Apple Predictions 2018

It's that time of year when pundits -- including Ad Age's own reporters and editors -- make predictions about what will happen in the coming year. You can find our prognostications for 2019 here. In the meantime, we look back at what we suggested would happen in 2018 to see how accurate we were.

Jeanine Poggi, senior editor, media & technology

My prediction for 2018: More TV rivals will make nice

"In 2017, frenemy consortiums popped up, such as OpenAP—created by Turner, Fox and Viacom to help standardize audience buying on TV—and NBC Universal gathered a group of leaders (in media, marketing, agency and digital spaces) to kick off a campaign to fix issues like measurement across platforms and devices. This year [2018], A&E Networks, Discovery Communications and AMC Networks will begin testing a method that would prove whether a commercial led a viewer to take action. The word "collaboration" will be overused, but the moves could result in some unusual partnerships between legacy TV networks and digital rivals."

What actually happened: TV networks certainly did play nice. NBC Universal joined OpenAP in April, and Comcast, Charter and Cox partnered with NCC Media to form a new advanced TV ad group. Frenemies met several times during the year, with EY hosting get-togethers, and MediaLink bringing together top sales leaders in Cannes, to brainstorm solutions to things like viewer fragmentation and measurement, and to discuss new ad models. But 2018 was still, predominantly, all talk and little tangible solutions.

E.J. Schultz, assistant managing editor, marketing

My prediction for 2018: Threats persist in auto market

"Auto sales dipped 1.8 percent in 2017, ending a seven-year streak of yearly gains. While newly passed federal tax cuts are expected to help boost buyer confidence in 2018, marketers must contend with rising threats from car-sharing services that offer young urban dwellers an alternative to ownership. As a result, brands and dealers will need to continue to experiment with alternative methods like subscription-based buying. Meanwhile, marketing will have to work harder to convince people why it still makes sense to buy."

What actually happened: Things did not get any easier for automakers. Sales this year were only up by 0.4 percent through November and multiple automakers announced they're shedding sedan models to concentrate on SUVs and crossovers. But we might have overstated the rise of alternative buying methods. While some automakers, like Volvo, have found success with subscription-based buying, others setbacks, such as Cadillac, which is pausing its Book by Cadillac program.

My prediction for 2018:

Pepsi works on its core

"Coke got the better of Pepsi in 2017 with its carbonated beverage sales off just 1 percent in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 4, compared with PepsiCo's 5.9 percent plummet, according to Nielsen data from Wells Fargo. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi recently conceded too much media spending and shelf space was given to low-calorie smaller brands and not enough to Pepsi and Mtn Dew. So, look for PepsiCo to boost marketing behind its core soda brands. The marketer's Super Bowl ad plans could provide an early clue. The new efforts, though, might not be enough as consumers continue to gravitate to alternatives like bottled water."

What actually happened: Sure enough, PepsiCo dedicated two Super Bowl ads to its its core soda brands, Pepsi and Mtn Dew. But the marketing boost has yet to pay off in a significant way. PepsiCo's carbonated beverage sales fell 1.7 percent in the 52 weeks ending Dec. 1, compared with Coca-Cola's 2.7 percent sales increase, according to Wells Fargo. But, as we predicted, bottled water keeps blowing away soda, with category sales up 4.3 percent in that same period.

Adrianne Pasquarelli, reporter, retail and finance

My prediction for 2018:

Amazon eats up (almost) everything

"After getting its private-label ducks in a row in 2017, the company looks ready to dominate with its in-house lines of grocery, fashion and recently launched activewear. It currently has dozens of private-label brands, with many more trademarks in the works. Watch out, brands. Bezos is coming for you."

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