Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Nov-Dec 2017

Top 5 Big Ideas of 2017

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

1. Editorial integrity

The year 2017 has been dreadful for both. Facebook tried to maintain the fiction that it was ‘just a platform, not a publisher’ – and allowed Russians to plant fake news during the US elections, while a bunch of other people, in locations anywhere in the world, set up banks of spoof accounts to retweet, and generally fan the flames. There has to be a backlash against this. ‘Alternative facts’ (lies) are not the equivalent of ‘facts’ (what really happened). Traditional media brands will reassert the importance of old-fashioned journalistic values.

2. Cyber security

Individuals, companies and governments; the demand is growing as increasingly ‘things’ – from driverless cars to pacemakers to local transport systems – will be connected to the Cloud. This means many more points of vulnerability and weak links that can be exploited by bad actors.

3. Augmented Intelligence

Books/articles suggesting that we are all about to be thrown out of work by AI will continue to be published. This kind of ‘endism’ among pundits always accompanies the arrival of a new technology. What will emerge, however, is a more mature realisation that AI is a useful tool that supports human endeavour, especially in healthcare. This is Augmented Intelligence.

4. Programmatic media buying

This will continue to grow as brand owners will buy its promise of increased response/reduced costs – it will also be heavily marketed by well-funded providers such as Facebook and Google. This will be tempered by the realisation that programmatic is less smart than it claims to be and that customers will feel that they are being pursued across the internet with direct response-type messages.

5. Going off-grid

The speed and pervasiveness of technology and communications in our lives will continue to provoke a desire to escape, to turn it off, and go ‘off-grid’. We will also find out just how difficult it is to do.

Julian Saunders was Strategy Director, Ogilvy and Head of Strategy, McCann Erickson. He has worked on behaviour change campaigns for the UK Government and on innovation in The Zoo at Google. He blogs at