Ahead of a WARC Podcast on Dentsu’s 2022 media trends report, Dan Calladine outlines three ‘megatrends’ and ten trending topics set to impact marketers in the coming 12 months.

The world is recovering from the pandemic and adapting to new ways of life, both in changed habits and behaviours, but also new rules for businesses to navigate to continue to prosper.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Times of crisis and recession have been, in retrospect, times of enormous opportunity and innovation, and times of growth for those who make the right decisions.

Technologies and ways of working that might have seemed an interesting experiment in other times have become essential. In previous decades these moments have given rise to new media like radio, digital and social media, and have been instrumental in the formation and growth of companies like Revlon, Uber and Airbnb. Again, the opportunity is out there.

For the past decade we have presented webinars on WARC to look at different trends from our annual report. This year we will be discussing them on The WARC Podcast next month.

In the report we look at three megatrends that are helping to define the recovery, each with smaller manifestations or sub-trends, with major implications for brands. 

The prolonged pandemic

This describes the process of rapid adjustment, experimentation and innovation that is currently taking place as companies and consumers adapt to new ways of living, including new hybrid models in many parts of life, greater use of virtual worlds, and greater flexibility in working patterns.

We examine this trend by looking at five separate aspects:

  • Omnichannel everything – Hybrid models developing to provide online and offline options for entertainment, events, festivals and more.
  • New ways to buy – The acceleration of new shopping services and technology, building on the rapid growth in online commerce.
  • Virtual worlds – The concept of virtual worlds becoming mainstream, and even – possibly – taking over from group video calls.
  • Secure scarcity – Technological advances making it possible to create unique copies of digital assets, and how this is generating millions in revenues.
  • Fans of flexibility – Greater flexibility within the world of work for those lucky enough to be able to work from anywhere.

Brand citizenship

This examines how many brands are taking a more public-spirited approach to their manufacturing and marketing, using their knowledge and market power to help make the world more sustainable and fairer.

We have broken this down into two trends:

  • The responsible rebuild – Companies are rebuilding their supply chains and working practices to try to make the world a better place.
  • Sustainable marketing – Companies are also taking more care to spend their marketing budgets in a way that will support causes they care about, as well as driving effectiveness.


The final section in the report looks at how, in the age of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that people be able to prove who they are, but at the same time harder for brands and third parties to know who they are.

We see three interesting trends around identity:

  • The end of anonymity – Increasing pressure to be authenticated, signed in and paying digitally is bringing an end of anonymity in life.
  • Beyond the cookie – New technologies are emerging to replace advertisers’ reliance on cookie-based technology.
  • Value exchanges – The need to gather first-party data and customer data permissions is leading to more content and tools being hosted on brand sites.

WARC readers can download the report here.