Media Future of Media Cop26

Future of Media: what net-zero carbon means for supply chains, plus Christmas ad innovations

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

November 4, 2021 | 6 min read

We’ve been at Cop26 in Glasgow investigating whether advertisers can combat the most damaging excesses of capitalism (which they are often accused of encouraging). Can they clean up their supply chains and spark imaginations to build the next wave of private businesses that can ensure a sustainable planet? Gee, I'm not so sure... but first, from Cop26 we have:

Shoppable Boots

Boots shoppable ads on ITV from earlier this year

I almost felt encouraged that marketers were on board. But the industry is very much at the start of its sustainable journey. Talks with execs this week reveal that the carbon calculators are “a gateway drug” and a “way to get sustainability on client agendas”. They need a lot of development – and carbon itself is a narrow view of sustainability.

I’ll publish something from these discussions soon, I missed a deadline because of… the CHRISTMAS ad bombardment.

John Lewis, Boots and M&S – some of the UK’s biggest retailers – all dropped their festive ad campaigns at 00.01 on Thursday.

The season’s summed up by Boots’ bottomless bag of gifts. It rubbed me the wrong way a bit – despite being obviously technically brilliant, it came out during Cop26 while we’re learning about the dangers of over-consumption. I wonder if that’ll be a significant and under-estimated lever this year. Imagine that little Greta and Attenborough in our conscience tutting every time we make a superfluous purchase.

Next, it’s always great to get Havas Media Group’s Marek Wrobel talking us through tech and media innovation. This week he points to some actually useful metaverse-style campaigns that ALMOST convinced me it has a purpose beyond reputation-washing and snake-oil buzzword marketing. But he also questioned whether enough people know what an NFT is to make any activities there worthwhile. Read it here.

And finally, Marie Oldham, strategist and exec chair of VCCP Media, talked us through her life story as part of the So You Want My Job? series. From a nun-school to leering male-dominated ad agencies, Oldham found her inner curiosity or “nosiness“ and wielded it like a strategy super power. This is one of the best we’ve published in this series – check it out.

Some resources

I have to point you to this amazing marketers guide to misinformation from Florencia Lujani, Harriet Kingaby and the IPA.

And the Ad Association’s Ad Net Zero sustainability training.

Get ahead of the game – both of these issues need addressed and are in many respects connected.

Read the last Future of Media briefing.

Subscribe to our other briefings. Please share with curious friends or ignorant colleagues... and don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter, Linkedin and email.

Media Future of Media Cop26

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