As we close the books on another year, it’s time to take a closer look at the major themes that defined these past 12 months, from the highs to the lows and everything in between.
“2022 was the year that started with a bang and ended with a fizzle,” said Andrea (Ring) Grodberg, global chief strategy officer at VMLY&R. “Everyone wanted to party, marketing-style. Just look at the Super Bowl; every celebrity was in every ad. Brand was back. Crypto threw money around like it was the ’90s. The metaverse was inexplicably the answer to everything—until it wasn’t. Now, there’s no money left. Crypto has left the building, the flu and RSV have replaced COVID and Kim and Pete broke up. So where does that leave us? Quite frankly, it leaves us in the right place.”
With talk of a looming recession, the end of 2022 feels for many advertisers like getting off the rollercoaster as brands aim to regain steady footing.
“Results are back in style,” Grodberg noted. “Brand-building is about more than celebrity, and customer experience and loyalty are being recognized for their heavy lifting. The coming year might not be flashy but it will be effective.”
Here’s what other leaders from the Amp community had to say about the year in review, and what the future may hold for advertisers and brands in 2023.
The post-lockdown party—and hangover
As advertisers look back, the idea of brands going wild at the outset of 2022 with spending galore is one narrative that stands in particular.
“In many ways, it felt like a return to pre-COVID normalcy,” said Leyland Streiff, managing director at Deloitte Digital. “Once again brands engaged customers with high-impact activations that met people where they are, out in the real world. We also saw brands re-embrace the power of purpose and spend in the upper funnel to drive brand distinction and desire.”
For many, the metaphor of a wager couldn’t be more accurate, with brands spending hard to make up for lost time.
“The year 2022 was about compensating for the pandemic, and unsurprisingly we overdid it,” said Martyn Clarkson, executive VP and global head of strategy at Jack Morton. “During the pandemic we spent online, changed jobs, found nature and bought exercise equipment. Then we went wild catching up on everything we missed. That double-down on spending slashed personal savings to Great Recession-era lows and did its share of contributing to global inflation. But exploring extremes is what finds balance, so 2023 will be about rightsizing, restoring and revisiting—all with a view to finding meaning and new purpose.”
It’s impossible to ignore the ways in which the pandemic continues to shape and reshape our world, and certain legacy elements from our time in lockdown will stretch into 2023, according to Jonah Ballow, founder and head of content strategy and production at Heartlent Group.
“We have seen clients dial back on shoots requiring travel, and have opted to capture some of the production through video calls,” Ballow said. “This approach was a necessity during the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, and the trend is still visible on the big television networks, using talking heads remotely versus in-studio. We think this flexibility offers a strong solution; we can handle the preproduction virtually, set up the optimal light and set-up for the shoot, and even send a camera or lighting package. Additionally, our ability to create a distinct motion graphics package in post-editing can enhance the final remotely recorded video feature.”