Perspective - Here’s to creating more Aussie legends in 2024

By Nicole Gardner | 6 December 2023
Nicole Gardner.

Thank goodness for the Matildas.  If it weren’t for the way they roused the nation, captured our hearts and gave us something to cheer about, I think we would look back over the past year as a year that simply flatlined. 

If 2023 was a person it would be a cautious introvert, trying not to get noticed as they went about their daily business. 

With interest rates continuing to rise and inflation failing to be steadied, the market, clients and agencies alike put their heads down so as not to attract attention for fear of yet another restructure or recrimination. 

This was reflected in the work. Sure there were a few clever earned media ideas along the way but can anyone remember them today? Advertisers largely played it safe, creating campaigns that were more about pleasing the status quo than truly making an impact. Heaven forbid a campaign got noticed to the point where someone criticised it or was offended so much that they complained. 

Thank goodness again for sport with Telstra’s footy finals ad and Westpac’s ad supporting the partnership with the NRL being brave enough to poke their heads out from the covers and say look at me. 

I think 2024 will be bolder and braver. It’s set to push the introvert aside and stride out ready to make a difference, even if that means making a mistake or two along the way.  Heading into the Paris Olympics, confidence will build and by the second half of the year, it will be pumping with campaigns setting new benchmarks for creativity. 

Australia follows the UK in terms of advertising trends. The Christmas campaign for John Lewis showed a real shift (thanks possibly to a new agency) that pushed it out of the warm and fuzzy and into the quirky and entertaining. Tesco followed suit. At last brands are showing signs of not taking themselves too seriously. Agencies are also being encouraged to lighten up with Cannes introducing a humour category into next year’s award show. I can’t wait to be entertained as Australian advertisers follow suit and focus less on what they think other people want them to do and more on what is going to give them an edge. 

I’m looking forward to advertising remembering to entertain the audience. There will be less reliance on a series of vignettes stuck together to tick off every proof point and in its place will be marvellous storytelling. Stories appeal to our natural hardwiring and ability to navigate and understand the world around us through them. 

The difference for 2024 versus other years where big ideas have reigned supreme, is that technology will enable greater personalisation of these stories and forge deeper connections with their audiences as a result. 

The biggest hurdle in 2024 will be not being left behind. We’ll all need to make sure our competitors don’t leave us in the dust. We travel in packs and take comfort from a sense of belonging and fitting it, so it will take bravery to say “what the heck”, let’s do something a bit out of the box and forgot about being ‘real’ (given no one can tell the difference between something real and something AI generated). Once the first make their break, the pressure will be on to keep up. 

This is especially true given we will start the year a little ‘sore’ from the economic environment.  Covid consumer savings have been whittled away by cost of living increases (and for half of Sydney and Melbourne, 2023’s European jaunt). 

Courage and hard work will be key to making the most of 2024.   We’re sure to unearth some new Aussie legends at the Olympics and for those who have trained hard in 2023, some true champions in the advertising and communications business.  

All in all, we are set for a cracker of a year! 

Nicole Gardner, Managing Director, Edge 

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