By Dani Gibson | Senior Writer

February 3, 2023 | 4 min read

Gordon Young, editor-in-chief of The Drum, introduces the 4A's Decisions conference with the trends set to define marketing in 2023, gleaned from analyzing 5,000 pieces of award-winning work from the last year.

Perpetual disruption is the theme of this year's 4A's Decisions conference, and to set the scene The Drum was invited to deliver the introductory talk setting out the trends that will dominate marketing in 2023.

Before looking forward, we first reflected on the insights gathered from The Drum's 2022 global awards program. Every year, our star-studded juries wade through thousands of case studies entered from over 70 countries. The winning work allows us to understand the key emerging global trends.

From brand purpose defying the cynics to the return of humor as a distraction from the tough realities of modern life, these are some of the campaigns that point to where the industry is heading this year...

Continuing the fight for equal pay

Recruitment company Indeed won at The Drum Awards for Content in the Best Creative Content Idea Using Video category for its ‘Indeed’s Pay Gap Social Experiment’.

The campaign comprised a series of films depicting people sharing their salaries, encouraging others to talk about their salaries to identify discrimination in the workplace and raise awareness about the importance of wage transparency. You can find out more about this amazing campaign here.

AI forcing change for good

It is the age where employees are demanding more from their employers, including greater care about working conditions and the impact they have on mental health. Across The Drum Awards last year, it is clear to see that there is a movement to destigmatize these issues.

Rethink's ‘The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club’ won both the Grand Prix and ‘Ad Tech for Good’ categories at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2022. By harnessing AI and technology, Over the Bridge was able to ask why so many good musicians die young. The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club showcases the music that greats such as Hendrix, Winehouse, Morrison and Cobain could have created, had they gotten the mental health support they needed. Check out the case study of this innovative campaign here.

Social inclusion was another area which we are seeing more advertisers take seriously. In the UK, supermarket chain Tesco wanted to address the fact that in British media, the Ramadan festival is often misrepresented or largely absent. This is despite more than four million Muslims living in the United Kingdom who observe this festive season.

AI is certainly forcing change at accelerated speeds and is on track to be one of the most disruptive developments we have seen in our lifetimes. For the campaign, Tesco created sync-reactive billboards centered on Iftar, the evening meal that signals the end of daily fasting. Find out more here.

Bringing back the humor

Another trend re-emerging is in brands realizing that they can offer relief by using humor. Zulu Alpha Kilo won at The Drum Awards for Content 2022 in the Fashion, Health, Beauty, or Luxury category for its Harry Rosen campaign.

Harry Rosen is a prominent Canadian luxury menswear retailer and isn’t normally seen as a sports apparel line. With the help of the Zulu Alpha Kilo agency, the brand soon became well-known in the golf industry after hijacking the television broadcast of the Masters' golf tournament with a fashion commentary. You can find the case study for this humorous campaign here.

The Drum Awards for Marketing will make your work famous and the people behind it famous too. Open for entry until March 23.

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