What marketers can learn from…2022 

Everyday is a school day in marketing. Here’s what the biggest news stories and cultural events of 2022 teach us about the business of brand building.

Read enough advertising trade publications and you soon realise that there is nothing in this world that does not hold some sort of lesson for marketers.

This year alone we’ve seen articles that attempt to explain what marketers can learn from Ms Marvel, stand up comedy, Ted Lasso, the ancient Babylonians and the characters in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. And we suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

At Contagious, we try to steer clear of publishing articles in this hackneyed format, and for the most part we have succeeded. But the yearning to turn current events, celebrity indiscretions and popular TV shows into pithy advertising parables has been building within us all year, and it must be satisfied. So we’re getting it all out of the way now and on this page, and then no more…for at least another year. Please enjoy this concentrated dose of 10 marketing learnings.

What marketers can learn from this year’s so-called Crypto Bowl: 

If a certain sector is so overrepresented in the Super Bowl ad breaks that the bonanza acquires a nickname, it’s a fair indication of a bubble (cf. The ‘dot com Super Bowl’ in 2000).

What marketers can learn from the success of Liquid Death:

A distinctive brand will take you far. Who knew?

What marketers can learn from Top Gun: Mavericks’ $1.5bn box-office haul:

Fusing nostalgia and no-strings-attached fun is a sure-fire recipe for mass appeal.

What marketers can learn from Hellmann’s improved sales performance since it started using its marketing to talk about tackling food waste:

Consumers really do care about purpose and the environment.

What marketers can learn from the continued success of fast-fashion juggernaut Shein: 

Consumers really don’t care about purpose or the environment.

What marketers can learn from the backlash against Tampax’s deranged ‘we’re in them’ tweet: 

Brands can post like edgelords on social media all they like, but they will ultimately be understood and judged as corporations.

What marketers can learn from KFC in Germany sending a promotional message to customers telling them to commemorate Kristallnacht with ‘more tender cheese on your crispy chicken’:

Never turn your back on an algorithm. Like an evil genie, it will use your own commands against you.

What marketers can learn from Elon Musk asking fired Twitter workers to come back to the company:

Remember the Chesterton's Fence rule: don’t remove something (or someone) until you understand why it was put there in the first place.

What marketers can learn from Sony’s disastrous decision to re-release flop-film Morbius because people were making memes about it:

Online engagement is not a reliable metric.

What marketers can learn from Just Stop Oil’s museum protests:

Try to make advertising so beautiful and culturally impactful that climate protesters of the future will throw soup at it.

Get more (proper) insights and analysis into the biggest advertising campaigns and trends of the year by downloading the 2022 Most Contagious Report for free 

The Most Contagious Report is packed with insights and analysis, including:

  • In-depth strategy interviews with some of the brands and agencies behind the most innovative campaigns of the year
  • Advice on marketing amid a recession
  • The Contagious view on the trends that will shape the ad industry in the year ahead
  • The Economist’s deputy editor on the big macro-economic trends to watch out for in 2023
  • Opportunties for brands and agencies in the year ahead
  • Summaries of academic research from 2022 that explain how advertising works and consumers behave
  • Much more...

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