2021 in Advertising: Picking Up the Pace to the Finish Line

By Merope Beddard, Client Services Director at London-based advertising agency, AML Group

I’m no Paula Radcliffe, as anyone who has seen me run can testify, but we’ve all been on a marathon over the past twelve months and I, for one, think the finishing line is in sight.

There is a bit of science to the burst of energy towards the end of a race. On average during middle and long-distance track world records, there is an uptick in pace at the end of the race. And that’s looking at the best of the best – athletes who are performing at their peak.

Whether it is a physical or a mental trigger, it seems that humans (elite or otherwise) tap into their emergency reserves only when they know they are near the finish line.

It’s about pace and survival. But it’s also about tactics.

Sebastian Coe received some good advice just before he took on the 1500m in the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Having lost the 800m two days earlier, his signature distance, to his arch-rival Steve Ovett, it was advice he needed to hear. A couple of experts sent him a letter “Relax on the pace, move into position and strike – remembering that he who strikes first is generally the victor,” they told him. “The only person that can beat you is yourself.

The pace in the world of advertising has been quiet, with only a few brands like the global investment company, Vanguard, standing out for being confident and active when other brands weren’t. And it’s been rewarded for its bravery, hailed as the ‘Nike of the investment world’ (another nod to running)…

But it seems the pace is about to pick up again. 2021 is going to get busy and noisy, fast. Consumer demand is there and for those fortunate enough to have saved money during the past year, they will wreak ‘consumer revenge’ and splurge on clothes, food and experiences. Or maybe they’ll make life-changing investment decisions? Either way, we’re all hungry to do something different, for the marathon to be over.

This month we have a step challenge at AML. Teams built, a leader board monitored and a competitive spirit reignited. My money is on the Mamils, but irrespective of the ultimate victors – we’re all putting one foot in front of the other, moving forwards together.

And whilst I’m more in the Pilates camp, maybe I’ll be able to channel my inner Paula and get a bit of a wiggle on.

I’m pretty sure I can see the finish line.