Big ideas are timeless. It’s how they engage consumers that sets them apart

old spice - social video manWhat makes a classic campaign? Style, substance, humour…?

Over the last few decades there have been some brilliant campaigns to capture the hearts and minds of the nation. However all too quickly they become dated. What was ‘innovative’ last year is old hat the next and marketers are constantly looking for new techniques and channels to set their brand activity apart.

Although there are plenty more channels to communicate a brand’s message these days, it’s the timeless spark of an idea that ignites the imagination. A spark that eventually elevates the campaign to gold standard status, and becomes mentioned in boardroom meetings the world over.

When I look at these images of a few favourite campaigns, the ‘old’ ones bring a smile to my face along with a passing thought of how ‘simple’ campaigns were back then. Predominantly TV-led, followed swiftly by press and outdoor and perhaps an on-pack to delight the retailers. Email barely existed then, let alone Facebook.

When I look at the ‘new’ ones, the reality of new ways to connect with a faster-paced consumer is overwhelmingly apparent. Gorilla’s total lack of branding kept viewers’ attention until they could figure out who did it…Burger King’s daring strategy to challenge the very channel it was using…Queensland Tourism Board’s search for one employee, generated huge viral response from around the world.

Digital marketing opens up an element of consumer action that goes far beyond sales. A trigger-effect of viral possibility that is hard to predict because basically brand teams aren’t psychic. Just hopeful.

Whatever the idea, era or format it’s got to be engaging. Engagement brings conversation.

Conversation always happened, it’s not just a social media thing. It used to happen a lot more over a cup of tea, in front of the television, on the landline. Different ways, but it did happen otherwise those Classics would not be Classics today.

Good creativity is timeless and innovative in its very nature – taking many routes including round the world and back.

Which one is your favourite?

Melissa Dawson is head of marketing at B STREET London.