Our monthly themes


Each month we tackle a big (and hopefully topical) question: from matter and meaning to whether we’re living in a utopia or dystopia, we delve into some heady subjects, but hopefully in a light-hearted and digestible manner. We do hope you enjoy the content — from articles to podcasts, to Q&As, book reviews and think pieces.

Mike Piggott, Editor

I Don't Do Politics

I Don't Do Politics

In 2004 the UK’s Electoral Commission ran an ad called ‘I don’t do politics’, intended to show how it affects all aspects of society, and to ignore it would be to one’s own detriment. In January Al Jazeera ran an article on ‘the year of elections’, and asked ‘if 2024 is democracy’s biggest test ever?’ For June we explore political and public sector marketing and how, by extension, it impacts the media and the people.

People Power

People Power

Are we in the era of people power? Do people have more power over brands and the media than arguably five or ten years ago? Should business leaders allow their organisations to be led a little more by the people? In what ways, in the media and marketing industries, is power waxing and waning between people and organisations at the moment?

Phoenix From The Ashes

Phoenix From The Ashes

For April we examine the rise and fall of media. What old media is making a comeback? What new media hasn’t lived up to the hype? Why do some new types of media fail and some old types refuse to ever be replaced?

Funny? Funny, how?

Funny? Funny, how?

Is humour back, in the world of media and marketing? Cannes Lions seem to think so, introducing a new category. But how can you be funny when everything appears to be going to hell? How do you strike the right balance? When is it right to use comedy as a brand? For March we explore these questions and more

Back To The Matter At Hand

Back To The Matter At Hand

This month we focus on relevance and where it’s lacking. For example: most ads we receive are completely irrelevant, but why? How do businesses stay culturally relevant? Why, in a cost of living and climate crisis, are brands still encouraging us to consume more?

The Year Of AI

The Year Of AI

Is this the year of AI? And honestly, does the average person even care about AI, or is it just the latest thing that brands and marketers are obsessing over? How will it make our lives genuinely better, in both the long- and short-term?For January 2024 we explored this theme. And, as ever, we have a playlist to go with the theme. Enjoy.

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?

In the musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ‘Once More With Feeling’, there’s a song called Where Do We Go From Here?, with the characters at a crossroads in their lives. This month we ask, what do you do, in work and business, when you find yourself at a crossroads? How does a brand choose one path or another, when the way ahead may seem unclear?

The Masks We Wear

The Masks We Wear

What masks do we wear, in work and life? A few years ago there was a trend around bringing your whole/authentic self to work, but should we? At times, is it useful to wear a mask? What masks do businesses and brands wear? Can you lose yourself or your brand if you wear too many masks, and too often? These are the questions we'll be exploring in November. Also, thanks to Chris Jefford and Truant London for this month's playlist.

Who cares?

Who cares?

For October we focus on care: are we properly looking after ourselves? How well are our institutions taking care of us? Where they might be failing, and to what extent are brands and businesses filling the gaps? How and where can we inject more ‘care’, into work and life?

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

Did The Matrix’s Agent Smith have it right when he said that humans are a virus because we don't coexist with our environment? Have the last few years helped us think about how and what we consume, or are we just returning to old ways? This September we look at balance: how out of whack are we, in life and business? How can we find equilibrium?

Fit for purpose

Fit for purpose

From the things we consume to our ways of life, is anything fit for purpose anymore? Are humans actually doing anything right? Do we need a radical rethink of everything? And is that even possible, or is effective change only ever incremental? For August we explore these questions.

Truth and Lies

Truth and Lies

What’s our relationship with the truth these days? According to the World Economic Forum we’re lying more, and social media could be to blame. Some studies suggest we’ve also been telling more lies during the pandemic. For July we explore these questions and more.

Stand and fight

Stand and fight

Remember that iconic moment in Back To The Future (1985) when George McFly finally stands up to Biff? We do, because fight or flight is a natural response to pressured situations. But it got us thinking, how well are we facing our problems lately? Are we getting better at knowing when to cut our losses and when to stand and fight? Are we even picking the right battles? For June we explore these questions and more.

Leaving a legacy

Leaving a legacy

In the film The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) its two central characters were fundamentally at odds. One wanted to leave a legacy at all costs, the other just wanted to live life in the moment. But how important is one's legacy?

Age of discontent

Age of discontent

Research by the Smithsonian in 2020 found we're living in 'historically unhappy times', but what can we do about it? And whose job is it to make us happier? For April our contributors explore this question.

Kill your idols

Kill your idols

Last year Musk entered the Guinness World Records after losing $182bn of his personal wealth. So this month we discuss idols. They're defined as 'objects of extreme devotion', but what use are they to us in this day and age? Can they ever be a good thing? For March our contributors explore this theme.

