2020 vision: what to keep an eye on

James Croft - Content Strategist

A new year. A new decade. And with this comes a whole host of predictions and trends from the world of digital, social and marketing in 2020.

Having spent the first week of January getting up to speed on the latest and greatest, here are a few things that caught my attention:

Gen Alpha

Thought you had got your head around Gen Z? Well now there’s Generation Alpha (doh!)

Born after 2010, this generation will be according to a recent report by Communications Agency, Hotwire characterised by their:

  • Diversity - this generation is set to be one of the most diverse both in the sense of their population mix but also views and opinions

  • Demand for choice - with everything at their fingertips the demand for innovation, personalisation and choice will be key to win their hearts (and spending power)

  • Social conscious - already at this young age this group are expressing altruistic values e.g. 97% believe everyone should have enough food to eat

  • Technology prowess - parents believe their children outstrip their own knowledge of tech by the age of 8 and a quarter

Whilst this generation is yet to come fully of age their influence on their parents spending patterns will give early indications of the future opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for brands and advertisers alike so certainly one to watch for any brands looking to keep ahead of the curve.


Since writing about TikTok’s coming of age last March, the platform has come on leaps and bounds with more and more brands exploring opportunities for sponsored content (if you need some inspiration check out how these 16 brands have been already achieving success) to tap into the estimated 1.5BN+ audience, which for a large part is made up of Gen Z.

TikTok is still ironing out some of its teething problems; from security concerns by the US Government to establishing a viable self-serve platform for advertisers. However, TikTok is certainly one to get your head around in 2020 for fear of missing out on the next big thing (that’s here!)


Personalisation isn’t necessarily anything new but in 2020 we will see personalisation reach greater levels of sophistication as technology continues to empower the ability to dynamically optimise creative and messaging to customers, something that in the quick-service restaurant market the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King have been already exploiting as they compete for share of the stomach in a fast paced market.

Indeed Amazon’s acquisition of Sizmek earlier in the year seems to confirm the importance dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) will play going forward (and something that Splash Worldwide has been at the forefront of through our thought leadership events!)

Deep Fake

Did you see this bizarre and honestly quite freaky, deep fake of Home Alone over Christmas? Kevin gets a face augmentation taken from none other than Sylvester Stallone in the aptly named Home Stallone.

Whilst an entertaining (and slightly unnerving watch) the AI technology behind this is disrupting the digital world as we know it. If 2019 was all about Fake News, 2020 will see this technology continue to amaze, delight and disturb us in equal measures.

For brands this technology opens a whole host of opportunities that we are just starting to see roll out; a favourite piece is Dali Lives, an AI project by The Dali Museum to bring the famous artist back from the dead.

The flipside is something of a Pandora’s box; the technology applied in more sinister and disturbing cases will make trusting what’s real and isn’t blurred. Facebook’s latest announcement that it has deleted 900+ deep fake accounts created as part of a political motive in the run up to the next US Presidential election highlights concerns what is believable anymore, which is becoming increasingly challenging to police. (Credit to James Woldringh for sharing this news piece with me.)


Capturing the sentiment and best-of pop culture in their witty and humorous manifestations, memes’ popularity and viral nature have not escaped the attention of brands and advertisers looking for new and innovative ways to speak to audiences.

Brands have already been working with influential Meme accounts to explore opportunities; as The Drum points out with the relative low cost and wide reach with engaged audiences, these influencers are an attractive proposition for brands to tap into new communities.

Whilst quite possibly a creatives’ nightmare - design rules go out the window when it comes to meme design for the most part - the opportunity for brands to get involved (and have some fun) is a great opportunity to be part of popular culture… IF it’s done right; take Slim Jim’s Instagram account which is solely meme inspired.