Creativity is finally emerging as a key driver of the great marketing strategy – and about time, too.
But, with budgets set to tighten and consumers pre-occupied with worries about energy costs and inflation, will the creatives in the marketing world be pushed down the line, or will it claim its rightful place at the heart of a brand’s marketing push?
We asked adland’s brightest for their 2023 outlook on the creative sector…
Luke Southern, CEO, DRUM
“It’s long been known that creativity has a significant multiplier effect in business on long-term brand and commercial growth. This needs to be front of mind for marketeers in 2023.
“Brands are going to be battling a crisis of low audience attention, fragmented media consumption, and economic and cultural volatility.
“Successful advertisers and marketeers will be the ones that double down on investing in their brand, not just performance; channelling creativity to stay relevant, differentiate from competitors and earn audience attention in traditional media as well as the nascent new media environments of AVOD, gaming and virtual spaces.
“Stay the course in this time of crisis, put creativity at the heart of your comms and focus on long-term relevance rather than short-term results.”
Peter Wallace, General Manager, EMEA, GumGum
“The number of devices that advertisers need to consider will continue to proliferate.
“In-Game and CTV have been talked about for a number of years already, ‘23 will see the true adoption and exponential growth of these platforms.
“In addition, we have the metaverse which, whilst in its infancy, needs to become a consideration for advertisers.
“The increase in devices means more advertising and new creative opportunities, whilst there is increased competition for consumer attention.
“In order to be successful, advertisers need to consider the mindset of a consumer based on the different media channels they are consuming; one size fits all execution is no longer appropriate.
“Advertisers that fail to tap into consumer mindset will get lost and not drive the attention required to increase awareness and consideration.
“Combining mindset, not only through device identification but also contextual analysis, with bespoke creative execution will be the winning approach in ‘23.”
Mordecai, Founder, Day After
“Understanding your best creative is your brand experience, we’re looking at the influence of the trend we call “Social Snorkeling” as it lands in a brands market presence.
“Made viral on TikTok, “Social Snorkeling” is episodic deep dives blowing up your FYP on topics ranging from experiences at AirBnb’s to neighbour mysteries.
“Varying from two to six parts, it’s the TLDR of documentaries. A content style brands not only have to be conscious of and responsive to but cater for in 2023.”
Amy China Wire, Head of Teads Studio UK, Teads
“With channels such as Connected TV set to skyrocket in 2023, ad competition here will be extremely fierce.
“Marketers looking to maximise performance on these platforms will need to prioritise creativity, as only engaging and interactive ads will stand out from the crowd.
“Moreover, a recent study found that optimising the creative for the environment increased ad attention by 49%. This includes considering the appropriateness of creative optimisations to the intended channel.
“As a result, brands that focus on the look and feel of their ads, whilst ensuring the creative resonates on the right channels, will see strong strategic growth.”
James Upson, Managing Director UK & NL, Adnami
“There has been a rebirth of creativity within the advertising sector but at the same time it has become even more critical to drive efficiency in this current climate where markers are under increased pressure to deliver value.
“To that end, we believe that attention as a metric should be at the forefront.
“While the goal will always be to successfully blend both data and creativity, we hope in 2023 more marketers will turn to ground-breaking formats focussed on delivering attention, engagement, and impact for their branding needs.
“Successful brands also recognise the change in consumer behaviour online, and the need for impactful storytelling.
“In the new year, I’m hoping the industry continues to push for a higher standard in regard to what’s possible, with intelligent, scalable creative, and attention driven media.”
Steve Aldridge, CCO, Wunderman Thompson
“From a creative perspective, 2023 offers the promise of new technologies: 5G connectivity, more personalised content and even smarter data-driven AI are all areas that are giving brands cutting-edge ways to interact in real-time with their consumers through advertising.
“For creatives, new avenues to consumers are a real gift and an opportunity to create something never seen before. But some things never change whatever the year.
“It still comes down to the way we use creativity to spark imagination. In other words, a good idea.”
Dom Tillson, Marketing Director, Azerion
“In a recent creative survey we commissioned, 73% of respondents are after collaboration between creative teams and their media partners.
“Trusting a designer to inject creative flair isn’t just ‘to make things look pretty’ but to actually drive real brand results.
“2023 will be the year that creative teams become more integral at the start of the campaign planning process—especially where the much-hyped attention levels are concerned.
“High attention drives brand performance but it shouldn’t be the goal. Next year, creative teams will be focused more on the quality of attention relative to a brand’s life stage and competitive set, and the performance output it delivers.”
