Ogilvy’s BIG IDEA Checklist Plus

Last night myself and my colleague David Proudlock, joined advertising heroes such as Ogilvy & Mather’s UK chief Hugh Baillie to help judge the Marketing Society Pioneering Spirit Awards, sponsored by Cutty Sark Whisky.

It was suggested to us by the host that we should judge the entries based on David Ogilvy’s checklist for a BIG IDEA (the phrase Ogilvy himself coined):

  1. Does it create a viseral reaction?
  2. Do you feel envy that you didn’t think of it?
  3. Is it unique?
  4. Is it a perfect fit with brand strategy?
  5. Longevity – will it resonate for decades?

However, after the night of drink, discussion and debate I found myself more often than not favouring entries based on some other criteria:

Does it do something purposeful or prompt you to be more sensitive to the way you think about things?

In the wake of the 2011 Japanese disaster, hundreds of thousands of victims were left without access to washed clothing. In what was not an advertising campaign, Ariel stepped in to provide aid until normality in the region resumed. A purpose built laundry centre was installed in the disaster region, and over 6 months washed, dried and folded nearly 5,000 loads of laundry, including 22,000 clothing items

Does it create a chain of experiences that live beyond the initial interaction?

Tesco brought their stores to consumers. “Virtual stores” were introduced into bustling subway stations, where consumers could use smart phones to scan products into their online shopping carts

Does it make you think more people should know about this? (similar to Ogilvy’s here)

When Mars heard that Google were coming to Canada to capture images for the online map service, Google Street View, they took the opportunity to strategically place red M&M’s throughout the city in the hope that they would get snapped by Google’s cameras and etched forever in the online history books. They were successful, and these images served as a platform for the “Find Red” campaign.

A YouTube video invited people to participate in a virtual scavenger hunt. Once the four-week contest began, consumers were tasked with searching out the red M&Ms on the Google Street View map hosted on a contest microsite.

 Does it break the rule book or offer a new marketing format?

To fight the abandonment of Romania national choc bar Rom by the nations youth, it was rebranded Rom as the All American Chocolate Bar. They replaced the Romanian flag on the package with the American one, announced the change through the media and prepared for people’s reaction to it. This ingenious move leveraged “Reactive Patriotism Syndrome” and brought out the Romanian people’s true patriotic ego when challenged by an outsider/foreigner – rejuvenating the target audience and strengthening Rom’s market position.


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