December 2019. The dawn of a decade of transformation for marketers, agencies and media companies—as industry observers predicted in Ad Age Studio 30’s trend report “2020 and Beyond”—as well as the promise of a marketing bonanza typically seen in Olympic and presidential election years.
What could go wrong?
The long-feared recession finally happened, but not for the predicted reasons. In the 2020 forecast report, Forrester analyst Jay Pattisall said that marketers and CMOs, anticipating a downturn in 2019, had set “the wheels into motion to lay out 2020 plans with [a recession] in mind."
Other predictions and forecasts just didn’t stand a chance during the pandemic. It was difficult to meaningfully measure changes in viewer interest in traditional live sports vs. esports, as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed, as was the UEFA Champions League finals. From the Kentucky Derby to the NBA playoffs, other key sports events were delayed or canceled, stopped and started and then stopped again, or played without spectators or with key athletes on the sidelines.
How did some of the other 2020 predictions pan out?