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15/11/2007 - par Mark Tungate

Yes, it's that time of year again. Every November, I'm lucky enough to be invited to sit on the pre-selection jury of the Epica Awards, the creative advertising prize for the agencies of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. I form part of a crack team of advertising geeks who whittle down thousands of entries into a premium selection for the main jury - the editors of Europe's leading marketing magazines.

Due to time and work constraints, I only waded through a fraction of the advertising on offer. But it was still enough to give me a pretty good idea of current advertising trends. So what are agencies and their clients obsessing about at the moment ? Number one, of course, is climate change. There were several ads that advised us to save energy - but even more that played visual games with the idea of rising waters or sweltering cities. Paris was snowbound, and there were camels in the heart of Manhattan. Talking of hearts, cholesterol is another obsession among plump Europeans. Even the most voracious food companies are putting out fat-free products. There was also a new emphasis on local food and home-grown brands. With importing food by air now considered a sin, we'll see a lot more of this.

On the technology front, ads using images from Google Earth were very popular. In fact, there seemed to be a general aerial photography trend. Advertising for - or using the idea of - GPS gadgets was also all the rage. So if you want to get ahead, get a map.

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