From the Messy Collective team

They say a lot can happen in a year and 2021 certainly didn’t disappoint! Here we look back on some of the twists and turns that have helped to make this an unforgettable 12 months! 

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Team Messy got busy

We’ve had a busy year! We partnered with 26 new and existing clients and completed more than 500 projects, every one of them exciting and challenging us in different ways.

We also welcomed six new members to Team Messy, across design, marketing, project management, UX and UI, further strengthening our full service creative offering.

So much happened in 2021, but there were two particular trends that really got our attention. They’ll likely pop up on your radar into 2022, so read more about them below!

1. Blurred Boundaries

The pandemic has definitely changed the way we live in the world, whether that world is real or virtual! More lockdowns meant more people working from home – although judging by some of the virtual backgrounds they could have been working from anywhere!

The popularity of Squid Game proved language is no longer a barrier for content, taking the crown as the #1 Netflix show in 90 different countries. The rise of NFTs and their value (trading in NFTs reached $22bn USD in 2021 compared to $100m in 2020!) showed that the boundaries between virtual worlds and the real world are only getting blurrier, with brands like Taco Bell, Twitter and Toys “R” Us even getting in on the action.

So into the metaverse we go! It’s a bit of a game-changer, and has been gathering momentum and attention in 2021. While it may feel like we’re already living much of our lives in digital spaces (Zoom schooling, remote working, online shopping, VR gaming, online hangouts), it seems set to be so much more than that.

Although most of us are still yet to fully understand what the metaverse is and how we can best utilise it, one thing is for certain – it has the potential to disrupt much of our lives, changing how we interact, how brands advertise, how people work, learn, play, and much, much more.

2. Accountability

We watched in horror as rioters stormed Capitol Hill spurred on by internet conspiracy theories and an angry president spreading false information. Vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation was also spread across social media around the world, sparking a number of anti-lockdown protests.

As a world we realised the true power of misinformation, especially in times of global crisis. Social media platforms began to be held accountable and put measures in place. We began to see specific COVID-19 and politics-related labels on related social media updates.

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The land of marketing and more 

Things might’ve felt slower given we were inside for much of 2021, but the world of marketing, design, and strategy definitely definitely kept moving and evolving. From fresh looks to new names, a lot happened throughout the year.

Here’s just a sampling.

  • Mark Zuckerberg launched Meta – a new masterbrand and architecture to house their apps and future technology and bring social connections across the metaverse to life.
  • TikTok was the most downloaded app.
  • There was a rebranding spree, with a number of global brands treating themselves to a brand makeover, including Pfizer, Kia, and Burger King! Who would’ve thought 2021 was the year for it?
  • QR codes made a huge comeback in 2020, and are still going strong in 2021. In fact, there has been a 750% increase in QR code downloads since the start of the pandemic.
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Another year of COVID-19

A 2021 year in review would not be complete without a mention of COVID-19. Here’s a few facts and figures from the year that was.

  • Melbourne won the unenviable title of world’s most locked down city – six lockdowns and a total of 262 days!
  • Over 50% of Australians were living in lockdown at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Globally, people spent 33 trillion minutes in Zoom meetings. That’s a lot of talking! 
  • YouTube barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content onto their channel for a week for breaking YouTube’s rules on spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
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Around the world

While COVID-19 was never far from the headlines, a few curveball events gained the world’s attention in 2021. Here are just a few. 

  • Donald Trump was banned from Twitter for inciting a riot at Capitol Hill. 
  • A simple pic of Bernie Sanders wearing mittens overshadowed the inauguration of Joe Biden, and searches for “mittens” reached an all time high soon after.
  • Aussie swim coach Dean Boxall went viral for his passionate dancing and celebrations at the Tokyo Olympics, after Ariarne Titmus won gold in the 400m freestyle…
  • While Kimye broke up, Bennifer got back together. But the top trending break-up according to search was Daft Punk! 
  • A whole bunch of really rich people attempted to escape planet earth (Branson, Bezos, Musk, we’re looking at you). Who’d want to escape earth during a global pandemic?
  • Ash Barty won Wimbledon – and Australia had a Barty Party!

What we searched

With so much change in the air, it’s no surprise people’s online search behaviour also shifted. Here’s what the world was searching for in 2021. 

  • “Soulmate” was searched more times than ever before.
  • Harry and Meghan’s now infamous interview with Oprah became the most searched interview in Google history.
  • People really got into “Sea Shanties” thanks to a TikTok trend.
  • “How to move with plants” was searched more times than “how to move with kids” and “how to move with pets” in 2021.
  • “Sustainability” was searched at record highs as was “how to preserve my mental health”.

See more about our year in search here.

As we head into 2022…

A new year is right around the corner and we can’t wait to see what’s to come. Looking back on 2021, here are a few thoughts and questions to ponder as we head into 2022.

  • With a metaverse becoming reality, will people and companies act as if there is no difference between virtual and real life? Will they be held more accountable for their actions in virtual spaces?
  • We loved Squid Game not just for the story, but also because it offered us an insight into South Korean culture. With language and culture becoming less of a barrier, will global audiences be more receptive to the idea of content that tells genuine stories and shows a broader representation of cultures?
  • Cash is no longer king, and contactless transactions are now the norm. So, will 2022 be the final nail in the coffin for cash? And what innovations will be born as a result? 
  • Lockdown accelerated demand for convenience, and this led to a rush of new products and solutions to meet those needs. So, will we become nostalgic for pre-COVID times, or embrace this new way of living – and, as individuals and businesses, contribute to the transformation?

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