To see out the year in style, Studio took a tour of our global offices, asking each team for their expert opinions on the best content 2019 had to offer, thoughts on the evolving industry, and what we can expect for 2020.
Entering the new decade, with questions marks over likes, authenticity and trust - solid creative work continues to emerge as the frontrunner in terms of representing the true value of influencer marketing. Although this article is just a small slice of our work, the plethora of unbelievable style, diversity in subjects, and range of unique stories reminds us how supple the influencer space is, and the world of opportunity it has to offer for all brands.
Undeniably, 2019 was a year that shifted gear. At the start of the year, traditional advertising outspent digital - now the opposite is true (e-marketer). With bigger budgets comes greater licence for creative work, and we’ve felt this evolution through our campaigns. Content needs to be bolder, have greater depth and tell a story to stand out. As Creator’s sharpen their craft, brands are returning for their expertise within their niche, rather than for one-dimensional social metrics.
For us, creativity continues to speak loudest of all. Let’s glance back at 2019, and look forward to the new decade.
Shannon Parker: Associate Director, NA (North America)
"What separated this content from the rest was a clear connection with the creator’s passion point. Whether it was circular fashion or cherishing family moments, each piece resonated on a more profound level with their audience and subsequently outperformed their counterparts. That’s what we’re looking for, capturing that moment when a brand’s identity and creator’s artistic licence collaborate seamlessly."
TL. @belilabelle for Converse. Artistically exploring self identity through the campaign with #InMyConverse.
TR. Photographer @dfreske for Gap. Beautifully highlighting the brands continued effort towards sustainability, modelling a puffer jacket made from 40 recycled plastic water bottles.
BL. @franciskenneth for Gap. Bridging classic and contemporary style in a campaign that cross-pollinated generations.
BR. @the_life_of_aivax for Clinique. A creator who never ceases to amaze us with her unparalleled talent. Brings so much more than a narrative to a brief.
Video. @apphia____ for Gap. There's storytelling, then there's this. Beautifully shot and skillfully produced - instantly raising the bar for independent creators.
Casey Bakker: Associate Director, NA
"2019 is the year where influencer marketing really flourished. With our campaigns, our clients really felt the power that influencers can have on their brands and their audiences. In terms of quality, the content became next level creative this year due to our clients understanding the importance of relinquishing creative control and allowing the creator’s to do what they do best; which is create unbelievable content from a more open brief. This kind of relationship allows for truly amazing things to happen which you can see in the content that highlights our best work in 2019."
TL. @donna_adi for Old Navy. Reimagining our perception of how vibrant animation can blend into sleek content.
MT. @igeeokafor for Tumi. Rocking the #PerfectingTheJourney. This bold and powerful piece absolutely smashed performance targets.
TR. @asideofsweet for Trunk Club. Mixing playful stop motion with bright aesthetics.
BL. @escapingyouth for Red Rock Deli. A superstar of the content creator game. Still young - her concepts and ability to run with brief continue to stun marketers.
BM and BL. Both @wispyfeatherfarm and @hannahacarpenter for HP. Family content that brings smiles to faces. Authentic, relatable and always creative.
Anastasia Evans, Associate Director, APAC (Asia-Pacific)
"Trends from fashion are currently seeping into wider culture, especially with the increasing prevalence of AR. As more people are getting used AR filters, the normalising of highly creative beauty standards has shifted digital content expectations. Subsequently, the more people are getting used to seeing completely AR people on the internet and at experiential events, the more ‘magic’ everything is becoming. Users are now expecting to be amazed on a daily basis and we are seeing that filter into our collaborations. Additionally, TikTok’s increasing popularity naturally includes greater usage of their filters and AR tools. As a result, lines continue to blur between what is real and what is only alternatively real, fuelling progressive creative work."
TL. @nagiko for HP Empire. Floating, ethereal, clean. Product shots that work.
TM. @lilyrose for The Tourism Authority of Thailand. Capturing a moment of clarity; stunning lines that make you want to step into your screen.
TL. @willamazing for Grand Esprit. A favourite and highly creative example of producing something unexpected.
BL. @nicolasstajic for The Tourism Authority of Thailand. Graceful piece that would be at home in any print magazine, sometimes simple lines are the best.
BM. @melvinoyx for Grand Esprit. Magic seeping into campaigns, beautifully executed with effortless style.
BL. @zeekyan for The Tourism Authority of Thailand. Taking something everyday and turning it into visual poetry.
Miranda Harle, Client Manager, FMCG, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
"The last year has seen tremendous growth within the influencer marketing industry, with clients putting more and more trust in the authentic and credible voices of our creators. Creativity and innovation come in all forms, and our clients have been able to explore new visual avenues and audiences by truly collaborating with creators, who also happen to be their own genuine consumers. Our long term partners have invested in our influencers to expand their brand vision, growing with us through new platforms and aesthetics."
TL. @iamleadly for VO5. Authentically and stylistically capturing moments that resonate with younger demographics.
TM. @__somethingnice__ for Impulse. Playful artistic license that subverts the digital trend.
TR. @kerryvillers for Philips UK. The queen of stop motion, Kerry's highly engaged audience have grown accustomed to her unique style shining through in every collaboration.
BL. @bodiljane for Impulse Pride. Creator's who harness their niche talent continue to bring unexpected value to bands.
