to work. “There is a leap of faith, but that’s what makes the difference between short-term ideas and long-term commitments,” says Fred Levron, FCB Chicago, “and when you make those long-term commitments, you might be greatly rewarded.”

Use every moment. Don’t forget that every second a consumer spends with your brand is an opportunity to send a message – even the payments process. “We’ll start to see brands reflecting who they are, their tone, the values they have, in how they do commerce in a way that’s unique for them,” said Tiffany Rolfe, Creative eCommerce Lions Jury President and R/GA's Global Chief Creative Officer.

Commerce is everywhere. Identify ‘surprise’ and ‘delight’ moments while staying focused on conversion.

The pandemic has honed our propensity for experimentation. Nurture this on your teams.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown, just jump in and try it. “Progress comes from experimentation. You really need to push yourself to the edge, where there are ideas that would scare the heck out of you. That’s when you know you’re making the leap into the next normal” says Ram Krishnan, Global Chief Commercial Officer, PepsiCo.

The expectation of entertainment has shifted up a gear. Gaming, in particular, offers some of the most exciting opportunities for marketers with a new generation of kids who are growing up in the metaverse. We saw many trophies handed out to work that understood a diverse gaming community. As Gary Vaynerchuk, Chairman of VaynerX and the CEO of VaynerMedia, pointed out, nearly all of us know someone who’s bought sheep in Farmville, or a skin in Fortnite. Why does a child want that? To be good at the game, of course, but also for the same reason we cut our hair and wear the clothes we do: to communicate and express ourselves. Brands need to have a clear and relevant gaming strategy to meet a new generation of people in their native environment.

If you’ve not got skin in the game, you need to start.

The idea of data versus creativity is outdated. Use data to innovate and to underpin creative strategy.

There are better ways to use data than generating yet more marketing messaging. The winners in Creative Data and Direct saw innovative data partnerships and useful product developments that surprise and delight audiences.

“I think everybody loves the big battle between data and creativity, but in fact data is just an enabler for creativity, data can help us see things we were just feeling our way through before, it can help us uncover truths that we may not have seen without it, it can validate our instincts, it can sharpen ideas, and importantly it can help us sell our ideas, because there’s great comfort in the numbers for many of our clients.”


EVP and Global Business Leader | BBDO

The pandemic has forced us to adapt and come together in ways we wouldn’t have believed possible before. Don’t stop now. As Pinterest’s Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Mallard noted, we mustn’t just think consumers want to go back to the habits and behaviours they adopted pre-pandemic. People have re-prioritised and brands must do the same.

Absorb the lessons from the pandemic.

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