Monthly Review – December

Our monthly Round-up of the key pieces in Marketing for December – we’ve chosen three key articles,  a 2020 strategy and creative review and a podcast for this final 2020 review. If you missed any of them and have some time they are well worth a catchup. We finished the year with tier lockdowns, news of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine and a positive Brexit deal. We expect a fast start to the year in terms of agency reviews as brands re-boot. This month we’ve included our Adforum Worldwide Summit highlights, which took place virtually in early December.

1. Firstly, our top pick is from Stratechery, a brilliant review of strategy in 2020 and a fabulous website full of great marketing content. You are what you read, we thank Lucy Jameson from Uncommon London for highlighting Stratechery to us.

Here is the link:

2, Secondly, we picked the December Harvard Business Review issue and a piece – Is your marketing organisation ready for what’s next. This gives a framework for aligning growth strategies given the sweeping technology changes.

Here is the link:

3. Thirdly, the work from anywhere model continues – Will smart companies begin to look at permanent remote working and hire supersmart graduates lowering internal costs, or will the open office make a comeback. This piece looks at how the pandemic may change how we staff and support our businesses.

Here is the link:

4. Fourthly, we picked a podcast between marketing legend David Wheldon in conversation with Sir Martin Sorrell. It’s part of the WFA series, this one has some key learnings for 2021.

Here is the link:

5. Fifthly, we picked Rishad Tobaccowala for his substack. This time it’s an insightful piece on growth and change. All his pieces are a must read and they just get better and better.

Here is the link:

6. And sixthly, (well we started with a strategy review) we finish the year with an excellent creative review. Which brands and which agencies stood out from the crowd this year.

Here is the link:


Time for the Work: We’ve picked work by Coca-Cola this month, crowned the most effective Christmas ad of 2020. Nostalgia, warmth, and love seem to be the magic ingredients, it’s simply very good marketing. Coca-Cola are now reviewing their global roster – is it to satisfy a higher bar or a more demanding client.

Adforum Worldwide Summit: In December the worldwide intermediaries & consultants (65 on most days) gathered for the 10 day virtual Adforum Worldwide summit. Insightful presentations from 28 leading agencies – each showing how they have helped clients to thrive and not just survive the pandemic. This was the year that the world went digital first. The majority of products and services are now digitised. A year when media billing is more digital than traditional. And people are demanding a greater degree of humanity from the businesses and brands that serve them.

Our five key highlights from the summit:

  • The key global challenge CMO’s seek is a better understanding of consumer behaviour, and real time ability to pivot the business. Post covid – what will permanently have changed forever and what may spring back.
  • We noted outdated thinking, that 90% of CMO’s are using existing strategies from previous recessions to evaluate & re-monetise their businesses.
  • A group of frontier CMO’s roughly 10% are successfully growing brands with confidence, using experimentation, test and learn strategies to harness growth.
  • For agencies, virtual meetings/pitches are here to stay, a work from anywhere model, agility, hyper-empathy, configuration, broader consolidation, leadership, in essence fewer partners solving bigger problems.
  • 2020 was a monumental year for change – the pandemic has brought forward at least 3 years of technology adoption in 6 months. Clients need to manage this change, but perhaps the biggest change has been the drive for racial equity and social justice.

Back to Henley: Henley is now in Tier 4 of lockdown, everyone tried to have the best Christmas they could. Gabriel Machin, our world-class butcher has had a phenomenal year of growth. Our client Majestic has had a record breaking Christmas. The river maybe swollen at the moment, but as we roll into the new year, is this great sunset a sign of the good times and the year ahead.


Happy New Year to you all. We are here to help you with your 2021 change plans and agency roster alignments. We will happily chat through how we can help and support you.

Kind regards,


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