The Media Word of the Year

By The Cog Blog Archives
Cover image for  article: The Media Word of the Year

Last week, I was — I think entirely justifiably — snooty about lessons from 2019 that can be applied to the New Year. The Cog Blog doesn't make predictions; if only because of my entirely rational fear of being called out a year later for getting them hopelessly wrong.

I was once called to account on a public platform by the great Ray Snoddy for something I had predicted on stage at the Edinburgh TV Festival over 10 years before. I still bear the scars.

I have, though, noticed a couple of new trends. One is industry pros casting their predictions for the decade. Unless you're either a) hugely big-brained and have invented a time machine, or b) so arrogant that the fear of being challenged, let alone being proved wrong, simply never occurs to you, these are to be avoided at all costs.

The second trend I've noticed is the ever-present "word of the year." Now, this I can deal with.

Several people and organizations have already come up with their media word of the year; for example, the ANA, over in the U.S., declared personalization as its word of the year on December 4, 2019 — a tad ironically, as two days earlier Gartner had issued a report that stated: "By 2025, 80 percent of marketers who have invested in personalization will abandon their efforts...."

Mind you, the ANA is still deserving of praise. Choosing personalization makes a lot of sense retrospectively, especially if a respected consultancy has, just two days before, indicated that however strong the concept, it does rather depend on data excellence to deliver to it.

Writing for Campaign, Ian Darby went with honesty as the byword for strategic thinking in 2020. It's a quality that has been in short supply, as the media and adtech industries make it their mission to explain technological issues in a way that is long on confusion and short on honest explanation.

In relation to honesty in branding, I can do no better than quote Darby, who quoted Jim Carroll, chair of the Creative Strategy Awards at Cannes: "In the age of transparency, brands need to be prepared to recognize their flaws and failings — indeed, sometimes to celebrate them. This entails being positive and proactive around issues that were hitherto regarded as unappealing and unattractive. It means telling the truth."

It's a challenge for some brands — and, notably, some of our favorite platforms.

ID COMMS decided on simplify as its word of 2020, making a point: We could all do with remembering simple principles and applying them to our ever-more complicated world.

As they were in the mood to hand out awards, ID COMMS made Bob Hoffman of The Ad Contrarian their media man of the year.

I'm a huge admirer of Bob's and am a loyal reader of his blog, but there must be some media practitioners out there who can mount a challenge. Where are the thought leaders, the provocateurs, the tree-shakers, the challengers of convention in the media agency or vendor worlds?

We need more Bobs. In fact, we need a media Bob. Even a second-hand Bob will do it for us.

And, so the Cog Blog's word of 2020 is — drumroll, please: trust.

We could all do with agencies regaining the trust of their clients and consumers feeling that they can trust the media they consume. At the moment, trust is in short supply.

Simple, honest, and trustworthy is the way to go in 2020 (applied personally, of course). It will never catch on.

Click the social buttons to share this story with your friends and colleagues.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this content are exclusively the views of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of, Inc. management or associated writers.

Copyright ©2023 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.