1. Describe 2022 in three words…

Brutal, uncertain, unifying.

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

It’s not a direct hit but two of the words are taking me to Queensland, Australia - the other side of the world sounds good to me!

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

John Lewis all the way. It was so well done and really touching. I even welled up just explaining it to my girlfriend’s seven year old son even though I’d already seen it several times. Now that’s powerful!

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

There’s a little bias here as some of my choir friends featured in this ad but I loved the Very British Problems vibe in Lidl’s Big on British ad this year. I also have to give a shout out to the music and escapism created in the Wren Kitchens ad- it’s got some amazing choreography and the direction from Michael Gracey made me smile. 

In terms of social media though, first prize has to go to Duolingo. Their TikTok content across the year has shown just how powerful social media can be for building love for brands. All it took was a savvy, trusted and empowered social media team and a bird costume!

5. 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?

Angela Hartnett is cooking the perfect Christmas lunch and we’re in the end scene from The Holiday except that it’s not Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, but it’s a combination of my family and friends drinking champagne by the virtual log fire. But once the bubbly is finished, it then changes to the 2018 Cannes Lions Chateau party with Kylie, Fatboy Slim and Idris Elba and we’re joined by my team and industry friends so we can all relive it!

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

Channelling the spirit of my late father I’d say socks, yoghurt covered nuts & raisins and a good business book.

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

Hire a new CEO, reinvest in brand protection and moderation tools,focus on rebuilding audience trust and go back to grass roots community building so that people feel nostalgic and safe. Then, I’d put in a lot of work to clean up the reputational damage and incentivise brands to advertise again by hiring a comms team to do some decent storytelling on brand success stories.

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

Well, I’ve got my eyes on a couple of trends for next year. 

Firstly, it features in everyone’s morning chat- the future of twitter. With the news escalating every day, we’re likely going to see the platform take a few steps back, if not an entire leap. But this may bring a year of opportunity for other platforms where community is at the centre, such as Discord and the new player, Mastodon. TikTok will be a major part of the marketing mix without a doubt. Brands and agencies are going to have to keep an eye on what happens, and ensure their crisis plans are up to scratch!

I also think we’re going to see increased targeting of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. We’ve seen this year just how powerful the younger generation are at influencing their millennial parents to make purchases for them. We’re already starting to see agency offerings, and briefs, start to reflect this, so next year, it’s certainly all about the new kids on the block. 

And of course, it’s the metaverse! Now, I won’t dwell on this too long, but we’re really going to see brands start to experiment more, and begin to use social as a way to amplify their efforts. 

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

It’s fair to say that 2023 isn’t going to be easy. With economic uncertainty taking hold, people are going to be looking for ways to escape the world around them. Brands are in unique positions to help provide this as they can build communities around them that can offer a sense of connection, even when many of us will feel isolated. 

Yes, marketing budgets are set to be impacted, but we need to see continued investment in the channels that can provide this connection and escapism. Social is the vehicle that makes this happen: it can give brands the access they need to understand consumer concerns, trends and desires, and creates a direct relationship with the communities they build and serve. Keeping the social switch on is going to be critical if brands want to take a stand or hold a hand.

10. 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 hope we really see an emphasis on being genuine and fostering connections between communities. It’s not going to be an easy ride for any of us, but I really hope brands and marketers come together and work with and for their consumers. If anything, I hope it becomes the year of ‘no agenda’ marketing- it’s all about engaging with no intention to sell, but with the full intention to entertain and connect.

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

I really love brands like Jacquemus that stand up for their values. When Simon Jacqeumus posted an instagram of him and his husband kissing, it brought a lot of homophobic trolls out of the woodwork saying that they would no longer buy products. Jacquemus came up with the perfect response; “my bags don’t need you”. I hope we see more brands like this using social media to engage and stand firm. 

Also, we’ve been working with some amazing new alcohol brands, one of which is  I Sweet Gwendoline French Gin. I love what they’re doing with their storytelling and bottle design to connect with niche audiences to grow the market. Definitely worth checking out for the marketing strategy you didn’t expect! 

And finally…

12. Mince Pies - Christmas food heaven or hell?

Not a popular answer but I really can’t stand mince pies, Christmas cake or Christmas pudding. If they’re covered in Bailey’s cream I may make an exception.