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    « What small ideas look like | Main | Van Halen - big hair, small thinkers »

    May 19, 2011


    Jim Thornton

    Bravo Gareth.
    Couldn't agree more.
    Not enough people understand that an idea is neither a good idea nor a bad idea until it is executed.
    I once had a client who spent 18 months working on a positioning for the brand & then gave us 6 weeks to come up with and make the work. My response was to film the brief for 30 seconds because he obviously thought that was the most compelling bit for the consumer.
    I love the Jeremy Bullmore comment - it reminds me of a friend who said the great thing about developing programmes on radio before taking them to TV was being able to make all your mistakes without anyone really noticing before going properly public. Rarely are we given the chance to develop from small to large having learned along the way by just doing stuff.

    William charnock

    I love it. Everything we are doing at R/GA is captured here. It's not either or. I believe we have to offer clients both top down and bottom up. One of the main reasons I left the top down world of traditional agencies is that they don't make anything. They outsource making to directors, producers, pgotogtaphers, studios and digital production houses. It's Really hard to act on your advice above from inside a traditional agency. What exactly do I go out and make? I can't rush out and put an experimental tv spot or print ad out there and see what happens. Additionally, what you can make in digital for a brand is now so rich and varied and takes so many different skills and capabilities than before. We can make practically anything in digital as an experiment from new products, services, utilities, content, events, commerce venues, experiences, even new behaviors etc. We can also connect all the non digital brand interaction to make them more effective (an ecosystem). Each and every one of these digital things requires totally different skill sets and abilities, different developers, different technical skills, different engineering and building capabilities and few if these skill sets live in advertising agencies. So I'm left wondering what you are asking planners to make since very few have the tools or people to build the same way silicon valley does. Planners at R/GA have over 300 differently skilled digital makers of many different varieties and capabilities but I don't know another agency that has that. We are lucky as we can make almost anything digital and experiment and learn in the making process alongside our technical partners. What you describe is what we do daily but I don't know I could possibly do that from inside the agencies of my past. They may be able to make the things that every teenager makes, content, social but that's a very small piece of the pie and a hyper competitive space because everyone can do it.


    People are applauding this article in the halls of Organic. Love points 3 and 5. Nice piece Gareth. A

    Jonathan Cohen

    Thoughtful piece. Good for agencies, but also for clients.


    A couple of years ago, I decided that if a company communicates something they honestly believe in and has fantastic products, everything else is about interesting and useful 'small ideas'. Ideas that get people to be more familiar with your products, buy them and recommend them to their friends… I struggle to beleave in agency's unwavering belief in 'big idea' was not only never really a 'big' idea (or 'ideal'). It is fundamentally a patch for weak brand beliefs and commoditized products.


    Hello Adey

    "Brands aren't how we define them but are things formed in people’s minds."

    This seems to be a concept foreign to most of the smaller companies I have been involved in.
    Thanks for the great ideas.

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