Mad money: Advertising trends we’d put our money on

Lg2's Nellie Kim and Chris Hirsch play the advertising stock market, with buy/sell/hold advice on robots, big data and more.

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By Chris Hirsch and Nellie Kim

As advertising creatives, our work is often influenced by so-called “advertising trends of the future.” We attend ad festivals and conferences in hopes of picking up on the latest industry buzzwords in an attempt to predict where the ad-tide is headed next. Agencies sprinkle these prophetic terms into client presentations and expect clients to buy whatever it is we’re selling. But what if the tables were turned? Would we dare invest our own money into the very trends we try to convince our clients to put their ad dollars towards?

That’s why we decided to put ourselves up to the challenge of determining which trends we’d buy into, which ones we’d sell and which ones we wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot T-square we stole from the studio. Because much like the stock market, nothing determines your belief in ad trends and their future success more than having to put your own money where your mouth is.

TREND: Big data

DECISION: Hold

ANALYSIS: In the current market, “big data” is a hot commodity and has been for a while. Albeit not rare since its abundant and bottomless data mines allow for anyone and everyone to get their marketing hands on it. It’s the secure investment of choice for those who feel weary about its more theoretical counterparts like “storytelling” and “branded content,” and it provides the cold-hard numbers that marketers often need to see in order to feel secure with their investments. Big data surged into the market a few years back, but has since plateaued as it becomes more apparent that its practical conversion is limited to online consumer re-targeting and from time-to-time, information about which websites to advertise on. We will eventually attain big data from more meaningful sources (see: The internet of things) and develop better systems to convert it into actionable insights, but until then, we would hold off on investing into it too much as we still need to figure out how to use it in its most effective form for our advertising and marketing needs.

TREND: The internet of things

DECISION: Buy

ANALYSIS: Everything will eventually be connected to the internet, and that’s why the internet of things is an emerging market already having a huge influence on the global advertising economy. This can be seen in things such as wearables, which provide health-, biometric- and geolocation-specific information to individuals and marketers. Such is also true for connected thermostats, baby monitors and an array of other mundane-looking household items. And as an industry, we all know that something should really be taken seriously when it has its own award show, as proven by the Postscapes IoT Awards. And it’s only a matter of time before the IoT Awards will count towards the strategy Creative Report Card rankings, right? The transference of data between our things and the internet will definitely change the way we live our lives, making it a low-risk investment to us as advertisers. It also makes advertising creatives like ourselves excited about newly-found creative opportunities within everyday ordinary objects that we would have otherwise never considered.

TREND: Storytelling

DECISION: Buy

ANALYSIS: There’s nothing like a viral Stefan Sagmeister video to bring the value of storytelling down. That’s why we think it’s a great time to buy in! While its opponents point out that it’s not even used by those who can legitimately call themselves novelists or feature filmmakers, we think – “why not?” as it’s been proven time and time again that there can never be a price put on a great story. Whether it’s in the form of a charming TV script, a rewarding video that makes you look at a brand through a different lens or even an “About” page that at least offers some form of entertainment, storytelling can add value by way of a connection with the audience that all the tech advancement in the world can’t buy.

TREND: Robots

DECISION: Sell

ANALYSIS: Although we’ll see growth in the “bot” industry in sectors such as manufacturing, we don’t see it as a sustainable investment for our advertising purposes. Despite interesting creative applications of Arduino technology, companies that tout success in open-ended conversations between their chat-bot and consumers, and forecasts that robots could eventually take over the ad-buying process, one thing is certain to us – they’ll never be able to replace what makes our industry truly special, and that’s creativity itself. Much like big data and its surplus of information, it’s what we creatively do with that information that makes us as an industry unique and irreplaceable by even the slickest of bots. So, it’s a sell for us, unless of course you enjoy the occasional bot spam, and knowing that prices for this tech might actually be driven up by the click-happy bots themselves.

Advertising trends and buzzwords will continue to come and go, and ad dollars will continue to follow. But much like picking a stock or a company to invest in, we should only invest our ad dollars in something that we truly understand. And for ad agencies, it really shouldn’t even start until we fully understand a client’s business.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go invest our money in the robot we created to write this column for us.

 Nellie Kim Chris HirschNellie Kim and Chris Hirsch are partners and CDs at Lg2.

Interested in more? Check out Kim and Hirsch’s thoughts on future Cannes Lions winners.

Image via Shutterstock.