Agency predictions - what to watch in 2015

By Sarah Homewood and Rachael Micallef | 18 December 2014

Wearables, real-time, native and vloggers: whatever 2015 has in store for adland, it's sure to come with a catchy buzzword. AdNews asked some of the big players in creative and digital agencies including DDB Melbourne, Isobar and BMF what they thought was coming down the pipeline for them. Here's what they had to say.

Lorenzo Bresciani, managing director, DDB Melbourne

“Brand Building Beyond Communication: Communication will remain a critical tool for brand building, but increasingly brands are realizing that what you do is more important than what you say. If any consumer touch point lets the side down it will fundamentally undermine all the others. Expect to see brands striving for greater alignment and consistency of brand experiences across communication, social media, website, in-store and call centre channels. In addition to a greater focus on alignment, the best brands will prioritise meaningful innovation based on consumer insights as a way of driving real growth.

The Proliferation of Content – Good and Bad: At least partly due to the cost of television as a communication channel, both in terms of production and media costs, we are seeing clients enthusiastically embrace content as a cheaper way of connecting with consumers. 2015 will see an overload of brand created content on web sites, YouTube channels and social media sites. The best brands will imbue this content with real entertainment values and strong ideas, but these will be in the minority. Expect to see a lot of content that will hold your attention for little longer than the time it takes to yawn.”

Dominic Stinton, CEO, BMF

“BMF just dropped two massive bombs in the market, the Aldi ‘Specially Selected for the Perfect Aussie Christmas’ campaign, and P&O ‘Be Free Earthlings’ campaign. Both are smashing it. Like John Lewis’ Christmas extravaganza in the UK, both are big, integrated advertising campaigns. They can be experienced across multiple channels. Hopefully 2015 will be the year when critics stop wanging on about innovation hammering yet another nail in advertising’s coffin. We can go to market in so many ways now, which is exciting. We can listen to Spotify, and we can listen to vinyl. If you obsess about one being better than the other, then you miss the point. It’s all good. Why cut your nose off to spite your face?”

Simon Small, executive strategy director, Isobar

“Media fragmentation will reach new levels of crazy when Netflix launches, Google’s Android TVs OS and people continue to be ever distracted by their mobiles and tablets. Netflix already has 145,000 customers in Australia before you can legally use their service and Google may have made the first Smart TV that doesn’t suck – bringing more of the fragmented content universe into people’s lounge rooms. Oh, as a result Australia’s addiction to piracy will start to decline.
Wearables won’t be real. While they’ll continue to be the focus of our industry media wearables won't become mainstream. Progressive brands will start to experiment, do stunts and think about how they will impact their marketing, product and overall customer experience. It’ll be like the year of mobile we had nine years in a row.”

Brendan Graham, strategist, Soap Creative

“Rise of the YouTube super-agent: As vloggers become bigger celebs than movie stars, the new super-agents won't be make-it-in-Hollywood, they'll make it via bedrooms and green screens across the world. With followers becoming a more valuable metric than first-day ticket sales, expect the 'Ari Golds' of the world to turn their attention to vloggers in 2015.

Pulitzer Lions: Cannes Lions and the Pulitzer Prize unite to celebrate 'Native Advertising'. Introducing: The Lionlitzer Award.

Programmatically Boring: Everything will become programmatic in 2015. Digital. OOH. TV. Even taxis.”

Matt Griffin, chief executive, Deepend Group

“We’ve seen PayPal, Paypass, Paywave, NFC, Google Wallet and more but ‘mobile commerce’ hasn’t really got the traction it deserves. Could 2015 be its day in the sun?”

Chris Crammond, managing partner, Deepend

“Mainstream media outlets will struggle to remain relevant with people increasingly breaking news stories over social media channels, traditional less nimble mainstream news outlets will struggle to remain relevant. The publishing landscape will be turned on its head as a result. Case in point was the breaking of the Ferguson shooting case in America, which trended on Twitter well before it was published on any mainstream media outlet."

Matt Whale, managing director, How To Impact

“2015 as the year for a growing global anti-FIFA sentiment will manifest into an anti-FIFA and anti World Cup campaign, that will spark guerrilla campaigns from sports brands and disgruntled national football (soccer) bodies to form a breakaway tournament with reverse, anti-greed echoes of cricket and rugby league breakaways.”

Julian Ward, MD, We Are Social

“With expectations that 42% of Aussie ad dollars will be spent in digital, we will see some reflection on this investment surge. New questions will emerge around the digitally driven, overly optimised race to the bottom. We will start to move on and ask the tougher questions, some less easily answered or measured.

The audience we want to connect with will continue to grow more annoyed with the intrusive, repetitive nature of behavioural targeting and are wising up to native advertising. Brands will start to assess the risk impact on this shortsighted only obsession. We will seek to understand what people want - not just what the brand wants – what they will engage with and what will drive these advocates to tell stories on a brand’s behalf (as opposed to things they are trying to avoid, like ads).

Digital ad spending will surely increase, but the smart movers will hedge, so expect to see a ramp up of value driven loyalty / CRM programs, expanding social ecosystems with a focus on the people within them, influencer based activity, evolving content programs, value providing utilities and applications, along with increasing customisation and innovation relating to products and services based on new and ongoing insights.”

Grant Flannery, senior lead strategist , innovation, The White Agency

“My top trend pick is contextual story building using real time data. In developing stories for the consumers; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (especially video) will remain the staple of most brands, but it’s time to start exploring new platforms to develop more interesting, tailored and contextual stories that utilise real-time data.We need to better understand when and how stories are being consumed and what stories are actually resonating in the digital space.”

Richard Brett, MD, Pulse Communications

“New technology will continue to revolutionise creativity and drive the fusion between online and offline content, between paid and earned channels. Smart web-enabled touchscreens will deliver new types of content and Oculus Rift will allow new experiences. Additionally, the virtual reality market will grow exponentially and wearables, such as Google Glass, will add further creative innovation.”

Nick Muncaster, GM, JWT Melbourne

“Creatively there will be more brilliant advertising ideas that extend to physical experiences. It’s not about abandoning digital, far from it, it's simply recognition that equally valued is the time we do not spend in front of a screen. Creatively the industry will help brands create campaigns that also include tangible and immersive moments without being anti-technology.”

Angela Morris, executive planning director, JWT Sydney

“The fight to ideate by multiple agency partners will intensify and the fetish-ization of technology as a substitute for ideas will continue, increasing the risk of brand schizophrenia. Wise clients will look to strategy for guidance, technology and ideas will coalesce and data planning will be in hot demand, because execution is strategic too.”

Craig Flanders, co-founder, Spinach

The economy will begin to reap the benefits of a lower Aussie dollar and with a paradoxical possibility of a interest rate cut, real stimulus could occur by the first half of next year. We are seeing signs of a more confident consumer already, so we are looking forward to business grasping the mettle and taking a few more calculated risks.

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