With the end of the year approaching I figure it’s time for an end of the year review of what went right and what went wrong in 2011. In fact, this will be the start of an annual review. Without further ado, here are my top two trends and top two tragedies.
2) Groupon Epidemic: Perhaps the most interesting development of the year was the Groupon epidemic, as dozens of other daily deals sites quickly sprang up to compete. LivingSocial, Facebook Deals, Google Offers, and many more. Along with that has been the quest to turn their often one-time customers into repeat customers. My guess is that until there are memberships and membership rewards for sites like these that pattern will continue.
1) Google+: Marking the expansion of social media was the arrival of Google+ September 20th. Google+ went where Facebook had yet to go, the next plateau so to speak. Google+ offered users the ability to create social circles and chose what was shared with each group (or circle). Additionally, Google+ gained attention with its “Hangouts” video chat feature where you can chat with up to ten people at a time and share content while chatting. Meanwhile, MySpace tried to reinvent itself by focusing more on music. Haven’t heard how that worked out, so either MySpace is hanging out under the radar or it died for the second and final time.
2) Lowe’s: Yes, the recent incident with Lowe’s makes my list for a few reasons. Not only was it the wrong move, it came at the worst possible time when all companies are under the microscope. The holiday season. Lowe’s pulled its advertising from TLC’s American Muslim based on a call to boycott by Florida Family Association. Then they tried to claim it was because the show sparked a lot of controversy and they wanted to opt out of that conversation. Basically it made them look racist. It was poorly timed and badly handled, need I say more?
1) Groupon: In this case a top trend was also a tragedy as demonstrated during this year’s Super Bowl. Something Groupon has in common with Lowe’s is that the Super Bowl is also a poor time to make a poor statement. However, it’s even worse when it’s your public debut as was the case here. Groupon’s first ad spot was a series of commercials that turned tragedies into punch lines to drive deal-seekers to its site. Most notable was the plight of Tibet being turned into an opportunity to try its food. Oppression, destruction of the rainforest and decreasing whale populations are hardly material for a joke, but that’s where Groupon went here. Although it did attempt to make amends, Groupon learned a valuable lesson. Think before you speak or insert foot in mouth here.
Well, there you have it, a few things that made positive and not so positive imprints on the year 2011. A lesson in what to do, and what never to do again. As companies and brands prepare to start the year with a clean slate, well some of them anyways, we look to 2012 and the possibilities it brings for advertising, marketing, social media and journalism. Possibilities for new things, and in some cases rebranding and retribution, but mostly new things. Until next year, this is me, signing off.