Data VS Big Ideas: Joining The Battle For The Soul Of Adland

Data VS Big Ideas: Joining The Battle For The Soul Of Adland
SHARE
THIS



In the next instalment of their editorial series of marketing to Millennials, B&T’s resident experts, Brian Mitchell PhD and Evan Mitchell, co-founders of Gen Y brand strategy specialists HOW&Y (howandy.net), take a look at the “data VS idea” debate and who’s best placed to win over the Millennials…

Back before becoming the White House Press Secretary, The West Wing’s Will Bailey is running a Congressional campaign in Orange County for a candidate who’s dead in the water, but refuses to know it. Asked an awkward question about his latest disastrous polling, the candidate responds:

“Sixty percent is six of 10 in a focus group. We change one mind it’s a dead heat. We change two, it’s a landslide.”

From marketing politicians, to marketing anything.

When the devil’s not in the detail, the devil is the detail.

That detail is one side of a battle underway in the world of Adland.

Advertising’s raison d’être

At the beginning of the sixties a development occurred that defined the ad industry for the next forty plus years. Agency creatives threw off the iron yoke of accounts and began to usurp the customary authority over the spirit and content of what went into client ads. Often exemplified by the DDB “Think Small” campaign for VW, the creative revolution had begun.

The “big idea” became the Holy Grail, and the standard by which the industry judged its own. Fearless, original, intuitive, counter-intuitive, forward-looking, exciting, it was so legitimately the soul of advertising that it defied the “oxymoron” jibes of outside cynics.

The big idea concept had a freshness and theoretical innocence, an aspirational integrity that transcended the morals of its servants. It attracted the off-beat, the intensely curious and talented, spawned empires, and gave the industry a goal other than money. In doing so it also created its monsters, inadvertently contributing to the culture of excess that helped to kill the goose laying all those golden eggs – so well described in Andrew Cracknell’s The Real Mad Men, and Michael Farmer’s Madison Avenue Manslaughter.

But now, its critics see the big idea as anachronistic, an afterthought, not the stuff that strategies are any longer built on, as the world moves on.

Scientia potentia est

“Knowledge is Power” has become an enduring cliché for the reason that clichés endure – it’s just so damn true.

The phrase hails originally from political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, had a retreatment from polymath Francis Bacon, a tweaking by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and has been popularly misattributed to Nietzsche. From there it’s become a standard in pop culture. It was a mantra given by Walter White to his students early on in Breaking Bad (when he was still more chem teacher than meth dealer), and is the House motto of Game of Thrones’ conniving Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish.

Industries can see a complete upending of the power dynamic when there’s a shift in who owns the knowledge.

Typically, such shifts are facilitated by new technology. Scan data technology in FMCG, for instance, significantly curtailed the authority of manufacturers’ brands and gave large retailers the power predominance – dramatically changing the nature of their negotiation game.

“Knowledge is Power” heralds in the challenger to the Big Idea for the soul of Adland.

Pouring over entrails, casting runes and reading tealeaves were once the pursuits of venerable mages. Their modern day equivalents are of a very different cut and serve a more hipster deity. The new god of Big Data.

The advent of the Big Idea occurred organically, the breakthroughs of trail blazing individuals driving creativity’s ultimate ascendency. The rise of Big Data was explosive.

The temptation to make the most of big numbers always had a logical inevitability about it – the inherent challenge and appeal of Moonshots. And, oh, how the big numbers are BIG. With an estimated 35 billion connected devices worldwide, mass data must be measured in exabytes – that’s a billion billion (or a quintillion, if you like) bytes.

As in so many other areas of endeavour, the march of tech far outstrips the capacity to keep pace of both legislation and morality. Big Data and all its analysis towards meaningful patterns has implications not even imagined yet, for the ethics of privacy, research, intellectual property and consent.

But still, the battle lines are joined.

Big Data has the momentum, and the deep pockets. But Big Idea has a hole card. It’s hard to see Gen Y consumers engaging with brands that discount a creative pitch to their values. And this generational mindset affords Big Idea a generational edge that may prove decisive. Particularly as Millennial numbers, and clout, are set to wildly expand with the coming of age of a generation Z of likely fellow travellers.

On the related controversial argument, that Big Data will in any event win by default, usurping the Big Idea through creative machines, we side with other sceptics. More on this in another article.

