If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life doesn’t like to stick to plans. But although 2021 is likely to keep surprising and wrong-footing us, we still think it’s worth sharing our goals and plans for the year despite the uncertainties. We hope this can help you achieve your objectives.
For the most part, we intend to be as thoroughly international and industry-spanning as possible throughout the year, which means rolling interviews from all over the world and from all sectors. However, we’ve included monthly features or spotlights on various locations to allow us to go into a bit more depth.
We’ve also highlighted some timely topics throughout the year, that we’re keen to explore further with features and op-eds.
In terms of other topics and projects we’re excited for this year, we are particularly keen to delve deep on creative case studies related to growth areas like DATA, ECOMMERCE and EXPERIENCE on an ongoing basis. The key criteria should be that there’s demonstrable creative thinking and problem solving at the heart of them.
We’d also like to like to highlight two new projects in particular. HIGH FIVE is a daily blast of international creativity. Every day we’ll feature someone from a different market sharing the best recent work from their country - we hope that will help us and you stay on top of the most interesting international work as it breaks.
COLUMNS is another new project. Given the success of our op-eds channel Influencers, we’re keen to nurture regular voices on the site. We’re looking to develop an A-list of columnists from across regions, sectors and specialisms. If you’d like to pitch someone or yourself please get in touch.
As ever, we’ll be doing our utmost to cover the broad and diverse world of commercial creativity and advertising, from strategy, digital and creative to production, post, music and sound and technology. From all of us at LBB, we hope that 2021 is a year of growth, prosperity and innovation - but most of all, dazzling creative ideas.
All the best,
The LBB Editorial Team
Addison Capper (North America) firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Reeves (Europe, including UK) email@example.com
Laura Swinton (Editor in Chief, LATAM, MENAT, South Africa) firstname.lastname@example.org
Natasha Patel (APAC, Aus & NZ) email@example.com
These are features that we run throughout the year. For the most part, there’s no hard and fast calendar, these are features that we run on an ongoing basis and editorially we’ll be trying to balance out international representation and industry sectors and overall diversity. It’s worth mentioning that particularly for features like 5 Minutes and The Directors we are keen to use the platform to showcase female and marginalised talent.
We also spontaneously do plenty of off-the-cuff interviews and stories that don’t conform to any formula.
Some of these features are written by editorial and need to be pitched, some are templates designed to free you up and don’t need to be pitched.
Editorial Features - to be pitched to the editorial team
High Five - This is our big project for the year and we would love to get you involved. Each day, an industry expert from a different market will share five great pieces of creative work from their country. We’ve got a pretty thorough calendar on this to make sure we really are getting around the world and sharing work that hasn’t been shared internationally. If you would like to pitch yourself or someone you work with, please get in touch and we’ll let you know more. Find the brief here (and one for USA and Canada here).
5 Minutes with... Interviews with the top people in the international advertising, marketing and creative industries
Advertising 101 - before Covid, it was easy for new joiners to build their knowledge of the industry and various specialisms through casual chats. Now that’s changed - so we’re going to be breaking down different roles and specialisms across the industry - from planning to compositing, UX design to colour grading.
Behind the Work - Behind the scenes on some of the most exciting creative campaigns. These can be traditional film campaigns but also digital projects, experiences, and category-defying activations too. What we care about is the insight, creative and production stories.
Brand Insight - Stories and interviews with marketers about their brand’s recent direction and future plans. This tends to be broader than just one campaign. We are open to stories where we speak to both the marketer and agency about work they’ve done together but the marketer/client must be involved in the interview.
Film Club - production companies do more than just commercials and often their really creative short film projects get overlooked, so Film Club is a place to talk about new shorts.
Making Music - Making music is a series where we talk to the composers, producers and supervisors of some of the best new and classic commercial soundtracks.
Uprising - Spotlights on the up-and-coming junior and mid-level industry talent making amazing work and shaking up the future. One of the most popular features on the site when it comes to traffic!
