"Prediction is very difficult …" said pioneering nuclear physicist Niels Bohr " … especially if it’s about advertising."
But that’s never stopped us before!
It’s the time of year when we come together to remember what’s truly important: friends; family; free booze and awkward couplings at the holiday party; agency Christmas card ideas; final P&Ls; missing bonuses [unless you work in media]; and, most importantly, endless articles vaguely predicting what will happen, or what we hope will, in this business we still proudly call advertising.
We’ve rubbed our crystal balls, tuned into the trend-hunters, examined the entrails, taken a look at the tea leaves, and made a hash of the hashtag to bring you the list of predictions to end all lists of predictions.
1. Metacontent Tipping Point: The total amount of content about content marketing will overtake all other forms of content.
2. Zombievertising: Previously named dead parts of the industry will continue to roam the land, looking for brains to consume. A Kickstarter project to make a Plants vs Zombievertising game will raise a staggering amount of money, exclusively from agency folk.
3. YOlfactory: A company only people under the age of 13 have heard of that allows you to share smells will be sold for $1 trillion.
4. MoBile MoProblems: 2015 will definitely, definitively, be the YEAR OF MOBILE in advertising. Or not. Whatever.
5. Nativity Advertising: Indigenous peoples will protest the term "native advertising" as being insensitive and offensive, but churches will begin to accept sponsorship to help support their annual Christmas plays.
6. Data Massive: Big data is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. As Douglas Adams said, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to big data. Next year, it will get bigger. Much bigger.
7. Personal Personalization: An ad-tech company will come to the fore that allows you to populate targeted, just in time, banners with the name of the customer’s children, Social Security number, and their innermost secret hopes and dreams.
8. Case Studies Awarded: Cannes Lions festival announces a new category that awards the best-made, most creative, case studies. CPB announces a new department immediately following.
9. High Frequency Banners: Banners will increasingly be traded through proprietary dark pools that allow for high-frequency trading. An algorithm called Attention will cause a flash crash in the CPMs of all online advertising. Companies that only trade banners will make more money than the rest of Madison Avenue combined. If we’re lucky, Michael Lewis will write a book about it.
10. All the Way to The Bank: Sir Martin Sorrell makes a surprise acquisition, masterminding a hostile take-over of beleaguered bank HSBC. His former partners The Saatchi brothers tried and failed to do the same thing in 1987, which Sir Martin maintained was purely a "pleasing coincidence."
11. Capitalist Crimes: Target use its advanced data-mining abilities to identify and capture four of the FBI ten most wanted list, based solely on their grocery purchases.
12. Pay It Forward: Apple Pay will become the first and only accepted method of payment at Burning Man.
13. Miscasting: Following the incredible success of MailChimp’s "Serial" sponsorship, a brief trend in mispronounced brand names will sweep the industry.
14. Hot Tub Charity Machines: Next year’s Ice Bucket Challenge will ironically be for Social Media Anxiety Disorder. Hot Tub Sit-Ins provide the perfect opportunity for celebrities to show off their philanthropic nature and their bikini-ready bods.
15. The Race To The Swift: As the only musician who still sells records, all brands will work with Taylor Swift in 2015, and only with Taylor Swift.
BONUS PREDICATION: Something about Yik-Yak. You heard it here first. Also the Uber of everything.
Faris Yakob & Rosie Yakob are co-founders of Genius Steals, an itinerant strategy and innovation agency. Despite being on the road, you can reliably find them online: @faris, @rosieyakob, www.geniussteals.co.
Faris is the author of Paid Attention, which comes out April 2015, published by Kogan Page, available to pre-order now. He wishes he had put more jokes in it.