Three big questions that will engage adland in 2016

Before we embark on concrete predictions for 2016 (next week) it’s worth looking at three of the issues in adland and beyond likely to arise next year.

1/ Adam&eveDDB. It may not be the biggest UK agency by billings (that title still belongs to AMV BBDO by a distance) but A&E has won pretty well everything in sight recently as well as setting the standard for high quality creative work across the piece – pretty difficult when you’ve got new accounts coming on stream constantly.

Who are the likely challengers in the UK? AMV obviously, which ended the year strongly with stand-out work for Currys (Jeff Goldblum) and Sainsbury’s (‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’). Grey and WCRS also had good years in 2015 while some of the newbies – most notably Lucky Generals and, although they’re somewhat older, Brothers and Sisters – also performed well. Will Droga5, under its second management team in two years, finally hit its stride? Mother and Wieden+Kennedy, two hardy perennials in the creative stakes, had relatively quiet 2015s but have some new business in hand to show their wares. The same applies to BBH.

So will anyone knock A&E off their perch? To rule the roost for three years in succession is a tall order.

2/ June will see two events of note. The first is Cannes which, as ever, is in danger of losing its purchase as the arbiter of most things creative as it expands relentlessly into things that aren’t really advertising. Somehow it never seems to happen though. Will there be a backlash against corporate ‘good works,’ which dominated all the awards shows in 2015? These are all very well but the biggest issue facing many such advertisers is the rather simpler issue of tax – many of them show no desire to pay it in the countries (like the UK) where they make most of their profits. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t….

Time for a reality check.

3/June is also the likely date for WPP’s AGM, at which that other hardy perennial – CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay – will also surface. The controversial Leap bonus scehem, under which Sorrell has trousered £87m over the last three years, was officially retired in 2012 but it still has two years to run. WPP now has a new chairman in private equity man Roberto Quarta and he won’t want to make his first big public appearance in an unseemly bunfight with shareholders. But how is to be avoided?

There are other big questions, no doubt. Our predictions kick off with Anomaly’s Carl Johnson on January 4.

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