Crafting ideas is what we do at Grand Central. Lately, I've been contemplating what defines a "big creative idea." After all, every agency aims to craft "big ideas."
So, what defines a big idea? It must be multi-channel, possess mass appeal, be far-reaching, widely talked about, award-winning, and possibly align with a strategic partner to bolster reach... right?
Achieving all these success points is a substantial task and may require the alignment of distant stars. For instance, consider the Tour de France commencing in the UK just as a brand eponymous with the bicycle launches, or a brand known for its pink identity needing a boost as Barbie hits the big screen.
Take a brand with a distinctive identity like Guinness – can we classify any individual Guinness campaign as a "big idea," or is its long-running success due to the consistent ownership of its distinctive look and pour, gradually driven home over decades of campaigns?
Volvo went viral after demonstrating Dynamic Steering through Jean-Claude Van Damme executing an epic split between two reversing trucks. While fleet truck buyers might have encountered the odd pull-up banner, can it be classified as a big idea if it's little more than just a great video?
Snickers enlisted celebrities like Joan Collins and Betty White to emphasize the product's hunger-curing nature. Brilliant, but without the budget for the celebrities and media spend, would it have been as successful – a big idea?
The result of my contemplative process is that I believe the question is wrong. It's not about crafting big ideas; it's about crafting the right idea.
The right idea will naturally strike an emotional connection or, for some, be perturbing enough to remember and, hopefully, trigger the call to action.