Foreword

Welcome to our review of 2018, a year filled with seemingly unending arguments about Brexit – and potentially one of many to come. Overall, the British remain personally upbeat, with the ONS recording rising personal happiness, and (perhaps) record employment contributing to this. Yet the public are anxious about the state of the country as a whole.
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Articles

Britain: a hostile environment?

In the first week of September, “class war” was spray-painted on a fresh road surface in Wentworth Road, Oxford. The motive was disgust at the laying of new Tarmac at the ‘posh’ end of the street at the point where a wall (taken down in 1959) used to divide the Cutteslowe estate from private housing.1…
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Women and diversity in the boardroom

In 2018 we celebrated 100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK and saw a statue of suffragist and feminist icon Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square. While the centenary milestone has been celebrated, the media has been dominated by stories of gender inequality both in and outside of the workplace. #timesup and #pressforprogress campaigns…
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Fake news and the fightback

Fake News was word of the year in 2017, but saw continued popularity in 2018. In September, Twitter joined YouTube, Apple and Facebook in banning the accounts of Alex Jones of Infowars for spreading hate speech and inciting violence.37 For years Jones, a peddler of numerous conspiracy theories, waged a campaign to paint school shootings,…
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#metoo: moment? Or movement?

If you’re on social media, chances are that you’ve seen #metoo in 2018. The phrase ‘Me Too’ had been quietly associated with survivors of sexual violence as early as 2006, as the name of an activist group set up by Tarana Burke. But it gained worldwide attention when actress Alyssa Milano began urging survivors to…
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Vive la difference!

As we’ve been putting together this year’s Almanac, our politicians and civil servants have of course been frantically negotiating the details of the UK’s forthcoming departure from the EU. But, although Britain may be leaving the European Union, Britain is not leaving Europe. At least, not yet. So, we thought now might be a good…
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Beyond the rainbow

For most brands, summer 2018 created opportunities related to glorious sunshine, but the more observant will also have noticed a proliferation of rainbows. The Pride in London parade had record corporate sponsorship, and lots of brands used the LGBT rainbow in their marketing. Britvic flew the rainbow flag at its HQ in Hatfield to show…
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‘Old media’ fights back

This year the marketing press declared the death of TV, print, and radio, citing the launch of Facebook Watch as the latest nail in the ‘traditional media’ coffin. But, despite new digital platforms’ ability to personalise and target advertising and content, traditional media is alive and well, seeing unprecedented highs in 2018. This year we…
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Older than ever

We’re all getting older. And not just as individuals – we live in an ageing society. The median age of country populations all round the world is rising, due to declining fertility rates and rising life expectancy. Latin America is even experiencing a dramatic, double-digit change; between 2010 and 2050 Brazil’s median age is set…
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The future of voice technology

The biggest voices of 2018 were Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, as they rapidly made their way into millions of homes. This was the year of voice technology, with new devices, updated software and additional skills inspiring both fears and hopes for a future less dominated by screens and text. More than 60% of…
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A friendly world

“I’m a nationalist – America first.” A promise from Bolsonaro to “make Brazil great”. Liam Fox’s insistence that the UK be a “rule-maker, not a rule-taker”. Newspapers are full of politicians stressing national interests, and the world is increasingly presented to us as an unfriendly place. But does the general public in these nations respond…
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Brexit – in the eye of the storm

It’s been another turbulent year for Theresa May, and there is no sign of the weather settling just yet. The final months of 2018 alone have witnessed endless negotiations, not just with the European Union but also with her own party, and rumours swirl on when she’ll be replaced as the Conservative Party leader. Meanwhile…
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The future of social housing

In some ways, the crisis in housing in the UK is old news. With the introduction of right to buy in 1980, and a significant subsequent shortfall in new construction to fill the gap, supply has plummeted and waiting lists have soared, making social housing a ‘vanishing option’ for young adults and families in particular.…
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Finding the fizz – the psychology of your drink

With consumers’ attitudes to sugar fundamentally changing,143 fizzy drinks are in decline. What are the positive responses for major manufacturers like Coke?  One approach has been to diversify with Coca-Cola, for example, launching new brands in the UK: Honest, Fuze Tea and Adez.  All of these actively promote their natural credentials.  However, they all sit…
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Digital and the death of Don Draper

Artificial intelligence. Programmatic. Blockchain. These aren’t plot devices from the latest episode of Black Mirror, but they are getting digital marketers and advertisers hot under the collar – promising increased efficiency in precise digital ad targeting and attribution in real time. While technological advances can tell you if your ad has been seen (by who,…
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The five worries of the world

2018: a year of diverging concerns The financial crash of 2008, a decade old this year, has cast a long shadow on the lives of billions. It is only this year that, for the first time since we began this series, unemployment has not been the biggest global concern: instead it is corruption and political…
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Managing mental health

“It affects your every-day life in the most odd way,” explains Linda, 50, “You can be really happy and then feel really frightened and not know what you’re frightened of”. Linda has been diagnosed with anxiety, and is one of the one in six people in England today who is experiencing a mild to moderate…
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Service below par

‘Welcome to Northern Fail’ read a sign greeting passengers at Manchester Piccadilly station this year.152 2018 was an annus horibilis for the rail industry, with train punctuality at a 12-year low due to weather, strikes and timetable chaos.153 Disgruntled and stranded commuters became a common sight on the evening news. But the rail companies are…
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