Creative & Tech General

Not All Big Ideas Are ‘Lions’ & Other Lessons from 360i’s Cannes Idea Safari

June 29, 2012

Last week at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Adam Kerj, CCO, and Lee Maicon, VP of Strategy at 360i, led a workshop series entitled, Idea Safari: The Hunt for the Mysterious Big Idea.”

The goal of the workshop was to present a framework for marketers and agencies to use while pursuing the elusive Big Idea – a creative concept with the power to fundamentally change the way people perceive your brand AND generate tangible business value as a result. The challenge is that although oftentimes clients and agencies set off looking for a Big Idea, they don’t always have a clear sense of what exactly they’re looking for.

Here are the key lessons from our Big Idea Safari:

  • Coming up with a Big Idea is easy; coming up with the right Big Idea is hard. The advertising world is a much different place than it used to be. Consider the fact that 80 percent of today’s technology didn’t exist five years ago and it isn’t hard to understand why brands are struggling to keep up with consumers. Beyond having a great idea, marketers and agencies are challenged to make sure the idea solves the right problem at the right time in order to succeed in today’s “creative economy.”
  • Strategic Big Ideas require the right framework. There are three ways to ensure that client and agency are in sync when developing an idea: vision, language and tools. ‘Vision,’ means the core principle on which the concept is built. At 360i, this principle is real-time value exchange. ‘Language’ means communicating the objectives in such a way that everyone is hunting for the same prey (more on that below). ‘Tools’ are the things you use to ensure everyone is going off in the same direction (a creative brief is a great example of such a tool).

  • Define your prey. Central to any successful safari is a basic knowledge of what you’re looking for. Big Ideas can come in all shapes and sizes. In this particular safari, the different types of prey we seek are: Elephants (transformative business ideas), Lions (campaign ideas), Gorillas (activation platforms or series of tactics), and Chameleons (tactics big or small).
  • Sometimes the biggest ideas are tactics. As part of the workshop, we challenged teams of attendees to embark on their own Idea Safaris. Our goal was to move from the first workshop on the first day of Cannes to the most shared workshop during the first day of the conference. Taking home the glory – and a cool 400 Euro tab at the famed Gutter Bar – was a team that brought to life a tactical idea (Chameleon) that demonstrated a creative approach and met the objectives of the brief.


The goal of the Idea Safari is to present a universally applicable model for generating creative work that actually works (i.e. it meets tangible business objectives). Coming up with a Big Idea is easy – but the true mark of a successful idea is not in its form or size, but rather its ability to solve the right problem at the right time.

Thanks to everyone who attended in Cannes. We will see you next year!