1. Describe 2022 in three words…

What the f***!

  1. Plug those words in What3Words for your 2023 Holiday destination. Where are you going and what’s the vibe?

I’m surprised my 3 words led to nowhere because they could apply to anywhere right now. That said, I can confirm that I will be making a beeline for the southern Italian coastline as soon as humanly possible in 2023.

  1. Asda, ALDI, John Lewis, Boots or someone else? Which Christmas ad won your heart and mind in 2022?

O2, obviously. Insane numbers of Christmas ads this year and haven’t watched them all yet. But ours ticks all the boxes. It’s Christmassey. It’s heartfelt. It’s brilliantly executed. It’s clearly an O2 ad. It’s for a good cause, and that good cause relates directly back to our brand and what we stand for.

  1. What’s your favourite ad/campaign of 2022?

The one that came to mind immediately was Netflix’s global campaign for Stranger Things, with its takeover of numerous world famous landmarks.

I was impressed by its multiple brand partnerships and the fact that it was just an unmissable mega launch moment that devoured column inches.

However, in hindsight, my favourite must now be FTX’s Superbowl campaign. the gist of which was Larry David being Larry David and therefore shitting on FTX.

It was probably (and sadly) effective but is absolutely hilarious to watch now. He was right!

  1. Mark Zuckerberg has asked to create your perfect Christmas in the metaverse. Where are you, who is cooking and what entertainment have you got lined-up?

Oh boy. Well I’m definitely not hosting it in his version of the metaverse, way too creepy. We’ll instead be at The O2 in Fortnite, which we built last year, and the entertainment is going to be the Leicester band Easy Life, because what we also built was an interactive virtual music video through their latest (straight fire) album. So essentially a video game within a video game. How about that meta? Oh and Colonel Sanders is cooking and we’re eating KFC, because KFC does great advertising and I love fried chicken.

  1. What do you want in your Christmas stocking in the old fashioned real world?

Liquid nitrogen. I want it to spontaneously erupt in front of my family and see them watch me with envy, as I reach into the stocking and pull out a winning lottery ticket.

  1. Elon Musk has gifted you a place on twitter’s board for Christmas. What would you do to turn it around?

I’m bullish in the medium term about twitter. There’s a lot of political grandstanding going on related to the American political landscape, which I don’t think will last.

 Brands will return once it becomes clear that twitter isn’t going away and neither are its users. Remember when everyone thought Reddit was brand kryptonite? Remember when brands ditched Kate Moss over some drug scandal? Today Reddit is a huge media platform and Kate is full to the brim with big brand endorsements. Brands are fickle, and America loves a comeback story. So I think twitter will probably be just fine. Elon’s going to Elon. In answer to the question, I wouldn’t do anything. 

  1. What’s going to be hot in marketing in 2023?

There are some really interesting developments in the AI space. Like AI’s now being able to generate their own code. How brands begin to properly incorporate advanced AI into their consumer-facing activity is going to be something that accelerates next year. 

But I think what is really going to be red hot is the continued convergence of gaming and brands activating in that space. We’re still in an experimental period, with more and more brands “having a go”. That’s only going to encourage more, and smarter experimentation by marketers who are increasingly confident in navigating the medium(s). 

And just as gaming metrics are only getting bigger and the space is evolving (see cloud gaming, or the various competing gaming metaverses), the gaming industry has fully embraced brand partnerships, unlocking more freedom and flexibility across their platforms. So I think we’re going to see some incredible work next year.

  1. How can marketers and brands ride the storm in 2023?

It’s going to be really tricky to navigate. On the one hand we need to be super mindful of the cost-of-living crisis and its impact on society at large, particularly those most vulnerable. 

On the other hand, we’re all running businesses which need to make money, so we also need to lean into more affluent segments. The marketers and brands that find that right balance are the ones that are going to be able to best ride out 2023. And it is going to be a rocky ride, of that there can be no doubt.

  1. 2023 is the Chinese year of the water rabbit, which symbolises longevity, peace and prosperity. What are you hoping for in the year ahead in the world of marketing and advertising?

I got into advertising because it sounded fun. And I’ve stayed because on top of it being fun, it’s also hugely impactful on the world around us. Commercially of course, but also psychologically. We hold up a mirror to society. And we do our job best when that mirror reflects back the best of what we are and who we can be. 

Our best reflection is forward-looking, optimistic, innovative and shows light at the end of the tunnel. In practical terms, what I hope is that marketing and advertising leads the charge on alleviating societal concerns through our ingenuity and our powerful arsenal of communication. That, and a Cannes Grand Prix please!

  1. Top tip for 2023: What brand should we all be looking out for next year?

I’ll resist another plug for my own brand. Elsewhere, Microsoft is the brand that I’m keeping an eye on. What a renaissance it’s having. From the coup of winning the Netflix ad deal, to outgrowing Google in search and news advertising revenue, to its nascent cloud gaming and acquisition of ActivisionBlizzard, which has turned it into the most powerful gaming entity in the world. Microsoft is on a roll.

And finally…

  1. Mince Pies - Christmas food heaven or hell?

Listen, I’m into them. But I was in a pub right before Halloween and to my utter horror there were mince pies on display. That’s right folks, mince pies are getting the Black Friday treatment. Next thing we know they’ll start being served in – God forbid – September.