Top 11 ‘Controversial’ Advertising Predictions for 2012

A new year means new predictions from 16th century French seer, Nostradamus, splashed across supermarket tabloid front pages all over the country.

Of course, these predictions always leave us with a few questions: How are tabloids scooping more reputable news sources on these prophecies? How can someone who has been dead for more than 500 years prophesy from the grave? Why does this all sound eerily similar to 2Pac’s ability to posthumously release albums on an annual basis?

But, we digress. In the spirit of the season, we thought, hey, if a dead guy can hypothetically make a fortune guessing about the “end of the days” and all that jazz, then surely we, the living, can profit by making more accurate (but sure to be debated) conjectures. So, we gave it a shot, resulting in the following Top 11 ‘Controversial’ Advertising Predictions for 2012.

  1. Google+ will remain much less relevant than Facebook or Twitter. But, its rapid growth will continue and bloggers will still laud its importance.
  2. We’ll see many more Instagram-based marketing campaigns. GE, Levi’s and Barack Obama are setting the tone. When Instagram comes to Android in spring, many more brands will jump on the amateur mobile photography bandwagon.
  3. Digital ad spend won’t surpass TV ad spend. Yes, the gap is closing. But, with NBC selling out its inventory of $4 million 30-second ad slots for the Super Bowl more than a month before the big game, we don’t see digital overtaking TV by the end of the year.
  4. Tim Tebow will be offered hundreds of endorsement deals. Move over, Tiger Woods. “Tebow Time” will continue long after the NFL season ends. Who knows? We may soon see the Broncos QB in the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign ads.
  5. Facebook’s impending IPO will be initially hailed as a success. Wall Street’s eyes are fixed upon the world’s biggest social network as it moves toward becoming a publicly traded entity. Like Groupon, Pandora, and other web 2.0 companies before it, we predict a highly successful opening day of trading. Unlike those other companies, we see Facebook having a bit more “staying power” on the market.
  6. QR Codes will either get much more creative, or gradually fade away. Marketers are quickly realizing that the “throw a QR code on it” mantra of last year just isn’t producing viable results. The industry will either have to employ some very outside-the-box thinking, or we’ll start seeing widespread abandonment of QR codes.
  7. The #Occupy hashtag will inevitably be used in an actual campaign. When it does, it will no doubt generate some pretty negative publicity. It probably won’t be a giant international brand using it (we hope). Our money is on a small real estate firm or a residential building.
  8. Flash mobs will end, once and for all. Okay, so this is more of a wish than a prediction. In reality, the appearance of flash mobs in the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis romcom, “Friends with Benefits,” and Howie Mandel’s new show, “Mobbed,” are indications that we’ll have to suffer through yet another year of a marketing strategy that was already played out before 2011 started. #snore
  9. Tablet apps will keep some print publications from going out of business. Right now, magazine publisher Conde Nast is charging an extra $5,000 for ads that hyperlink to a brand’s website in iPad editions of publications like GQ. More surprising than this price tag: Brands are buying in.
  10. Ad agencies will lose old business and win new business. So, make your New Year’s resolution not acting shocked when this happens to you. It’s happened every other year, and 2012 won’t be any different.


That is, unless you consider a headline reading “What does JAY-Z and Beyonce’s baby mean for markerters?” a sign of the end times.

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