I’m knackered. We all are. Exhausted. Done. Over it. Spent.

Don’t make me say why. We all know why. 2020 crushed us. Made us hermits with bad hairdos. For many, it’s a year we’ll never forget. Some want to forget. For those of you who’ve had a truly terrible time I’m so, so sorry.  This year brought out the best in us; a pure resilience, because we had no choice. But boy, did it bring out the worst in others. Crikey.

If 2021 was a product, and they wanted us to buy into it. How the fuck would they sell it?

But, wait. There’s only two weeks until the end of the year! There’s a vaccine! Reasons to be cheerful? Perhaps. But I need more. More optimism. More hope. More… toilet gags. Every month, we ask junior creatives all over the world, from Boston to Mumbai, Kingston to Kings Cross, their views on the biggest issues facing our industry. And what bigger issue is facing us than another bloody year?

Above: One of the campaigns for 2021, by Sam and Will.

So, shots put the call out. We asked some ad students, young and aspiring copywriters, designers, art directors and creative teams to tell us how they’d sell 2021. You know, if 2021 was a product, and they wanted us to buy into it. How the fuck would they sell it? The rules? Don’t spend long on it, trust your instincts, give us a line, a logo, a scamp if you want to, but just throw your ideas our way and let us shine a light on them so we can all feel good, en masse. 

We were given a few nice lines. What better, purer way to describe 2021 than as: “A worldwide glow up”? provided by Mayzura Munaf, Visualist Intern at Windy Films. Anya Burnett, a recent graduate and solo creative, pitched 2021 as a “Fresh Hangover”.  Yashashree Samant, a copywriter in New York, suggests “2021: a year to unexpect the expected”, and Rachel Cameron Potter, Assistant Editor for Lux Lucet, believes that, whilst 2021 may not be our year: “It couldn't be any worse than that.”

The spin will feature modern day versions of the sailor and nurse, such as Captain Tom snogging Rita Ora and JK Rowling getting off with Chelsea Manning.

What would be worse, you ask? Well, creative PR team Elle Bellwood and Gigi Rice suggest that, in this demented, dystopian world, in 2021, Anything Goes: “To herald in the triumphant new year, we launch an Ad campaign for 2021 based on The Kiss photograph, from 1945. The spin will feature modern day versions of the sailor and nurse, such as Captain Tom snogging Rita Ora, Prince Andrew tonguing poor Greta Thunberg, and JK Rowling getting off with Chelsea Manning. Because, after this hatred filled sh*t-storm of a year, Anything Goes.” 

I don’t know if I’m sold, per se, but it had my attention. Most of these creatives are looking for work, or placements, so please take the time to explore and get some warm, fuzzy, sometimes slightly violated feelings. For the full campaign ideas, I decided to award themSmash Hits-style (whilst at the same time showing my age with the reference).


Junior Art Director and Designer, Beatriz Machado, sees the new year transition as momentous. In fact, 2021 is the well overdue “end of the new era” that started in 2000. She says; “This year, our lives changed drastically and there's no going back to 'normal'. This event will mark the world and change our courses.


Everybody knows that this is a time of year for tears. Happy tears (which is far removed from happy tiers; an oxymoron). Creative duo Harry and Hibs hit us straight in the aorta with their promise of more nans in 2021, when the vaccine finally arrives to save some elderly lives. “We’ve all missed our grans over lockdown,” they said. “What’s a better sell than seeing our grans.”


Everyone’s favourite up-and-coming copywriter Mickey Jones went beautifully niche and positive with an unrelenting ode to the power of new year positivity. She says: “In Yes Man, Jim Carrey is forced to say “Yes” to everything. In doing so, he learnt to live and breathe what life has to offer. Now, fast-track to 2020, the year we thought we had the freedom to say “No” to events and plans, or make excuses to not show up, and BOOM, it’s all been taken away from us. We’re cooped inside our four walls, no social event in sight. Never will we want to say “No” to anything 2021 has to offer. Unless it’s another virus.”


Freelance art director Dylan Burnside played nicely into both mine and Elon Musk’s view that life is nothing but a massive simulation; we the players. He said: “2021 will be the year we get the vaccine and finally get rid of Covid. So, technically, 2021 is the year Covid loses. I tried to play with the situation like a scoreboard.”


It wasn’t until I saw the submission of Priscilla Britton, Account Exec at adam&eveDDB, that I felt seen. Priscilla likened 2020 to a call centre; one of those terrible ones with Coldplay hold music, with our lives on pause until we get through to the glory and relief of 2021.


Indeed, there’s no love lost between us and 2020, and Joe Tracey, a designer at Marketing, likens it to that bad relationship you simply want to forget. Toxic, heartbreaking, stressful. Joe’s pitch for next year is:

Swipe left on 2020.

Swipe right on 2021.

I'm sorry. I tried to make it work. I've done what you wanted me to do. Even though I hated doing it.  I'm done with you now. I'm leaving on the 31st december. Leaving you for something new. Something better.

So, goodbye 2020

Hello 2021. Let's have fun.

I sincerely hope he has every intention of calling 2021 back.


Continuing with the forgettable ex theme was Will Turner, MA Advertising and Marketing Student at the University of Leeds. I think Will speaks for all of us when he says:  "2020, in human form, would be that ex. The one you’ve got no qualms with blocking on Instagram. The one you’ll happily discuss the, shall we say, shortcomings of. The one you tell: 'it’s not me, it’s you'.” (Life hack: it’s ALWAYS them.)


