This year, more than any other in recent memory, really, REALLY needs to end. Wrapping up 2020 won’t erase the issues facing the industry, the country and the world. If only it were that simple. Still, here are some things we think we can live without as we look ahead to 2021.
1. Awkward attempts at meaningful email introductions
You are hereby no longer obligated to begin an email with “Hope you’re doing well during this challenging time” or the equivalent. We get the sentiment is there even if the words aren’t.
2. Cardboard cutouts
These were cute in the beginning. Now they are just sad reminders that we’re missing the thrill of actually being at crowded events.
At the ANA Masters of Marketing, held virtually, of course (see below), we heard multiple mentions of B4H, which stands for brands for humans, not for some new brands for the 4-H Club. (The youth organization's four Hs, BTW, stand for head, heart, hands and health). Mondelēz International followed B4H by coining the term “humaning” to describe its new marketing approach. (See also Worst Buzzwords of 2020—Pandemic edition.)
4. Mask-wearing in ads
It’s depressing to be reminded of the pandemic while trying to escape.
5. Not wearing masks in ads
It’s more depressing not to see society following pandemic protocols.
Hopefully, one day soon, this word will conjure up only thoughts of “Friends” or a dance class. Right now, it's the word we most want to pivot away from.
See also: Purpose-driven marketing. Purposeful brand. Purpose is at the heart of everything we do. We get it. There’s a reason brands do all this marketing. It’s to make people (also known as humans, see above) buy more stuff. And advertisers want to make them feel better about those purchases. So they “act with purpose.” Why is there a need to remind the industry of it so often? (And once again, see Buzzwords!)
8. Ryan Reynolds
Apparently, a small but mighty group of people are tired of seeing him pop up on end-of-the-year accolades lists. (Case in point: Reynolds turned up on our Smartest Celebrity Brand Parings, Ridiculous Products That Made Us Laugh and Pandemic Ads That Didn't Suck lists.) They're wrong, but it might offend that small but deluded group if he didn't make this list. So, here he is, just for the minority out there who are sick of him. (To be clear, this author is definitely not.)
9. Teams/Zoom/Insert name of other video chat provider here calls
Just as not every email needs to be a meeting, not every meeting needs to be a video chat. We all want to feel connected, but we really need to resolve to use them sparingly. Also, please stop taking the calls from your bed. You’ve had months to perfect your video chat etiquette.
10. Virtual conferences
They’re fine—for now. But it’s been so long. We miss staring but not staring at someone’s name tag to figure out if it’s someone we know, someone we want to know, or someone we want to avoid. And the snacks. We miss the snacks. And the cocktail hour.
11. End of the year lists
Still want more? Then "pivot" to "13 worst buzzwords and phrases of 2020—the pandemic edition."