What a ride.
If I’m honest, it’s flown by, but it’s had more ups and downs than a BMX race track.
At Five by Five, we went from home office, to opening our London office, back to home office real quick.
I finally met new starters and other colleagues I’d never actually met in person before.
People are a lot shorter in the flesh.
We won our first pitch over Zoom.
Virtual high-fives all round.
We lost our first pitch over Zoom.
Most importantly, we finally swapped URL for IRL - and it felt really good.
I for one missed the office.
Good stuff happens in the office.
Just when it started to feel like progress, our BMX got a puncture.
No more riding with the wind in our hair, no more bunny-hops, no more tricks (for now anyway). The poor old BMX had to be wheeled back into the house.
I can’t wait to get back into the office and back on the bike.
I also want more ups and downs.
Because that’s what shapes an agency and the people in it.
So, here’s what I won’t miss about 2021:
1. Ads that referenced ‘Love Actually’. I’m out of counting fingers. C’mon guys, we’re better than that.
2. Making work over Zoom. WFH is one thing, but shooting, editing, grading, designing… These craft elements really suffer when we work remotely. There’s nothing better than sitting with a designer as we go back and forth on finding the right position, font size and weight for a layout headline.
3. Playing it safe. We all fall into the trap of creative that we know our clients are comfortable with. Buyable work. If I hear ‘the client’s gonna love that’, I know the work needs to go left.
What I want to see more of in 2022:
1. More office time: I love stumbling into a debate about a show, a creative discussion between a copywriter and a designer, or even a bit of goss about what someone got up to over the weekend. It’s that kind of stuff that WFH will never replicate. Plus, the all important ‘tea runs’.
2. More creative bravery: It’s always been incumbent on us to push clients to be braver when buying work, but it starts with us. We need our work to be braver, to have more punch, to be more unorthodox.
3. More unfamiliar faces: It goes without saying. We need more diversity, more inclusion, more people who aren’t the offspring of our clients, or one of the partner’s kids.
4. Squid Game 2: Can’t wait to see why Seong Gi-hun walked away from boarding that plane and being reunited with his daughter.
Trends I hope to see gain traction in 2022:
1. Sustainability: It’s now or never peeps! You don’t need Greta to tell you that we’re all in deep doo-doo. As an industry, we can play a vital role in shaping societal behaviour. So, I think (and hope) we’ll see more ideas which have purpose, that change behaviour and do good. But we need to also practice what we preach. Change starts from within and all that.
2. VR / AR: Back in 1999, The Matrix portrayed a parallel universe where the people couldn’t distinguish between a real world and a virtual one. The virtual was contrived and simulated... we were led to believe we were living a lie, and that the real world was one that everyone wants to live in. Fast-forward 23 years… it seems like that virtual world (or Metaverse) is much more appealing than the pandemic-struck one we find ourselves living in day-to-day. So, I’ve strapped on my Oculus and I’m off. See you in there!
3. Support for emerging talent: I feel for young people trying to break into the industry and carve a career, because it’s even harder for them to physically get into agencies and make an impression. Virtual crits, virtual talks, virtual interviews, virtual placements… we need to find a better way of supporting those that need a foot in a real agency door. I'm putting up my hand to help and leaving my door firmly open for those to come in.
So, for 2022, I'll be pumping up my tires, strapping my helmet on and jumping back on the bike. Let’s ride!
Ravi, like ravioli.