5 creative advertising trends from 2016 that PR professionals can use

By: Abby Cousineau

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Source: Adweek

No one ever said we couldn’t use this year’s advertising trends to get noticed!

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it comes a massive number of “best of the year” lists. All around us people are reflecting on the successes and pitfalls of the last year, and aside from these lists being entertaining, you can also learn something valuable from them as well.

I have been seeing a lot of reminiscent lists popping up all over the internet and one in particular caught my eye. Adweek published an article titled, “The Year in Creativity: 20 Trends That Drove Some of 2016’s Best Marketing.” The title speaks for itself, and you should give it a read, as it is interesting (at least I think so) and filled with tons of links to video examples. We all know that keeping up with trends is essential to the success of public relations work, so I pulled the ones from this list that I feel are applicable to the PR industry.

It is interesting to think about how these creative advertising trends could potentially be involved in a PR campaign. When I read this list, I thought about how these themes could be interpreted on social media, through events, in press releases, and even for branding strategies.

  1. Post its.

Post-it notes were in the limelight this year. On a tour of Campbell Ewald this semester, I noticed a giant, wall-to-ceiling gnome made entirely out of post-it notes, created to impress one of their clients, Expedia. Additionally, a noteworthy post-it note appearance was “Subway Therapy,” a post-election art project in a New York Subway.

  1. Clever packaging.

Great packaging is something everyone can appreciate and we saw a lot of it this year—especially in the realm of soda and beer cans. Bud Light expanded its line of NFL cans, Orangina made an upside-down can that mixes up pulp when flipped to open, and Saltwater Brewery created a six-pack ring that is totally edible to sea life.

  1. Fine art.

Art was embraced in 2016 like never before. Multiple ads and marketing strategies revolved around incorporating, and in some cases promoting fine art. One example was J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam’s “The Next Rembrandt,” “which had a computer study the master’s works and make a completely new painting in his style.”

  1. Live ads.

With products like Facebook Live and Periscope becoming ever more popular, brands have embraced live streaming, producing some highly designed live commercials. The British supermarket Waitrose set up cameras on its partner farms and broadcasted live for an entire week. Although the material they shot may have consisted of “delightfully boring farm videos,” they ended up making TV spots and print ads from the footage.

  1. Square and vertical video.

Thanks to mobile apps like Instagram and Snapchat, square and vertical video broke through for good. Instagram in particular has inspired a bunch of “square creative,” one of the best Instagram campaigns of the year involved the fast food giant Sonic creating square shakes— “inspired by Instagram and available for purchase through the app.”

These are just a few of the 20 creative trends listed in the Adweek article. What other themes have you noticed this year?

Abby Cousineau is a junior at EMU majoring in public relations and minoring in graphic design and marketing. Abby is currently serving her first year on EMU PRSSA E-board as Social Media Director. She was drawn to social media because it allows her to merge her passions of writing and design. You can usually find her outside any time the weather is nice, or exploring the Ann Arbor restaurant scene. Connect with Abby on Instagram @abcattt.

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