Vertical video and slim spends: the shape of things to come | shots – Shots

With looming recession, war and climate chaos, will the new year usher in an industry apocalypse, or will it welcome some exciting new challenges? shots spoke to four horsepersons of adland to hear their forecasts for 2023. 
Forget Karl Marx’s theory of Boom and Bust, economic instability is the new norm for 2023. In parallel it’s impossible to ignore the existential crisis engulfing the environment that brands, and the people who buy them, will live in – and is best summarised by Nestle’s Head of Sustainability Emma Keller “Half the world is on fire, the rest is under water”.
For 2023, marketers have an urgent and unarguable responsibility to step forward and show leadership in their advertising if they’re to fulfil the ultimate unspoken KPI of brand survival. 
The year will see total marketing budgets continue their decline to a neutral or negative net balance, with an accelerating transition of spend from traditional to digital, and a higher emphasis on performance metrics.
Striking the right tone for advertisers in spoken word, deed and non-verbal imagery will be key to a year that will see customers consuming content and purchasing product whenever and however they want, 168-hours a week. 

The necessity to help marketers have the confidence to experiment with new channels and ways of content creation to more authentically engage with existing users, and the sometimes harder-to-reach Gen-Z, will be the hallmark of the brightest and best brand / agency activation and partnerships.
Learning the knowledge, skills and mindset to unlock true digital marketing and e-commerce excellence will be paramount to survive and the calling card of the brands who creatively thrive.     
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Social media platforms and their nuances continue to keep modern marketers on their toes. We’re seeing big transformations taking place, so 2023 will be an exciting year to see how the landscape and how we work changes.
With two thirds of the UK’s biggest advertisers shifting their spend from TV to digital and social next year (as reported in The Guardian), the biggest stylistic shift we’ll see is away from ‘resizing’ traditional 16:9 TVCs onto digital platforms. Instead, we’ll see brands following in the footsteps of consumers and finally embracing a TikTok and Reels style portrait aesthetic. 
Brands and production companies who don’t prioritise vertical formatting as their primary film output could run the risk of getting lost in the feed.
Moreover, this increased competition in the feed will mean creators and influencers will continue to be big assets, and selecting the right partnerships will be hugely important. Consumers crave authenticity and find it difficult to engage with hard-sell ads; they’re looking for real opinions and unfiltered content. 
Audiences are also moving away from macro social media influencers and towards the more niche micro/nano influences, as they are deemed more authentic and relatable, as well as having a smaller following which translates to higher engagement rates.
Trainline x Craig David – Better Days – I Came By Train
B&Q – Flip
Asda – Have Your Elf A Merry Christmas

There is a really interesting dynamic in British culture. On the one hand we pride ourselves on soldering on in the face of adversity – and let’s face it, we’ve had a lot of that in 2022 – but, on the other, we have traditionally sought a release from dutifully doing the right thing, hence our love of slightly surreal and mischievous comedy. Think Edward Lear, Monty Python and Noel Fielding. 
And in these tough times we’ve had to do a lot of ‘doing the right thing’ so – perhaps unsurprisingly – adland has stepped up with a light-hearted spot of surrealism. From motorbike riding highland cattle selling broadband and Elf flogging a supermarket, to Craig David travelling by train, to DIY worlds that flip around you. We have seen quite a few surreal scenarios in our ad breaks. And having just been tipped into recession I’m sure it’s a trend that’s likely to continue into 2023. 
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