What do you reckon? Should we chuck 2020 into the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool, our portal to marketing hell? Or should we give it a reprieve? Ian Truscott has a suggestion inspired by Robert Rose.


Rock stars have a reputation for chucking things in hotel swimming pools, so we created this regular series, the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool. It’s our portal to marketing hell for all the snake oil, bullshit, and hype that plagues our wonderful industry.


This month, as we start the new year, I’m not looking at a marketing trend, technique, or hype; I’m inspired to chuck the whole of 2020 into the pool.

I think most people are glad to see the back of 2020, but should we chuck it into the Rockstar CMO Swimming Pool and hope it never returns?

Normally when I write these Swimming Pool articles, I feign a discussion, mention the pros and cons, but it’s normally clear that whatever gets nominated gets chucked in, after all, it’s normally recommended by one of our rockstars for a start, so who am I to argue? And getting rid of 2020 seems to be a no-brainer.

But, are there positives from this year that would give it a reprieve?

On the side of reprieving 2020, I’m inspired by a recent conversation with Robert Rose (speaker, writer, and Chief Troublemaker at The Content Advisory) in this episode of the podcast. He talked about the journey versus the destination. How we tend to obsess about the destination or the thing we want to achieve. Rather than enjoy the journey or realize what we learned along the way and appreciate the growth experience the journey gives us, especially if it is difficult.

Specifically, he asked me if we’d had a conversation back in January 2020; he shared with me what was to come and handed me the keys to a time machine. Would I skip forward to January 2021?

As he asked me, my own crazy year, both personally and professionally, flashed through my mind, I was tempted to say yes, and I would take that time machine. But, my reply was I wouldn’t; this difficult year has delivered plenty.

This personal answer might not be true of everyone, but if I think about marketing in general, would the answer be the same? Or, should we discard 2020, chuck it in the Swimming Pool, and pretend it never happened?

Well, I’m not sure.

As an industry, we’ve been disrupted, and that disruption has jogged us out of the “way things are always done”. This year has released budgets from events, inspired innovation, and accelerated what most believe was already a trend to virtual selling and the consumer relationship’s digital transformation, either B2B or B2C. That’s aside from changing the way we all work, the transformation of our relationship with the office.

Of course, we miss being with people, and for some, this is the least of it. Aside from the human health tragedy, the pandemic’s economic impact is bound to hit marketing as we are often the first in line when costs are reduced.

But, on balance, should 2020 be chucked into the Rockstar Swimming Pool?

I’m going to say no, this journey has given us plenty.

What do you think?


Listen to the whole conversation with Robert, in this episode of Rockstar CMO FM

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Photo of girl in mask with champagne by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash


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