What are the trends and changes to watch for in 2022?

With the world entering its third year of the global pandemic, what are the perceived trends and changes we should be on the lookout for in 2022? Well, thanks to Emma Chiu, Global director at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, we think we might have some of the answers.  

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a snapshot of some of the aspects that Emma and her team have laid out in their recent presentation – ‘100 Trends and change to watch in 2022’ and put our own spin on a variety of subjects and points they have outlined. 

Brands & Marketing

We’re going to start with Brands & Marketing, and the ever-increasing role technology has to play in shaping the creativity agencies will use when developing work for their clients.

Today 72% of gen Z and millennials in the United States, the United Kingdom and China believe that creativity is dependent on technology, and 92% believe that technology opens up a whole new world of creation. 

So much so that according to highly respected creative technologist and digital designer Helena Dong thinks that creativity is increasingly informed and powered by technology, setting the stage for the next era of digital platforms and creative influence. Digital tools have activated an entirely new world of creativity, where creations can transcend physical limitations. 

Whereas at Snapchat, they see things a little differently and believe that creativity is the driving force propelling the future of digital engagement. For them, they feel that as a user, “you’re not creating content that people consume, you’re creating content that people then create with, you’re putting out a piece of content that everyone personalises and has a personal experience with.” 



But what does that mean? Well, as far as Keith Stuart, games editor at the Guardian newspaper, it means, “For generation alpha and generation Z, customisation and creation are intricate parts of their gaming experience. For them, customisation and the play element are part of the same thing, self-expression and exploration.”  

So with all of this in mind, is the suggestion that the future of advertising and marketing lies in gaming a reality?

Well, with the in-game advertising market set to grow by $3.54 billion between 2021 and 2025, according to a 2021 report by Technavio, is it any wonder that brands are diving headfirst into gaming with branded virtual worlds? 

What role will gaming have to play?

We have already seen many brands turn to established gaming platforms such as Roblox and creating novel in-game branded experiences in the hope of engaging the platform’s 46 million daily active users. 

In December 2021, Ralph Lauren announced the launch of its Winter Escape on Roblox. The holiday-themed virtual destination includes ice skating, toasting marshmallows, scavenger hunts, and shopping the Ralph Lauren Digital Collection, which is available for purchase exclusively on Roblox. 

Before this, in November 2021, Nike unveiled Nikeland on Roblox here; the virtual world lets users dress their avatars in virtual Nike gear and explore Nikeland’s arenas, fields and buildings that are host to various mini-games. Vans World, launched in September 2021, is a virtual skatepark. 

Other brands that have set about creating their own virtual world range anywhere from German luxury carmaker BMW to Procter and Gamble across to Japanese beauty brand SK-II, which launched their version of a virtual city in May 2021. 

But why is this interesting? If we go back to Keith Stuart, he believes that gaming is replacing advertising channels such as print and television for younger generations. 

“A lot of the traditional ways of marketing to young people are gone forever. Gaming is where they are; expect to see more branded virtual worlds as companies and marketers tap into this growing space”. 

Is virtual content the future of marketing and advertising?

If gaming and virtual content are the future of marketing and advertising, what should we expect the content and engagement to look like?

Well, in an attempt to move us out from under the pandemic cloud, we can see already that moments of joy are helping to raise spirits in brand advertising and engagement. Many brands are filling their ads with uplifting and heartwarming moments, inviting audiences to join them in fun and jubilation. 

Associating positive emotions with a brand continues to be a top strategy among many marketers as they look to hone their marketing into positive spaces and platforms. 

Emotional intelligence was at the forefront of a Lexus campaign in October 2021. The ad, promoting the Lexus ES Self-Charging Hybrid, uses facial recognition technology to read and adapt the ad to consumers’ emotions. The “Feel Your Best” campaign aims to leave viewers feeling more optimistic after their personalised experience. 

Gap’s “All Together Now” 2021 holiday campaign focused on love, kindness, and “modern American optimism”—one of the brand’s core philosophies. The campaign starred Katy Perry and ran to the tune of “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. Themes of unity, love and joy are consistent with the brand’s optimistic marketing motif. 

Source: Gap Inc


So what does this tell us? Well, it tells us that now more than ever, consumers are seeking authentic, uplifting content and that brands are meeting them on positive platforms, aiming to generate joy in their marketing strategies. 

Themes of optimism and unity are essential to consumers, and brands that focus on those communal aspects generate positive reactions from customers and increase engagement within their branded communities. 

What can we expect 2022 to look like?

So, in short, when it comes to the trends, what can we expect to see from brands and marketing in 2022? Without a shadow of a doubt, technology will play an ever-increasing role as brands look to engage with their audiences. Uplifting content will continue to grow as brands look to deliver positive messages. We can also expect to see more branded virtual worlds as companies and marketers tap into this growing space. 



To learn more about what trends we can expect to see in 2022, keep watching this space and learn more about how CSMG digital can help your brand; please feel free to contact us. brian@cloudseamediagroup.com