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16/11/2006 - par Mark Tungate

You'll have to keep this quiet, but do you want to hear some early advertising trends for 2007 ? It was my honour last week to be on the pre-selection jury of the Epica Awards. OK, so Epica isn't Cannes - but many Epica winners have gone on to glory at the bigger competition. What's more, Epica jurors are journalists, so they can't vote for their own agency networks, or for their friends in the industry.

Without revealing any winners, I can share a few themes I noticed - particularly in the print section, which I helped to judge. The most obvious trend was ­towards illustration and away from photography. Does this mean that photography is getting too expensive ? Or maybe too time consuming, with all the on-screen manipulation that now takes place ? I guess the fashion industry will insist on using photographs of Kate Moss to promote its products for some time to come, ­ but in the real world, illustration is hot.

Sex continues to sell, but the imagery has become more daring, with plenty of fetishism, sadomasochism and multiple partners. (And by the way, women still get treated disrespectfully by male-dominated ad industry.) Elsewhere, animals were as popular as ever, but they've got ­increasing competition from aliens. Creative categories included flat screen TVs, ­in-car satellite navigation, MP3 players, and video games. Oh - and for some reason there were lots of direct marketing campaigns printed on edible paper. That's something to chew over.

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