Things that will be exciting in 2011 are:
Effective and creative: Market pressures may have resulted in mediocre creativity in the guise of advertising effectiveness. But I see a gradual realisation creeping up in clients that hard working effective advertising is too boring to make an impact. We are witnessing some attempts by a few brands to try the innovative stuff. This has been made possible by the work done by new creative agencies.
The digital promise: I see social media taking off in both brand strategy and public relations. Mobile and virals are at an inflexion point as well. I expect more zing in digital campaigns now that the industry is attracting new talent.
Media innovations that rock: I expect media agencies to push the envelope in intrusive placements and innovative offerings. This trend has to be watched carefully since - at times - editorial freedom and integrity can get further commercialised and compromised.
Coming Convergence: We have been waiting for technology to lead convergence with print, TV and Internet getting synergistic stimuli on brands. It will be entertainment marketing which lead the way with content, channel, and last-mile access all getting together for that multiplier effect.
And the things that can be scary in 2011
ECD-extinction: With so many ECDs having found independent pastures, there will be pressure on the rest to do the creative thing rather than churn out predictable hardworking advertising. This could be looked at positively since younger people will emerge to lead the creative.
Agency pressure: Having missed the digital bus and specialist marketing needs, there will be further pressure on the agency in retaining its role of a brand custodian. The agencies that have invested in these areas will reap the rewards. The final nail in the coffin could be loss of respect if so many glaring gaps remain.
The new paradigm: Emerging specialists will redefine the agency's role. These are the idea providers, platform providers and brand strategists. If an agency does not have enough of these, it will bite the dust.
Client pressures: There will be enormous pressure on agencies and media providers to unite in the face of habitual delays in client payments. It will call for the bodies to act in unison rather than in bits and parts.
Medium-sized matters: Large agencies with scale and smaller agencies with low overheads will marginalise the medium-sized agency. Only the nimble-footed will do well and if a medium sized agency has that culture it could flourish.