News & Views

20 Things That Happened on the Internet 2013

by Contagious Team
Paul Marsden, digital strategist at SYZYGY Group, shares 10 Takeaways for Marketers from this year's version of ‘Where's Wally?’ for digital marketers – ‘20 things that happened on the Internet 2013’ hidden in a piece of digital art.

Released a couple of weeks ago, there’s more than cool artwork to the illustration by Barcelona-based artists Juan and Alejandro Mingarro of Brosmind Studio, and commissioned by SYZYGY digital marketing group. 

Each of the 20 things illustrates a big digital trend relevant to digital marketers in 2014.  Here the first ten things, with marketing takeaways. Download a free illustrated presentation deck revealing the full 20 things and digital marketing takeaways here.



1. Connecting People
(Google Project Loon) – When Google balloon-lifted 30 Internet Access Points 27km up into the stratosphere from New Zealand’s South Island in June 2013, Google was not only helping people in remote areas connect to the web, but more importantly to each other. In a world where connectivity is our digital lifeblood, how can your brand promote connectivity between people?


2. Agile Marketing
(Harlem Shake) – Spotting a YouTube video of five teens dancing to DJ Baauer’s track in Feb 2013, video marketing agency Maker Studios quickly teamed up with Baauer's label to create and promote their own professional version. A copycat video fad ensued and Baauer's track shot to #1 on iTunes. The lesson for digital marketers? Digital marketing needs to be agile and opportunistic to reap rewards.


3. Be First or Not at All
(Space Oddity) – Not a ‘world first’, but an ‘interstellar first’ this NASA PR stunt featured Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in the International Space Station singing a zero-gravity YouTube cover of David Bowie's classic ‘sitting-in-a-tin-can’ track. To cut through the digital clutter of digital landfill marketing, be first or not at all.


4. Inspiration from the Edge
(Silk Road Closed) – Digital innovation happens at the edge and not in the fat middle. Think hover-over video previews on adult sites, personalised screens on gaming pages, and the risk-busting payment-on-receipt escrow service of underground marketplace Silk Road. What could your brand learn from the edgy edge of digital experience?


5. The Digital Spring Clean
(Google Retires Reader) – Does your brand need a digital spring clean?  Google thought so, and closed down its RSS Reader service in 2013 to refocus resources and talent on its digital core. By the same token, just because you are, or could be, on every screen, social network or app store, should you? It’s time to jettison non-core digital. Do less, but do it better.


6. One Size Privacy Does Not Fit All
(NSA Phone Tapping Allegations) – Privacy – whether illusory or not – matters to the media, the people and – as a consequence – politicians. But as attested by differing reactions from around the world to NSA mobile phone tapping allegations in October 2013, including the personal handset of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the importance of privacy varies market to market. People may be willing to trade their privacy for security or benefits, but one size privacy, or lack of it, does not fit all.


7. Digital as Value Delivery Channel
(Post-it Note/Evernote Partnership) – 3M’s Post-it Note’s tie up with note-taking software Evernote is indicative of the emergence of a new breed of ‘crossover brands’ delivering value both online and offline. In a world where the value of your brand lies in the margin you can extract through the value you add, can you afford not to add crossover value on and offline?


8. As Seen on YouTube
(What Does the Fox Say) – As result of YouTube fame in September, this track promoting a Norwegian TV chat show made the top 10 in download charts around the world.  A book deal was sealed and an international tour organised. So is 'Based on the YouTube Sensation' a new model for seeding and launching new artists, businesses – and perhaps even brands?


9. The Art of WOW
(Epic Split Feat. J.C. Van Damme) – With digital technology providing more people with ever-more ways to skip, avoid or ignore ads, the biggest challenge facing the future of advertising is a creative challenge. How do we create ads that people actually want – and choose – to watch? Volvo responded to this creative challenge by bundling together some of the most popular ingredients of YouTube hits into its JC Van Damme viral in November 2013  celebrity, stunts, comedy and music. It worked.


10. Are We Talking About Me Yet?
(Selfie) – The rise of the ‘Selfie’ with the iconic status official 2013 Word of the Year, is indicative of how digital media has evolved into deeply personal media. Mobile devices have become extensions of ourselves, offering us a sixth sense, a second brain, and a powerful tool for managing our self-identity and public image. Brands can continue to use digital to talk about themselves, but smart brands will use digital to help people be – and talk about – themselves. Digital media; this time it's personal.

For more, download SYZYGY’s presentation of 20 Takeaways for Digital Marketers here.