The Opinion - quick and responsive round up of takes on hot industry issues. This will be a quick turnaround piece inspired by a newsworthy development or issue where we’ll ask a selection of relevant industry people for their perspective.
Trends & Insight - stories with a bit more depth that don’t conform to any template.
Feature Templates - downloadable templates for members only. Click on bolded feature to download
These features are designed to free you up and help you give a platform to your talent and work. Simply use the feature templates and briefs and go wild!
Creativity Squared - A creative profile with a difference – psychologists have distilled creativity down to four factors, and we’ll be exploring those with copywriters, art directors and creative directors to get a 360° view of who they are and how they work.
Bossing It - leadership doesn’t come easy and everyone has their own views about what makes an effective leader. In this series of regular features we interview leaders, founders and entrepreneurs and creative management about their journey towards leadership and their own lessons and insights. Specifically for CEOs, COOs, MDs, Founders, EPs.
Essential List - a fun listicle piece about the kit, culture and cuisine that keeps the industry’s creative folk going!
Influencers - this is our channel for opinion pieces and we send out a special influencers newsletter every two weeks. We find that pieces that are closely aligned with newsy or timely topics perform particularly well, whether it’s a big sporting event or a hit new Netflix show that everyone is talking about. We’ve mapped out a few events that we think will prove to be talking points to get you started.
Location Spotlight - interviews and guides with production service specialists from around the world about inspirational locations and practical production issues.
Meet Your Makers - interviews with producers specifically aimed at production, post and service companies all about the business of content and commercial production, insights into an evolving industry and some career advice for those making their way.
My Biggest Lesson - this is where experienced ad folk and production people can share the pearls of wisdom that have shaped their career and can help those making their way to avoid the same pitfalls.
My Creative Hero - this piece explores the creative inspirations behind the industry’s talent. This usually means non-advertising creative heroes, allowing participants to explore their broader influences.
Problem Solved - this is a new feature about agency projects that go beyond campaign work and use creativity to solve business problems. These can include digital transformation project, product development, employee engagement initiatives, ecommerce platforms and behaviour change initiatives.
Production Line - interviews with agency and brand in-house producers talking about the challenges making work that works while navigating and integrating new channels and technologies and helping brands to solve their problems.
Sonic Boom - Sonic Boom is a series on creative and technological innovations in sound design.
The Directors - This feature allows directors to go beyond their reel to talk about their thoughts about the business of directing and how they like to work, giving potential clients and collaborators a clearer idea about their problem solving and working styles.
The Work That Made Me - the best way to understand a person’s career is to look at the work that made them. Their first campaign. The campaign that someone else did that made them jealous. The campaign that taught them some painful but useful lessons. The work that they’re proudest of. This is also a great feature as it’s a chance to share older work and work from different markets that readers around the world may not have seen before.
Thinking in Sound - We want to delve into the minds of the industry’s fantastic music and sound specialists to show just how creative this part of the industry is. We want to really dig into what inspires you and how you approach your work, while also getting a taste of how the music and sound part of the industry is changing.
Finely Sliced - We speak to editors about the art of the cut and explore the knife edge between good editing… and great editing.
Making the Grade - The grade is one of the most fascinating parts of the post process so we want to talk to talented colour graders about how they practice their craft.
Planning for the Best - The intellectuals of the industry, planners arm their creative colleagues with the human insights and hard data to make sure their ideas are founded in truth. We want to celebrate the planners and strategists and pick into their processes and thoughts about the evolving discipline.
The VFX Factor - This feature is a place for the visual virtuosos of advertising, the VFX artists, to discuss the trends in their role in 2021: the technological advancements revolutionising the way they work, the beauty of ‘invisible’ post, and how the pandemic will impact their work forevermore.
Writing Your Own PR - Not everyone has the resources to justify a full-time PR person or agency. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of being a Little Black Book member. If you have a piece of creative work to share or someone new joining the company, check out our News Guide.
Coming soon - we’re constantly trying to create tools and series that help readers navigate the industry, keep up with evolving debates and get to know potential collaborators and understand the work. We’ll be creating profile series and features on strategy, editing, VFX, social, data, ecommerce and more and will keep you up to date with new developments.
