On a sober note, a dismal economy means that more people will be laid off. Others will be forced to postpone retirement, given shrinking savings, so we'll see more late-stage careers and career changes. "The risk of money running short is a major incentive for consumers to find new ways of enjoying what they have and what they can afford," says Mack.
What can we expect in 2009?
First, she says, companies and the government will pursue energy efficiency; president-elect Barack Obama stressed the issue in his campaign. Not only will alternative energy strategies be part of his administration, it's also part of the private marketplace. T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil billionaire, has invested $58 million in promoting the "Pickens Plan." His goal is to promote widespread adoption of natural gas, solar power and wind power.
Plus, as the U.S. attempts to wean itself off oil dependency, Mack says we can also expect a widespread redistribution of power in almost every major sphere--economic, social and political. Markets to watch: Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Closer to home, brands will adopt one word: authenticity. In the wake of the financial crisis, brands need to regain credibility and trust. Even reliable brands have come under attack. Obama successfully pushed the twin themes of authenticity and credibility in his election bid. She says it would be wise for companies to adopt the same strategy.
Also, Mack notes that everything is getting smaller--from cars to mobile technology to packaged-goods. Stores will scale down and push for smaller formats. Mobile will become the next big "everything hub" as cell phone rates drop and wireless broadband expands.
Entertainment will also expand--content will be designed for simultaneous consumption and engagement. It's total immersion time! For instance, authors will suggest playlists to accompany their books.
JWT ranks as the largest ad agency brand in the United States. Its parent company is WPP.