Sizzling and fizzling trends

Bluetooth is hot. 3D printing is not. Who'd have thought? Experts weigh in on what's on the rise versus the outs.

To be an effective marketer, sometimes it feels like you’ve got to move faster than the speed of light. To help you figure out what’s coming next, we enlisted expert opinions from Jungle Media’s group media manager Brock Leeson, Sid Lee’s director of technology Kevin Sutherland and John St’s ECD Angus Tucker to break down what’s hot and what’s not. (And here’s a hint, faster-than-light speed actually is hot right now).

Red hot

Live TV is the only TV that matters

Maybe it’s the giant sum Rogers paid for exclusive NHL coverage, or perhaps the enormous success that was NBC’s live Sound of Music musical, but live TV seems to have captured the media’s (and consumers’) attention, says Tucker. Not only does it force viewers to tune in and avoid PVR-ing or streaming after the fact (something media buyers love), it’s also got an unpredictable ending. Okay, so most of us know the von Trapp family (spoiler alert) make it out of Nazi-occupied Austria unharmed. But watching it unfold live on TV means there’s an underlying risk that Carrie Underwood may fall off stage during “The Hills are Alive.”

The next thing Tucker predicts? Live commercials.


With so many new and cool toys and gadgets on the market, Sutherland says the bigger trend is technology that’s functional. But that’s nothing new. So drilling down, he thinks Bluetooth is on the rise. He’s not talking about that annoying “pairing” you have to muddle through to get your car stereo to work with your iTunes playlist. He’s talking about Bluetooth in stores and other marketing hot-spots, going where NFC failed to make headway. With Bluetooth, brands can now accurately track customers’ movements and communicate with them in a low-energy (read, battery-saving) way. Most phones are, after all, already equipped with the technology, so no new fancy tech necessary.

Addressable TV

So it’s not quite available here in Canada, but in the U.S. and the U.K. addressable TV is popping up quickly, says Leeson. That means programming, through the television, what ads the viewer could see. It’s a messy landscape right now, but it’s on the tips of everyone’s tongue. And with cable cos like Bell introducing TV over the internet, it’s only a matter of time before Canadian TV too has real-time bidding capabilities.

So not

3D printing hype

Sutherland’s prediction isn’t that 3D printing is dead, just that the hype hoisted on it in 2013 is. Now that it’s “almost here,” and has been for a little while, its newness has died down, making way for new “innovative” tech, namely wearable technology. Of course, it also speaks to his broader trend taking shape in technology, which is functionality. 3D printing is still in the realm of toy rather than tool, meaning people are just going to shove it aside in favour of something they can actually use right now.

User-generated content

Okay, we’ve be predicting the demise of UGC forever now. But Tucker is saying even the easy ask (“Help us pick our next flavour”) is losing relevance in the marketing mix of brands. It’s got no news value anymore, he says, which means it’s not drawing in as many eyeballs because we’ve all done it, and more often than not, our votes really don’t matter, and consumers are starting to realize it.

dunk in the oreo dunk in the darkReal time marketing

Real time, rapid fire marketing had its day in the sun last year, with brands like Oreo and Workopolis capitalizing on world events to great social media acclaim. Except, now everyone is doing it. And not everyone is doing it well. So it’s really easy to get lost in the noise, Tucker says. And while as a trend, real-time marketing isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, it’s not getting in front of eyeballs either, so it’s only a matter of time before marketers realize it may not be worth the spend to be part of the conversation when no one is paying attention. That is, unless you can become faster than real time marketing. But to date Tucker admits no one has figured out how to be faster than real time.