With the end of one year and the start of another, we see a whole host of seasonal specials: Christmas advertising, charity initiatives, new ventures, and old favourites that we revisit time after time. Here, we share a selection of highlights from the creative industries, hand-picked by team Nixon.
Each December brings with it curating and presenting festive editions of the community radio shows for which I volunteer on Exeter’s Phonic.fm. It’s a fun challenge looking for Christmas and holiday themed tracks from both local artistes and around the world for the Respect Show.
Then on the Eighties Time Machine we take a deep dive into the December charts from years gone by, digging out unusual remixes of festive favourites as well as the odd strange novelty record. It’s always lots of fun and quite a party vibe with our listener interaction on Twitter as we broadcast live.
This year, I ordered some Christmas cards from Wildflower Illustration Co. (one of my favourite stationery providers). When they arrived, I was intrigued to see that the package included a free extra Christmas card, an address label, and a note. This note explained that the address label was for a care home near me, as it had signed up to receive cards of kindness for its residents, and especially ‘messages of hope and comfort during the season’.
Christmas is a fantastic time, and one that brings us together, but the fact that people out there are thinking of ways to reach those who might otherwise be forgotten genuinely brings a festive tear to my eye. From a marketing perspective, this doesn’t cost the folks at Wildflower Illustration Co. a huge amount, but it’s priceless in spreading goodwill and reminds us what it’s all about.
With the year coming to a quick close, I am beginning to look ahead to the predicted brand trends for 2023. Expect to see an increase in large, flared fonts, minimalist styling and futuristic sci-fi design. As well as a strategic focus on influencer marketing, investment in SEO, and short form video content (yes, sadly that means more Reels). Mobile optimisation will also become increasingly important, and larger brands will explore metaverse environments with an optimal and immersive user experience.
Most importantly however, I am really happy to see that the largest trend will be a huge increase in brands prioritising their environmental responsibility. It is clear that social responsibility, ethics, and transparency matter to the modern-day consumer. For example, 50% of Gen Z’s and 40% of millennials take into consideration a brand’s stance on ethical issues when making purchasing decisions. With increased competition, brands will be expected to look further than just their own environmental impact, and focus on achieving a greater purpose within society. ‘Greenwashing’ will hopefully be minimised, with brands needing to prove their authenticity through transparent actions rather than just words. I am excited to see which brands will step up and help lead the way, as it seems that this trend is here to stay.
With a toddler at home and the proximity to Christmas, which comes with an array of toys, I loved this fun take on stuffed animals and turning them into a new creation. It’s very creative and reflective of a child’s inquisitive mind, seeing things through new eyes.
Finally, a look ahead to 2023 and Pantone have announced their expected colour of the year – Magenta. I liked this article charting its history and use in music, fashion and television.
This year, I went to the Eden Project to see their Christmas festivities. I got me thinking about what happens to Christmas trees after Christmas. Interestingly, I found out that every January, helicopters drop thousands of discarded Christmas trees in to the wetlands of the Bayou Sauvage Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans. Once the trees have been dropped, they are dragged into place by boat. The tree branches trap shifting sediment, which creates a place for plants to take route. The dead trees and new plant growth help protect against the sudden rise in water level that is created by a hurricane.
Maintaining natural areas around New Orleans is especially important because the city is sinking. It was originally built above sea level but now about half of it is below. About 200 acres of wetland have been reestablished since the scheme started 27 years ago. While it’s effective, unfortunately the Bayou Sauvage has lost thousands of acres of wetland over the past 80 years due to coastal erosion, but it still helps nonetheless. It also offers a good training opportunity to new National Guard pilots. Watch this video for more information.
Arnow is a beautifully honest portrait of local surfer Tom Lowe by the very talented Jack Whitefield. I also love the titles and credits by Toby Evans (https://www.instagram.com/toby1tooth/?hl=en) paying homage to some west Cornwall granite. Cutting through the noise of 99% of surf-related content is no easy task and this does it in an authentic manner that speaks to the heart of any UK-based surfer. It really hits the spot.
In an experiment to improve the brightness of electric light bulbs, Erwin Perzy, a surgical instrument mechanic, poured semolina into a glass globe filled with water. This reminded him of snowfall, which inspired him to create the snow globe. In 1905, mass production began in Vienna and has continued ever since. Watch an interview with Erwin's grandson, who is still in charge of the company today.
This year’s elegant range of festive postage stamps has been designed by Falmouth University Illustration alumnus Katie Ponder, alongside design agency Baxter and Bailey. They will be the last festive postage stamps in production to feature the Queen’s profile, so stamp enthusiasts will surely want to add these to their collection!
Something for cinemagoers to look forward to early in the New Year will be the release of Mark Jenkin’s latest film ‘Enys Men’.
The Cornish filmmaker’s BAFTA-winning debut ‘Bait’ won rapturous reviews and was much celebrated for its distinctive single-lens cinematography and hypnotic editing. This will definitely be one to watch! In the meantime, here’s the trailer.