Zoom through 2020

Well that was an interesting year.

(In the way the British use “interesting”).

This includes everything from ‘mind-blowing’ to ‘I hate it’.

Perhaps we mean ‘bloody awful’.

But was it all bad?



The planet enjoyed the benefits of an ‘anthropause’.

We learned how to do ‘remote working’ and ‘blended learning’.

We heard the phrase ‘unmute yourself’ quite a lot.

‘Mask-shaming’ applied to people who wore masks,

then to those who didn’t.

And children born during the pandemic might one day be called ‘Coronials1’.



Staying in really was the new going out.

Mental health became a recognised human need.

Footballers ‘took the knee’ in empty stadia.

We holidayed in our own gardens.

A beer in a crowded bar was as mythical as a Unicorn.

We swopped hugs and handshakes for elbow bumps,

A clumsy sign of the new normal.



What was the story of brands in 2020?

Comfort foods became extra comforting.

Trusted brands were extra-trusted,

Once they got over themselves being ‘there for you’.

But science and innovation are our true saviours.

We did business and got social on Zoom, Teams and Slack,

Food delivery apps tripled share of a tripled market.

Food science and food tech are now as vital as vaccines,

To fix our health, and our planet.



How we experienced the year happened in our brains,

The environment sent signals, and we processed them.

Brands are part of this environment.

They can enhance our comfort, trust, excitement and pleasure.

Make it easier for us to create new habits.

Not the elbow bump though,

That didn’t even make it to ‘interesting’.



Brand OP had a very good year.

Deep thanks and virtual hugs to our wonderful clients,
and to our amazing team.

We hope we can travel and meet again soon,

But now, please join us for just one more Zoom meeting…

The host will let you in soon.



Have a safe and happy Christmas break with your loved ones.

Then come back and smash 2021. See you there!

1Oxford Languages: words from an unprecedented year, 2020