A year of not normal: Covid-19 dominates Campaign’s most-read features of 2020

From Sorrell and Sharp to adland’s latest burst of startups, Campaign has compiled this year’s top features.

1. Byron Sharp on why the best response to Covid-19 was to stop advertising

In the wake of the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown, Byron Sharp told Campaign that the industry’s efforts to keep people interested during the pandemic was "embarrassing arrogance".

Instead, the How Brands Grow author praised the efforts of Coca-Cola, which paused its marketing spend in April due to a reduction in return on investment.

2. What to expect as agencies look to return to the workplace

As the world adjusted to remote living, Campaign’s Jeremy Lee asked industry bigwigs – including Charlie Rudd, CEO of Leo Burnett; Mat Goff, joint CEO of Adam & Eve/DDB; and Karen Martin, managing director of BBH London – to predict what office life would look like upon its return.

As Dettol eventually found out, not everyone was keen to return to office life.

3. Martin Sorrell: Coronavirus will trigger 'Darwinian cull' of ad industry

Sir Martin Sorrell likened the pandemic to “a war” in a frank discussion with Campaign Asia in April.

In spite of his claims that Covid-19 would lead to a "Darwinian cull" of the weakest links in advertising, the industry mogul remarked that the pandemic would eventually result in an acceleration of digital transformation projects at an enterprise level.

Last month (20 November), Sorrell also lifted the lid on why he keeps attacking WPP.

4. No rush to normal: how advertising companies' back-to-office plans match up 

As any hopes of returning to office life full-time in 2020 slowly dwindled, Campaign’s Omar Oakes compared the policies of adland’s most prominent agencies to explore whether remote working would be a viable option in the long run.

5. Lessons from the front on dealing with redundancy

With the UK braced for an onslaught of redundancies in the aftermath of the government's furlough scheme, Campaign outlined how best to cope with redundancy, with advice on available resources for industry members with and what to do next.

6. What type of agencies will emerge stronger after the crisis?

Quick-footed creative work from Anomaly, Engine, Pablo and St Luke’s brought an optimistic tone to the first few weeks of lockdown, in spite of mass uncertainty as to what would happen next.

However, as adland’s first casualties of the coronavirus – cinema and outdoor advertising – began to emerge, the industry’s finest gave their predictions on what the industry will look like once the pandemic comes to an end.

7. Campaign Best Places to Work 2020: Create an open culture 

Free gym membership, an unlimited holiday allowance, share options, flexible working, an all-embracing approach to wellness – or the joy of an office dog?

Campaign looked into the factors that really make a company a place you want to go to work. Unsurprisingly, flexible working played a huge role in this year’s findings.

8. Which skills are going to be most in demand as the ad industry recovers?

Looking forward to the pandemic’s eventual end, adland assessed which skills would be the most sought after in a post-Covid working environment.

9. 'Full flexibility' is key: What agencies are learning from reopening offices

After agencies including Publicis Groupe UK and Havas UK began toying with the prospect of returning to offices over the summer, Campaign’s Gurjit Degun discussed the perks and pitfalls of an office environment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry heads from Creature and TBWA (as well as Cilla Snowball, former CEO of AMV BBDO) gave their insights into what a post-Covid office would look like.

10. Crisis triggers wave of ad agency start-ups

The "unprecedented" nature of the coronavirus pandemic created the ideal environment for new start-ups to emerge, disrupting the traditional agency model along the way.

From Mother’s spin-off shop Other, to ScienceMagic and Friendly Giants (co-founded by Omnicom Media Group’s Sam d’Amato), Campaign’s Brittaney Kiefer assessed the inspiration and implications behind this burst of new agencies.

Emmet McGonagle recommends

Not normal: Review of the year 2020

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