Wrapping up this year’s media & marketing trends; what to take away for 2022

Wrapping up this year’s media & marketing trends; what to take away for 2022

We’ve been tracking our 2021 media & marketing trends through the year. The result is a round-up of insights, studies, tips and brand examples to help guide and inspire your planning for next year.

We’ve been tracking our 2021 media & marketing trends through the year. The result is a round-up of insights, studies, tips and brand examples to help guide and inspire your planning for next year.

December 19, 2021
Wrapped Up gift

At the start of the year, SJC published its list of media and marketing trend predictions that could impact 2021, conceptualized by our thought leaders across the company. In a year of continued change and transformation, how did each of the trends hold up? Following Think With Google’s lead, we are looking back to look forward.


Content that Converts

Trend Predictions:

2021 media and marketing trend Jacquie Loch

2021 media and marketing trend Dave Dolejsi


With the world vaulting five years forward in digital adoption in the first eight weeks of Covid-19, we were all quickly introduced to the new (digital) customer journey. The pace of change is steady in 2021. Consumers are sticking with their new digital shopping behaviours. And so brands need the content to fuel that shopping experience.


“Omnichannel marketing is a content vampire,” says Jacqueline Loch, EVP of Customer Innovation, SJC Content. “The solution is to develop a content strategy based on your customer journey driving conversion.”


As you think ahead to 2022, here are eight tips for creating content that converts from SJC’s webinar presented by our Jacqueline Loch, EVP of Customer Innovation for SJC Content and Cameron Williamson, Director of Sales for SJC Content, this fall.

Video continues to top the list of types of content that will attract, engage and convert audiences. Here are seven types of video content to drive e-commerce sales.


Media Brand Trust

Trend Prediction:

2021 media and marketing trend Clarence Poirier

Environment and context for content matters more than ever. Consumers are seeking out information they trust. Dedicated to quality, intimacy, diversity and community for its readers, media brands provide a trusted source for consumers – and advertisers.

Social media, in comparison, is consistently the bottom ranked source in studies examining trust. Brands in 2021 took note – and action. Cosmetics company Lush recently deleted all of its social media accounts amidst concern about the harms of social media. CEO Mark Constantine told The Guardian that Lush had “no choice” given Meta’s own research about Instagram’s adverse impact on teen girls’ mental health.

Media In Canada reported in November that while Canadians have become more skeptical of the information they receive from the media, established outlets remain the best source for reliable news.


“It’s clear that when faced with a situation as personal and impactful as the pandemic, Canadians are still turning to established broadcast and online newspapers and magazines when they need the facts and information that matters,” said Janine Allen, president and partner, Kaiser & Partners.


Virtual Experiences

Trend Prediction:

2021 media and marketing trend Jason Maghanoy

It has been an unusual couple of years, to say the least. Businesses have had to pivot in major ways to keep their audiences engaged and active through enticing and easy-to-access digital experiences.

Tim Hortons’ popular “Roll up the Rim” is one such example. In a matter of days at the start of the pandemic, Tim Hortons had paused the hundreds of millions of cups going to restaurants and replaced them with a digital Roll Up component. This year, the company retired the “Roll up the Rim” physical cups and rebranded the newly digitized process to “Roll Up to Win.” Tim Hortons’ innovative thinking to transfer a physical experience into a virtual one drove sales and attracted new customers. This Think with Google case study provides the details.

Our SJC Media event planning team had plenty of its own pivoting practice (and summarized its tips for engaging virtual experiences here).  On November 25, 2021, our team was thrilled to hosted an in-person event at Harry Rosen’s flagship store to commemorate all the powerhouse Torontonians who made it onto Toronto Life’s annual list. While virtual events and experiences are here to stay, we can expect a return to in-person events in 2022.


“Virtual events have many benefits, including the opportunity to easily and quickly widen reach. But while they will continue to play a role in our new digital world, they don’t connect communities in the same way that in-person events do,” said Chantal Roy, Director of Membership Services for SJC media. “It is so great to see the pure joy on guests’ faces when they get to experience that connection with long lost friends, acquaintances and brands. There’s nothing like in person events that spark all of your senses!”



Trend Predictions:

2021 media and marketing trend John Gagliano

2021 media and marketing trend Alison Jones

Throughout 2021 we saw increasing potential of the power in print in a pandemic-altered world.  It drives ROI, boasts sustainability benefits, and as proven through our “what is print to you” campaign this year, is a way to personally connect with your audience. Print inspires deep engagement and an emotive response, which is not easy to do in today’s world of distractions. 

