This past year was a big one: COVID-19 vaccines arrived and social distancing guidelines took a backseat, only to gain ground again with the advance of new variants like delta and omicron. NFTs and other virtual goods emerged as top-selling items as supply chain woes threatened retailers’ physical products, and Macy’s gave a new home to Toys ‘R’ Us. Looking into next year, marketers are grappling with how to sell goods that are nearing all-time price highs, and how and when to fully return to office life.
Below, Ad Age compiled a list of the 10 biggest news stories affecting the marketing community in 2021.
The war for talent
Amid the “Great Resignation” and expectation of more flexible working environments, the labor market has been squeezed, creating a tough year for both marketers and agencies. High-profile departures of longtime industry executives such as Carolyn Everson from Facebook—she decamped to Instacart, where she is currently president—and Lou Paskalis from Bank of America—he’s now president and chief operating officer of MMA Global—stunned the ad world.
Marketers turned to creative strategies to help recruit workers, trying out programs like Tik Tok Resumes and innovative ideas like memes in order to boost their ranks. Agencies are also looking beyond portfolio schools and to outside industries for fresh talent.
The Crispin fallout
Once-storied agency CPB hit a new low this fall with the exit of Jorge Calleja, who spent a scant 10 months as chief creative officer. He joined five other senior executives, including Global CEO Erik Sollenberg, who all left the agency in the preceding five months. The Stagwell Group agency's client roster has also been in shrinking mode, including the loss of long-time client Hotels.com and Fruit of the Loom. However, the agency did recently run a campaign around Hispanic Heritage Month for Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky.