2021. The year we learnt the letters of the Greek alphabet while COVID raged harder than a teenager’s hormones.
With productions cancelled and stay at home orders issued, we spent months indoors exposed to nothing but new media. This year, a review of Enamoured Iris is inseparable from the learnings we uncovered about the power of media.
From our locked-down living rooms we learnt to distinguish NFTs on the Blockchain from influencers pushing NLP on Instagram. We witnessed the power of vaccine misinformation and how not to document an insurrection on social media. Squid Games taught us how to cut shapes from candy, Tokyo informed us that the Olympics risk obsolescence and Facebook taught us it’s possible to rebrand a business that’s the root of all evil.
We learnt contractions like “metaverse”, “dogecoin”, “rugpull” and “diamond-hands”. And as we spent more time at home than ever before, the digital media we consumed bled into our analogue lives. The lines between virtual and physical merged as we continued communicating with clients in our homes over Zoom. Below are some of the most notable trends we witnessed as a business, and what our clients are doing to respond.
In the last 12 months, online advertising has undergone a bull run that makes even the red hot US stock market blush. Reflecting the US online ad market, Australian business recorded a 25% increase in ad spend year-on-year.
As intensifying competition for limited screen real estate increases acquisition costs, “retention will become a top priority [Shopify]”. Enamoured Iris has long placed a premium on branded storytelling and this will continue to differentiate businesses from their competitors. Alongside investments into customer service, narrative will play a fundamental role in driving customer loyalty in 2022.
Indeed, our commercial for Pago chairs (dropping Q1 2022) is a great representation of how to inject personality into a brand. Transforming the commercial chair manufacturer into a lifestyle brand, Pago products move from office furniture to personal expression. With some 40 people on set, the production also reads as a “how-to” guide on conducting COVID-safe productions.
In 2021, the surge in online advertising coincided with growing concern for personal privacy. Apple’s rollout of opt-in privacy settings triggered a $10 billion collapse in valuations for ad platforms that led to many an investor and marketing manager losing their shirt. While the update came as no surprise, it was the scale to which these updates resulted in lost revenue for the platforms that came as a deadly blow.
Brands, alarmed by the diminishing efficacy of their advertising due to Apple’s iOS updates, reduced spend on the platforms. Resulting in diminished accuracy of lookalike audiences and inaccurate email open rates, ROI for many marketing activities fell off a cliff. These issues had alarming downstream effects that impeded the effectiveness of workflows and CRM segmentation.
In many ways the canary in the coal mine for Google’s phaseout of cookies, Apple’s policy update is a reminder to own the rails to your customer. “Companies that win in the Internet era do so by owning the customer relationship”, while those reliant on third parties suffer a clear strategic disadvantage.
The “superstar effect” in which smaller or less resourced businesses lose market share to those armed with a war chest of customer data will continue in 2022. Creative approaches to attain and communicate with customers independent of large platforms will be crucial in circumventing the evaporation of revenue on large platforms.
With advertising competitiveness and privacy concerns reaching an inflection point in 2021, we saw a popularisation of the term “Web 3.0”. More than a gimmick, the promise of a distributed, collectively owned internet free from surveillance and exploitative advertising gained real traction.
Reimagining established ideas of data ownership and compensation, Web 3.0 projects received enormous amounts of funding this year. With federal banks pumping liquidity into pockets, non-fungible tokens fetched upwards of $69million USD and the market capitalisation for all global cryptocurrencies tripled. In conventional markets, platforms such as Unity, Roblox and Matterport captured both public imagination and dollars.
Reflecting the move toward immersive content, Enamoured Iris produced an interactive video for the recycling service, Repurpose-It. Offering the audience a ‘choose your own adventure’ first person (POV) style experience. Within the first 10 seconds the audience was asked if they would prefer to be ‘Blended’, ‘Crushed’ or ‘Washed’.
Offering the potential for outsized returns, Enamoured Iris encourages brands to allocate a portion of marketing spend to the exploration of alternative platforms in 2022.
As a land grab took place in the metaverse, we saw the arms race for content continue amongst streaming services in 2021. Racing to deliver fresh content to captive audiences, the savage competition has turned bloody. Analysts predict we’re fast approaching peak subscriptions, and that we’ll see increased customer churn as subscribers reduce costs in 2022. Nonetheless, it was a pleasure to produce a Netflix trailer for Surviving Summer, which is set for release in Q1 2022.
The race for content amongst services was also seen amongst brands. As lockdown 6.0 lifted in October, a scramble for branded content the likes we’ve never seen before took place. In the space of two months, Melbourne brands from industries as diverse as retail and live events rushed to produce and display content.
This pent-up-demand for videos has been a welcome relief after spending months unable to produce live action content. However, just as the supply chain issues have pushed other industries, the whip-saw increase in demand has stretched our team to its full capacity. But with that said, we’re pleased video content is back in full swing!
The Great Resignation/Awakening
On that note, in 2021 we said goodbye to some staff and said hello to others. We’re overjoyed to have both Michael and Megan join the Enamoured Iris team this year. Hailing from mother England, in his role of Director of Campaign Strategy Michael brings a perceptive mind brimming with insight from the film industry. Megan in turn provides a remarkable source of energy and passion to her position as an Assistant Producer. 2022 will be all the brighter with their presence in the studio!
Coming in 2022
There’s a lot to look forward to in 2022. As we complete our latest rotation around the sun, there’s another fresh face incoming. In Q1 2022, Enamoured Iris will undergo the biggest overhaul to its branding in its nine-year history. More than just a pretty palette, the company will embark on an entirely new mission and approach to client services. We’re excited about these updates and look forward to sharing them with you soon.
Thanks to all our staff and clients for supporting Enamoured Iris throughout 2021! Without your love and support, there’s no doubt that we wouldn’t have survived this year. Your continued backing allows us to deliver compelling content and services, improve existing workflows and to push the boundaries of what’s possible in video production. We’re excited for the next 12 months and hope you can join us for the next phase in our journey.