Let’s for a moment argue that what made the Big Idea big was that it became omnipresent. That it reached the masses. That it was embodied in a single tagline (Just Do It) or image (Marlboro man) that lived for many years across many media. That it was primarily a message. Designed or conceived only to get you to notice a brand or product, pay attention to it, perhaps like it and hopefully buy it. If everyone saw the ad at the same time you did, and approved of its message or embraced the concept, you, as a consumer had permission to buy that product. It was OK.
Those days may be gone. The Internet, technology and the proliferation of media may have changed it. The fact that our attention can rarely be bought, even if we watch a lot of TV and video, that it has to be earned, that it turns to multiple screens and platforms to focus and that it quickly moves on certainly suggests we need new kinds of ideas.
No, we don’t need digital ideas. (Watch out for that label.) What we need are ideas for a digital world.
We need ideas that are interesting, shareable, useable, customizable. Consumers, if not also producers, are at the least a powerful distribution channel.
The real challenge is that we need amazing ideas no matter what size they are. Which means we need our small ideas to be big — if big means something that catches your attention (even a utility has to be noticed before it gets used), fills a genuine need; makes you feel great about using (or reading or engaging); and whose brilliance inspires you to pass it on.
Encouraging small, individual ideas is great. But we can’t let small ideas free us from striving for great ideas.
Big can be small, cheap and underproduced. Think Shocking Barack
from a few years ago,
Big can be an event seen by no one until the video of it goes viral. TNT Square.
Big can be a single TV spot that represents a brand’s actual behavior. The Guardian.
Big can be a one=shot event, granted huge and expensive and outrageous helps. Think Red Bull.