Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

The Top 5 Big Ideas of 2016

Published in Nov-Dec 2016

From Aurora's 'Top 5ives – 10 Pros in Top 5 Mode' Series.

1. Google-DeepMind AlphaGo

This year, Cannes awarded several Grand Prix to ideas that are only just beginning. Instead of being a retrospective celebration, the Innovation Grand Prix went to Google DeepMind for AlphaGo. This is an idea that anticipates a flood of innovations yet to come. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to transform our world, let alone how advertising works. AI, machine learning, neural networks, call it what you will, technology is about to anticipate your every need and answer your questions before you have even asked them.

2. Google Daydream

If AI is probably the biggest single idea of the moment, virtual reality is close behind. The New York Times mailed 1.3 million Google cardboards to its subscribers, instantly transforming itself from a print business into a content platform. You no longer read the paper, you experience its stories in 3D video. And that provides both great opportunities and challenges for advertisers, who are beginning to look for ways they can use technology to engage more profoundly with their customers. With Google Daydream recently launched, immersive 3D through your phone is now available at relatively low cost to everyone. There are already around a million 3D videos on YouTube. Soon there will be 10 times that number.

3. Google-Levis Project Jacquard

The third big idea is wearable. Google has teamed up with Levis to create a jacket with yarn that is conductive. The result, Project Jacquard, also won a Grand Prix at Cannes (for Product Design). You can now have a computer the size of a button, which will give you directions, provide you with music and keep you connected when you are on the go. The applications are going to be so much more practical than just allowing you to browse through Spotify while on the bus. Clothing that reports back to your phone and to your doctor about what you are doing too much of and too little of is already here.

4. Google Assistant

Other big ideas. Siri, Alex and Google Assistant. These are bots that listen to you and respond instantly. There are already some amazing experiments with bots. Eugenia Kuyda has recreated her friend Roman Mazurenko, who was knocked down and killed by a speeding car in Moscow. Now you can go online and chat with him at

5. Netflix commercial

Lastly, as the world watched the American Presidential contest with dismay, alarm and disbelief, Netflix ran a TV commercial in between one of the debates. It featured Frank Underwood, fictional politician from the hit TV series House of Cards, spoofing the candidates’ advertising. You know what? If he was running, he’d win.

Patrick Collister is a creative director in The ZOO at Google. He is also the editor of Directory (