Idea of the Year 2012

Another year comes…another year goes! Back in 2011 I had an initiated an idea for the blog. To cover the defining moments of each year across three areas: Ideas (creativity pertaining to advertising or marketing in general), Incito Mentis - Idea of the Year 2012Insight (discovery around a culture, segment or simply human behavior) and Technology (something that can impact our life – anything from a device, a conceptual innovation or a new way of doing things). Why these three areas? Because this is what I love to do! My world and my work revolves around them and that is why they form the core purpose of this blog. To inspire your mind (i.e. Incito Mentis) with anything related to ideas, insight and technology!

However, I must confess. I didn’t too well! Back in 2011 I wrote only one post out of the three, covering just the insight of the year! This year again I am going to write about just one category as well – the idea of the year! But what an idea have I got for you…

Before I share the winning idea I must say that the selected idea is based purely on my opinion. I am no authority. There is no Cannes jury here backing this selection. Just these three criteria that I came up with:

Content vs. Messages

The era of messages is long over! People don’t care about advertising anymore! They never did! But now they have greater choice and greater control to avoid these messages. More importantly, 360° bombardment of advertising just doesn’t work! It is simply white noise – ineffective and ignored! The dynamics of media have changed. Interactive media gives viewers greater control about they are going to watch. They need to be engaged. Instead of messages, brands need to create content. With about 11% of the world watching YouTube every month (i.e. 800 million unique users per month) it will become the most popular TV channel in the world if it hasn’t already! This is not to say that video content is the only type of content that can be or should be created but the winning idea certainly gets this right!

Emotional vs. Rational

I think Daniel Kahneman proved this about 10 years ago through his seminal piece on Behavioral Economics that we are largely irrational creatures who base 95% of our decisions using our Emotional Brain (i.e. the right side of our brain). Unfortunately the profoundness of this discovery is largely not understood in the marketing and business world till today, although it is changing in some parts of the world (especially in the Scandinavian countries for some reason! I hope to look into that in a future post). The implication is simple. Rational messaging will not change our behavior. As a marketer the purpose of all communication is to drive action, to get people to choose our product over another and that is not going to happen if the emotional brain is not engaged! This is another criteria that the winning idea lives up to! It is largely emotional and coming from a bank brand, it is a welcome change from the typical functional messages or cliched emotional messages seen in financial sector communications.

Real-Time vs. Planned

This criteria is the game changer. Many marketers have evolved from messaging to content. Take Skittles, Nike, Old Spice to name a few. At the same time and going hand in hand is the use of emotionally driven creativity. This too is also something we are seeing many brands incorporate in their communications. But are all those ideas real-time. Do they have to be? Definitely not. But real-time brings with it a whole new level of engagement and surprise that is big on impact. Really big! Why? Because real-time ideas are “disruptive” in their approach. They usually go beyond conventional use of media and sometimes create their own media unique to that context. A good example is the “Response” campaign by Old Spice which involved taking people’s tweets, updates and comments in real-time and crafting a creative response in a very short span. The key to such ideas is social listening, crafting an engagement based on what is heard and executing it at the spur of the moment.  The winning idea is not “real-time” from a digital context but it is clearly a personalized engagement created in an “instant”!

What is the big idea for 2012 then? Without further deliberations I present the award for the Incito Mentis “Idea of the Year 2012” to National Australia Bank (NAB) for “Honesty should not go unrewarded”. WOW! is all I can say. Watch the video below to see what the hype is all about.


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