Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Nov-Dec 2018

Top 5 Big Ideas of 2018

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

1.‘Digital’ v ‘traditional’ become meaningless ways to define media (and none too soon)

The idea was: new digital media = good/accountable ’for the modern marketer’ and traditional media = old-fashioned, not so easily measured and only for ‘dinosaur marketers’. This distinction is dissolving as two things become evident. First, most media are now digital and ii) effective campaigns tend to be integrations of at least four media: ‘new and traditional’ and not: ‘new or traditional.’


2. OMO (online merges with offline)

Enabled by i) rapid smartphone uptake ii) frictionless payment systems iii) cheaper and better sensors, iv) advances in AI. For example, commuters have leapt onto smart bikes that are reshaping rush hour in China. To sign up to ride, you make a digital payment through your phone and the bike’s smart lock automatically opens.


3. Increasing techo-phobia and anti-big-tech sentiment

Yuval Noah Harrari (in his latest book 21 lessons for the 21st century) predicts that a combination of machine-learning and biotech-enhanced human performance will lead to i) more power to big tech ii) better lives for the super rich iii) rapid change iv) unpredictable outcomes. Humans are made anxious by rapid change and there will be a backlash against it with a clamour for control by clipping the wings of big tech.


4. Vegetarianism (and veganism) will increase

When Jamie Oliver has 131 vegan recipes on his website, you know a trend in food is happening. It is healthier, cheaper and better for the environment; three big drivers of change by any standard.


5. A climate change ‘big event/disaster’

This is my candidate for what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls “a black swan” – an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected that would be extremely difficult to predict. Black swans come along from time to time (think 9/11 and the Twin Towers) and can completely change public discourse, politics and of course, where people can live – with dramatic and even dire consequences.


Julian Saunders was Strategy Director, Ogilvy and Head of Strategy, McCann Erickson.