2016: The Year Of “Good”

R+K’s look back at 16 “good” things about 2016.

2016 has hired R+K as its agency of record, because it said, “It had an image problem this year.”

And who can argue. Plenty of “bad” things happened in 2016. Prince and David Bowie both died. So did Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer. Politics divided the country, not to mention families. Fake news became “real” news, I think. Hollywood released a new Ghostbusters movie. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake was the earworm song of the year.

So R+K decided to flip that around and advised 2016 to highlight those “good” things that happened this past year. So here are the top 16 “good” items we shared with 2016.

Cubs Win the World Series. Of course it had to be on the list. A 108-year drought comes to end, and the world (minus Cleveland which did celebrate an NBA title) celebrated. #FlyTheW.

Way to “Go.” Augmented reality (AR) captured the world’s attention with Pokémon Go and reinvigorated a two-decade-old brand. Nearly as fast as Pokémon Go took over the world, it left us. But we won’t forget it and for opening the marketing door very wide for AR in the future.

Ken Doll. Speaking of coming and going quickly, Ken Bone (and his red sweater) became a household name one week after asking a quality question at a Trump/Clinton debate and then disappeared a couple weeks later. He kept a level head about his 15 minutes of fame, which is saying something nowadays in the world of reality TV and social media.

Snapchat. Use grew 27 percent in 2016. Its many unfiltered filters opened the door for unique connections and conversations. It even gave R+K a promotional opportunity.

TV Comebacks. Gilmore Girls. Fuller House. X-Files. Kiefer Sutherland as an unexpected president. ‘Nuff said.

Gassing Up. For the better part of eight years, gas prices hovered at or above $3 a gallon. Gas prices ranged between $2.00-$2.50 for much of 2016. Drivers took notice and took to the road in droves. Did I hear someone say road trip to Disney World?

Gold! U.S. athletes won a bazillion medals at the Summer Olympics in Rio. Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles blew away the competition. Michael Phelps redeemed himself. Zika did not overshadow the Olympics, but Ryan Lochte’s phony attack nearly did. All-around great TV viewing and drama.

Impersonations. Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton and Larry David as Bernie Sanders had us laughing throughout the election cycle.

Amazing Grace. Grace Vanderwaal, the ukulele-playing 12-year-old, won “America’s Got Talent” and captured the America’s heart with her candid, heartfelt songs.

Royal News. Queen Elizabeth turned 90. Duchess Kate Middleton continues to charm the world. Prince George and Princess Charlotte couldn’t be any cuter. And it looks like Prince Harry has found love.

Underdogs and Upsets. Leicester City won the English Premier League soccer title against all odds … literally as they were a 5,000-1 longshot at the beginning of the season. Brexit shook up Great Britain and Europe. Donald Trump pulled off the ultimate upset by claiming the U.S. presidency. Definitely history-making events.

Lesson Learned. Many in the ag industry believe the Food Babe and Chipotle got what they deserved after bashing U.S. agriculture for many years. You know what they say about payback. And this time it was plenty of bad PR. A little crisis management advice, know your stuff before you start making claims.

“Ham” it up. A Founding Father and the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton took over 2016. He was everywhere in 2016 from Broadway to 10-dollar bills. “Hamilton” entertained and educated us. Who knew he was so hip?

The Force. Star Wars bookended 2016. From “The Force Awakens” at the beginning of the year to “Rogue One” in December, Star Wars had a Darth Vader-like grip on pop culture.

Marketing To Farmers. On a more local level, R+K’s own Diane Martin and Jeff Walter launched their own blog called Marketing to Farmers to share their insights and expertise on brands connecting with farmers. Definitely worth checking out each week. Way to go, Diane and Jeff.

Additions. R+K welcomed seven new employees to its family, along with a boomeranger, two kids, one grandchild and two spouses.

Here’s to all the “good” things from 2016. And to many more next year. Hope 2017 listens to our advice and focuses on the “good.”

Happy New Year!

Greg Lammert is a PR Senior Account Supervisor R+K and had a pretty darn “good” year in 2016.

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