Hope and Kindness

Hope and Kindness

In Netflix's Sandman last year Dream defeats Lucifer in a battle by saying 'I am hope'. And hope feels like something we should lean into of late. There's even a growing storytelling trend, Hopepunk. For February our writers explore these themes and ideas in various ways.

Creation and destruction

Creation and destruction

'Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to.' These were words uttered by Adam Driver's Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi (2017), but as we think about the year ahead, what things must we kill or let die, in order to be able to create something new?For January 2023 our writers explore this theme.

Push it real good

Push it real good

Salt-N-Pepa told us to push it in 1988, but did we listen? As humans, are we playing it too safe these days? For December we explore taking risks versus staying in your comfort zone.

Side quests: how much of life goes according to plan, and should it?

Side quests: how much of life goes according to plan, and should it?

Life is what happens when you're making other plans, but how much of what we do goes according to plan nowadays? And should it? For November we explore planning. Do we always need a plan? What gems can be found in life's side quests?

What's the relationship between age and wisdom these days?

What's the relationship between age and wisdom these days?

Oscar Wilde said with age comes wisdom, but are we getting stupider? What's the relationship between age and wisdom these days? We've all heard the phrase, 'the more you learn the less you actually know'. Indeed, it feels like we have all the information we could want at our fingertips nowadays, yet arguably, we're having more basic conversations than ever before.Does humility play a part? There's a phrase attributed to Socrates, 'I know that I know nothing', as in, only wise people can recognise their true ignorance. There's also an argument that each generation is smarter than the last: if true, this makes Gen Z the smartest and most clued up of us all — which is perhaps reflected in their rejection of certain conventions that came before, and being the most activist generation in decades.A few of the ideas and thoughts that our writers will explore this month...

How much do we need our rogues right now?

How much do we need our rogues right now?

From musicians and artists to politicians and business leaders, every industry has its share of rogues, but how much do we need them right now? Are they good or bad? Are they necessary? This is the theme we’re exploring this September.

Where are the nooks and crannies in life and culture?

Where are the nooks and crannies in life and culture?

We seek connection more than ever these days, but where now, do we find our tribes? Brands obsessed with community and togetherness, but is real connection out there becoming increasingly harder to find? In August our writers investigated.

As self expression evolves and expands, can the things that divide us bring us together?

As self expression evolves and expands, can the things that divide us bring us together?

From gender identity to the ways in which we connect through technology and social media, this is the theme we explored at the magazine in July.

Has Covid forced us to rediscover joy in simplicity and our sense of self?

Has Covid forced us to rediscover joy in simplicity and our sense of self?

With the world getting increasingly complicated and fragmented, do we yearn for a more simple way of being? With social media, technology, politics on the brink of implosion, is it possible for us to simplify? For June, we explored this theme.

How well are we coping with changes these days?

How well are we coping with changes these days?

To what extent are we turning to face them? Facing the strange is something humans are reluctant to do. For May we dig into how well we cope with change, and whether things have gotten worse in recent times.

Love or fear, what's driving us lately?

Love or fear, what's driving us lately?

If love and fear are the two most powerful motivators of human behaviour, what drives us most at the moment? During the pandemic we saw examples of both love and fear. We explore these questions this April.

Are we living in utopia or dystopia right now?

Are we living in utopia or dystopia right now?

What are we living in these days? Is humanity going forwards or backwards? Is the metaverse just an excuse to avoid the problems of the real world? This March our writers delve into the utopias and dystopias all around us.

How can we truly make a difference and push things forward?

How can we truly make a difference and push things forward?

How can we avoid meaningless statements and really change things and have a positive impact on society? This February our contributors shared their thoughts.

What matters most to people right now? What gives us meaning?

What matters most to people right now? What gives us meaning?

To kick off 2022 our writers delved into the heady topic of Matter and Meaning: what matters most to people right now? What gives us meaning? Two years into the pandemic, it's a big question.

Magic and Maths

Magic and Maths

Finding the harmony in the art and science of marketing

The Only Thing That's Certain Is Uncertainty

The Only Thing That's Certain Is Uncertainty

From Brexit to vaccines, cookies and beyond, how to have confidence in the future when nothing is certain.

Media for Social Good

Media for Social Good

How media leaders are spearheading everything from communicating on issues, leadership driving change in the industry and building mechanisms for the betterment of society.

The Right Tool for the Job

The Right Tool for the Job

Technology can sometimes seem like it's the only marketing story in town, but marketers have to be clever - and measured - in its use.

Shaking Up the Status Quo

Shaking Up the Status Quo

There is a reason some strategies or theories are tried and tested - because they work. But sometimes they can be too safe. Sometimes, it's just a great idea to shake things up a bit.