Artists create things and the Implementers make those things happen. In order to survive in this day and age, creative people have to own both pieces of that statement. The digital world opens up a tremendous opportunity for big ideas. Like the wild, wild west, digital is a creative frontier where brave pioneers venture forth, hoping to strike gold one day. But digital adventurers need more than just a great set of technical skills to survive. They need a big idea. Don’t get me wrong. The implementation of a great idea is important. But a great execution is like drinking from a beautiful crystal glass … no matter how fancy the vessel, without the substance inside the glass the experience is empty. And that’s how great ideas work. A great idea fills out the experience – it’s the part that the brain can rationalize, analyze and file away. Great ideas break through the environment they were designed to live within. They get noticed, and remembered. How many banner ads do you think you were exposed to today? I don’t know about you but no matter how nicely executed they were, without the surprise and engagement that a big idea brings to the party, you might as well pack away the invitations.
Big ideas are all about finding a fresh new way to say or do the same old thing. It’s all about that elusive eureka moment that your audience will experience when they’re exposed to your message. Everything we create in advertising or promotion is at its core, a story. Its the story of a product. The story of a contest. The story of a TV show. Big ideas can come in the form of a mis-direct – that “I didn’t see it coming” moment or plot twist. If you’ve seen HBO’s Larry David “Moon” promo you’ll know what I mean.
Or, they can own and tap into a device that exposes an essential “truth” about its communication, and this essential truth, something about our own behaviour as human beings, creates an emotional resonance or bond that audiences take away with them. Remember Budweiser’s brilliant “Wassup” ad campaign?
Big ideas are inherent in everything we like. They are the difference between things that suck and things that rock. Next time you have to come up with an idea for something, try looking at it from a different perspective. Or try to do something outside your comfort zone. And don’t give in to the expected after one or two takes. Great ideas take time and energy to develop. It can take hundreds of bad and lukewarm thoughts to find one good idea. But the end result is worth the effort. You’ll find gold in them ‘thar hills if you just keep looking.