But nothing beats a healthy dose of brightly-coloured optimism, eh? Uber creative pair Charlotte and Holly (also available at have put a bloody lovely spin on the fact we’ve been able to do fuck all this year. All the fun stuff’s been cancelled, but WHAT A ROLLOVER next year! Said they: "Everyone believes that 2020 was cancelled, but it was simply rescheduled. 2020’s loss is 2021’s gain."


And what do we need for the busiest year ever? THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CALENDAR! Junior Creative Team Sam and Will have created a calendar so big you can fit everything you’ve got planned, as well as the stuff you haven’t. I’m in (if I’m invited).


It was obvious that a couple of these would make me cry but there’s something about this image, from Jasmine Lo -  incoming Strategist, recent MA Advertising and Marketing graduate - that got me in the feels. 2021 has been heavy. As Jasmine says: “It's impossible to put it all behind— so, how do we move forward? We pay homage to how far we've come, we challenge ourselves with how much we can grow, and how much bo(u)lder we can get by acknowledging all that we've been through.”


Could it be true that we’re so buzzed about seeing the back of 2020 that we’ll welcome any element of our old lives, even the stuff that used to really grind our gears? Hats off to student Muskaan Razdan for getting us way too hyped about living our normal lives again. "After 2020 ruthlessly cut our supply to ‘normal times’, in 2021 we'll happily endure the not-so-good to get a slice of the great ordinary," says Razdan. Like popcorn that requires a second mortgage. I WANT TO FEEL THE SCUMMY BREATH OF A FELLOW COMMUTER ON THE BACK OF MY NECK ON THE CENTRAL LINE AT 8AM, GODDAMNIT. 


Are you ready? I’m ready! Liam Cope, Creative Writing student at the University of the West of England in Bristol, is holding our hands into 2021 with a life affirming symbol of hope. Says Liam: "I wanted to produce an all-encompassing rally cry to every person that spent the better part of a year locked behind closed doors, patiently waiting for the world to wake up again. 'Look into the sun! Seriously! Look directly at it! It’s okkkkkkkkkk!'"


Without a doubt, 2021 is a time to wake up and smell the… everything! That is, according to creative advertising student Lidya Melisa Dundar, who sees next year as: 'The year of rediscovering senses. Of course, one of the symptoms of Covid is a loss of taste (insert jokes about ‘live laugh love’ signs in living rooms) but, in addition, “We couldn't see one another, we couldn't smell one another (sometimes a good thing) and most of the time we could not hear one another due to bad wi-fi connections.” Truly touching!

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I love the cool simplicity of this ad from Niha Miah, Freelance Graphic Designer and Co-founder of the Creative Women's Showcase. In 2021, Niha wants to sell “the idea of happiness”. No further explanation needed. Lovely.


Mia McGlynn, advertising student at The University of Central Lancashire, has an excellent future on the cards with this clear and concise proposal: The New Year is Your Resolution. Any self-helper worth their salt knows the power of reframing. This idea is a twist on New Year’s resolutions. Selling 2021 as the resolution for 2020. Says McGlynn: “I want to make the audience see 2021 as their resolution. It’s committing to them the promise of a better year.” 

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Don’t let the simple sketch fool you, this pitch from Will Rodgers, junior creative, is a mini-celebration of all the tiny, taken-for-granted things we’ve missed. Having a hug, a leisurely supermarket shop and sharing a bloody pint of beer without worrying whether you’re secretly infecting your drinking buddy. Here’s to the little things. They'll be back before we know it. Will promises.


It was bound to happen. When it comes to 2021 metaphors, faeces wouldn’t be the last thing that sprung to mind. Creative pairing Sherwin and Conrad pulled no punches with their ad for next year. “After all, 2021 is the proverbial toilet that'll flush away all the shit of 2020,” they said.


Editorial and Copywriting Assistant, Lauren Cole followed the theme of… er… shit, with a beautifully honest suggestion to Cut the Crap: a plea for realism and matter-of-factness. Her reason? “After a 2020 of Covid, raging bushfires and police brutality, nothing would shock me. Maybe annoying stuff will still happen in 2021 but, whatever does, the year will be less shit than 2020.”

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Fair enough, Ellie Skidmore, junior creative, you said what we were all thinking (and saying, often, on social media). But the lush juxtaposition between “go fuck yourself 2020” against a yearning glance towards the 1st January 2021 provides a welcome light at the end of a murky, relentless tunnel.

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Can I have a favourite? The idea of 2021 being an Instagram influencer, filling its account with dreamy quotes and statements of self, only ever one shot away from an impossible yoga pose, made me love and hate the next 12 months, simultaneously. Well done to Steffi Wallace, a junior creative, for giving 2021 a voice… and an extremely timely one.


Copywriter Meg Mulcahy wants 2021 to embrace us with love and sweetness. I think we need it. She says: “A jam jar label small print reads: Batch No. 2021. The year 2021 can be marketed as a self-care initiative or a product to be consumed. The onus is on the customer to choose what they want from it, the control is theirs.”


In a good way! Josie Hicks aspiring creative copywriter and 2020 grad smashed it by “summing up the hope and excitement but also trepidation and uncertainty we are all feeling about 2021". 2020 can get in the bin.

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What an apt ending, from freelance copywriter and Co-Founder of Indoor Recess Isabella Courtenay-MorrisHave we ever looked forward to a year more than 2021? Have we ever needed a year more than 2021?

Have you ever seen a more inspiring, unique, off-the-wall bunch of ideas that - at the end of such a weird period - we didn’t even know we needed? Thank you to all the young creatives who contributed to this piece. Here’s hoping that over the next 12  months you show the industry even more of what you’re made of. We’ll be sure to unexpect the expected.