1. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Passing Fads and Rising Revolutions

ADC 96th Annual Awards Jury runs through the buzzwords of 2016

The creative community is one that often claims to have its collective fingers on the pulse of the latest trends, and are quick to incorporate them into their work. And there’s no doubt that there will be plenty of this among the submissions for the ADC 96th Annual Awards. But will they be truly innovative creations that stand the test of time, or will we look back in a few years and say “yeah, that’s what everybody was doing in 2016”?

We asked the incredible men and women of the ADC Annual Awards Jury what was the word or phrase of the year when it came to their discipline, and was it just a buzzword or fad, or does it describe an innovative, emerging trend? In other words: what was hot for 2016 — and was it actually as hot as everyone said it was?


NilsAnderssonVR. However, it is a vehicle, and really depends on how brands will engage with the technology. The difference will be brands using devices and technology according to needs, rather than using tech for the sake of using tech.”

Nils Andersson
Asia Creative President, Greater China President & CCO
TBWA\Shanghai (China)
Digital Jury


danielletrivisonnohawleyContent. Content. Content – Seems like a marketing word for ‘ideas’, no?”

Danielle Trivisonno Hawley
Chief Creative Officer, Americas
Digital Jury


tonjejaeger“It must be sustainability and responsibility. And it’s definitely hot.”

“From being part of the problem, our industry now has to be a part of the solution. When the United Nations launched its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, it became very clear that we, as an industry, must not only discuss our role in creating a sustainable future, but also act upon it, even enforce it, through smart, fast, original design thinking.”

The Oslo Manifesto is an attempt to reshape these 17 sustainability goals into a design brief that designers, architects, and other creators can commit to work towards.”

Tonje Jæger
Creative Director & Senior Designer
Scandinavian Design Group (Norway)
Design Jury


BillyJurewiczNew Economy: it’s finally an acceptance of millennial talent in boardrooms and mainstream decision makers in our industry. “

Billy Jurewicz
Space 150 (USA)
Digital Jury


clairewaring“To be honest, Innovation was the word for 2016 in digital. It’s not new to the creative world but it’s really gaining traction in the business world and will be even hotter for 2017. It captures the culmination of insight, imagination and technology and I believe we’ll be seeing a lot more of it. “

Claire Waring
Executive Creative Director, SE Asia
Sapient | razorfish (Singapore)
Digital Jury


timgordonMobile optimized. Definitely less a fad and more the norm today. We owe it to our clients and ourselves to create content that is not only compelling but that can live to its full potential on mobile. Craft is important, powerful and absolutely necessary, but at the same time, if it doesn’t translate across a changing media landscape, it’s all for naught.”

Tim Gordon
Executive Creative Director
Droga5 (USA)
Advertising Jury


“Craft is important, powerful and absolutely necessary, but at the same time, if it doesn’t translate across a changing media landscape, it’s all for naught.”

tonyhogqvistCommunity marketing. And it probably not even a thing? But this year we have been trying to figure out how our brand invests and treats our own community in the superficial, but also the amazing world of marketing. How do we as Airbnb embrace and support our host and our guest’s creativity? A brand like Nike can easily take a star and put them in a pair of sneakers, treating them as the stars they deserve to be, perfectly lit and retouched. But if our product is ordinary people sometimes more heroic than a golfer. Will their business actually benefit (like most businesses) from being exploited? Probably? And if that’s the case how do you handle integrity, transparency or crafted marketing?”

Tony Högqvist
Creative Director
Airbnb (USA)
Digital Jury


SarahBarclayValue Exchange. A long time ago people accepted that advertising on the telly and in magazines subsidized (or paid for) the content they consumed. A simple value exchange. Today people expect content not only to be free, but free of ads. And as people have more and more control of what they experience and watch, as an industry we have to give them something more valuable than endless interruptions. A hard thing to navigate and one that will continue to be a ‘hot’ issue.

Sarah Barclay
Global Executive Creative Director
J. Walter Thompson (USA)
Advertising Jury


keithcartwright“Once again, VR became the ‘why aren’t we doing this question’ of the year. With that came a lot of VR for VR’s sake. That said, there have been some amazing examples of VR that use the technology in a way that expands your experience. The New York Times Magazine VR project being a prime example of that. The New York Times has always been about going deeper into a story; applying VR to their journalism was a perfect marriage.”

