The new decade is upon us. Emma Grace, chief strategy and creative director at PrettyGreen, takes us through her predictions on the most pressing PR trends for brands in 2020, along with what's likely going to be dominating our media landscape over this year.
Brands will build bridges not walls
Trade deals and Brexit will dominate the political agenda, and undoubtedly the SNP will drive for a referendum. Despite that, brands will look to provide the antidote and to create togetherness - especially after so much divisive behaviour by our politicians over Europe.
Plastic Fantastic & Pretty Green
The tide has turned on single use plastic - and it turned quickly. It’s still a huge global issue that hasn’t been solved, but there’s definitely been a pricking of our consciousness to be more demanding of businesses and more self-aware.
But reversing global warming is still a huge challenge, and 2020 will see a number of relevant topics being championed by brands, from insects to electric cars. The event that is the full solar eclipse in December 2020 will give us an opportunity to focus on South American rainforest.
Virtue signaling will continue to rise
As Greta-inspired mindfulness about the fragility of the world becomes a badge of honour, social media feeds will be filled with even more virtue signaling than ever before. Cue more placards from marches, more plant based food porn, more upcycled sofas, and more iterations of moral self-expression.
The Euros and kicking racism out the park
The beautiful game returns to our shores next summer with the Euro final and semi-finals being played at Wembley. But the biggest item on the agenda unfortunately won’t be kicking a pig skin, it will be about racism of a small minority of fans, and probably the ultras fighting.
So expect to see fireworks in the build-up, the possibility of players walking off the pitch and images of tear gas being fired. But outside of all the easy negative headlines, there’ll be a lot of opportunity for brands to deliver human interest stories, lighter touches and celebrations of this beautiful game.
The rising sun of the Olympics
The build-up to the Olympics will be slightly slower than most, mainly due to the time difference and distance. Team GB might struggle to capture the attention of the country and medias attention 'til the Olympics are right on us. But make no mistake - we will all be locked into some late night viewing as the magic of the Olympics arrives. And be prepared for a whole lot of new faces to become our nation's heroes as their unbelievable personal stories are told by media and brands.
This year's Glastonbury is likely to be the who’s who event of the summer with Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Diana Ross and Aerosmith already confirmed. It’s going to be the hottest ticket in town as everyone will want to ensure they attended the Big 5-0. And although it’s generally not a huge opportunity for brands (credit to EE and Co-op), it is an amazing platform to make a statement. Just remember Stormzy and Banksy.
Streaming: will Netflix just chill as Disney+ launches?
We’re all now streaming- and download-savvy, but our default is definitely just Netflix. But all that is about to change with the colossal Disney+ landing on a screen near you March 2020. The catalogue of Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar all in one place.
But if you think how Netflix are spending billions on original content (as anyone who watched 6 Underground can attest), Disney might yet have a fight to win our attention back.
Tech from 5G to Stadia, to new Sony PlayStation, to new Apple 5G phones
Gaming is as mainstream as it gets. But the roll-out of 5G in 2020 and new consoles coming for the holiday season means it’s going to be an amazing year for the industry. We love the fact that Nintendo continues to plough a very unique and interesting path. We might also see e-sports finally transcend into the mainstream. What's stopped it so far? It's not because audience umbers aren’t amazing, more that most CMOs and Boards just don’t get it. That might be about to change.
Vegan to Pegan
Childhood obesity, the collapse of our NHS, health not wealth... There are so many things going on for brands and media around wellness and wellbeing. But one thing that's always hotly debated is the next food diet craze. One bubbling under is 'Pegan' by Dr Mark Hyman. It’s not Vegan and it’s not Paleo - it’s a mix. And simply put, it’s just placing some really simple rules and guidelines helping us all find balance.
Space: the final frontier (we’ve all forgotten)
There’s a military space race going on behind the scenes. Governments have realised that by controlling space you can control terrestrial countries, simply by knocking out satellites. More positively, 2020 is likely to see Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight finally take off.
With Elon Musk and others pushing out towards Mars, it’s undoubtedly an exciting time.
Emma Grace, chief creative & strategy director at PrettyGreen.