How did the creative industry perform in 2017?

How did the creative industry perform in 2017?

2017 has come and gone, and what a year it’s been. Creative agencies have produced impressive content and campaigns during the last 12 months, and we’ve really enjoyed seeing everything they’ve created. But how did the creative sector fare economically, which campaigns have been the most engaging and successful, and what economic factors should you be thinking about as we head into 2018? 

To get a real picture of the creative industry’s economic impact in 2017, it’s worth examining its performance over the last few years. Looking back, the sector’s GDP contribution has grown year on year – from £63.4 billion in 2010 to a whopping £91.8 billion in 2016. 2016’s figure even grew by an impressive £6 billion on 2015’s number, and there’s no sign of 2017 bucking the trend. But why is that? For a start, 2017 has been home to lots of effective creative campaigns – lets take a look at some of them…

Lucozade: Contactless bottles

As part of an awareness campaign, Lucozade treated London commuters to a free trip on the underground back in May. During rush hour, the company handed out bottles of the energy drink that had contactless pins on the bottom, allowing commuters to simply scan the item at the gates and board their train without spending a penny.

Airbnb: Don’t Go There. Live There. 

After market research suggested that 86% of Airbnb users wanted to experience a new place like someone who actually lives there, Airbnb were inspired to launch their ‘Live There’ campaign. Hosted entirely through social media, it focused on Airbnb’s unique service – offering tourists the chance to live in an actual home rather than hotels while travelling, and encouraged deeper integration into local communities during a stay away.

Addict Aide: Like My Addiction

Addict Aide launched a campaign on Instagram to help shed light on alcoholism and how social media can be used to promote and encourage it.  Having caught the attention of the right audience – teenagers and young adults – the campaign ultimately generated 5 times as much web traffic for Addict Aide’s homepage.

Heineken: Worlds Apart

Heineken set out to prove that having a simple conversation over a beer can bring even the most diametrically opposed people together. Having been given three tasks to complete, participants would only discover how different they really were towards the end of the beer maker’s social experiment.

Tesco: Discover app

Having teamed up with Engine Creative, Tesco built an AR app to enhance the shopping experience for their customers. Tesco Discover allows shoppers to scan pages from their brochures, where they can access an array of related information, images, video, competitions and more. The app also builds on Tesco’s successful partnership with Disney, letting users scan Frozen-themed books and stickers to bring a 3D scene from the movie to life within the Discover app. Customers can even take virtual selfies with various Frozen characters within the AR app.

Embracing new mediums

Right now, the creative industry accounts for around one in 11 jobs in the UK, and that number is rising – unlike other industries, the creative sector is one of the least likely to lose jobs to automation. Combine that with industry-wide collaboration, entrepreneurialism and a raft of new trends, and you’ve got a recipe for continued growth. And creatives have been quick to incorporate fresh mediums into their work this year.

From augmented reality (AR) to artificial intelligence (AI) to social media live streaming to virtual reality (VR), agencies throughout the country have jumped on these tools and used them to create engaging content for their audiences. Inside the creative industry, the best example of this is the rapid growth of a field known as ‘createch’ (which grew 11.4% in 2016). Createch is an area in which technology is used to enable and enrich creativity (particularly for things like audio, video and storytelling), allowing content producers to deliver new services, products and experiences to consumers. As a result, new, immersive technology mediums like the ones mentioned above have encouraged continued innovation in this field and are sure to deliver further growth and development in 2017, particularly as the technology becomes more advanced and readily-available.

What to look out for in 2018

It’s estimated that by 2018, the value of the creative industry in the UK will grow by almost £9 billion to a total of £100 billion. And with the continued success of UK exports in games, design, film and TV, music and more, it’s essential for creative businesses to be ahead of the curve and prepared to experiment with new technology and creative mediums next year.

To help with this, the UK government are investing £500 million in AI, full fibre broadband and 5G (the fifth generation of telecommunications standards). And with over 2 million people employed in the creative sector in the UK, this money is expected to bolster the country’s position as a creative market leader on the world stage.

As the UK moves closer to severing its ties with the EU next year, it’s also worth considering the affect Brexit could have on the industry’s talent pool. While creatives are currently free to travel throughout Europe for business, this could soon change and agencies will have to rely on the UK’s workforce to provide the talent and skills they need. That means businesses will likely have to refocus and invest in the training and development of UK-based workers in 2018 in order to avoid falling behind in the years to come.

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Creative trend: Unlock creative productivity and increase engagement with AI

Creative trend: Unlock creative productivity and increase engagement with AI

While AI (artificial intelligence) might conjure up thoughts of machines dominating the world, when it comes to the creative industries, the reality is quite different. No, you’re not being phased out in favour of designing or copywriting robots – if anything, AI will probably make your life and daily processes more straightforward. But in order for AI to be successful within marketing agencies and creative teams, it’s essential for individuals to be open minded and optimistic about its potential and implementation within creative workflows.

