Here’s a chicken-and-egg conundrum just for communicators: Which takes precedence, the media mix or the creative concept?
Here are two ways to attack the question:
- We want one big idea that works across all media.
- While maintaining our underlying message, we want multiple ideas that each fully leverage their intended medium.
Marketers usually assume the idea should transcend media. What works on TV ought to be able to work in print – and if it doesn’t, it must not be a big enough idea.
But with so many new alternatives to choose from, this assumption is being challenged. While marketers still tend to go for the creative concept first and then shoehorn the idea into new media, a better approach may be to understand technology and figure out how it relates to your campaign goals.
An example is the Mercedes Benz campaign that allowed people in a Berlin subway station to open the doors of a virtual minivan using their own car keys. When the doors “opened” all kinds of crazy people and things emerged – showing just how big this minivan is.
The danger of this approach is that it could easily lead to the “shiny object” syndrome that sends so many marketers running down blind alleys, chasing buzz that can’t scale over the long run.
As marketers, we need to think far more critically about whether our ideas work in every medium we have chosen to use. And we need to understand the potential of new technology to enhance our campaigns.