Goodbye, Big Idea

Goodbye, Big Idea

September 25, 2016

By Jayant Savant

Since my foray into advertising, I have been exposed (or rather over-exposed) to the term ‘The Big Idea’. For creative folks who have been fed on traditional advertising for most part of their career, this term is still their ‘Holy Grail’. Those in the creative department, and even the client are constantly seeking for this ubiquitous idea. Hoping it will add value, and make a difference to the client’s business by giving a different spin to the brands.

But in my humble opinion, I think, the concept of Big Idea is almost dead. Yes, you read it right. Dead.

Simply because the brands of the future will be made by people, and not the clients and advertising agencies. Social media has changed the game. It allows people to participate in the conversation. It engages people and users on a daily basis. It’s inclusive. So you can be a part of it. Unlike most of our traditional media, which gives information, but fails to ‘include’ the consumers.

Today, our life is virtually ruled by social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other such sites have become our best buddies. Every small change in our life is documented on these sites. So everything is quick and changes happen every few seconds. 

Brands, big and small, most of them are being represented on Facebook and Twitter. They upload their latest achievements, videos, product launches and everything else, hoping users will ‘Like’ and/or comment on them. Thus, social media has given them a perfect platform to not just talk about themselves but also be ‘visible’ to their target audience. Social media sites have empowered users to choose the brands they are interested in, while they can neglect the ones they don’t.

It’s not the same about traditional advertising. It waits till the Big Idea is conceived, baked and then rolled out. Traditional advertising agencies get a high cracking the Big Idea. And how it translates itself into allied media. On the other hand, social media lets it out quickly. It’s all about ‘now’. Everything here happens in real time. All it needs is something that organises, excites and engages. It makes the viewer a user and finally, the owner.

Facebook, for example, was born from an innate desire within each one of us, to stay connected with friends and people. Zuckerberg didn’t really ‘invent’ it. It was born from a need. Something that millions, like me share. Today, we see brands talking to us through their Facebook page. It has now become hygiene for them to keep their Facebook page uploaded with their latest news and happenings. Even at an individual level, we all use this site to meet and greet our ever widening social circle.

Twitter wasn’t born from a hashtag. But from the need to share one’s problems and the need to express one’s opinion about a problem or an issue. A great platform to voice one’s opinion about issues big or small. #FirstWorldProblems is a perfect example of this kind. It was a smart way to guilt people into donating money to solve real world problems rather than complaining about #FirstWorldProblems. And all this was happening is absolute real time.

But having said that, we will still need ideas; but albeit on a more regular basis. Small but powerful, potent ideas that engage users and empower them.

Well, enough said. I’m not really an expert on social media. But a fan nonetheless, just like you, who likes to explore the world of Internet. So, happy surfing.



Jayant Savant

Senior Creative Resource, Ideator, Writer, Problem Solver, at Ogilvy.

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