Back to the Future: How accurate were 10 predictions The Glue Society made 10 years ago?

16 December 2015

Back in 2005, for The Annual, AdNews asked industry figures including MCN CEO Anthony Fitzgerald (still in the role), then-CEO of Mindshare Chris Walton now CEO of Nunn Media, and many more, to predict what the state of play would be in a decade's time. That's now. We decided to revisit those predictions and see who was right – and who was wrong. Over the next few days we'll be revealing who had an accurate crystal ball a decade ago – and who frankly was full of shit.

A decade ago The GLue Society made 10 bold predictions about what the future would be like in 2015. Now we're in that future, how close did the agency get?

"Overall, I’d say we were about as accurate as Back to the Future Part 2!" Jonathan Kneebone, founder of The Glue Society said. 

2005 prediction:  All agencies will have been bought by clients, bringing all strategic thinking in-house

2015 reality: While clients haven’t bought all agencies, clients have most definitely started their own. Hyundai and Commbank started their own agencies to service themselves. And brands like Apple, Facebook, BBC, Google, Channel 4, Chanel, Red Bull, Vice amongst others have very much become self-serving clients, with in-house strategy and creative.

2005 prediction: Someone will have started a new religion on the internet

2015 reality: There has not only been a rise in cyber faiths – but also traditional religions have gone digital. And of course, there is evidence to suggest some of the most extreme organisations now use the internet to source new active believers and grow their communities. Added to which Justin Bieber could be considered a religion by some.

2005 prediction: Most media planning companies will have established their own media channel

2015 reality: While not true of every media company, there are certainly PR agencies who now have their own social news sites. We could potentially claim the rise of YouTube channels for brands and their agencies as a tick for this prediction.

2005 prediction: Agency creative departments will have merged with production companies

2015 reality: This was a little off the mark! It would be more likely that all of these services might end up within a brand or client – such as Google or Apple.

2005 prediction: Audiences will pay to enjoy unbranded entertainment

2015 reality: Spotify is probably the most famous example of this. But also Foxtel’s ad-free sports and movie channels do prove that people will pay to avoid ads. Also the prevalence of adblockers is perhaps a sign that this wasn’t too far off being true.

2005 prediction: Rather than sponsoring a famous personality, one brand will actually create a human being from scratch to live as its representative

2015 reality: Hmm. Does Siri count? If not, Kim Kardashian is probably the closest! Or One Direction/5SOS.

2005 prediction: Australia will sell itself as “the test market” for global brands wishing to trial new products and ideas

2015 reality: McDonald’s is most certainly using Australia as a way of seeing what could revive its global fortunes. Create Your Taste and the Healthy Options were undoubtedly tested here before heading elsewhere.

2005 prediction: New Zealand will be the first advertising-free country on earth. Holiday bookings – and the economy – will rise accordingly.

2015 reality: While not New Zealand, there have been examples of cities – most famously Sao Paolo, then Chennai, Grenoable, Tehran and Paris - removing billboards. So this is not such a ludicrous notion.

2005 prediction: Someone will mix sport and politics for the sake of entertainment. Important issues of the time may well be decided live on the football field

2015 reality: Not quite in the way we intended, FIFA undoubtedly has mixed sport and politics. But while this hasn’t come true, it would be interesting to see Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton playing darts to see who moves into the White House.

 Also in this series: Back to the future - can Mat Baxter predict the future?


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