The Swirl: December 19, 2016

Wow, what a year. It definitely had its ups and downs, but it brought us the Swirl, so we're thankful for that. And we got to see some pretty cool new marketing gigs - like chatbots, Facebook live, and virtual reality. Just imagine the things that 2017 will bring. Consider this your sneak peek.

And while we know you'll miss us, we'll be taking a small Christmas vacation, so see ya back here on January 9th, friends. From the Swirl fam to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday and a warm and happy new year.

Until then, we've got: the best of 2016 and what’s to come in 2017.


Meme (n) - an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person online. This year, Evil Kermit, Joe Biden, and Harambe broke the internet. But there were 362 morethat did pretty well too. You can say what you want about 2016, but there’s one thing for sure: meme culture is here to stay.


Before we say bye-bye to 2016, let’s reflect on the best ads of the year. Here are ten winners that #blessed us with their presence this year:

  1. Under Armour Rule Yourself - the time when Michael Phelps brought us to tears
  2. Audi Duel - the time when hotel valets battled over a car
  3. Nike Da Da Ding - the time when we got some serious girl power
  4. Sandy Hook Promise, Evan - the time when we were all left stunned
  5. H&M Come Together - the time when retail brought us a Christmas wonderland
  6. Jeep Portraits - the time when vertical video made its debut on TV
  7. Kenzo My Mutant Brain - the time when perfume got weird
  8. Morton Salt OK Go - the time when so much happened in so little time
  9. Old Spice Rocket Car - the time when a man pushed himself to the limits
  10. Apple Music Taylor v. Treadmill - the time when TSwift wiped out

If you don’t remember them off the top of your head, you can watch them all here. Funny, scary, sad, pretty - we really saw it all. Cheers to this year’s best work.


With a new year comes new expectations and new beginnings - a fresh start. It’s also when we start to see 2016 innovations come to life. As more and more consumers adapt new behaviors, preferences start to shift. Here’s what you can expect:

Consumers will want...
Personalization, authenticity, and transparency. These themes aren’t really new, but there are now better ways to get them. Think virtual reality, live moments, and artificial intelligence. That’s why we saw a massive rise of Snapchat this year. And the introduction of Google Home. Real and simple trumps all. Bonus points if it’s personalized.

Where they will go...
Digital, digital, digital. Consumers are online more than ever, and if you haven’t jumped on the digital train yet, it's time to get on board. Yes, things like banner ads and search will still be important. But things like pre-roll and native content are king. Why? Turns out experiences are better when they aren’t disruptive. And consumers want to control how they see a message. Particularly from their fingertips on their smartphones.

Brands will...
Continue to push the limit on engagement through video and live streaming over anticipated or scheduled content. Storytelling will get more creative and memes certainly are far from dead. We might also see a little more push back on the ad blocking phenomenon - don’t expect brands to go down without a fight. Data will become even more an art than a science because brands know the more precise and tailored to their consumer that they are, the more receptive they will be.

Want more details? We have all the resources for you.

  1. 5 Consumer Trends for 2017, TrendWatching
  2. 5 Transformative Creative Trends, AdAge
  3. 2017 Media and Digital Predictions, Millward Brown
  4. Top 10 Digital Marketing Predictions, Business2Community
  5. How Digital Trends Shaped 2016, Adweek

Happy reading! We hope it will help fill your Swirl void over break.


Merry Christmas! Get ready for the big day by watching the most viral Christmas ads.