Please login with linkedin to comment

einsights

Latest News

Y&R’s Julian Bell To Return To Clems Melbourne
  • Advertising

Y&R’s Julian Bell To Return To Clems Melbourne

After 11 years, Y&R Melbourne’s managing partner, Julian Bell, has departed the agency, having lined up a new role at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. In a statement to B&T, Y&R’s chief executive for Australia and New Zealand, Pete Bosilkovski, said: “Julian has been instrumental in nurturing and growing the account management team, and I want to […]

Roseanne Set To Be Killed Off, As Plans For Spin-Off ‘The Connors’ Revealed
  • Media

Roseanne Set To Be Killed Off, As Plans For Spin-Off ‘The Connors’ Revealed

It appears a Roseanne-free version of Roseanne is set to get the go ahead with producers in the US green lighting plans for a spin-off show to be called The Connors. Roseanne – a revival of the long-running sitcom which ran from 1988 to 1997 – was swiftly axed following a racist tweet by the show’s star, […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Coke Turns Into Fanta In New Campaign To Fight Homophobic Slurs
  • Campaigns

Coke Turns Into Fanta In New Campaign To Fight Homophobic Slurs

As any gay man will tell you, when it comes to insults they’ve probably heard them all- Pillow biter, fairy or sword swallower to name just a few inappropriate ones. However, Coca-Cola in Brazil has turned a common local insult into a strong anti-homophobia campaign. Apparently, “this Coke’s a Fanta” is a common insult to describe gay men […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ikon Communications Appoints Melissa Roberts As Melbourne Agency Director
  • Marketing

Ikon Communications Appoints Melissa Roberts As Melbourne Agency Director

Ikon Communications has appointed Melissa Roberts as agency director, Ikon Melbourne. Roberts will report directly to CEO Lesley Edwards and will take a key position on Ikon’s national leadership team. Edwards said she was delighted Roberts has decided to re-join the Ikon family to lead its burgeoning Melbourne office, as the agency embarks on an […]

HT&E Chairman Tenders Resignation Following Adshel Sale
  • Media

HT&E Chairman Tenders Resignation Following Adshel Sale

Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E) has announced that Peter Cosgrove has tendered his notice to retire as chairman and a director of the company. Cosgrove has been on HT&E’s board for 14 years and chairman of the company for five of those years. The resignation of Cosgrove comes just after oOh!media acquired HT&E’s outdoor media […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cut out letters on keyboard
  • Advertising

Advertisers Should Enrich Australian Culture, Not Fake News Merchants

Australian News Channel CEO, Angelos Frangopoulos, has urged Australian advertisers to carefully consider how their media investments impact Australian society. Applauding the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry, Frangopoulos said its outcome would be “absolutely critical”, not just for Australian media companies, but for Australian culture. “This is about Australian stories being told by Australians,” he said, […]

LinkedIn Launches Local Iteration Of Global #InItTogether Brand Campaign Via Edelman
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

LinkedIn Launches Local Iteration Of Global #InItTogether Brand Campaign Via Edelman

Professional networking platform LinkedIn has unveiled a consumer-targeted social campaign featuring Aussie members expressing their own takes on success. The campaign, titled ‘In It Together’, is based on the insight that the traditional notions of success have changed and is no longer defined by securing a corner office or a promotion. A survey conducted by […]

Weight Watchers Launches First Global  Marketing Campaign
  • Campaigns

Weight Watchers Launches First Global Marketing Campaign

Weight Watchers International has launched its first global marketing campaign that celebrates the liveability of the WW Your Way+TM program and how it’s possible to enjoy the foods, behaviours and occasions tied to the season, while continuing to develop healthy habits. The campaign is part of the company’s “Season of Impact” and marks two firsts […]

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations
  • Media

Daylight Agency Appoints Shelley Hammond As Director Of Agency Operations

The Daylight Agency’s significant growth has continued with the appointment of Shelley Hammond as Director of Agency Operations. Shelley is a leader in the global communications industry and brings vast experience following senior roles in major corporates as well as the agency environment. Shelley will be responsible for the commercial running of Daylight including client retention and […]

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video
  • Technology

Instagram Launches Long-Form Video

Instagram unveils new eye-catching feature. Slicing onions while reading this will also make it eye-watering.

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes
  • Media

Ridley Scott Unveils New Directors Showcase At Cannes

Curated this year by Ridley Scott, famed director of Alien, The Martian and other classics, The New Directors Showcase at Cannes is now in its 28th year. Acting as a platform for talented new directors to have their work premiered to a global audience, Scott took to the stage in front of a full house […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

ANZ, PHD & JCDecaux Harness The Power Of Data

ANZ and media agency PHD have partnered with JCDecaux to launch a unique campaign that harnesses the power of data across three cities incorporating actual tram, train and bus timetable information to align with the new ANZ App.

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video
  • Technology

Report: Consumers Are Hitting Play On Mobile Video

Ooyala survey finds media companies created and processed nearly three times as much video content in Q1 as Media Companies Created & Processed Nearly Three Times As Much Video Content in Q1 2018 vs. Q1 2017.

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.