Mill Thought | David Patton: Now, next, future

As the industry continues to take stock of Coronavirus disruption, we asked leaders at The Mill to give us their thoughts on the shape of things to come. Next up, David Patton, Global President of Creative Experience & Advertising at Technicolor.
Thought May 20, 2020


How have advertisers, agencies, and production companies adapted for Covid-19 and what have been the positive changes you have observed during this time?

I think the way the industry has adapted quickly to new ways of working has been tremendous. Work practices that were unimaginable a few weeks ago have now become part of everyday operations: remote working, isolated shoots, a shift in production medium to animation, CGI and design. All of these have unlocked exciting new ways of thinking and solving problems. I think this will have a positive long-term impact on our industry as clients looks for new ways to connect with their customers and production companies navigate the new normal. I’m particularly thinking about working from home – if this is widely maintained, there is the potential to significantly change the diversity and make-up across our industry. I’m excited about the positive impact this will have on the creative work we see over the coming months.



As the industry emerges from Covid-19, what key changes do you expect to see across the market?

I think the disruption of daily lives across the world during Covid-19 has changed audience relationships and expectations around brands and advertising. More time in has meant more time online and ever more content being watched on streaming platforms such as Netflix. This has cemented the changes in audience viewing habits we have been seeing over the past few years.

This will require brands and agencies to re-frame their customer relationships and I think clients will be more open-minded than ever to explore new ways of advertising and engaging with their customers. Staying relevant, being more reactive and tuned in to audience needs, and taking creative risks will be more important than ever. I honestly think we are about to enter advertising’s Renaissance period…



Looking way beyond Covid-19, what does the future of advertising look like and how might this have been influenced by what happened in 2020?

This has been an unpredictable and disruptive time with brands having to think quickly about how they adjust their messaging to the world around them. The long-term impact on consumer loyalty will be based on those brands that were able to react, adapt and innovate appropriately during these strange times – and I think agencies and production companies will also be remembered for how they adapted to the changing needs of the market.

There will be a number of factors which will affect the dynamics of the advertising industry: the mass adoption of 5G will open up even deeper experiences on mobile, the lifting of lock-down rules across the world will drive more interest in experiential marketing and I am sure that creativity generally will be hugely influenced by a more positive, colourful and ‘freer’ mood. I am also interested to see how physical retail will evolve after such severe lack of footfall and a greater shift to eCommerce. I see connectivity between the physical world and mobile, through AR & VR as something that could bring a whole new dimension to brands, advertising and their customers.


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