Flora Joll Head of Strategy BMB

brands in britain 2024

Brands in Britain 2024: Less bandwagon jumping and fewer branded apologies please

Mistakes will be made but at least let's have some fun while doing so, says the head of strategy at BMB

By Flora Joll

The moment David Cameron popped up like a fleshy rabbit in a hat back into the Cabinet shows that now, more than ever, anything can happen. We live in a time of volatility, a circus of unknown unknowns.

Expect your wedding to be crashed by someone’s nan spraying orange protest confetti, your sporting event to be delayed by activists climbing the walls and your award ceremony to unravel at any time. All of which illustrates that, in 2024 and beyond, brands and agencies need to be prepared for anything. There is no room for complacency, and what worked six months ago is unlikely to stay that way for long.

Our tech platforms echo this instability, X formerly known as Twitter became a narrow bin fire over the course of a few weeks, TikTok is openly commodifying at a rapid rate, creating further fragmentation in the social media landscape and raising the question: is anyone on there genuinely having any fun any more?

There is something to be said for the more transparently mercenary behaviour from these platforms, but any influencer or content creator left claiming pure creative self-expression in this forum now sounds a little insincere. It will be interesting to see what the next evolution in ‘reaction videos to divisive moments in films’ will be: Saltburn was a strong contender for both its bath plug moment and dancing finale.

With the exception of behemoth brands and the mega networks, many agencies feel like they have been pitching harder and more frequently for ever smaller projects, as marketing budgets continue to resemble a redacted exchange between Dominic Cummings and anyone else: brutal and truncated. 2024 will be the year of ‘more with less’, eking out value against constrained budgets. Brands and agencies will have to think less about big TV and more about smart YouTube.

In production, everyone can and shall get better at using AI, but it is not a silver bullet to production expenses as most AI shares an uncanny and universal look: the race is on to see who can make one that doesn’t and helps create warm blooded, human execution.

2024 contains uncertainty, but also intriguing questions: who is going to make Threads work for them? What will X become? Will it be agency or in-house who cracks more humanoid and convincing AI campaigns? I’d like to see some unrepentant fun being had: KFC refusing to cook a turkey burger and refusing to apologise is proper big brand behaviour.

Here is to less bandwagon jumping and fewer branded apologies being generated next year. It’s not that mistakes won’t be made, but let’s at least have more fun while we’re making them, because no one knows what will happen next, least of all David Cameron.

Flora Joll is head of strategy at BMB


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