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21 Experiences We Loved In ’21

As another eventful year comes to a close, here are some of our favorite experiences from 2021. Cheers to a healthier, happier, and (hopefully) saner 2022.
Date published:
21 Experiences We Loved In ’21

In many ways, 2021 was as challenging as 2020, with COVID-19, natural disasters, supply chain issues, and an ever-more polarized and stressful political climate wreaking havoc. But there was also reason for optimism: important DEI initiatives helped create a more equitable society and scientists moved fast to develop life-saving vaccinations and treatments. Live music and sports returned, there were comeback albums by Taylor Swift and Adele, and Fab 4 fans got to geek out on almost eight hours of behind-the-scenes Beatles footage!  

Here, in no particular order, are our 21 favorite experiences from 2021:  

All in New York — the center of the world 

We were thrilled to partner with NYC & Company to envision the city’s revitalization campaign (and gratified to win a Webby award for our work).  

Sephora showed that inclusivity is good for business 

Sephora based its important Racial Bias in Retail Report on findings from Material research initiatives, which spurred the brand to tackle racial bias in its stores and become an industry leader for DEI.  

From 3% to 29% 

We were proud to be a sponsor of the 10th annual 3% conference, which celebrated the progress of women creative directors while focusing on ongoing efforts to make creative industries truly equitable.  

“Coming Out Day is a celebration of being the youest and truest you”  

We were happy to hear from Material PRIDE members, who shared thoughts about what this day means and how to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round.  

Business and community leaders brainstormed for caregivers    

The Alzheimer’s Association and business leaders (including Material’s Kim Lundgren and Kiva R. Wilson) partnered to examine the complexities of a multigenerational workforce.  

UPS delivered hope, hugs, and smiles  

We loved creating this deeply moving “Free Mom Hugs” video for UPS, which showcases the brand’s commitment to LGBQT+ rights (and won us a Webby People’s Voice Award in the DEI category). 

Arroz Congrí, Papel Picado, and Loteria brightened our fall 

Material celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a Cuban cooking class and an art workshop, and played one of Latin America’s best-known games.

We binge watched hours of Beatles footage  

Beatles fans enjoyed a whopping 7.8 hours of previously unseen Fab 4 footage with the documentary The Beatles: Get Back. 

A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright shared his insights for Black History Month  

Material’s Amplify Voices series presented Michael R. Jackson, the first Black musical theater writer to win the Pulitzer.  

Taylor Swift and Adele released headline dominating albums  

Adele’s first album in six years and the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) were a welcome break from a news cycle dominated by COVID-19, natural disasters, and political strife.  

SurveyMonkey launched its enterprise business as Momentive   

Material partnered with SurveyMonkey for a transformative rebrand of its B2B offerings, leading development of naming, strategy, design, and website launch.  

We celebrated APIDA Heritage Month  

The APIDA community of Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Desi Americans grew 72% between 2000 and 2019, and we celebrated their many contributions to America’s history and success.  

Material kicked off its Marketing Strategy Summit with dynamic speakers 

This exciting new weekly series featured Material’s Amy Balliett in conversation with marketers, brand strategists, and communications professionals.   

Tough times meant marketers had to get extra innovative 

Mountain Dew and Coke were among the brands who didn’t let ad production restrictions stop the flow of lighthearted and highly creative digital ads.  

Brands amped up loyalty  

Material helped clients work harder to retain customers (and was named a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave Loyalty report for Q3).  

We learned that brand still matters in a post-covid world  

Google partnered with Material to understand how behaviors across food and beverage categories shifted and which are likely to become permanent.  

Science delivered!  

We love science. And although we don’t love needles, we got vaccinated.  And then double vaccinated!  

We got boostered 

We gladly rolled up our sleeves and got vaccinated again!    

There were good tidings of great joy in the 2021 GRIT Report 

We were thrilled that Material ranked #1 in GRIT’s Strategic Consultancy and Supplier Mentions categories.  

We welcomed new teammates 

Hundreds of new faces joined our team, including president Bill Kanarick — who brings a wealth of expertise in digital transformation and customer insight/experience.  

The curtain may finally close on the pandemic  

Pfizer just announced a new pill that drastically reduces hospitalization and death in COVID-19 sufferers. (Did we mention that we love science?).

About the author

Material is a leading global consumer intelligence and customer experience consultancy. Partnering with business leaders, we help tackle their most significant customer challenges to help them differentiate in the marketplace, build smarter, more connected experiences, and maximize value delivered to customers and society. Our unique customer intelligence engine is powered by analytics and behavioral science, fuels world-class design and enables the delivery of products and services to bring digital transformation to life.

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