We’re strategizing and pushing through a new year. This is the opportunity to forecast and take advantage of changes in marketing. We’ve compiled a list of some trends you know about, and some you probably don’t. Take this alley-oop from us now, or let us know if you need help implementing any of these ideas. Also, if you have a few seconds to waste on YouTube check out our list of best video ads of last year.


This is the year brands and advertisers invade Reddit — or at least try to emulate what they see there. You have to be targeting a certain (probably younger) demographic and you definitely have to be brave to insert an ad that purposefully piggybacks off wildly successful (or weird) internet memes, but people really love LOLcats and Courage Wolf.

Some brands will have the chops to pull inspiration from the memesphere and others are going to fail miserably. This is internet culture we’re talking about here, a widely cynical audience that doesn’t take kindly to corporate aping. The kids spending hours scrolling through memes are finely tuned ad-blockers that can tell the differences between a hacked and contrived FAIL and a campaign attempt that’s actually funny and spot on.


Short Storytelling

Brands have long explored their own DNA in an effort to tell better stories. Brand storytelling, aided by content creation and curation — has been the rage for the past couple of years. 2013 is when we see these stories become more distilled and efficient.

Our collective attention span is shortening. A :30 second pre-roll commercial on Youtube now seems way too long. Brands will still want to tell stories, but they will find ways to get to the point quicker. Better copy, concise editing and a more powerful point will be necessary to deliver a compact message.
Aiming for Dark Social

Remember when we used to share content with our friends and family prior to Facebook, Youtube and Twitter? We actually had to take the time to email someone. I know, what a drag.

Outside of all the metrics and analytics one can garner from social media monitoring tools, the power of sharing an item through good ole email cannot be understated. Emailing someone to share something new or important is now equal to word-of-mouth — long held to be the best and truest form of advertising.

You can’t track the importance of sharing media within a smaller, more intimate email list comprised of a presumably closer social circle. This method of information sharing is “dark social”, the stuff you can’t see and track. Brands need to move past “likes” and follower count as engagement guideposts and focus on quality content creation instead — the behind-the-scene, viral sensation that is circulating through our parents’ AOL accounts.

Convergent Media

Media Directors, Strategy Directors and Account Planners all essentially want the same thing out of a campaign (besides the client liking it of course). They want seamless integration between several different media types. Instead of one media type simply being supplemental for another, the goal should be to organize a media plan that allows the media message, the media placement and the desired call-to-action to work in a harmonious concerto. Obviously easier said than done.

Syncing social media activity with traditional media (like billboards) can yield fantastic proximity marketing results given all the location-based opportunities available on that increasingly big screen we keep within reach at all times. Personalized, dynamic content won’t be limited to the web, as technology like digital billboards and interactive projections will be able to deliver more real-time marketing experiences.


Brands are more fully aware of their impact, whether that be social or environmental, and we’re not talking about their impact on the bottom line. Brands are getting a moral lashing about their ethics, practices, ingredients, etc. from people who have access to an abundance of communication channels. This forces necessary brand pivoting. Expect to see more “offsetting” from major corporations with their commitment to sustainability through advertising.

Living billboards, waste neutral messaging and functional/interactive campaigns centered around the environment will become as popular as urban gardening. Campaigns tied to social causes and charities will be the ordinary. Companies, like TOM’s, have a successful buy-one-give-one business model, so expect marketers to mimic this strategy in 2013.