Bourbon, bodegas & back to basics.

Greetings from the last newsletter of 2020! The year is winding down, we’re brushing up on our trivia for our Zoom holiday party and gearing up to play pseudo-Santa to our teammates and clients.

Merch game strong. Time to pivot?

It’s been a crazy year but we’re proud of the work we’ve done, the people on our team, and finally convincing John to let us make an Instagram. 

On to the #content.

The key to great creative

There was too much content this year, and too much of it wasn’t that good. With everyone locked inside and turning content creator, our ears, eyes, feeds, and inboxes were flooded with pseudo expertise in everything from infectious disease vectors to electoral politics to toilet paper substitutes. Overwhelming messaging came at us from all angles: our friends, our favorite celebrities, our favorite brands. We didn't stand a chance. 

For a while, filling our days with as much content as possible kinda helped with the boredom. But it wasn't long before it all became a blur, with Covid-related messaging feeling tacky and tired; and messaging about anything else feeling out of touch and irresponsible. And the longer the pandemic prohibited travel and intricate production shoots, the more difficult it became for brands to generate new, fresh content to accurately respond to the consumer mood.

What we’re left with is a year defined by an overwhelming inundation of forgettable branded content. The constant atmosphere of crisis made many brands choose to play it safe. From the predicable aesthetics of the so-called industry disruptors (now coined “Blands”) to the turn to nostalgia marketing, creative content centered around the familiar.

But there are signs that things are turning around a bit, and that brands are starting to feel more comfortable taking the kinds of creative risks that make for memorable messages.

The most memorable moments felt authentic and specific. One of this year’s most viral ads was’s love story between 2020 and Satan. The detailed storytelling cut through the noise of generalizations by making something whimsical of our shared doom.

Industry trends predict that big winners will be brands and companies which prioritize personality and personalization. The relationship between the content and the consumer will become more reciprocal — does the design feel distinct? Does it make the consumer feel special?

But whatever they choose, brands will have to go back to basics to re-engage with their audiences, moving past platitudes and broad generalizations to trying to create meaningful connections. People need storytelling now more than ever, and no matter how brands present those stories, they have to be focused on reflecting people’s real lives, not saccharine caricatures.