Feb 5, 2021

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January Update: Clubhouse, the Superbowl, and Zoom Goats

Well, we did it! We got through the first month of 2021 - which for many of us feels to have lasted about as long as the whole of 2020! Still, this new year still lies ahead of us, full of possibility, and if you're looking for ideas on what may be coming up in digital marketing, have a listen to our hugely popular podcast on 2021 Trends. But let me start you off with the meme below that's flying around social media and which fully captures this moment in time. (No, I don't get all of it either but the kids sure do). Some other fun trends on social media have included the TikTok mania for singing sea shanties and the rise of the Vaxxie: a selfie showing yourself getting vaccinated, particularly popular with politicians.

Big Industry Shifts

2020 was a rollercoaster for all areas of the economy, across all sectors. Have a look at these particularly interesting stats on ecommerce in this eConsultancy summary. But it has become obvious that the big oil companies were some of the biggest losers last year, with Exxon losing a staggering $22.4 billion. They all hope for the tide to turn with the start of vaccine rollouts and a turnaround in major economies. It’s worth noting two other upheavals that might have been unthinkable before the crisis. The first is the acquisition in January of major UK department store Debenhams by Boohoo as well as the purchase by ASOS of the Top Shop brand’s parent Arcadia: with the closure of thousands of stores it’s sure to further transform the UK high street and concretize the dominance of online shopping. The other big shakeup has been that of Wall Street which was caused by the Reddit-fuelled buying frenzy of Game Stop shares on the RobinHood app. Rather than try to explain it all here, I’ll point you to this useful explainer on CNN.

A Pandemic SuperBowl

The big news around this year’s Super Bowl on February 7th is that several of its anchor advertisers are not airing commercials - Coca Cola, Pepsi, and, most notably, Budweiser. For the first time in 37 years, the beer giant has pulled out of the Super Bowl, saying that it is instead “rethinking” its strategy and putting its advertising money towards COVID-related efforts, as seen in the emotional video below. Parent company Annheuser Busch will still be airing commercials for some other of its brands, including Bud Light and Michelob. The gaps made in the schedule by the absence of the big players have been filled by UberEats and Logitech, both of which are notable for having done so well during the pandemic. 

Step into the Clubhouse, if you can

If you haven’t already heard, the season’s hottest new social platforms is also the most exclusive - literally. You need to be invited by an existing member to join Clubhouse and enjoy all the celebrity spotting and buzz. Centering around voice-only chat rooms about all sorts of topics, it’s similar to Snapchat in the temporary nature of the interactions. Its appeal is a fascinating instance of modernizing old forms of communication and the members-only elements is also indicative of a trend towards exclusivity. You’ll find a good overview of Clubhouse on Neil Patel’s blog.

In Other News

  • The digital news battle continues in Australia between the government who want to introduce a media bargaining code, and Google, who have been threatening to block Search there. Microsoft recently entered the fray, offering Bing as an attractive alternative and siding with the government. Here's a good explainer on Search Engine Land.
  • Elon Musk has become the richest man in the world. Tesla produced just over half-a-million cars last year, a fraction of the output of Ford and General Motors. Musk tweeted “How strange,” after reports of his new status were published, then added “Well, back to work.”
  • Musk might soon face some serious competition in his space adventures from that other ultra-rich man, Jeff Bezos who has stepped down as CEO of Amazon to focus on his Blue Origin initiative and other pursuits. There’s an interesting-looking long read in The Atlantic.
  • Amazon Prime has faced trouble from some quarters for having confusing or misleading UI, especially regarding users who want to stop using the service.
  • On the other side of the ecommerce spectrum, the Vermont woman responsible for knitting Bernie Sanders' hugely popular mittens (as worn at Joe Biden's inauguration) has made a deal with a local firm to manufacture the mittens to full scale, ensuring we can all spawn mitten-memes of our own. 
  • After almost a year of disruption, the shift to remote working is becoming more permanent, as seen in Unilever’s decision to keep its workers at home

And, Finally

One of the best new business ideas to crop up as a result of the pandemic has to be this enterprising farmer in Lancashire, England. For just £5 you can “rent” one of her goats to make a guest appearance on your zoom meetings. What began as a joke has taken off to be a popular money-spinner for her. Maybe she'd be keen to take a digital marketing course of her own.


Emma Prunty

Emma Prunty is the editor of My DMI and works to bring our members insightful and topical content every week. She has worked in digital everything for the last 20 years, from New York to Oslo and Toronto to Dublin, and is always on the lookout for the latest currents of where things are going next.

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