A note on this calendar. This is not definitive and, of course, does not include more responsive features that react to developments in the industry and in wider society/culture. We have been working in a more nimble fashion in the past year and we’ve found that it has helped us be more relevant and useful - and the editorial team welcomes ideas and pitches!
The topic ideas will be firmed up one-two months ahead of time, so please get in touch if you have any angles or candidates to contribute. Also, please feel free to take inspiration for your own Influencer or op-ed pieces!
The location features are a chance for us to give overviews of various markets around the world. However we endeavour to be truly international all year round and so we will be running interviews with people and about work from everywhere.
- New Year’s Resolutions
- Airline feature (Will Airlines Take Off in 2021)
- Holiday and tourism feature (Did 2020 Change Travel & Tourism Forever?)
- Vaccines and the communication challenge of tackling anti vax conspiracy
- Wellness and Health
India (Natasha); Chicago (Addison); UAE (Independent Spirit of Dubai) (Laura); Germany (Alex)
- Chinese New Year (Feb 12th) work round up and features (CNY 1 year after Covid// Embodying the Spirit of Bull in 2021)
- Superbowl LV, Feb 7th
- Love and dating platforms; Sex tech; Music and Sound to Get You in the Mood
- Black History Month (US stories)
Australia (Natasha); LA (Addison); KSA (Laura); France (Alex)
- March 8th – International Women’s Day (Possible feature ideas: What progress since #MeToo? Is the ad industry avoiding the complexity of feminism? Women’s History Month - historic female pioneers of the ad industry)
- Dubai Lynx Showcase
- SXSW op-eds (if still relevant)
Thailand (Natasha); Austin (Addison); Brazil (Laura); Spain (Alex)
- 22nd – Earth Day: Sustainable production; Beyond Greenwashing;
- Academy Awards: Branded Entertainment and Advertising/Movie crossovers; The Ad Folk Finding Success in the Streaming World & Hollywood; Editors on their Favourite Movie Edits; Media Experts on the State of Cinema Advertising after a year of Covid
China (Natasha); Atlanta (Addison); South Africa (Laura); Russia (Alex)
- Ramadan (April 12th ends May 11th) – Round up of Ramadan work. Ramadan trends 2021 feature.
- May 26th & 27th – D&AD awards announced.
- Post Haste - how the business of VFX and post is changing.
New Zealand (Natasha); Toronto (Addison); Argentina (Laura); Sweden (Alex)
- Cannes Lions - predictions, commentary of a year without Cannes, coverage (TBC)
- European Championship - postponed from 2020
Philippines (Natasha); Miami (Addison); Lebanon (Laura); Romania (Alex)
- Olympics - Sports marketing feature, showcase of work
- TBC - The Return of Live Music (?)
- Colouring In - The Next Generation of superstar colourists
- Comic Con-inspired op-eds and features.
Singapore (Natasha); Vancouver (Addison); Colombia (Laura); Amsterdam (Alex)
- Sound Design Feature
- Experience Feature
Malaysia (Natasha); Portland (Addison); Egypt (Laura); Poland (Alex)
- TBC 9/11 20 Years Later, Respectful piece with New Yorkers on how it impacted the city and the industry
- Autumn Colours - Colourists and art directors talking about nature, design and colour
Australia (Natasha); Mexico (Laura); France (Alex); Montreal (Addison)
- Black History Month Europe
- Cutting In - Career advice for aspiring editors
- Music video feature
China (Natasha); UAE (Laura); Ireland (Alex); Minneapolis (Addison)
- China Singles Day and eCommerce
- Artemis 1 Moon Mission
- Directors Showcase
- Holiday ads round ups and trends
India (Natasha); South Africa (Laura); San Francisco (Addison); Ukraine (Alex)
- 2021 ‘All Stars’ - regional ‘who’s who’ heroes of the year across production, agency and client
- Annual trend pieces
New Zealand (Natasha); Brazil (Laura); Seattle (Addison); Poland (Alex)