BM. @rag.moth for Impulse. Elle continues to bring her unique style to every collaboration - drawing on her artistic talent and is representative of vibrant Gen Z culture, each post offers something entirely different.
BR. Whalar's own @imiimace for Perfectil. Whether it's leading the fashion parade for vibrant knitwear, or mixing her passion for jazzy filters - she breathes life into every campaign she touches.
Claudia Fischer: Managing Director, DACH (GSA)
"Whalar chairman Sir John Hegarty says “A brand is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world; a corner of someone's mind.” Once a brand has reached that corner, they better have the right furniture! In 2019, influencers have become an even more important furnisher for brands, they turn the light on when you hear about the brand. We know that creativity drives attention, engagement, memory and has a positive impact on sales. Hence, creativity and quality content should continue to be the main focus for brands in 2020."
TL. @yelldesign for Volkswagen. Playful stop motion that reimagines how we can advertise automotive on mobile.
TM. @ellisparrinder for Arsenal Hospitality. Bold and simple - classical advertising elements filtering into a space which can often appear too busy.
TR. @tigerlillyquinn for Arsenal Hospitality. Distilling a beautiful moment that needs very little comment. Portraying the magic of being there.
BL. @byollieb for Vodafone. Ollie's quality of creative content needs no introduction, here he is working his magic on our latest collaboration.
BR. @fashitect for Arsenal Hospitality. Content Creators are best place translate experiences that traditional advertising cannot mirror at this scale.
Video. @outsideboxx for Vodafone. Beautiful storytelling that is highly emotive and works on multiple levels. A real gem of 2019.
Georgie Johnson: Client Executive, Fashion, Beauty and Home, EMEA
"This year I have been lucky to work with so many brands that I can truly resonate with. It’s been great to see their campaigns evolve over the year by becoming more accepting of diversity and creativity, which are not only core to our values here at Whalar, but the key to success with influencer marketing. 2020 is going to be bigger than ever."
TL. @fiance_knowles for Nike. Empowering female athletes through bold artistic pieces that subvert our normal association with sportswear marketing.
TM. @naras._ for Net-A-Porter. A unique presence to every piece. The Juxtaposition of landscape and contemporary style resulted in her content not being one to forget.
TR. Creator @richallenphoto79 for ASICS. Stylised and seductive, Richard's talent behind the lens was consistently felt throughout this collaboration.
BL. @ericschlo for Gucci. Blending contemporary dance with unmatched style, this up and coming creator has received huge accolades for his immense talent.
BL. @iamgianmarcomillo for Reebok Classic x Footlocker. #RespectTheIcons always demanding bold work, and Gianmarco delivered in a style that makes you pause and look back.
Katie Foley, Associate Director, NA
"Brands are becoming less stringent with briefs and strict guidelines, putting more trust in creators’ personalized approach and allowing them to tell their diverse, authentic story with less creative restrictions. This storytelling has resulted in a rampant increase of carousels, IG stories, and lengthier captions, supporting a focus on “less product, more purposeful narrative.” We are finding that Creators are becoming smarter and more selective in the brand collaborations they choose, resulting in a stronger, more genuine relationship with brands."
TL. @byollieb for Patrón. Advertising alcohol always takes a little imagination. Here's Ollie blowing our minds once again with his interpretation.
TM. @mccoyandco for Nature Valley. Beautiful family vibes that epitomises wholesome content.
TR. @suzyshattuck for Pure Leaf. Gorgeous photography that playfully intertwines product association.
BL. @elenafay_art for Burt’s Bees Lip Butters. Creating art sustainably.The campaign aimed to drive followers to the “Change for Nature” page to declare their own pledge. For each pledge Burt’s Bees made a donation to the National Geographic Society.
BM. @alishylishy for General Mills Fillows. Super playful and creative product shot. Vibrancy that will stand out on any feed and represents highly repurposable value.
BR. @eyeofshe for Burt’s Bees Nature Blackout. Dramatic landscape that would be at home in any setting, encapsulating the brands focus on their purpose and identity, rather than their products.
Katie Sheridan, Client Services Manager, Alcohol and Travel, EMEA
"Content that tells a story, and has a deeper message behind the imagery, has been a prevalent theme this year. Especially with captions, successful creators are flexing their editorial muscles to form a deeper connection with their audience, be more honest and kickstart a conversation."
TL. @delfichaves for Miller. One of our first big event based campaigns. Influencers shooting in the moment at a three day event in Budapest - the brief: high energy, social, upbeat.
TM. @_mymycracra for Grants. Fun and friends. He moved all of his furniture to his rooftop for the shoot to capture a sunny, party vibe.
TR. @harrison for BrewDog. Brief was to 're-discover' Lost Lager and he had a treasure hunt in his IG stories leading to him digging the can up in his garden. Fun, immersive and creative.
BL. @mossonyi for Chivas Regal. One of our favourite creators, Onyi, perfectly distilling a campaign that focussed on how success can mean different things to individuals - there's no straight path.
BM. @thewayfaress for Saudi. Stunning content was scattered across a campaign that aimed to reimagine tourism in Saudi. Alex produced this stunning piece whilst we were on shoot - we can't take our eyes off it.
BR. @aleksandrakingo for Which? A campaign to encourage signatures to a petition supporting Access to Cash - the first time Which? have used influencers to creatively support their causes, and the results were undeniable.
A selection of our longer-form content has been left out for sake of presentation, for a full picture of the scale of the content we are able to produce, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.