A view from Claire Beale

Spoilers ahead... but the future's what we make of it

Welcome back. Ready? Let's go.

 This issue is pumped with things to think about as you sail through 2016. Here are a few touchstones: 

"GDP growth is set to climb 2.4 per cent in 2016… As the vanguard of the economy, the agency sector should flourish. Advertising growth is expected to be well ahead of that, estimated at 5.3 per cent in 2016, according to Advertising Association/Warc data." (James Murphy)

"During this period of relative buoyancy, we have to remain committed to demonstrate the value of what we do and the value of innovating the way that brands are built. There is no better time than the present to build the base of evidence for the effectiveness of marketing investment and the importance of more personal, relevant communication." (Tracy De Groose)

"The pace of innovation in the wider economy is leaving much of the agency world behind… To deliver truly transformative innovation, we need to re-architect what we think of as an agency… We need a framework for innovation that can orchestrate teams from consulting, creative, user experience and tech to collaborate as well as they craft." (Matt Lodder)

"In October, the Pepsi president Brad Jakeman delivered a Jerry Maguire-level keynote to nearly 3,000 agency leaders at the Association of National Advertising’s annual conference in Florida. He very publicly challenged the status quo: agency models are breaking, measurement models are outdated, the industry lacks diversity and the phrase ‘digital marketing’ is redundant. He saved the hardest comment for last: ‘Can we stop using the term advertising, which is based on this model of polluting.’" (Al MacCuish)

"Most people in the real world actually hate what we do every day… Most ads piss people off… But don’t be daunted, this is our Armada. A true call for originality, innovation, usefulness and visceral entertainment." (Nils Leonard)

So this issue is heavy with threat and challenge, particularly around the shape of the industry and the established advertising agency model. Yet the economic signs are healthy and the prognosis for marketing vigour is pretty good. All of which means we can either choose to make the most of our current buoyancy and sod the future, or we can set about investing the necessary effort now that will secure the industry’s long-term survival.

Two final thoughts, then – one from Andy Nairn, who cautions against getting carried away with new stuff just because it’s new: "The less 2016 is about 2016, the better 2016 will be"; and from Leonard: "Our biggest danger this year is that we settle for what we did last year."