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British Ad Trends #3: Reconnecting with Real World Audiences

Awards and Events 63 Add to collection

Creative Circle Gold Jury Forepersons for Experiential, Packaging, Press, Print & Outdoor sit down to talk about how the industry is shifting gears to meet audience needs

British Ad Trends #3: Reconnecting with Real World Audiences


Over the course of the last two years, the British creative industry has faced major challenges as a result of the global pandemic and Brexit. A recent study by the Advertising Association predicted the ‘UK’s bounce-back in 2021 to be the largest across any major international ad market – including the USA, France and China – while outstripping the global rate by more than 12 percentage points’.

The UK’s creative industry has always been one of its biggest export markets, but its resilience in the face of big global change is astonishing. With this in mind, and ahead of the 77th Creative Circle Awards in Margate in September, we will be exploring the current trends shaping the UK creative industry in TV, Print, OOH, Audio, Digital, Film, Music Video, Craft, PR, Social and more. Across this series, each of the esteemed Gold Jury forepersons at Creative Circle 2022 will share their take.

For this third chapter, LBB’s April Summers hears from three gold jurors; Packaging foreperson Fiona Curran, creative partner at Distil Studio; Press, Outdoor & Print foreperson Rebecca Rowntree, creative director at Leo Burnett; and Experiential foreperson Jeavon Smith, chief creative officer at Amplify. The jury members touch on ramping up sustainable social and environmental efforts, tried and tested ways to effectively connect with consumers and the industry-wide talent inspiring them in their work. 


LBB> What tangible changes have the events of the last few years, and the introduction of new technologies, had on the UK market?

Fiona Curran (Packaging Gold Jury Foreperson)> Not surprisingly, sustainability in consumer packaging is now in the spotlight. COP26 highlighted the most pressing global environmental issues and brands are finally reacting. Consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions to the products they’re buying. Quite rightly, this is changing the way brands are doing business. 

Rebecca Rowntree (Press, Outdoor & Print Gold Jury Foreperson)> With new technology there is a really interesting juxtaposition between feeling more connected than ever, through Teams and Zoom, yet at the same time feeling more isolated, due to lack of physical interaction. Most creatives will tell you that to create they need to feed off each other in a much more physical way. Therefore, I think this year it is really important that we are more attuned to ourselves, decipher when or where we need to physically reconnect, or when a simple call will suffice. 

 

LBB> Have there been any new trends that have directly impacted your work in the last year? If so, how?

Jeavon Smith (Experiential Gold Jury Foreperson)> There is so much experimentation going on right now across technologies and forms of experience, so we’ve been baking that into our creative process to explore and shape what newness looks like.  

Rebecca> I always ensure my work taps into popular culture, whether it’s a Reddit thread or a TikTok challenge, I’ll immerse myself in that trend. We live in a social world, there’s no question about it, so if you are writing a TVC or a print ad, it shouldn’t stop you being inspired by social trends. Everything is interlinked and by tapping into that social trend you are more likely to elicit a reaction from your audience. 

Fiona> Personally, I feel there are too many brands getting on the ‘eco bandwagon’ with self-congratulatory messaging: “Hey! Aren’t we great now that we’re using 40% less plastic.” What took them so long? The truth is too many brands have been dragging their heels and still are. We’re noticing that the smaller brands are making the biggest changes, as they’re more nimble. Brands that have set out clear sustainability and innovation goals for the next 5-10 years feel more genuine and are the ones we really need to get behind.


LBB> How has print, OOH and experiential advertising adapted to the world "reopening" in 2022? Has covid altered the way agencies approach these types of advertising? If so, how?

Rebecca> The pandemic has definitely changed how we approach a lot of things. OOH and print have been a great way of connecting the indoor world with the outdoor world, but in some ways the goal still remains the same: to be impactful and resonate with our audience in a meaningful way. With all that’s been going on over the last few years, there is a real need to have some levity from the creative work. Not in a way that undermines the efforts to tackle such global challenges but instead to help audiences escape even if it’s for a very short moment.

Jeavon> If there is a positive to draw from the pandemic it was the opportunity to break existing formats; to challenge the status quo of ‘this is what is done’ with ‘this is what is possible’. We no longer look to experience as having a primary audience, the best work enables all audiences to engage, explore and discover in new ways.


LBB> Jeavon, which UK demographic do you feel is most receptive to experiential advertising right now, and why?

Jeavon> I think everyone is craving experience and the opportunity to reconnect with the things they love. For me, it’s less about demographics’ appetite and more about how experience design needs to shift to meet the needs of audiences today. How do we create different entry points to stories that enable consumers to seamlessly travel through channels, types of engagement and different technologies? How do we allow audiences to navigate from personalised, intimate moments to coming together as a collective? It’s all about the craft of great experience design. 


LBB> Rebecca, the ‘We Are Not A Stereotype’ film you created for International Women’s Day 2021 highlighted how covid has widened the gender pay gap. What other changes have you seen since the pandemic? 

Rebecca> Covid continues to widen gender inequality because we remain in a constant state of panic, so we’ve lost some of the momentum that was starting to build before, to address these imbalances. With regards to other changes, global disasters such as covid and now the current situation in Ukraine, have had a huge impact on our work and made brands rethink their campaign message. The creative work needs to be sensitive to it so we are not seen as tone deaf. 


LBB> Whose work are you most inspired by currently?

Fiona> How long have you got? Rachel Joy Price, for her epic large scale typography. Matt Willey for his brilliant typography and art direction. Supple Studio’s packaging for FRAHM jackets - lovely. Human Race reusable packaging by Pharrell Williams, understated cool, made from recycled plastic from landfills. Stranger & Stranger - always a masterclass in design craft. Ei Arakawa’s ‘Mega Please Draw Freely’ installation last summer… and basically anything from Nick Cave.

Rebecca> I recently came across James Day, the photographer behind Uncommon’s latest campaign for B&Q. Each ad showcases DIY items exploding out of a phone screen – from paint overflowing into a puddle to a roll of wallpaper plummeting to the ground. No words, just pictures. That’s how I like things. It’s visually stunning work. 

And then there’s the more niche and iconic, like Balenciaga’s first to take on Fortnite with the brand offering its iconic collection to four of Fortnite’s favourite characters. And continuing the story with attention-grabbing DOOH, featuring Fortnite favourite Doggo showing off his new Balenciaga outfit.

Jeavon> I was introduced to David Popa’s work recently and was blown away by the scale and momentary nature of his art. He uses viking runes to plot out his pieces, working on an epic scale across landscapes, using biodegradable materials. Drones capture the piece, so there’s a really interesting juxtaposition of technology creating lasting records with the ephemeral nature of his work. 



As ever, Creative Circle will continue to pledge 10% of all award entry fees and 100% of membership fees to supporting greater diversity in the creative departments of the future through the Creative Foundation. 

As of 2021, the show forms part of the UK Creative Festival, a three-day event hosted at Dreamland, Margate. Following the success of last year’s festival, which saw a wide range of creative leaders, speakers and students from across the UK congregate for a series of talks, workshops, panels, wellness activities, and social events, the awards show will return to the seaside town on 8th September 2022. Key dates can be found below: 

Entry Deadline: 14th April at 6pm 2022

Online Judging: April - May 2022

Live Gold Judging: June - 15th July 2022

Shortlist: End of July 2022

UK Creative Festival: 6th - 8th September 2022

Creative Circle's 77th Awards Ceremony: 8th September 2022


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Creative Circle, Thu, 09 Jun 2022 14:50:26 GMT