Look Ahead 2013

What Creativity Will Look Like in 2013

Branded Experiences Are Still on the Increase, While Production is Being Streamlined

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Happy New Year. Now get cracking: We outline challenges for 2013 and offer up some predictions

Advertisers insert themselves into the day to day

In 2012, we saw how seemingly small everyday interactions paid off in a big way for major advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Kraft/Mondelez and Unilever. Oreo's "Daily Twist" campaign created big buzz in the media and nurtured a new generation of fans for the iconic cookie. Coca-Cola brought its "Open Happiness" platform to Facebook with brainteasers that led to fun-filled sitelets while Unilever's Ragu talked to both parents and kids with irreverent campaigns about parents' feeding issues and childhood trauma. Even brands like Old Spice and Taco Bell engaged in social-media fisticuffs, duking it out over Twitter -- how much more human can advertisers get than that? We're excited to find out.

Jay-Z performs at the Made In America music festival.
Jay-Z performs at the Made In America music festival. Credit: Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision-AP

The rise of branded experiences

The last year ushered in an exponential rise in branded experiences and stunts, which we predict will get even more ambitious and meaningful. The power of digital has increased agencies' and brands appetite for commanding attention in the real world -- via a clever vending machine, an elevator hack, an ambitious food fair or a music festival, as such experiences provide fuel for social-media fodder.

Chipotle, for example, captured the Grammys TV audience with the endearing "Back to the Start" animated film, and then brought meat to its message by forming the Cultivate Foundation and sponsoring a series of concerts and events around to support sustainable farming. A-B resurrected its Budweiser Superfest via a new partnership with Jay-Z, who headlined and curated a summer music fest "Made in America" in Philadelphia, to be made into a Hollywood film by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. And Absolut, which just named Sid Lee its global lead agency, will be looking at the circus -- specifically, Cirque du Soleil, which is a stakeholder in the agency -- as a model for its next campaign, which, as Ad Age reported, is expected to include branded content along with a touring show.

Production: streamlined, for better or worse

Advancements in digital offerings, the globalization of marketing ideas and the increasing pressure from clients to cut costs and provide more integrated-marketing packages are streamlining production. While agencies have increasingly brought production in-house, companies like Interpublic's McCann Worldgroup formalized and expanded on the idea. It launched Craft Worldwide, a business unit that combines print studios, editing, digital and TV work and boasts an arsenal of skilled production craft talent.

One of the trends driving this formalization of production is that the boundaries of media have become more blurred, and a division such as Craft is "bringing them together," said Fred Schuster, CEO of Craft. But no doubt keeping production costs down is an impetus as well. This type of structure is meant to deal with high-volume work, so whether it will produce the level of talent that comes out of independent production shops remains to be seen.

Streamlining is affecting specific areas of production as well, such as music. Take Jingle Punks, the New York startup that has its own Pandora-like searchable song library that lets users type in moods or genres to find licensed music -- using technology to do what music supervisors have traditionally done.

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