Somethings We Are Taking into 2021

Lockdown, the redux of the redux. Truly, if this was a movie franchise this would be gathering dust in Global Video and only wheeled out by substitute teachers who don’t know how to teach the subject they are meant to be teaching.

But hey, it’s still a new year. And I always find that pretty exciting from a business point of view. A narrowing of focus and anything can be possible.

Even in this strangest of times (it can no longer be ‘unprecedented’ as it’s been precedented twice already) we can find hope and excitement in what we do. Here’s some of the gang’s thoughts on what we think 2021 might have in store.

Julie Fazzini — Creative Production

We’d be fools to try to predict what anything will look like in 2021, least of all our jobs, least of all a specific job that relies heavily on partnerships and relationships with trusted suppliers, face to face conversations and visual direction, such as production. At best, we can take a suck it and see approach and at worst, a resigned apocalyptic why bother one…right?

Or, we could review, refine and take forward anything of value we can salvage from the car crash that was 2020 into 2021 to help ensure we are still here and sane at the end of it. After all, even if 2021 ups the form of 2020 (and let’s be honest, it’s off to not a bad start) we are just better equipped to deal with it. We have actual real life experience of living through a pandemic, and you can’t buy or learn that.

In an attempt to become better at something (and not give yet another ‘things to be positive about’ list) I’ve reviewed and refined, and here’s what I’m taking with me into the event horizon.

  • Lack of fear — after this, my usual fears seem tiny
  • If not now then when — this pandemic has given me a sense of freedom I have never had before
  • Lots of laughter — I always knew that laughter was good for you, but I never felt it so much physically or mentally as I do now
  • No small talk — let’s just get straight to and then past the point, we all need meaningful chat
  • What’s the worst that can happen — just do it, if it’s not right you’ll find out, (and chances are, it’s right)

I’m aware I’ve veered off the topic of work slightly, but I’m hoping that by practicing now and hanging onto the above thoughts, when this is over, I’ll be a more positive human being, and that in itself can only assist in helping create within a life supply of limitless possibilities, both personally and professionally. Let’s just enjoy it.

Julie embracing the lockdown shoot look

Robert Borthwick — Social Media

Doomscrolling. Hellscape. Never ending Covid updates. 2020 was a real fun year for social media. More than ever I saw people taking time away from their apps and platforms as what was popping up was just too much to take in - and I was absolutely one of those people. When your job is intrinsically linked to social media it is near enough impossible to ignore what’s going on; good or bad. What the last year has taught me is that less is more when it comes to what happens online.

Professionally, providing strategy and community management should be a focus on the quality of what is put out, not the quantity. At a time when communications with brands and people shifted to being almost exclusively online, it’s easy to get lost amongst the bluster, and worst of all starting to become the bluster yourself. Going into a new year the focus should be on providing the bold. Stand out from the noise with impactful messages, striking assets and a positive outlook. Don’t drown the content plans with ‘just another post’, preen them into shape and go from there.

Personally, taking time away from it all is crucial. Just because the job is social media doesn’t mean the life has to be as well. Subconsciously taking in an infinite amount of bad news and worse opinions can cause your mental health a death by 1000 cuts. I’ve found myself way more productive on a Monday when I haven’t checked my pages since the Friday. Step back, deep breath, go again.

In 2021 I’ll be taking a learning forward with me as I go. Stay clear of the bluster and work on what is right for each project, be bold with each decision and cut through with individuality, not commonality.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m away to sing a sea shanty.

Rob with his new computer

Emma Lally — Creative

2020. The year we all got grounded.
No longer allowed to play out with pals, we readjusted to homelife 23/7 (thank god for that blessed prescribed hour outside). As we did everything from home, or EFH, our lives got a little smaller. It wasn’t without its perks — hello fancy home lunches and elasticated waistlines. But as we adapted and realised this was going to be life for a little while longer (christ, we really had been naughty in class) a few realisations were thrown up.

With the only change in environment being the growing and shrinking washing pile, stimulation and inspiration was scarce; I’m still at the point where I get an absolute buzz on when the recycling is emptied. Creativity is a super-power that needs feeding. Those nonsense chats with friends throw up insights you’ve not thought of yourself — the notes on my phone were suddenly lacking any new material. Trips to the cinema introduce you to new treatments and ways of telling a story — googling them immediately when you get home. Sensory exhibitions made art feel less like art and more like fun — a feeling you take away with you and try replicate in your own work.

