Big Idea

8 Jul


The Big Idea is back. And it will be televised?

Read John Hegarty’s opine for TV centered creativity as innovation and you’ll think TV is going to save marketers.  Nope.  But he’s right from a bigger picture perspective:

Agencies have lost their swagger.

Clients have lost their balls.

Everyone’s watching the short term balance sheet instead of making a long term difference.


There’s nothing that irks me more than a rabid focus on “Big Ideas”.  Mostly because they focus too much on a one-time moment of cultural “aha” and end up too vapid, or too one-time of an instance in a technology environment.  I will say however that TV continues to be the only environment where big impact can be made (though that impact’s shelf life may be much shorter than it ever was in a short attention span, social info economy).  It’s simply more complicated than a Big Idea, more about a Big Experience.

It’s more like arming up with ideas big and small, constantly  seeking and firing off surprising, helpful and often risk taking ideas out incessantly.

So I think he’s got it right, and got it wrong. Truth always lies somewhere in between, eh?   

Sir John Nostalgia:

“Hegarty said that advertising agencies were now more controlled by non-creatives and had “lost faith” in TV advertising.”

“I think the industry has lost faith in TV. I think it has lost faith in the big, bold idea. I think it has lost its courage and I’m deeply upset by that. Too many people leading our industry are accountants, and I think for a creative industry that’s a tragedy.”

“In our industry we’ve become obsessed with technology,” he said. “In doing so, it has lost faith a little bit in the value of that big idea and putting it on TV, the value of broadcast.”

Sir John Genius:

“We’ve lost the power and courage of creativity to drive our business forward.”

“I’ve sat in client meetings where clients have wondered what’s wrong with their market share and why their brands are going down and they talk about distribution,” he continued.  “I sometimes have to say – ‘it’s a very simple concept, but have you tried making a better product?”

“BBH co-founder Sir John Hegarty has warned that the advertising industry is losing its courage amid dwindling creativity and tighter executive control.”

“Advertising seems to be pursuing a strategy of making a product worse to be more effective, which I find very confusing,” he said. “I’m not sure what business book people in advertising have read that says we should make the worst product and therefore we’ll be successful.”

Check out the full recap over at the Drum.