Jahanzeb Alvi, Growth Director, Exit Bee
“The Ad Industry has evolved significantly in the past 18 months with acquisitions, consolidations, more transparency and measurement.
“Now the focus is how not to keep all eggs in one basket, i.e. relying too much on one technology like cookies or relying too much on one metric like viewability.
“Attention is increasingly becoming the new currency for Media Trading. Attention metrics equip agencies and publishers to trade on placements which are noticed more than others, but the true winner in attention economy will be partners who not only deliver attention formats, but couple it with high impact engaging creative too.
“Exit Bee’s delivers in quality over quantity and delivering one attention grabbing beautifully designed creative delivered in the moment when user’s attention is naturally available, will always win over 10 IAB standard banners.
“Advertisers have to start treating a website’s unique users as unique humans who all have different wants, associations and preferences.
“Using AI to determine when their attention is available and delivering a contextual suggestion to enhance their online experience will be a big priority for publishers this 2023.”
Simon Carr, Chief Strategy Officer, Hearts & Science
“John Hegarty said earlier this week in a radio interview that “creativity is the essence of optimism”, so here are three creative areas I’m optimistic about:
“First, we’ve been working with analytical AI in the media industry for a while now, but next year Generative AI will explode for both media and creative agencies.
“The Shuh Rukh Khan My Ad for Cadburys and The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club for Over The Bridge are signals of its potential.
“Secondly, next year we’ll be in the midst of a recession. It’s easy for brands to cut humour in the face of this, but audiences don’t want to sit in front of the TV and be confronted by a sea of seriousness.
“Iconic creative work that’s genuinely funny and over the top, such as the new Samsung Welcome to the Flip Side work, is something we should see more of.
“And finally, one of my favourite campaigns this year was Back Markets Hack Market. The combination of cause and innovation and disruption is an exciting new formula for the coming year.”
Emanuela Recalcati, Director of Client Solutions, EMEA, Xaxis
“In 2023 brands are going to be looking for ways to meet marketing objectives and achieve business outcomes under more challenging economic conditions.
“To do this, they’ll need continuous and data-driven creative transformation to form a core component of their programmatic advertising strategies.
“Whether that’s applying AI to creative analytics and optimisation or experimenting with QR codes in DOOH, brands that can innovate at scale across multiple channels will be the ones that thrive.”
Darren Richardson, Chief Creative & Technology, Vivaldi Group
“Creative must have technology at its core to connect and inform future interactions, along with consumer experiences, because storytelling will be as, if not more important than it has been in the past.
Meaning, what’s the creative idea, what’s the consumer takeaway from the interaction with the brand. Looking beautiful will no longer cut it.
“Finally, a measure we often forget: consumer expectations. This isn’t the “what’s in it for me” question, it goes deeper into the way you as a brand have to compete in this always-on and instant gratification world to add more value than your competitors.”
Paul Coggins, CEO, Adludio
“Creativity was always the ad industry’s greatest weapon but it got lost somewhere along the way as the focus switched to data and tracking consumers on an ever greater scale.
“But with 2023 promising the prioritisation of privacy and further deprecation of third-party cookies, advertisers are going to have to go back to the drawing board, literally.”
“To this end, we can expect that brands will look to AI for optimised campaign design. Some brands will take this in-house.
“Others will leverage third-party, AI-led platforms. Nevertheless, the end result will be more engaging and efficient ads, informed by data.”
Steven Filler, UK Country Manager, ShowHeroes Group
“Revenue is continuing to move out of the publisher ecosystem and into the big platforms.
“This is still a key industry trend that needs to be rebalanced and video will be a powerful catalyst for making this happen.
“Advertisers are clambering for quality video inventory and the platforms, dominated by user-generated content, simply aren’t able to meet that demand.
“In 2023, publishers with their solid reputations for quality and trusted editorial output, will play a key role in plugging the gap. “However, editorial teams often lack the resources to significantly ramp up video output.
“Because of this, we’ll see an uptick of publishers partnering with online video platforms (OVPs) to access curated video libraries to complement their own video production.
“Publishers will need to ensure that their video partners combine both content studio production and monetisation technologies to make the partnership worthwhile.
“Video will also provide a powerful tool for publishers to increase monetisation within their brand safe content environments, offsetting the impact of a negative news cycle and a large proportion of bad news stories that brands are often unwilling to advertise against.