February 5, 2010

2020 Vision

It’s been a fascinating 10 years in digital which began with the burst of a bubble and ended with another one in full expansion, driven by a social media gold rush and the app economy. I’ve posted a few articles here about the trends to watch in 2010 but I thought I’d go even further. Since the last ten years have felt like the blink of an eye let’s jump to 2020 – which will be here faster than you can imagine. What will the world of advertising look like then? Like the video above? Or something very different? Let’s get in the Delorean, turn on the flux capacitor and fast forward 10 years….

Putting the ME in media

Social networking has exploded in the past 5 years. Since the famous Time Magazine Person of the Year cover in 2006 that declared You as the winner – thanks to the web 2.0 phenomenon – the idea of user-generated content and viral media hasn’t stopped growing. Social search is now a buzzword with recommendations by friends being valued as a way for brands to get new customers. In 2020 this will be taken to new lengths where anyone can be an advertising medium. Jason Sandler with his Iwearyourshirt.com is already a frontrunner in this.

Now picture this – you will be paid by brands to place their products in your life. The more popular you are the higher your price will be. In an age when anyone can be a micro-celebrity, endorsement deals will run from branded lifestream pages to being paid to eat certain things, wear particular brands of clothes or frequent the hippest night spots. The Foursquare mayor of the hottest club in town will be there because he’s being paid. In the same way that sites let Google sell space on their site, people will allow Google to sell their life to the highest bidder. Who needs to work when you are handed all the products you want so your friends can see you using them? “Google me” will have a whole new meaning!

Roles reversed in the future ad agency

In 2020 there will be a new breed of advertising agency. You won’t find so-called “creative people” with their feet on desks dreaming up new campaigns. The ideas will be created by the focus groups that once told agencies if they liked the campaign concepts. Brainstorms will involve the very people who will end up seeing the brand messages. Now the guys who used to come up with ideas will be reduced to talent show judges, sitting on a panel to say which of the customer-generated ideas are worth running with. Needless to say, the results won’t be very beautiful. As Michael Lebowitz of Big Spaceship recently said, “I like the wisdom of crowds but I don’t like the output of crowds”. Is this what all future advertising will look like when the man in the street takes control?


Living in the clouds

Cloud computing is still a relatively new thought to many people. Fast forward ten years and our whole lives will be in the cloud. Go into Starbucks in 2020 and pick up one of the dirt cheap iPads lying around. Using biometric sensors it will immediately give you access to all your personal information and media files. It will know what coffee you prefer so it will be just brought over to you. Your invisible cloud will be cross-referenced with the clouds of everyone else in the cafe. If your status is “looking for a good time” you’ll be paired with the person nearest to you that matches your brand preferences, sexual tastes and income bracket. You’ll each receive a photo of your match then you can make your move. Don’t worry about paying for your coffee – Starbucks is one of your sponsors and all your friends have just been told that you’re having a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte right now.

What do you think the world of advertising will be like in 2020? Leave your comments.

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