Define: Big Idea in Advertising

Big ideas are fresh and provoking ideas that hold a viewer’s attention.

They stimulate the mind and–many times–stir the emotions. Big ideas are simple and easy to understand. They are not lists of benefits.

See also: Thought experiment: What is marketing?

In 1983 Ogilvy wrote, “I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.” It’s still true today.

These campaigns have big ideas:


Big ideas are new ways of looking at old concepts. They redefine how we think about the world and ourselves. For example, Malcom Gladwell’s concept of The Tipping Point is a big idea.

Here are some other thoughts around big ideas:

What are your favorite big ideas? Please feel free to leave a comment with a link to the ad or jot down your thoughts on the ‘definition of a big idea.’