Headline | January 6, 2016


yannis-zachosCES kicked off 2016 in an exciting way, with virtual reality, driverless cars and robots holding the promise of new and better experiences. But, whilst the world of media and technology is booming with new trends and developments, a lot of the conversations in the industry are still revolving around themes that we’ve been hearing about for the past 5 years. These hard to let go favourites, have the magic power to irritate audiences when they appear at as many a conference or, even worse, send them dozing off. Curious to discover the most despised new-old trends, I asked around to compose the ultimate list. Here it goes

1. The Year of Mobile

Waiting for the Year of mobile has been a lot like “Waiting for Godot”. If you ask Google trends, 2013 was the year where this term peaked but if you look at monetisation some claim we’re not there yet. Still, that doesn’t stop us from making an ugly face every time we hear someone talking about how important mobile is. It’s safe to assume everyone knows that by now; can we talk about how we can make mobile advertising that doesn’t suck or ruin the user experience instead?

2. The death of……

First they killed TV, then came the last days of print, and after that we started talking about the post-digital world, as apparently, digital was was history too. But, if that’s the case, we are living in the world of the ‘Walking Dead’, as none of the above is really dead. People are watching more TV than ever across multiple devices. Despite the steady decline, print is still influential, just try to pick up a Vogue September issue if you don’t believe me. And digital is like oxygen, invisible to the eye but everywhere around us making the world turn. Pointing out the significance of new platforms does not have to happen by undermining the value of established ones.

3. Disruption

Romans, Mongols, Ottomans….a quick glance at the history of human civilisation reveals that mighty empires eventually reach their peak and then fall to an unforeseen new power that changes the Status Quo. This basic insight must have been forgotten over the millennias only to be rediscovered in the last decade by marketing and business Gurus. So far this is used more as a way of spreading fear amongst marketing executives: YOU WILL BE DISRUPTED, which is not very different from reminding someone that eventually they will die one day. There is, however, an antidote to that, it’s called innovation and it can save them! It is very similar to Christians fighting lions in the Roman arenas; they didn’t know how to save themselves either.

4. Content (formerly known as Content is King)

Just like that, we’ve managed to make a word mean everything and nothing. The proof point for this is usually a big number that describes how much brands will be spending on content marketing. I have no intention to contest the fact that we need to adapt our communications to suit the channels and needs of consumers, however, bundling everything under the content banner is utterly meaningless and unhelpful. It’s the equivalent of advising the marketing team to do some advertising because this helps sell more products. Who would’ve thought!

5. Omnichannel, Multichannel, every channel, whatever channel

This is one of the buzzwords that keeps going strong probably because, unless you are working for a retailer, no one is sure what it actually means. People who use it continue to get nods from their audiences. It sounds cool and fits well with the story of the unforgiving customer who wants a seamless user experience in his shopping, always ready to turn his back to your brand should you not have a “collect from store” option on your e-commerce. Omnichannel should not be confused with multi-channel or cross channel. No, no, no. This is a completely different thing but this is not the time nor the place to explain why.

6. The Internet of Things

I still remember when I read about the Internet of Things for the first time, it literally blew my mind. The possibilities and opportunities that it proclaimed were enormous. That was in 2010, in The Economist and 6 years later we are living it. Wearable technology, smart houses, physical buy buttons, you name it. Sensors are now embedded in most spaces but still I haven’t met a single (normal) person that refers to all this as the Internet of Things. What was once a term to describe an upcoming development ended up haunting us like a grandpa who tries to talk war stories to kids while they’re playing Halo.

7. Big Data

Tried to save the best for last. I could just leave this here and write nothing further on this one, but it’s worth mentioning this brilliant quiz that makes you guess whether a certain word is the name of a big data company or a pokemon character. Give it a go, you’ll be surprised.

If you still haven’t settled on a New Year’s resolution why not pledge not to use ANY of the above for a year? I’m pretty sure some of them will still be around when the bells start ringing for 2017.

Yannis Zachos is Head of Strategy, Havas Media International

Posted on Havas Media