For marketers, the only way to survive a potentially dystopian future is to run toward it. Mindshare North America, the global media agency network that’s part of WPP, has launched the second season of Media Dystopia, a series that imagines the potential fates of media based on the provocations that many industry players would prefer to ignore. Each episode provides an in-depth look at current and future shifts across culture, technology, and marketing.
“The brands that don’t run toward disruption are the ones that get left behind,” said Adam Gerhart, CEO, U.S., Mindshare. “The provocations that we outline in Media Dystopia may seem extreme in the moment, but they embody the rapid changes that are happening in our world today, and their natural long-term results. And, we’re already seeing some of the hypotheses from season one progress at a rapid clip.”
Following a presentation to more than 150 senior clients at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, the agency has begun customized workshops with brands to assess which ideas will impact them the most, and what to tackle first. Over the next few months, Mindshare will unveil a slew of new partnerships and tools designed specifically to address the five episodes from season two.
“It will never be enough to just talk about the future. Brands have to be brave enough to shift investment where it counts, and agencies have to future-facing enough to not just advise, but actually execute,” said Joe Maceda, Chief Instigation Officer, U.S., Mindshare. “Media Dystopia isn’t just about provocation, but provocation with purpose and action.”
For more background: season one of Media Dystopia explored the rise of voice commerce, visual search, new world partnerships, emotional media, media multiverses, and the Netflixization of sports. To help prepare clients for this new world, Mindshare developed new offerings and tools, including the Mindshare Discovery Risk Index (which assesses a brand’s risk tolerance on the voice shelf), a series of sonic branding workshops, a wide-reaching study on fandom to match brands with specific franchise properties, and more.
Descriptions of the season two episodes can be found below, with more videos coming to the Media Dystopia site soon.
Methodology: Media Dystopia‘s approach is inspired by future-set sci-fi shows like Black Mirror. It takes a look at media and consumer trends and emerging technologies, and plays them out to their most dramatic conclusions for the world of marketing.
Episode 1: Bundle Up or Die
The increase in subscription services leads to a world where some consumers are unreachable in paid media, intensifying the battle for incidental loyalty (a concept coined by Mindshare in season one’s voice episode). As marketers try to reach paywalled consumers, their media plans will be bifurcated between premium content and what we’ve termed as “BB6″—billboards, banners, and 6-second pre-roll.
Episode 2: Sound as the Savior
As we are increasingly addicted to digital screens, audio provides hope of freeing us of from our addictions, and provides opportunities for brands to stand out.
“As marketers and technologists, we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do in the audio and voice space,” says Rachel Lowenstein, Associate Director, Invention+, Mindshare, and the key creator of this episode. “In many ways, audio is the most emotionally engaging and personalized medium. And on the heels of the workshops that we launched for clients last year, we’re driving new research and working closely with partners on new ad formats and strategies to prepare brands for the audible future.”
Episode 3: The Blockchain Episode
Consumer awareness of digital privacy needs and emerging technology gives an individual a true digital identity, and earns them a stake in the ad dollars put towards targeting them.
Episode 4: Virtually All or Nothing
VR can be THE consumer media channel of the 21 [st] century, giving us back a scale channel that we’ve desired for years—but not if brands ruin VR first.
Episode 5: The Brands of August
As society gets more and more polarized, brands will no longer have a choice whether to choose sides in the culture wars—either because their media associations will drag them into the debate, or because their competitors will stake a claim.