By Dave Parkinson, co-founder, Brave & Heart
It’s that time of year again. The 2019 predictions are flooding through.
“Never has so much been said by those who knew so little…”
For a change, here is something a little more fun versus the usual articles that come out at this time of the year.
So, in no particular order, here are my top 5 ‘hype-free’ predictions for 2019:
From AI-written music (it wasn’t) to a car advert written by AI (it didn’t), the hype train continues at pace.
Both feature Watson, an ‘AI Platform,’ which is, in reality, a cleverly rebadged set of tools from IBM. Yup. The mainframe guys.
Marketers (who do know better) will continue to incorrectly mix AI with automation, machine learning and programmatic with the claim that we need to be ready, we have to prepare, AI IS COMING, AI IS COMING.
PWC even recently published a piece containing the statement “AI answers the big question about data, which we called out last year: how to turn data into value.” All the buzzwords. None of the substance.
Is AI all hype? No. But it is nowhere near the maturity we are led to believe. Read between the lines.
Don’t get me wrong. I bought the PS4 VR on launch day. Batman and the Star Wars VR mission are worth the headset price alone.
But consumers don’t agree. Not in the slightest. VR is a bit of a flop really, regardless of hyped numbers.
Even the founders of Oculus fled Facebook with pockets full of cash.
From middle-aged suited execs sitting in seats at trade fairs to an agency pulling out a headset at a pitch. All. The. Eye. Rolls.
I love VR but then I have a 3DS and fondly remember Tomytronic in the ’80s.
I also realize I am an “n of 1” and that does not pass the muster in the real world. Do you?
What a year for agencies. SirMartin (one word) “left” WPP starting an industry domino fall.
The outcome of which, so far, is several thousand jobs to go and the merging of two agencies.
One of these, JWT + Wunderman is to now be called “WunderFish”. Maybe.
Ogilvy ‘streamlined’ itself with voluntary redundancies and the carnage will continue into 2019.
Why? First, agencies got too big. It made sense – one agency to rule them all. In a world where we have to merge all output across evolving technology, someone needs to have a handle on ALL of it. Right?
Except it doesn’t work. They just got slow and unwieldy.
Then, they got scared by consultancies. With the output we have seen so far one could argue for no reason, but hey ho, consultancies bought creative houses and… Did nothing of note.
Brands also started to “in-house” teams smelling fear and (more likely) savings. Savings they may have got but mediocrity soon followed.
Agile teams were formed as a way to support the future needs of clients i.e. act as a partner between agencies and brands and provide independent advice, developing strategy and tactics for clients who want to do something new and different in an agile and collaborative way.
Agile and collaborative. The key lies in those final words. Rather a mindset that needs to come back to agencies to help them stay the course.
Can they fix it though? Can they see the long game, work with others and make themselves smaller and faster? Time will tell.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Facebook. When you sat in meetings way back in 2010 being sold likes, fans and logout screen ads thinking, “Do you think I am stupid?” you earn the right to ask obvious questions.
Facebook is big and will likely get bigger although slower than it hoped. But, like a mushroom cloud that eventually falls back into itself, its days are (very) slowly numbered thanks to never-ending scandals, a broken company culture and the realization of what it’s doing with us and our data.
Like Myspace and Friends Reunited, Facebook will be overtaken by an unknown competitor, enabled by an evolving set of breakup and competition regulations. Or maybe we will all realize it was all a bit silly and move on?
Facebook will fight tooth and nail with the ‘folie à deux’ that is Zuck and Sandberg leaning into each other. In the end, it won’t matter. It never does.
I have spoken about this for some time but the Internet model MUST change.
“Free” is a claustrophobic offer in reality with Netflix and Amazon Prime being the catalysts for a mindset change that is slowly taking root. We have to pay for the good stuff.
With GDPR in Europe and (parts of it) eventually adopted globally, it is clear that the ability for websites to continue to make enough money from ads will dwindle.
This will lead to companies having to find more ways of making money with less clickbait and higher quality.
If you have a quality offering that really enhances someone’s experience, you CAN charge for it.
As consumers, we must get used to paying for it. Can we reverse 20 years of the free mindset?
That’s it for 2018, you lovely people. I hope you enjoyed this tongue in cheek look at what 2019 may bring but, more importantly, I hope it made you think differently about what you prioritize next year.
For the brave brands and agencies out there, there is a wealth of opportunity if you focus on customer experience each and every time.
It can be that simple…