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issue twenty nine • December 10, 2020
provo-cations
AW
01
.
Rose colored glasses
A Bit of Wisdom.

We’re hearing a lot about optimism these days as we size up the trend forecasts for 2021. Whether they’re talking about hopeful brand-to-brand collaborations or campaigns built around a renewed sense of trust and purpose, prognosticators tell us to expect brighter color palettes and rosier dispositions in the year ahead.
 

No doubt that most of us are ready for a healthy dose of optimism — and we look forward to brands helping to set the stage. But what exactly does this mean? The Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences offers a definition to get us started: "Optimism is a psychological attribute characterized as the general expectation that good things will happen, or the belief that the future will be favorable because one can control important outcomes." It’s worth pausing on that final phrase: because one can control important outcomes. Optimism, we’re reminded, isn’t something that happens to us; nor is it a state of mind. Rather, optimism is action-oriented, something we have a hand in creating. Positive vibes and cheery outlooks are great, but true optimism moves audiences from passive to active, from hopeful observers to willful actors — and, while we're at it, from takers to givers, from the decided to the deciders, from the pessimists to the optimists. And it does all of this in an arena where “important outcomes” — or, to translate that from psychology to the consumer landscape, "meaningful experiences" — are possible. So while we all look forward to a year with a few less storm clouds lingering overhead, brands — and the creative agencies they partner with — should lead the way by finding authentic and memorable opportunities to “co-create” with their audiences: developing consumer experiences that make us all feel like we have a hand in shaping what comes next.

02
.
Things We’re Feelin’.
2020 has been no joke — and these last few weeks haven’t seemed to lighten up either. That’s why Julia Korns, our VP of strategy, took a few minutes to share the AW perspective on dealing with and preventing burnout.
Speaking of a fresh start, we’re all in for 2021 looking a little more optimistic.
Warner Media is making the movies more accessible, but for a price.
A "snackable" article with some "thumb-stopping" content (and other "corporate jargon monoxide") that’s primed to inspire "storytelling." Or something.
If interactive communication is the future, how do we get it right?
Portrait of Jason Reynolds
03
.
Good Work,
Good People.
Who wants to read a boring book? Not us. That’s why we're glad that D.C. poet and author Jason Reynolds spends his days writing stories that are the exact opposite, spinning up riveting tales that shine light on themes of violence, justice, family, and love through his works for young adults. This Giving Tuesday, the New York Times best-selling author (who's also been featured at CreativeMornings/DC and Little Salon, two cultural events our team members have a hand in) bought out the entire inventory of his books from local DC-area shops so readers could pick them up for free. Talk about giving back to the community. Check out Jason's work on his website.
04
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Charted.
Graph showing Instagram cares more about shopping than people care about shopping on Instagram
Artemis Ward
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