(This article was first published on The TBBE Blog.)
Often, also called ‘concept’. While I like the word ‘idea’ a lot more (primarily because it’s more basic, and at the same time, encompasses a lot more), both words define what great advertising is all about.
I say ‘great advertising’ because all advertising isn’t about the idea or the concept. Most advertising ends up being about just a couple of words making a headline or some pretty pictures used as graphics. The idea is what separates the good from the just-about-okay.
But what makes any kind of branding or advertising message great is the brilliant idea behind it. There might not always be a woman behind every successful man, but there’s definitely an idea behind every successful ad. But mind you, just a great idea isn’t ever enough; the idea needs to be executed brilliantly as well.
Ask yourself about your favourite ads, or think about the ones you remember off the top of your head. All of them would have been centred on a brilliant idea, which would have been executed equally brilliantly. Allow me to elaborate with the example of the Vodafone Pug ad. The idea was to show a dog being omnipresent with a person, which would imply that wherever you go, the company’s network would be there for you. By itself, the idea is great, but would it have been brilliant if it wasn’t executed so well? Probably not. I am sure the ad wouldn’t have the same appeal if a run-of-the-mill Pomeranian was following a dull teenager. It had to be a relatively unknown breed following a cute, enthusiastic kid. The execution made a good idea great. But without the idea, there wouldn’t have been anything at all.
Like David Ogilvy said, “We (ad agency) are paid to provide ideas, and then window dress them accordingly.” No one could have put it better.