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The Great Idea
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We all hunt for that "Great Idea," the idea that will change the way the consumer masses will look at your product or service. We all crave the "Got Milk?" ideas, or the "1984" ideas or even the "Where's the Beef?" idea. We all to find and build the idea that captures a generation, idea, concept, or narrative.

The late Leo Bogart, a former vice president of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau (NAB), said this about "The Great Idea":

"The Great Idea in advertising is far more than the sum of the recognition scores, the ratings and all the other superficial indicators of its success; it is in the realm of myth, to which measurements cannot apply."

Bogart, who wrote that phrase in his book Strategy in Advertising, believed that The Great Idea cannot be found through science and research. That the idea comes through art and science.

How true.

Bogart wrote that book in 1984. How disappointed he would be to see advertising professionals drool over Big Data, predictive analytic modeling, and digital behavioral tracking in order to get in front of the eyes of specific audiences.

Disappointed, indeed.

It is true that the advertising world is different. There has been a proliferation of media channels in which to send messages. The consumer is smarter. The consumer has more access to information. Today's consumer cannot merely be won by a play on words, a nice picture, or a catchy jingle.

But relying solely on science and analytics isn't going to build a narrative. It is not going to form a connection between the consumer and the brand.

Perhaps we should read more Bogart.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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