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Technology Brand Strategy Web3

A useful metaverse, 90s revival and little dystopias: marketing leaders look ahead

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By Sam Anderson | Network Editor

January 27, 2023 | 7 min read

At a recent roundtable for our Predictions Deep Dive with digital and social luminaries, we couldn’t help asking our assembled specialists to dream big: where do they see the industry in 10 years’ time?

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A look ahead and a look back: will the future see a 90s revival? / Girl with red hat via Unsplash

Kevin Joyner, director of data strategy, Croud

In 10 years’ time, the metaverse will finally be useful. It will be a place where people can have personalized relationships with brands because the capability of artificial intelligence (AI) to protect people's privacy, generate content, and read emotions will mean that we can finally scale brands as though they’re people. That will be very useful for all involved.

Hannah Anderson, managing director, Kyma Media (part of the Kairos Group)

I’m not predicting this, but say, hypothetically, ChatGPT does, after all, come to understand emotion, love and all the things we think it can’t understand. In that situation, advertising would cease to exist; our jobs would cease to exist; and the creative world would cease to exist. And that would lead to a lack of creativity and catastrophic implications for the entire world and population.

Adam Connett, head of digital, AgencyUK

The next 10 years will blur the line between real and virtual life. There’ll be a lot of benefits and a lot of disruption that’s going to come, and we need to approach it from an ethical perspective, going beyond advertising, going beyond brands, and going beyond selling stuff to people. It could play into a dystopian future, but it’s ours to shape: our generation and those who follow have a real job on our hands.

Jamie White, group head of organic search, Connective3

Over the next 10 years, we’ll see a big shift in social media usage, and how people understand social content. The next generation will be parented by people who recognize the damage that a lot of social media messaging is having. The toxic and negative messaging across social will decrease as people become more adept at recognizing what is a positive or negative influence.

Will Jennings, head of paid media, Roast (part of Tipi Group)

In the last few years, we’ve seen technology become increasingly integrated with people, increasingly compact, and increasingly wearable. That will continue with lenses in your eyes and augmented reality. Elon Musk is talking about chips in the brain – that's probably a little bit scary for most people but I do think that will augment daily life: holograms; a ring on your finger that doubles as your phone. All these things will increase the ways we are interconnected.

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Rida Oyebade, digital campaign manager, BECG

AI is going to be even more integrated into our lives: greeting you at hotels or taking your order at restaurants. And all that tech will be far more integrated – they’re already pioneering this in China. You won’t have to ask for the bill; like Amazon Fresh, we’ll just walk out of places without having to reach for a card.

James Mortimer, paid social director, iCrossing

Augmented reality (AR) will be much bigger than virtual reality (VR). We’re much closer to having far more useful AR applications than we are to VR applications, and in 10 years, that’ll increase a lot – alongside an evolving web3. With AR, owning digital assets that merge with the physical world will increase new kinds of ticketing, memberships and payments.

And in media, there’s going to be a lot more choice in terms of what people consume. We’re seeing it a bit with what Elon Musk has done with Twitter, moving towards ‘free speech’ and less of what some consider ‘censorship’. We’ll see more platforms like Rumble – the alternative to YouTube – where you can have much less strict guidelines. And I think that maybe things will get split up a little bit more.

Liz Cole, US head of social, VMLY&R

We’re going to see more social media trends recycle themselves as we see Gen Z starting to develop obsessions with media and technology from just before they were born. I wouldn’t be surprised by some late 90s and turn-of-the-millennium internet trends popping back up and in a strategic way: things like fan sites, LiveJournal and GeoCities.

Gina Wisse, assistant head of paid social and programmatic, Search Laboratory

We still think that what’s on social media is fake, but your ‘real life’ is what's actually happening: my real connections; my real friends. That’s going to become a lot more blurred. I’m envisioning a virtual space where you might find 90% of people’s lives. It might be a Black Mirror scenario, but maybe not.

For more takes on the year ahead, by and about marketing agencies, check out our Agencies Predictions hub.

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