Keith Cartwright
Executive Creative Director
Advertising Jury


anuniemonenEmpowering women! In a country where women have voted since 1906, 65% of the University degrees are finished by women, men die five years earlier than women, and these poor men don’t even have own party that is driving their matter! I would definitely empower men the next ten years.”

Anu Nieminen
Senior Creative
hasan & partners (Finland)
Advertising Jury


nickbarriosSnackable. It’s both a buzzword and a fad, but sadly I don’t think it’s going away. I think more than anything it represents the dwindling attention span of people. “

Nick Barrios
VP, Group Creative Director
DigitasLBi (USA)
Digital Jury


NellieKimPurpose. Everything in 2016 needed to be driven by purpose. In most (relevant) cases it was a great thing, but it started getting a little trite or buzzword-y once certain marketers caught on and wanted it applied to everything. Not sure if an e-blast or a tweet always needs to have a grand purpose, you know?”

Nellie Kim
Partner, VP, Creative Director
Lg2 (Canada)
Digital Jury


JustinGomes“The word ‘Content’ continues to be thrown around a great deal here in South Africa, but luckily marketers are realising that anyone can create content, but not everyone can create quality content. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious the agencies with a track record for strong creative work are the same agencies dominating the content space.”

Justin Gomes
Founding Creative Partner
FoxP2 (South Africa)
Advertising Jury


karolinagalaczAuthenticity is something people seem to crave as much from advertising as from the companies themselves and even politics. As with most buzzwords, this one also describes a phenomenon that is not really new: rather, it’s something that has always built trust and helped brands connect to their audience. Authentic products, characters, stories, issues and companies taking an honest stand will probably continue to dominate our industry.”

Karolina Galácz
Deputy Creative Director
Y&R Budapest (Hungary)
Advertising Jury


felixhernandezStorytelling. All of what we do, in the end, has to be at the services of telling good, inspiring and amazing stories. No matter if it’s in 24 frames a second, just a single frame, an illustration or a logo design, It has to connect with the audience with a powerful message — a story.”

Felix Hernandez Rodriguez
Creative and Art Director
Hernandez Dreamphography (Mexico)
Design Jury


mayakopytman“Mining the mishmash of 2016 buzzwords brings ‘storytelling’ to the forefront. Sounds like a recipe for success: if your audience can retell the story, you can count on the message to be delivered, right? Unfortunately, this word has turned into a cliché repeatedly appearing in client briefs, firm descriptions, designer bios and everywhere else. Yes, we should continue to tell stories. Storytelling is what our ancestors have done since time immemorial and it’s the best way to retain meaningful information—not just facts. But, I wouldn’t mind hearing it a bit less in 2017.”

Maya Kopytman
C&G Partners (USA)
Digital Jury


“Unfortunately, this word has turned into a cliché repeatedly appearing in client briefs, firm descriptions, designer bios and everywhere else.”

StevenStamperROI. Obviously and originally a financial term, but has since enjoyed widespread use even by the financially uninitiated. It’s a good reminder that everything we do should yield a return on our investment/imagination/inspiration/insight. We typically think about ROI in terms of how much the project moved the financial needle, but it can speak to creating deep and abiding client relationships, engendering staff satisfaction, gaining recognition, practicing altruism, etc.”

Steven L. Stamper
Managing Principal
fd2s (USA)
Design Jury


GailBichlerVirtual reality was hot in 2016. So many publishers (including The New York Times) are experimenting with it. Time will tell if it’s a fad or something that will truly change journalism. I suspect much of that will have to do with how the technology progresses in terms of making VR more easily accessible to viewers and less laborious to create.”

Gail Bichler
Design Director
The New York Times (USA)
Design Jury


jonathannotaro‘Content’. As an industry, we’ve entered into a time where we’re responsible for getting a message across to the public through a number of different media, whether that’s a short film that lives on YouTube, a video billboard in Times Square, or a good old fashioned TV spot. Being able to adapt is the most important quality a studio can have, and to be able to deliver the content your client desires through an ever-evolving and crowded ad space means we’re constantly aiming to be at the top of our game.”