Recognizing this, many Canadian brands introduced (or re-introduced) print into their marketing mix. This fall, SJC Content produced and printed two flyers for The Bay, including Black Friday and the Holiday Gift Guide digest, delivered to millions of Canadian homes in October and November.

After a decade, Loblaw brought back its PC Insiders Report in print form. 


“We have a lot to offer…and one of the things we really wanted to bring to all Canadians is a breadth of offerings,” Meghan Nameth, Loblaw’s SVP of marketing, told Media in Canada. “Re-introducing print ties into customers increasingly bridging between physical and digital environments.” 


There are plenty of stats to back up the power of direct mail in 2021. For “digital interactive” — physical mail used to drive readers online — response rates are nine to 10 per cent, roughly double what they were 5 years ago. 

And books? Needless to say Alison (see above) was right; Covid-19 spurred an incredible renaissance in reading and surge in demand. So much so, coupled with today’s supply and distribution challenges, bookstores are having trouble keeping their shelves stocked.  


Community & Local Support

Trend Prediction:

2021 media and marketing trend Cameron Williamson

This trend emerged in high gear in 2020. Businesses and organizations of all types and sizes stepped up in creative ways when the pandemic hit, from transforming factories to produce urgently needed supplies to supporting the hard-hit restaurant industry. We were proud to produce CHEF ARTOIS; an original culinary series in partnership with Labatt’s Stella Artois that brings life back into local restaurants.

Thankfully, this trend remained strong in 2021. We have all been encouraged to “support local,” online and in our local communities and brands are continuing to step up. Labatt’s Mike Bascom says the team at Stella Artois has been thinking a lot more about “acts, not ads.” An approach that’s growing popular among marketers, Strategy notes.



Trend Prediction: 

2021 media and marketing trend Sylvie Lamont

Environmental concerns and climate change impacts have dramatically come to the forefront in 2021, along with consumer awareness. According to this Think With Google article published last month, 82 per cent of consumers say that sustainability is more top of mind now than it was before Covid-19 and 78 per cent said that big businesses have a role to play in helping to fight climate change.

This year we saw many brands acknowledging the shift to values-based consumption. For example, H&M launched “Rewear,” a platform for consumers to buy and sell used clothing items between themselves. And Walmart is ditching plastic bags by Earth Day 2022.



Trend Prediction:

2021 media and marketing trend Sasha Emmons

During the pandemic, there was an increase in Pinterest users as people searched for new hobbies, recipes, and DIY activities. As the most positive and inspiring social media platform today, Pinterest took hold of this opportunity with new features for users and brands alike.

Pinterest TV launched this year featuring shoppable episodes hosted by live creators. Users can interact with hosts, ask questions live and discounts are offered on select brands. It’s one of the many ways Pinterest is offering shoppable content.

Proof of Pinterest’s marketing potential for 2022? It just ranked number five in Ad Adge’s 2021 Marketer of the Year list.


“Our ambition is to build the most inspiring, nourishing, positive place on the internet,” Andréa Mallard, Pinterest’s Chief Marketing Officer, told Ad Age. “We earned the right to tell that story louder than ever in 2021.”


There are over 400 million users on Pinterest every day, which means you might want to take note of Pinterest Predicts 2022 based on user analytics. (“Barkitecture,” Emotional Escape Rooms” and “Flexercise” are a few of the custom themes to watch.)


That’s a wrap!


We’ve looked back on our 2021 media & marketing trends to provide insight on how we move forward in 2022. Consumer journeys, needs and wants have changed. From the pandemic to our planet, we’re faced with critical issues affecting all humanity. Communications in 2022 carries great opportunity, and responsibility.

Stay tuned for our 2022 Media & Marketing Trends coming in January. A fresh year and fresh insights from our thought leaders across SJC. (We know, you’ve seen a lot of trend round-ups hit your feeds and inboxes. What makes this one different? It’s a truly omnichannel, multi-platform perspective. Print and digital; physical and virtual). Sign up here to make sure you don’t miss it.

Beyond Content newsletter

Beyond Content is SJC’s monthly newsletter sharing media & marketing insights and inspiration across print and digital. Plus, get hand-picked stories and invites to upcoming events shaping the Canadian conversation from the brands of SJC Media.