Big ideas for a digital world

There has been quite a lot of discussion following the release of the 21st edition of Advertising Works, which compiles the winners from the IPA’s 2012 Effectiveness Awards. One of the most interesting points comes from Marie Oldham, convenor of judges for the 2012 Awards. In an article  published last November, she discusses how the campaigns that transformed meaningful insights into purposeful communications were the ones that stood out as the most effective, proving that big, insightful ideas that tap into people’s emotions lie at the heart of effectiveness.

The importance of emotions in advertising is hardly news. We all know that ads that engage us emotionally work better than those that don’t. As analysis of the IPA Databank conducted by Pringle and Field in 2009 shows,  campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better than those that mixed emotional and rational content. However this does not mean that all ads with a meaningful message are good. We need to attract and engage people.  We need to be remembered.  Truly big ideas are the ones that resonate, connecting the brand and the “human” in our consumer. It is the connection that makes the idea BIG.

The 2012 winners demonstrate that we are increasingly delivering multi-platform ideas, reflecting the dynamic digital world we live in. Digital offers a great opportunity to boost interactive communication, engaging and intriguing people and encouraging them to explore further and share. By engaging people in a compelling and exciting way, brands have the opportunity to build that connection, ensuring that the insight resonates and taps into human emotions.  One of the winning papers, Nikon’s ‘I am, taps into how technology can help us to define who we are as people by capturing memories we can share with others, extremely important in today’s digital world. New emerging channels and platforms can definitely bring us closer to consumers, giving brands a greater potential for deeper engagement.

If we look at one of the latest digital innovations, Vine, there is huge potential for it to harness the power of emotion and resonate among people. Vine is a six-second video app owned by Twitter which enables users to create short films to share online. To me,Vine perfectly combines the ingredients that can make a big idea successful: it’s visual, social, in real-time, short, and it forces creativity. I say ‘forces’ because by having only six seconds to record it means that you must be creative to produce an engaging insight of what the brand believes in, something that is unique, compelling and memorable.

Having only six seconds to tell a story is not easy. To create a persuasive story, each frame needs to appeal to emotions and resonate among people.  In a way, Vine reminds me of flash fiction and Hemingway’s six word story; according to the legend, Hemingway once won a bet by writing a six word short story that was so good that it could make people cry.  Brands have already started having a go with this ‘flash fiction gone digital’, perfect in a world with ever reduced digital spans. So far we have seen examples from Ritz Crackers, Dove, McDonalds and my favourite, Toyota Spain. I think this is just the beginning and we’re going to see more of it.

If Instagram has proven to be a great vehicle for conveying emotions using pictures and Oreo won the Super Bowl with a picture and seven (not six) words, Vine can certainly make a difference in converting big ideas into effective communications using the power of storytelling.

Ipsos ASI will explore the role of big ideas and creativity at their next breakfast seminar, Nurturing Great Creative, at the IPA, 27th February 2012, with Martin Weigel (@mweigel) as keynote speaker. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #ipsosasicreative

Ines Nadal is Head of Trends & Futures at Ipsos MORI. Follow her on Twitter @inesnadal

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