The advertising market is an ocean of trends that constantly ebbs and flows. It's essential to keep a close eye on the advertising market as it stands currently, where it's been, and where it's heading.

Written By:
Alexandria Gillespie

Alexandria is a brand strategist with The Uptown Agency. Her beat is trends, insights and all things brand strategy.

Portrait image of Alexandria Gillespie

Oct 27 2023

The Most Important Advertising Trends of 2024


In a recent study, Julio Franco, Chief Customer Officer of Zappi, a leading consumer trends and insights platform, analyzed 2,300 advertisements from the last four years in an effort to predict the forecast for advertising trends in 2024. Keep reading to learn more about capturing consumer attention heading into the new year.

Two thousand three hundred ads from the past four years were examined for creative effectiveness, and the numbers showed a fascinating insight: the performance of ads in 2023 was much stronger than what is typical of US consumers. Ad campaigns that resonate emotionally with consumers elicit stronger reactions and increase the likelihood of brand consideration. 

T-Mobile's Super Bowl success

For anyone who watched the Super Bowl in February of this year, you may remember T-Mobile's home internet ad that was broadcast during the game's fourth quarter commercial breaks. The commercial featured Zach Braff and Donald Faison (stars of the hit TV show Scrubs) convincing their new neighbor, John Travolta, to switch his internet to T-Mobile.

Using a musical number to the tune of "Summer Nights" from Grease, the commercial played on consumers' nostalgia while also acknowledging the recent death of Olivia Newton-John, Travolta's co-star in Grease. 

Consumers appreciated the warm nostalgia conveyed by the commercial and were able to create an emotional connection around the saddening loss of a beloved talent. As a result, the trending advertisement ended up receiving over 56 million views on YouTube over the following six months.

T-Mobile ad takeaways

What can be learned from T-Mobile's advertising success? It's that effective ads connect with consumers on a logical and emotional level. By blending tangible and intangible elements, like memorable sitcom characters and allusion to current events, T-Mobile was able to promote its service effectively without coming across as disingenuous. The commercial reflected the predictions cast earlier this year by Zappi: brand-consumer connections were likely to strengthen in 2023.

The bottom line is that advertisers are becoming more in tune with what consumers need and want from their favorite brands.

4 Marketing Eras

The extensive research that Franco and the Zappi team conducted additionally identified four advertising eras based upon various socio-economic factors: pre-pandemic, pandemic, inflation, and 'normalization' (January 2023-present). 

Pandemic media advertising trends

Among the many things that changed based on COVID-19 was consumer marketing approaches. Many advertisers saw the desire for a focus on kindness and unity and used these characteristics to capture the attention of their audiences. By tapping into these elements, advertisers saw a 17.5% increase in emotional appeal, boosting purchase intention by 32%. However, brand recall decreased by 5.6% due to overused pandemic-related imagery and narratives.

The challenges of short-term approaches

When the whirlwind of the pandemic began to subside, marketers took this as an opportunity to implement campaigns that directly targeted consumers' pandemic savings without the dimension of emotional connections. Even as inflation increased and took a significant toll on consumers, brands still managed to misread consumer sentiment. Key indicators of advertising success, such as creative effectiveness, purchase uplift, and emotional intensity, all saw a noticeable decline in July 2021.

Unfortunately, this trend of 'quick fix' campaigns has become commonplace for many advertisers in the marketing landscape. By favoring short-term marketing campaigns over deep emotional connections, brands are perceived as less trustworthy and more disingenuous, leading to declined brand consideration. The UK's IPA Bellwether Report for Q2 2023 indicated a 13.4% growth in sales promotions. While these promotions may provide short-term benefits, long-term brand equity suffers in the form of less consumer loyalty and consideration.

Looking forward to 2024

If brands want to reignite the consumer connections formed during the pandemic, they must emphasize humanness and empathy toward consumers' current struggles. Advertisers are focusing more on evoking emotion, leading to regained loyalty and increased purchase intent. 

As we enter 2024, advertising effectiveness is on the rise in this post-inflation era. Keeping this trend moving upward will require brands to genuinely make an effort to understand their consumers at the most basic human level. This understanding will lead to campaigns that convey impactful messages and strike an emotional chord with consumers.