Creatively Predicting What's Next

What’s ahead for VMLY&R and the industry in 2021? Creative leaders tackled that question, and MediaPost published a portion of their thoughts. Read the full predictions below.

Debbi Vandeven Predictions 2021

Debbi Vandeven
Global Chief Creative Officer

There’s no doubt this year was tough on creativity. While we’ve made the most of the situation, ideas just flow more freely when you can actually come together. I believe 2021 will start slow but have high hopes for some amazing creative work in the second half of the year. That’s due in part to the pent-up artistic energy that’s sure to come out just as we can travel and be together. But it’s also because we’ve become so much better at collaborating globally. We’ll continue to build on that, giving creatives more opportunity to concept on a broader range of accounts and, in turn, giving clients a broader range of perspectives. The result will be great thinking and work that connects with people as never before. I honestly can’t wait to see it.

Augé Predictions 2021

Augé Reichenberg 
Chief Creative Officer, Health

Later in the year, when more people have been vaccinated, we will see a massive resurgence of people seeking extraordinary live experiences. 

New devices will be used to monitor myriad human health issues -- not so much by a single new technology, but by a creative combination of existing technologies. 

More than ever, creativity will be the key driver to level the playing field for all those who are marginalized by society.

John Godsey Predictions 2021

John Godsey

Co-Chief Creative Officer, North America

Just as the pandemic has hyper-boosted virtual meetings and other forms of digital connectivity in the business world, it will also place a greater emphasis on the importance of connecting brands and connecting the dots through all digital touchpoints. This was already happening at an unprecedented rate before COVID, but in 2021, the brands that don’t become experts in things like social and ecommerce will suffer greatly and could quickly disappear. One of the challenges of this is that after a year of isolating with their devices, consumers are going to yearn for more visceral, analog connections. So how do we continue to make digital connections feel more intuitive and human?

Jason X Predictions 2021

Jason Xenopoulos

CEO, New York | Co-Chief Creative Officer, North America

The dynamics of remote living that have defined 2020 will persist into the new year, further entrenching our dependence on digital platforms and content.
 
There will be an accelerated shift towards D2C (and e-commerce overall) as remote learning, working, and shopping continues to grow. This will create new challenges for marketers as brands become increasingly buried beneath the endless plethora of online shopping choices. In this world, timing and context will be critical to ensuring that brands are top of mind. And that kind of targeted approach means more data-driven marketing and media across the board.
 
At the same time, the growth of streaming platforms at the expense of network TV, out of home experiences, and other traditional entertainment channels will force brands to become more deeply embedded in culture. Being part of the cultural conversation will be essential to remain relevant and top of mind – which means more meaningful and better social media engagements and mainstream branded entertainment content. 
 
All in all, as life becomes increasingly digital, marketers will need to become even more adept at navigating this new world.

Alli Pierce Predictions 2021

Alli Pierce

Global Chief Creative Officer of Intel

I predict that “PPE or no PPE,” “social distancing or no social distancing”, “crowds or no crowds,” is it “too before or too now” will be a constant, difficult conversation when creating work. Feeling like we’re maybe close to an end with vaccines coming, but also needing to be sensitive to the world’s current state will make it hard to decide what to pull the trigger on. There will be a growing feeling that things like masks and zoom calls will start dating the work quickly.
 

Mel Predictions 2021

Mel Routhier

Global Chief Creative Officer, WPP Walgreens Team

I predict that clients are going to be asking … “do we really ever need to return to the way production was handled before?” Does the agency REALLY need to be on the ground? Do clients need to travel? Can’t we do this all remote like we’ve been doing this year? 

Spoiler alert: no…we can’t. The product really does suffer.

Wayne Best Predictions 2021

Wayne Best
Chief Creative Officer, New York

I predict comedy will make a comeback in advertising. People need to laugh again. Or maybe that’s more of a hope than a prediction...

Noel Cottrell Predictions

Noel Cottrell

Chief Creative Officer, Kansas City

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m really hoping that by June, ads stop telling us where and when to get the vaccine and start telling us about cruises and concerts.

Greg Lotus Predictions

Greg Lotus

Global Head of Production

2020 opened doors to ways of producing that will never close. Combined with the year over year decrease in production budgets for content, we will continue to see more and improved ways to shoot, edit and collaborate remotely. But no matter how much money is saved, “being remote” will always compromise the work and frustrate everyone involved, including the client. I think in 2021 we will appreciate the value of all being together in person — sets, studios, office — and it will hopefully be the year we officially retire the word “unprecedented.”