Marketing trends to leave in 2017

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There’s always a lot of hype around New Years Eve and the start of a new calendar year, usually as it lets us frame a number of achievements and failures, as well as feel renewed with goals and aspirations for the year ahead. The toll of midnight signals a dawn enabling us to chose what we take with us going forward and chose what we leave in the past. Here’s a handful of things in the marketing world I’d like to leave in 2017.


Memes (again)

A Turkish chef found internet fame after a video in which he enigmatically sprinkled salt onto a meal entered popular culture. A character comedian went Skrrat, skidi-kat-kat boom and a lot of us like to reference it. A video of a man blinking in disbelief became our reaction to anything slightly off, and a man staring at a woman who clearly wasn’t his partner became a visual representation of upgrading anything. 2017 threw up some brand new dank internet memes which everyone on twitter tried (and failed) to utilise in an attempt to appear humours and original.

I’ve written previously about why internet memes aren’t a content plan for brands and it unfortunately still seems to be a trend. But at least we’re not still doing the Harlem Shake or Mannequin Challenge.

“I can’t believe brands are still using internet memes” (via GIPHY)


Shock marketing

“WTF”, “Innapropriate”, “Must have gone rogue” we all cried (or typed) as Poundland’s ASA investigated Elf Behaving Badly campaign rolled out on twitter. The character of a children’s book, the elf who sits on the shelf to report to Santa Claus on whether children have been naughty or nice, was placed into several more adult/suggestive/degrading situations to promote some of Poundland’s catalogue.

Now I’m all for a bit of humour and risqué, and love a brand with confidence but Poundland’s usual tone of household goods at wholesome prices meant that the campaign was a bit unusual and obviously done for effect. It was probably successful (any fines from the ASA will be a drop in the ocean for them) and definitely makes them stand out from other competitors, so the risk has probably paid off. But will they continue this attitude and tone throughout their organisation, or just act up like an attention seeking child at Christmas?

One of the more tame examples, at least when taken away from it’s accompanying text (via EuroWeekly)


Tone deaf advertising

I’m in disbelief that any of these made it onto a drawing board, let alone approved, produced and broadcast.

Twitter reacts to Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad (via Harpers Bazaar)



An equation is literally determining your newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Instead of showing us what’s happening in the moment, or a curated feed, it’s showing us whoever is trending, a tweet one a person I follow liked or something a guy I went to primary school with got tagged in.

While I can see the argument for it, with aims to reduce clickbait, spam, and repeat posts, it seems to be missing the mark and prioritises shareable (not necessarily quality) content and sponsored activity. As marketeers, it’s much harder to grow an organic audience and reach. Yes, maybe we have to work harder offline and on audience development, but constant reminders to spend on social media advertising is getting tiresome.

You won’t believe what Facebook looks like now… (via LHWadvertising)


Trying to go viral

  1. Saying something is viral doesn’t make it so.
  2. If you set out to go viral, then by definition you won’t.
  3. Having a large reach doesn’t certify your content as viral. Additionally, writing a clickbait title won’t make your boring content more engaging either.

There are so many factors and considerations about both what makes something viral and how something attains viral status. While there are many forms and none are definitive, I think it can be agreed that viral status indicates an accidental spread of something seemingly innocuous. By definition, marketers and producers shouldn’t be known for developing viral content.

Just kidding, we’ve all got one of these on our desks (via Shopial)


Being annoyed rather than disrupted.

We’ve all watched adverts and declared that “nobody says that” and while it irritates us, it does make us take notice (in the same way shock advertising does, although it’s usually a lot less creative). This has now evolved into staged text messages, whatsapp chats and phonecalls. Whether it’s a video of a group chat between celebrities or an advert dressed up as a Facebook message, it taps into a style of delivery and environment which is familiar to us, sneaks up on us and grabs our attention for a slight but annoying moment.

Aston Villa Football Club created a video depicting a fictional WhatsApp group chat between players and staff of their club to reveal a new signing via a group message. A novel idea which certainly stood out, it drew much ire from passionate fans who took issue with the implausibility of such a scenario (and the lack of any humour, tone of voice or personality).

“I’m looking forward to giving my all on the pitch and banter in the Whatsapp” (via Squawka)



Thanks for reading. Here’s to being more creative marketeers and consumers alike in 2018.


David Langham

Marketing & Communications Executive




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