Opinion: Perspective - What the year holds for advertising, as seen by Pythagoras

Numerology. What do you think about it? A load of rubbish, a mildly diverting amusement or a prophetic tool? Apparently, numerology is an esoteric belief in the mystical relationships between numbers, physical objects, living things and coming events. And Pythagoras was a fan.

Whatever your thoughts about it, let us have a look at what the numbers might be saying about the coming year.

The year 2009 yields a number 2 because 2+9=11 then 1+1=2. I know numerology is more complicated than this but, according to Wikipedia, this means balance, union, receptivity. Meanwhile, 2010 would give you a number 3, which indicates communication, interaction and neutrality.

As with all of these things, the craft is in the interpretation and so here is my Hoddlesque, Gypsy Lee prediction for what the year holds for us all.

First, "communication". The last decade was all about the rise of digital media. What we are able to do with Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, MySpace etc is amazing ...

and it is going to get even more so. But I also think that this year will see the return of the brilliant piece of communication - the splendidly conceived idea, beautifully crafted and intelligently served. For a while, we have all been so enthralled by the delivery mechanisms that we have taken our eye off the power of the message, and 2010 will begin to see the rebirth of genuine creativity.

Second, "interaction". The biggest buzzword of the noughties and I personally believe that it is going to get even bigger. The teenies are going to be the years when our industry absolutely must get to grips with data. In fact, by the end of this decade, the data-mining department will be as important in an advertising/communications agency as the creative department. Either that or it will be automated. Being able to target by real-time behaviour and serve personal, relevant, time-dependent, location-specific messages will soon be the norm, but if we do not begin to build the capabilities as an industry to do this, then Google and IBM will.

Finally, "neutrality". The partnership between client companies, marketers, consumers and agencies is a powerful one, but it has to be based on mutual trust. Overblown production budgets, dubious accountability, vested interests and opaque internal workings all undermine this trust and we have to find better models to serve and fairly reward great thinking and powerful actions.

Numerology also extends to the alphabet and it highlights something special about "England". England used to lead the world in comms. An Englishman created the internet. The numbers say it is time to lead the world again. I am also trying to prove that England winning the World Cup is destined by the stars. Still trying, still working on it. Mr Hoddle?

- Ivan Pollard is a partner at Naked Communications.