Cards on table, I’m not the best person to ask to write a predictive piece about anything, let alone creativity. In general, I’m about as prescient as Rod Hull was when he climbed that ladder to fix his TV aerial (what was he watching, I sometimes wonder, that was so compelling that he couldn’t wait for the nice man from Sky to come round and do it for him. The bit on Jeremy Kyle when they reveal the results of the DNA test? The surprise denouement of a particularly thrilling Midsomer Murders? The vinegar stroke of some vivid Emu porn on Adult Filth? Not being arsed to look it up on the interweb, I guess I’ll never know).
Truly, I have a quite extraordinary lack of foresight. The only thing I have ever accurately predicted was the recent plot to kidnap and castrate Justin Bieber, but as I was entertaining similar thoughts myself, perhaps that was more down to empathy than precognition.
In other words, fuck this for a game of soldiers. I may flatter myself that I can spot a decent ad now and then and therefore just about justify my salary, but guessing what new creative developments will shape the output of our industry over the next 12 months is a little beyond me. Still, I have an idea…
"Screens!" the tubby TV astrologer and Strictly contestant Russell Grant shrieks as he greets me at his Snowdonia home. "Screens, darling!" He is wearing a Japanese kigurumi squirrel onesie that fits alarmingly snug around the crotch, and he smells strongly of patchouli oil and bacon fat. Russell is amused at my confusion, and claims it is a result of my "Mercury conjunct Uranus – typical Aquarian, sweetie, typical". As he makes us both a cup of rose pouchong tea, he elucidates.
"2013 will be a fantabulous, super-glorious, rainbow-coloured hip-bump between the telly and the interweb," he twinkles. "Working in harmony, the very bezzy of bezzy mates, no more silly tiffs and getting the hump with one another. At the end of the day, it’s all screens, dear. Real people multiscreen all the time, don’t they? In everyday life? So why on giddy earth can’t advertising campaigns?"
He leans closer.
"Mercedes," he whispers theatrically for some unaccountable reason. "You know, that ‘You Drive The Future’ nonsense. Ghastly. Ghastly-ghastly-pudding-and-pie. But. But. At least the two parts of the campaign could be bothered to talk to one another. It wasn’t a silly-billy TV spot whose only job in life was to send all us poor darlings to a dreadful microsite, or an MPU that’s nothing but the skinny-bitch ghost of the above-the-line campaign.
"According to the celestial sphere, Virgo in the ascendant during 2013 means that we’ll have an absolute gush of deliciously delightful digi/telly ad campaigns, and some of them simply lovely! Screens, dear, working together as sweatily close as two Elton-buns in a gold lamé hot pant. That’s next year, or my best pal isn’t Dorothy."
As I finish my tea – overly sweet to cover the faint, brackish taste of Rohypnol – I ask him if there’s anything else I should look out for, creatively speaking. He flaps his chubby little fingers at me in a mildly exasperated manner.
"Oh, nothing that should trouble your broadcast-obsessed beardie little head," he says archly. "With an increased mobile use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ along with social aggregators like Flipboard and Currents, there’ll be a ginormous rise in app-like mobile websites. Ginormous. Which means, of course, that the really, truly creative energies will all be spunked on trying to create mobile web experiences using HTML5 and geolocation, not posters and radio ads."
I admit that this confuses the fuck out of me, and ask him if this is also due to my Aquarian nature.
"No, dear," he says. "It’s because you’re an old twat who likes TV ads."
Back home, my phone chimes. It’s a text, from that mad bastard Nostradamus. Took him long enough to get back to me.
In the year 2013
Preceded by an eclipse of the sun
More obscure and tenebrose than has ever been
The Antichrist shall rise in the distant West.
So many evils will be committed by Satan’s Prince
That nations will tremble
And the world will find itself undone and defeated.
As ever, the bearded old git is being a little obtuse. It can be annoying at times, when he’s like this. He only does it to wind me up. Just for the fuck of it. Still, I know how his cider-raddled brain works, and look up the Aramaic for Antichrist.
Jonathan Burley is the executive creative director at CHI & Partners