So far, 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year for us covering marketing innovation. The merging of creativity and technology has never been more exciting than it has this year.

Applications of augmented reality, geofencing, artificial intelligence and more are not just being used as novelties, but are driving tangible results as ways to connect with consumers.

Moreover, this year we connected with some amazing, forward-thinking marketers for our On Brand series and look forward to another year of discussions about evolving challenges and strategies.

Our team has curated some of our favorite selections from the past year’s reporting to bring you a must-read list before you (hopefully) get some well-deserved rest during the holidays.

Lauren Arevalo-Downes, Executive Director

On Brand: Paramount Network’s Niels Schuurmans Discusses Strategy

In our On Brand series this year, we caught up with Paramount CMO Niels Schuurmans at Cannes to the latest campaign for Yellowstone and how he leads his team to push the envelope of the 105-year-old brand.

“The best way to think about it is [that] we’re taking this amazing classic brand and expanding it,” he said.

The State Of Advertising In 12 Charts

This was a comprehensive look at various stats and indicators of overall trends and growth of the global advertising market. This was also one of the first pieces Jacqueline Fernandez— a new addition to our team—wrote for us.

Amazon’s Ad Aspirations Are Coming To Fruition

One of the few pieces I got to pen myself this year, Amazon has been posing an increasing concern to the duopoly that is Google and Facebook, and it’s easy to see why.

“They have people who are in a shopping mindset, so that’s valuable for Verizon to be seen as a resource within that mindset,” said John Nitti, the chief media officer at Verizon to The New York Times in September.

E. Ryan Ellis, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Was Bethesda’s “Stream Of Nothing” Trolling Or Marketing?

I think it’s a bit of a misnomer to say that marketing is becoming more intense as time goes on, with consumer attention so divided between a few brands and so precious. A better description is that marketing is entering a sort of “cubist” phase—deconstructed only to be put back together. A perfect example is our coverage of Bethesda’s 24-hour wherein the gaming publisher set up a camera and did practically nothing, in terms of entertainment, for the viewers on the other end. It was a wild success.

The Key To Creating Engaging AR And VR Experiences

The onset of VR and AR haven’t been as staggering as marketers or consumers expected. What’s great about this piece is the author not only talks about how brands are entering the space, but who the middlemen are and how they are ushering brands into the technology.

Dunnhumby And The Future Of Supermarket Data 

The loyalty card is really the grandfather of modern consumer data sharing—the consumer feels the benefit of using the card and the brand uses the data to make the consumer experience better. This piece outlines where one of the brand pioneers of that technology is headed, modernizing itself in the process.

Matthew Downes, Associate Director, Audience Development 

Consumers Find Personalized Ads ‘Creepy,’ But Still Want Meaningful Interactions

There’s a fine line between helpful, hyper-targeted ads and outright creepy brand intrusions. A must-read for any marketers navigating messaging personalization and responsible (read: not creepy) consumer data-use.

Exclusive: Migos Talks About Their Partnership With Finish Line

As anyone familiar with Migos knows, interviewing the rap trio can quickly go off the rails. AList was definitely not left off ‘Bad and Boujee’ on this one.

AList’s 10 Under 10

Forbes may have a corner on “30 Under 30,” but AList’s 2018 April Fool’s post celebrated the true up-and-coming micro-marketers. Because the children are the future.