Tag Archives: agency life

The Big Idea

The Big Idea

Are big ideas the cornerstone of every successful advertising campaign? Alex Zervos takes a look…

You ask anyone in the industry what’s needed for a successful advertising campaign, you’ll probably hear the same thing from all of them. Before a campaign can even begin to be implemented, there’s a plethora of research to be done, insights to be cherry-picked, creative executions to be thought of, and strategic planning to be, well, planned. These are constants and like it or not, your sanity would come in to question if you chose to skip a step when conceiving a campaign. Advertising in today’s society is a highly demanding proposition, and you’d be at a severe disadvantage if you didn’t understand the market you were competing in, you’d be lost without a target market, you’d be blander than dirt, and what’d be the point of a campaign that no one would ever see?

Now, if you were to ask those same people what the most important part of a campaign was, in contrast to before, they’d each have their own take on the matter. Arguments would range from passive to outright zealous, and at the end of the day, none would be more or less correct than the other.

Ultimately, truly great advertising boils down to taking risks, pushing the envelope, and challenging expectations. We are drawn towards the reliability of data and the safety of planning, but all these do are tether us to what’s been done before. “A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.” To make something new involves understanding the past, and leading change. These are, and will always be, important ingredients in the marketing formula. Without these pieces of the puzzle, we cross the line between a calculated risk, and doing something, to put it simply, dumb. That said, there is only so much we can do in terms of research and planning. The same cannot be said for the creative process, however, and everything that goes into the inception of ‘the big idea’.

There’s a reason it’s called the big idea. It is at this point in the process of producing a campaign that things truly begin to take shape and define a brand, and, realistically, is the only chance given to break away from the crowd. Not every ad takes advantage of this opportunity to actively break from the norm, but for those that do, and chose to put everything on the line, it’s often a matter of risk meeting reward. These are often the ones we pay the most attention, remember the fondest, and stick with us the longest. “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”

Campaigns rise and fall on the substance of their ideas, just as they do in regard to everything else. In exchange for greater pitfalls, we are also given the opportunity to soar higher than anyone else. This doesn’t mean you should scream YOLO and jump the cliff every chance you get. What are we, lemmings? Check the map. Peek over the side. Check, double check, hell, triple check your parachute. In the end, you’re still going over the edge, its up to you how long the fall is.

In the end, it all comes down to the big idea.

What does success look like?


Ashleigh Hogan looks at the elements that define “Success” in an Advertising agency by relating it back to her own hopes and dreams.

From someone who is seemingly at the bottom of the food chain in the Ad Industry, I have given alot of thought of what I think success would look like. It has also been a question that was brought up in one of my marketing classes; “In the Ad Industry, what does success look like?”

We were given so many different options of answers to choose from; the money coming in the agency and its value, the prestigious awards that it has won, the amount of charity projects the agency was involved with, the case studies or is it the list of big clients. After two hours of arguing between 12 students in the class on which was better to have in an agency, we slowly figured out that we had no clue. First, we have never been in an Ad agency and second, there was no purpose to us arguing because, we were all right. HOW? Because success is measured differently to different agencies.

The same topic came up in my singing lesson last week, about how people in the community measure success in the music industry. Being a singer, going to my weekly class for the past 6 years, people loose faith in you because ‘you haven’t made it.’ People hear you sing and they think that you belong on X-factor or The Voice, because they believe that is the only way to be successful. That’s how you become successful. Being famous, selling albums, making it on the radio, having sell-out concerts, touring the world, going on Ellen, HECK win awards! But what they don’t understand is that people can be successful without the money, fame, and the trophies that do nothing but collect dust. The music industry is a prime example of how perceptions of success is a narrow minded Hallway, that the meaning of Music has faded due to the image of success.

My singing teacher told me about a famous modern australian singer, that she is very close with. A singer who was given the chance to live in the spotlight and swim in fortunes, but rejected it for the easy going, come and go lifestyle that many artists wouldn’t choose if they were given the chance for fame. Don’t get me wrong, he would be stopped on the streets for signatures, selfies and with every gig, it is ALWAYS an instant sell out. People know him but he doesn’t feature on NOVA like Adele does, I don’t think I have seen him on TODAY in 10 years and he hasn’t made headlines since 2012. But he sells out everytime. She told me that, he tried that lifestyle when he was younger, but that just wasn’t him. So… what does it mean to be successful to a person who rejects the perceptions of success in the music industry…? Could you say that his idea of success was just having the ability to create his music, as free as he can be, for a crowd to enjoy? Is that enough to be successful?

It’s hard to explain to people what us, ‘Amateur Singers’ love about going to our classes, knowing that it is a minor possibility of us ‘making it’ and why we still go. I’m still explaining it to my mum! We were told to right down our goals for 2016 and as a little kid who sings at the school, you would write down “next year, I want to be as famous as Katy Perry,” but as the years go on, you appreciate music because it changes the way you see it. When we were that young we thought music was activity and success meant being famous but as we grew, we saw it as a hobby and success meant being happy and true to the art.

I feel as if back then old blues and Jazz singers weren’t born into the expectations of becoming famous in order to be seen as if they ‘have made it.’ They were truly and passionately giving their heart and soul to the art of music, and thats what made them famous. Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James; they were born into the age of depression and so music was their for them so that they could express how they felt. It was a different time because the industry was head hunting for these types of people, who were true to the art and now, artists are chasing down ‘the dream,’ selling themselves for ‘success.’

You have so many people with amazing talent and even though this post may seem bias, I think that the people who are making it in the big bad world are just as talented and amazing as those who chose the independent life. The only difference is, they have different ways of measuring their success…. and both ways work!

It’s hard to explain to people why I sing because they think i’m wasting my talent and money for something that they believe that I don’t want to pursue in the music industry (get famous). My film lecturer once told me, “if you love something and it makes you happy, you would spend a million dollars to keep it going because thats what you do for the things you love.” When it comes down to singing, I have never wanted to be famous in the way that I would lose the connection I have with my music and so I can relate to the Famous singer I spoke about in this post. I would never want to lose sight of why I create music or why I sing and if that means i’m not going to be a billionaire…well, tough luck.

Bringing it back to the Ad Industry, I see so many similarities between the Music Industry and the Ad world. Everyone has their own ideas of being successful and that is what makes culture in a company. A united goal and vision to drive you YOUR idea of success, will be totally different to the other Ad agency on the block.

So what does Success look like?