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The year always begins with a plethora of predictions for the months ahead. We parse some of the most intriguing propositions.

da Mark Tungate , Adforum


The other day my son and I watched 2012, an entertainingly bad disaster movie based on a Mayan prophecy that the world would end that year. Love the Mayans, but they got it totally wrong. Or more likely, we didn't grasp what they were trying to tell us. Prediction is a tricky business.

Nonetheless, this year’s predictions are bubbling to the surface and, as usual, we feel it’s our duty to share some of them with you. First of all, it’s worth remembering a line from this next ad: “The future is a work in progress.”



So what will 2024 hold? One thing we know is that it’s an election year. Not just in the US, but all over: The New York Times pointed out that around half the global population will vote this year, with at least 83 elections embracing Europe, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Mexico and South Africa – not to mention Russia and Ukraine, among others.

So we can expect the news media to go into overdrive, with a potential return of the “Trump bump” for subscriptions in the US.

2024 is also an Olympic year, with the corresponding ad spend and sponsorship spike. We got a taste of what the Olympic Games in Paris will look like back in 2017, during the bid.



VML Commerce shared its 2024 predictions as early as December last year. The rise of AI was naturally prominent. One unexpected idea, though, was that AI might be able to help brands respect their diversity, equity and inclusion needs. In VML’s report, Leon Suchocki, Head of Brand Guardian, suggests: “We will increasingly see curative AI used to ensure content is compliant with a brand’s accessibility guidelines, rather than having humans pore over every asset, current and past.”

This is also set to be the year in which third-party cookies are phased out, leaving advertisers casting around for a new way of tracking our online habits. AI could help here, too, according to Paul Verna of Insider Intelligence, who suggests it may be able “to recognize customers based on things like cadence in their word choice.” 

Take a snack break here with an amusing campaign that used the dislike of cookies to sell real cookies (of course).



Meanwhile, Kantar Media emphasizes the need for brands to align with customers’ culture – not only in terms of slang, fashion and music, but attitudes to big issues like the environment. “Globally, 80% (of consumers) say they ‘make an effort’ to buy from companies that support causes important to them.” 

Not only that, but the powerful voices of social media creators mean brands risk losing control of their messaging. “Social media creates a global stage and democratises opinions,” alerts Kantar. As a result, more brands will team up with social media creators this year. “Globally…59% say they will increase spend on influencers in 2024.”

The earliest members of Generation Alpha (born 2010 onwards) are entering their teen phase, making them newly-minted consumers. But while brands will always target the young, 2024 could be the year when age-ism becomes the next big issue on the diversity front. Here’s a spot from Mexico that’s ahead of the curve.



HR technology platform The Achievers confirms that “ageism is once again coming to the forefront for 2024.” It adds: “Seasoned employees often bring a lot to the table.”

And to the bottom line, too. Consumer insights company GWI warns that boomers are getting busier on social media – and they’re spending. In fact, there’s been a 57% rise in boomers using TikTok over the past three years, “and they’re more likely to have bought a product or service online in the last week than Gen Z.” In short: “Boomers represent a lucrative and increasingly accessible market, as well as an untapped opportunity for many brands.”

Download the full “joining the dots” report here

Talking of shopping, a neat neologism for 2024 is “Metail…the rise of a more independent and empowered shopper.” Mentioned by Andrea Ellens of Trade Intelligence in South Africa, it refers to the ways consumers are informing themselves via technology and social media, as well as their diminishing fidelity to brands.

This may have a wellspring in Covid, says Ellens, when shoppers found their regular brands weren’t available and became more flexible. “One of the great impacts of the rise of Metail is the growing prominence of private brands,” she adds. “Shoppers are beginning to realise that choosing private brands no longer means sacrificing quality for value.”

See the full article here.

You’re likely to come across more trend reports in the days to come. Some of them may even be accurate. Unfortunately, none of us have a time machine. Except the kid in this heart-warming film from Publicis in Uruguay. Stay with it until the twist at the end!