Advertising After 2020

The lifestyle changes that came with an unprecedented year have impacted creative communications from brands.  In March we saw a shift in tone of communications from brands from Toyota to Verizon reminding consumers they care. Over. And over. And over again.  There are some more effective communications that the pandemic popularized that will be more likely to stick around this year.  One in particular that pandemic advertising brought attention to, is Computer Generated Imagery commercials.  When shooting commercials with a cast seemed impossible, many brands used animation and CGI to develop meaningful communications in safe ways.  

Škoda finished this ad with CGI when production studios shut down in March.  The ad features sets and cars completely computer animated.  Sky Q also relied on computer animation to create a campaign with only one actor.  This five-part saga shows consumers the joy of a young boy imagining his favorite characters living in his city.

CGI can thrive in 2021 as a cost-effective content development tool, but with CGI creating stock photos, videos, and even virtual influencers – where is there room for creatives in the long run?  In order to keep CGI, along with all the other futuristic technologies once thought to be fantasy, there will need to be a shift in where we see creatives contributing.

If they are not needed to design characters or showcase products, creatives will always be needed to tell the story can be.  At this stage, CGI needs a lot of guidance to work successfully.  Unchecked, CGI is seen as unsettling and odd.  This digital recreation of Rita Ora was slammed by consumers, and actually went viral for being so creepy.  

CGI videos and influencers are not independent – yet.  Human motifs and individual idiosyncrasies of language are not understood by technology.  As creatives, it is our job to bridge that gap.  In order to do that, we need to be asking the questions that get us to the next steps of CGI creative development.  

This is where insight research comes into play.  Creative people need to be in the rooms where technology is being developed.  We need to be looking for what human truths are driving technology further and where growth is needed.  Moving forward – we may see the need for creative departments in more fields.  Progress will only make creative advertising more challenging if insight research is not present at every step of development.  For creativity to work well, it needs to be everywhere.

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