It’s no wonder people are sceptical and even scared of AI – even its definition is kind of spooky. Artificial intelligence is ‘the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making, and translation between languages.’ Earlier this year, Facebook were forced to abandon an AI experiment after two artificially intelligent chatbots began talking to each other in a secret language that only they understood.

As weird and off-putting as that might sound, Facebook weren’t scared. They only dropped the project because they wanted the AIs to talk to people rather than each other. But no matter how you feel about two chatbots developing indecipherable code-speak (or AI robots gaining citizenship in Saudi Arabia – we’re looking at you, Sophia), it hasn’t stopped tech firms and agencies from using AI to bolster their content output and boost their engagement statistics.

Using AI to inform creative and marketing processes

As any marketer or creative knows, the key to success lies within their ability to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new technology and trends as quickly as possible. If there’s tech out there that can put you ahead of the competition while streamlining your day to day processes, adopting it sooner rather than later will have a tangible effect on business. In that vein, agencies throughout the world are looking for ways to implement AI that could help support human creative processes – whether that’s by automating repetitive tasks, filtering and managing data, handling complex data analytics, providing predictive marketing functions, or simply freeing up more resources so creatives can focus on content generation.

Marketing agencies need to be able to respond flexibly to data patterns, while designers and copywriters rely on said information to aid their creative decision making. But in order to do this, all parties require insights into what works and what doesn’t, and how audiences are reacting to their existing content output.

An analytics-focussed AI that drives predictive marketing should help teams identify their successes and failures, improve targeting and provide a clearer route to desired results. That means your team won’t have to spend so much time worrying about data and statistics, and can instead focus on creating effective content and achieving the highest possible conversion rates. Some AIs are even intelligent enough to recommend potential directions for a campaign based on tried and tested results, and AI chatbots can be used on webpages to interact directly with customers to gather marketing information in real time.

Advertising and creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA used an AI to run a number of campaigns earlier this year. Back in January, they teamed up with Toyota and launched a Facebook campaign using the AI ‘IBM Watson’ to help social media users find unique activities to try. Having provided Watson with 1000 distinctive interests to filter through, the AI targeted adverts at people depending on the interests they had in common with each other. In one example, Watson matched individuals who shared an interest in both barbecue and martial arts, before giving them adverts for an activity called ‘taikwan tenderizer’. Saatchi & Saatchi LA were pleased with the results, and were happy to have have access to deeper insights. They’ve even given this type of advertising a name – ‘flexible storytelling’, where certain parts of adverts can be altered depending on data findings.

Using AI for content creation

With the advent of driverless cars, chatbots, and everything from automated call centres to automated operating theatres, experts have been pretty concerned about the impact automisation will have on the workforce. But there’s one job that experts aren’t so worried about – content creation.

Artificial intelligence already forms the part of the backbone of creative software we use every single day. Adobe Sensei is an essential part of Creative Cloud, pulling together trillions of content and data assets within a unified AI or ‘machine learning framework’ to provide advanced image matching functionality, deeper understanding of the meaning and sentiment of documents and fine-tuned targeting of key audience segments. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also capable of fleshing out incomplete photos, identifying objects and faces, transforming paper into digital documents, enabling complex image searches and much more.

Taking it one step further, some companies have even made the leap to employing AIs to write articles. Developments in things like natural language processing, machine learning and image recognition have allowed scientists to develop the writing skills of AIs to a point where they’re indistinguishable from something produced by a human. And as lots of marketing content available online shares similar messaging, tone and style, it’s easy for a machine to replicate existing content without any noticeable flaws.

AI has even been used to create film and music. Grammy award-winning music producer Alex Da Kid used Watson to help guide the production process of his debut solo single Not Easy. When it came to lyrical, emotional and rhythmic inspiration for the song, Watson took five years’ of Billboard hits, plus other pieces of pop culture information to help create something that appealed specifically to the emotional state of the listener.

Similarly, in 2016, 20th Century FOX teamed up with IBM to produce an AI-created movie trailer for the horror film Morgan. IBM and FOX also used Watson, and tasked the AI with analysing visuals and sounds from hundreds of horror film trailers to get an idea of how they were composed and pieced together. From there, Watson chose scenes for editors to patch together into a trailer. Ultimately, the entire creative process for the trailer took just one day, when it would usually take weeks.

It makes sense that intelligent machines can handle data, analyse statistics, provide basic communication functions over the internet and carry out administrative duties (thus giving creative teams more time to be creative), but there aren’t many people who believe artificial intelligence could feasibly replace humans when it comes to creativity. Surely all creative work, whether written or designed, comes from years of experience, trial and error and the recognition of complex patterns only made possible by a living human brain?

If you want to find out what creative workflow solutions we can offer to help support your team, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email If you’re ready to start shopping head to our design storeFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.