Jonathan Notaro
Director & Creative Director
Brand New School (USA)
Motion Jury


GemmaOBrien“If 2014 was the year of chalk lettering, 2015 was the year of brush calligraphy, then 2016 was the year of typographic murals. The scale and spontaneity of large, hand-rendered lettering treatments seemed to be the perfect anecdote to the limits of our tiny screens and the desire from brands for more live video content. Was it a fad? Maybe, but like most trends, there were many incredible examples (in this case from real talented sign painters or innovative designers who took typography outside the limits of page and screen) and a handful of mediocre imitations. “

Gemma O’Brien
Artist & Typographer (Australia)
Design Jury


elkeklinkhammerVirtual reality and VR innovations made noise in 2016. The opportunity is to make technology nearly invisible and the experience nearly real – for all senses.”

“The rise of bots and digital assistants made headlines in 2016. The opportunity for AI is to deliver great values and friction-free interactions and not, to make people fall in love with a bot.”

Elke Klinkhammer
Chief Creative Officer
McCann Frankfurt (Germany)
Advertising Jury

chrisberesford-hillData was the word I heard most in 2016. I’ll have to check with the data to see if it was actually hot.”

Chris Beresford-Hill
Executive Creative Director, EVP
BBDO New York (USA)
Advertising Jury

“Data was the word I heard most in 2016. I’ll have to check with the data to see if it was actually hot.”

marisagallagher‘Voice-first.’ It was a little buzzy and may be even more so in the year ahead, but I do think it describes a great new emerging trend. The term speaks to the very tangible need to learn to design for voice-focused entities like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri and OK Google, as well as slack and other ‘bots’ and for social and the like. It also speaks to the way designing for those entities gives you the opportunity/forces you to focus on the key concept you’re trying to communicate, without either worrying about or getting to experiment with the visual aspects. For those of us who are heavily visual, it’s both freeing and frightening, which is an inspiring place to be.”

Marisa Gallagher
Head of Design and UX, Digital
Amazon Music (USA)
Digital Jury


remyclemente“I would say ‘Digital Nature‘, which is also the name of one of our research projects at Bonsoir Paris. Our aim with this project is to tie algorithms with cellular plant structures.”

“I think that technology, and more specifically algorithms and machine learning will play a continuously bigger role in the creation of a design project; regarding to the fabrication, use of materials or just the fact that the technology will become more integrated in the design itself.”

“To us, technology is omnipresent and has become essential in our projects: often invisible, it is universal and almost natural. ”

Rémy Clemente
Founder & Creative Director
Bonsoir Paris (France)
Design Jury


Curate. Please stop. Unless you work for the Met.”

VR. Let’s take it from the geeks and give it to the artists and people with stories to tell.
Storyteller. That was my word 10 years ago, give it back!.”

Nathalie de La Gorce
Art Director
Oxygen Media (USA)
Motion Jury

“Curate. Please stop. Unless you work for the Met.”

edelrodriguez“I’m not sure if there’s a word, more of an attitude, whereby illustrators are telling more personal stories. For a long time, it seemed that finding a singular style was a very important thing. Recently, telling stories and creating personal visual narratives, without regard to style, has come more to the forefront . These ideas crossed over into making social and political statements, something which was at the top of everyone’s mind this past year. ”

Edel Rodriguez
Illustrator (USA)
Design Jury


CamilaDeBiaggi“2016 was the year of the ‘influencer.‘ Ever since the popularity of vlogging took off in 2005 on YouTube, marketers worldwide gained access to every target audience imaginable just by finding an “accessible” yet prominent figure in the space that their product or service is tailored to. It has completely altered how we use word-of-mouth marketing to influence purchasing decisions. I believe that as long as there are social media platforms to sign onto, influencers are here to stay.”

Camila De Biaggi
Executive Producer
MPC New York (USA)
Motion Jury




Fabien Teichner
Chief Creative Officer
Marcel (France)
Advertising Jury


The final deadline for ADC 96th Annual Awards entries has been extended to Friday, February 17, 2017.