Entertainment and escapism in 2012

As we tentatively step into 2012, we find ourselves on the threshold of a bumper year when it comes to entertainment and cultural activity.

If it’s all a bit too much to take in with an expanded post Xmas waistline and a head that still pounds from New Year, let us guide you through a quick fire snapshot of the key themes and opportunities to watch out for…


This year will undoubtedly be dominated by sport. Quite simply you won’t be able to get away from people running, jumping and generally chucking and kicking balls at each other. The triple threat of the Superbowl, the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship and the small matter of the London Olympic Games see vast opportunities for brands to develop broad activities in and around these events. Although pumping budget into sponsorships and Superbowl ad expenditure has its place, it’s more about how a brand evokes the underlying passion that surrounds these iconic sporting platforms – both experientially and digitally - that will reap the most rewards here. Whether it’s the opening Olympic ceremony or the half time Superbowl performances, entertainment is at the heart of the celebration. Where sporting preferences can often segment an audience, entertainment unites.

Key themes: community, inclusivity, play, participation, shared passion


The big movies that will be looking to put bums on seats in 2012 are primarily centred on ‘Nostalgia’ and ‘Heroes. ‘Naturally there is the usual glut of teen book adaptations (War Horse, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, and yet more of the Twilight saga), not to mention the always box office pleasing superhero franchises (The Amazing Spiderman, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises). However this is also twinned with a hefty dose of historic nostalgia (The Great Gatsby, Anna Karina) plus a big push on 80’s remakes (Total Recall, 21 Jump Street, Red Dawn).

Sparked by Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, there is also a rush on strong female heroines in 2012, from female warrior led Pixar animation Brave to survival expert and arrow slinger Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (pictured). Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway will be donning their Superhero garb, while Kristen Stewart dumps Bella and comes out fighting in Snow White and the Huntsman.

Key themes: nostalgia, decadence, fantasy, everyday heroes, escapism, strong female heroines


Apparently 'Tangerine Tango' is the pantone colour of Spring 2012 - “sophisticated, but at the same time dramatic and seductive,” according to Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Envisaged as an energy boost, an adrenalin rush amid the ongoing recession, the hue of the moment has plenty to say about the marketing agenda for fashion focused promotions. Subtlety is so 2011.

London Fashion Week, with its unique Stella McCartney collection and the unveiling of new Alexander McQueen label, McQ will be a pivotal opportunity in February as will Fashion’s Night Out in September in the U.S., which delivers plenty of experiential fare in and around the periphery of the event itself. We’re promised Hawaiian florals, luxury sportswear and oversized animal prints, with all apparel routes seemingly leading to a surge of invigorated confidence.

Key themes: retro future (classics re-envisaged), everyday luxury, bright, bold, confident


With sport dominating the agenda and with no Glastonbury this year, you’d be forgiven for thinking music is taking a back seat in 2012. However with hundreds of festivals on offer from the other big players and an ever expanding selection of niche events, brands will once again be out in force across the UK, Europe and the US, as they look to align with vast audiences of impassioned music fans.

As we saw last year, 2012 is once again set to be dominated by female stars, with Lady Gaga’s new album and tour set to coincide with a re-emergence of the Queen of pop herself, Madonna, not to mention younger upstarts snapping at their heels in the form of Azealia Banks and Lana Del Rey. Reunions are also big again, with the Rolling Stones turning 50 and the Beach Boys and the Stone Roses regrouping to tour. As ever there are a host of new names being touted as ones to watch, including Frank Ocean, Fun, Iggy Azalea, Dev, Walk the Moon and A$AP Rocky.

Key themes: niche festivals (offering music+), nostalgic reunions, empowered female artists

2012: The Great Escape...

In summary 2012 is all about escapism and nostalgia, with consumers still eager to utilise entertainment as a gateway to a place that delivers a bold alternative to their decidedly uncertain financial future. Whether that means cheering on your sporting heroes, dressing in bright orange, jumping up and down in a muddy field or watching Abraham Lincoln take on a horde of vampires at your local cineplex, brands need to set the stage for a year of escapism in 2012.

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