Each month, WPP's chief client officer Lindsay Pattison shares her favourite client developments in the world of creativity and technology. For December, she takes a look back at what caught her eye in 2019.
1. To kick things off with a bang… while Megan Rapinoe is not currently a client of WPP (I wish she was), I was lucky enough to hear her speak to Goggle Zeitgeist in October this year and so I want to start with this – a Sports Illustrated cover honouring one of the best things to come out of 2019: Megan celebrating being Sportsperson (not woman!) of the year, dressed in Valentino and holding a huge sledgehammer. Enjoy.
2. It was a big year for Heinz – Ed Sheeran’s love of Ketchup and his tattoo honouring the condiment was all over the news. But here’s something that celebrated all of Heinz’s iconic products. Check out one of my favourite window displays this year – Heinz and Fortnum & Mason came together to celebrate 150 years with a whacky and eccentric visual tribute to the humble baked bean, the classic can of soup, and of course, Ketchup.
3. The cloud – it’s abstract but it’s the foundation and future of all our tech. This is a great read that breaks down the eco-friendly cloud initiatives of Microsoft, Google and Amazon and shows how Wired allocates points on categories like overall greenness, energy efficiency, transparency, technological innovation and total renewable energy portfolio.
4. This year I loved watching Moncler’s innovative business model come to life on my Instagram feed. Introducing the Genius Collection – a series of limited-edition designer capsules released via monthly drops. A neat way to ignite buzz around the brand and recruit new Moncler customers – particularly Gen-Z and Millennials who crave constant newness. The Business of Fashion predicts which designers will be selected next year, here.
5. As a self-confessed media nerd, no end of year round-up would be complete without some streaming news. While Apple TV+ and Disney+ dominated headlines this year, less was heard about Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock. In a slightly different business model, Peacock will rely more heavily on advertising than subscriptions. Read this to hear how it would work.
6. It was clearly a big year for condiments, because to add to #2 we saw Unilever launch Peanut Butter Marmite. But even better than that, Marmite & British Airways teamed up for a ‘Marmite Amnesty’. On discovering Marmite was the most confiscated food item at London City Airport, the amnesty allowed you to swap the prohibited jars for British Airways co-branded 70g jars at security. Genius.
7. This year also saw one of the luxury industry’s biggest acquisitions to date – LVMH bought Tiffany for $16.2bn. Why? It increases LVMH’s presence in the US and increases its exposure to one of the fastest-growing luxury segments, jewellery. Bain & Co. predicted that the jewellery market grew by 7% in 2019, 2 percentage points faster than the luxury industry as a whole.
8. It’s always fun to see the QSR industry take food trends and run with them. In August, KFC (YUM Brands) trialled vegan chicken – and with huge success. They partnered with alternative meat company Beyond Meat, driving investor interest in the startup. The company, which went public in May, saw its stock soar as high as $234.90 a share.
9. Commerce innovation at its best for small businesses, this is the Amazon Dash smart shelf - even more automated than the Dash buttons, as it uses a built-in scale to automatically place an order for re-stocking supplies based on weight. It’s perfect for all small businesses who want to automate stock purchase, be it coffee cups, paper, pens - anything really.
10. And to finish, a long read that’s well worth it. Here The Atlantic explores the relationship between art and commerce, highlighting the rise of the ‘brand-patron’. Think Louis Vuitton (who has commissioned handbags by artists like Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama and Jeff Koons since 2003) and PepsiCo (whose premium brand LIFEWTR has colourful, eccentric labels designed by emerging artists. They also donate art supplies to public schools and have a $100,000 fund for the Brooklyn Museum to purchase new works).