What I’ve learnt is we carry on. We dig deep and we find inspiration. Creativity hasn’t stopped, we’ve all continued putting stuff out, it’s just perhaps taken a little longer to get there. What I am excited for though is what’s to come. Think of all the mad shit we’re going to come up with once we’re allowed to really live again. So much pent up energy that needs to be spent. So much we all want to see/do/share.

2021. Let us out (when it’s safe to do so) and let’s get making!

Lally with the good advice

Andy Maas — Broadcast Production

Production in my opinion is a balance between ambition and pragmatism. What is the best we can do, with the time and resources we have to do it in.

Production in 2021 is arguably more about keeping people safe, the optics of should we do it and the joy of producing something in these strange times.

Generally we need to bring people together to do something and arguably that is the most dangerous thing we can do right now in this pandemic. It’s an incredible responsibility to produce in these times and have crew, talent, suppliers and broadcasters trust you that you will do the right thing for them, at all times, personally and professionally.

The thing I love about producing, is you become a temporary expert in whatever you are making and be the glue to bring a huge range of different people together for one clear reason. Now we’ve had to become health and safety experts, understand the differences between PCR testing and Poc covid testing and the first time you see someone IRL is to hold a temperature gun to their head and check for symptoms of Covid-19.

I generally don’t know where production is headed in 2021, after we ALL get through this incredibly difficult time. But I do know, I doubt i’ll ever be tested quite like we have these last few months. If we can make something now, we do anything we want in the future…

Andy Maask

Kenji — Design

“Peaks and troughs” is the term I heard most from fellow designers and creatives in 2020 and I said it a lot myself. Although for many it was more downs than ups, it’s certainly a year to try and focus on any positives we can.

The basic role of graphic design didn’t change dramatically in 2020, advertising still needed to sell stuff, brands needed rebranding and for many it just felt like a year to keep their head down and “get through it”… an interesting wrinkle to that is I saw a lot of personal projects and ideas thrive in spite of the ongoing pandemic and perhaps even as a result of it.

In 2021 I really hope to see an injection of positivity in design trends (injections for all!). I’d love to see fun and playful design in the wake of some seriously dark times. If last year was the year for many to hunker down and get through it, then this year will hopefully be the year to emerge like a big bold butterfly. Time to dust off those old notepads and explore something new… or old. Oh, and on that note, shout out to Jones Knowles Ritchie for their fantastic rebrand for Burger King! It’s always nice to see a huge global brand take an intelligent step back in time to celebrate designs from their past. The Burger King logo that I remember from my childhood has been refreshed and elevated with such a fun and nostalgic approach across everything.

2021, let’s make it a whopper.

Burger King rebrand

Ruxandra Dragan — Creative

It’s hard to talk about the future without making at least one reference to the past (year).

[insert a sentence or two (or three) about how weird 2020 has been and how much I learned from it like: how many M&Ms are too many M&Ms, that there are dolphins in the military and, of course, that I should never take hugging someone for granted ever again]

But, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I can really talk about the future at all. I’m not good at predicting. Closest I got to winning the lottery was nailing all the numbers… from the previous week. What I can say, however, is what I’d like creative to be in 2021. This year’s about being optimistic after all, right?

I’d like for people to embrace their creativity even more than they already did. In all its shapes and forms. Because if lockdown(s) really taught us anything is that we reaaaaally need to find ways to entertain ourselves to keep ourselves from cutting our own bangs. And a lot of people did. Through hobbies, interests, all sorts of challenges or just random Tik Toks, people proved they can be resourceful, deep, funny and so damn creative. People were more authentic than ever before, and I hope that will carry on in 2021 (and into the ‘big boy’ world of advertising too).

If there’s one word I’d associate with this last year it’s authenticity. People were who they were which, for the most part, was pretty awesome to see. And that’s the energy I’d like to see more of this year in both people and in brands.

PS. 50 is too many M&Ms.

Rux staring at how many M&Ms is too many



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