1.7.22

Recapping the Media World’s 2021 Fourth Quarter

Julie Bixler

“You spin me right ’round, baby, right ’round / Like a record, baby, right ’round, ’round, ’round.”

-Us to the media world in the fourth quarter of 2021 (and also Dead or Alive  to the whole world in 1985)

Unsurprisingly, the media world kept us on our toes yet again in 2021’s Q4. We saw some updates in holiday advertising, NFTs continued to pop off, and (somewhat surprisingly) traditional TV had a big win!

We’re never a group to solely scratch the surface, though. In that spirit, let’s deep dive!

More Representation in Holiday Advertising

In Q4, we saw more inclusive holiday advertising. It’s common for companies to focus on Christmas advertising, but brands such as Old Navy and Target worked to include more holidays, alternative religions, and traditions–such as Judaism and Islam, Dia de Los Muertos, Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Dia de Los Reyes–into their Q4 advertisements.

Old Navy’s Inclusivity

As detailed in Business Wire, Old Navy developed and ran a seasonal campaign to focus on the “ALL-idays.” Within this, they had a Santa activation to help promote diversity. They created a “Santa BOOTcamp” to broaden Santa into other ethnicities beyond the stereotypical old, white man. As noted in the article, “A good Santa should spread joy and exude the holiday spirit, regardless of their appearance.”

Additionally, Old Navy ran a few spots that aimed to show there is more than one way to celebrate the holidays. (Also, they are a MUST watch if you’re a Keke Palmer fan.) The ads have diverse casts participating in various activities and traditions. They also partnered with influencers to do takeovers of Old Navy’s Instagram to share each of their unique holiday traditions.

Target Expands Representation of Holiday Traditions

AdWeek reported that Target also broadened their advertising to more than just Christmas participants. Their ad portrayed people from different backgrounds spending time together, participating in their own traditions from building gingerbread houses to lighting a menorah.

They also put their money where their mouth (read: advertising) is. To reinforce their emphasis on inclusivity, Target increased their investment into Black- and Latino-owned media, and black-owned brands, by double digits.

NFTs’ Popularity Continues to Rise

Another big movement in Q4 was NFTs (non-fungible tokens). According to Ad Age, NFTs are “digital assets like bitcoin, only they’re unique and irreplaceable, like owning an original work of art online.” People can buy and sell NFTs. Ad Age has been documenting how NFTs are working their way into advertising. It’s done differently by each company, but they seem to be racking in extra money from these endeavors.

NFTs are a way marketers can enter into the metaverse, a virtual-reality space where people can interact in a digital environment and interact with other users.

For example, Budweiser sold 1,936 one-of-a-kind digital beer cans. They had 1,900 cans priced at $499 and another 36 priced at $999. Ad Age reported that Budweiser said these NFTs were “designed to celebrate the brand’s iconic history while also moving Budweiser into the metaverse.” These one-of-a-kind digital beer cans sold out within an hour, and from this one NFT stunt Budweiser made around $984,000.

Additionally, Ad Age reported that The National Football League (NFL) is also offering complimentary NFTs to fans who have attended specific games. To be eligible, the ticket must be purchased through the NFL Ticketing Network, then accessed through a post game email. The email provides a link to a NFT marketplace where the recipients can trade or sell them. Providing this opening into a NFT marketplace adds an aspect of novelty to purchasing a ticket and attending a game.

This new era of NFTs is still unfolding as more and more companies make the decision to participate. It’s hard to know exactly how NFTs will function in 2022, but if big companies like Budweiser and the NFL continue to stake ground in the virtual asset world, they will likely stick around.

NFTs are another arm of branding and product offering with which marketers can play. They can give loyal fans and customers more options to engage with companies in a personal way. NFTs provide customers a way of owning a piece of their favorite brand, which may turn out to be a remarkably powerful way to acquire and retain customers.

High-profile Programming in Traditional TV

Over the past few years, linear TV’s competition has made many media buyers question allocating precious budgets toward traditional television. However, in the fourth quarter, linear television had a few wins with some high-profile programming–and we aren’t talking about sports or news.

According to Ad Age the show Yellowstone and Adele’s concert drew in a lot of viewers. Adele’s concert/interview with Oprah Winfrey brought in 10.3 million viewers, and had as many viewers as the 2021 Oscars. (It also made several of us cry, several times.) The season premiere of Yellowstone brought in 14.7 million viewers across the 4 stations on which it aired.

Ad Age stated this makes Yellowstone the most-watched season premiere on cable since season 8 of The Walking Dead in 2017. This type of turnout just shows us that there’s still highly-viewed programming being aired on linear television, and that people are actually watching it. So, let’s not count out linear television for our media mix.

2022 Media Recaps to Follow

Q4’s media trends definitely kept us on our toes. But as media professionals, we’re essentially prima ballerinas, and we have several pairs of pointe shoes to keep up with all the toe-spinning. We’re definitely excited to see what 2022 has in store! Keep your eyes on this space for future media recaps and predictions.