The BIG idea

February 25, 2019

Where do BIG ideas come from?

I am going to share some of the “big” ideas that I have developed and produced over the last eight years. I intend to demonstrate that big ideas are not about big budgets. They are about creative thinking.

Sometimes, being very literal and showing the thing that you want to talk about is enough.

For example, audiences often want to see products before they buy them. They want to see what they look like, understand how they work etc. Audiences also enjoy factual stories like case studies and mini-documentaries …

… But what audiences really enjoy are BIG, MEMORABLE, BREATHTAKING ideas!

When you have a £6million advertising budget, I can’t blame John Lewis for going all out on a Christmas advert. However, when your budget is a little bit less it shouldn’t put you off big ideas.

It always starts with a core message.

What core message are you trying to communicate right now?


USDAW was the first professional brief that I worked on with my colleagues Sam and Mike. The core message was about giving agency workers fair job standards. When I dug a little deeper, I discovered that some agency workers within the industry felt like they were being pushed around, treated unfairly and the word “robot” was even used.

The idea came to me! Puppet on a string.

Great marketing ideas often start with identifying the audience and putting yourself in their shoes. What problems and challenges do they face and what does that feel like to them? If you can show that understanding, it can create a very quick bond between you and them.



I promise not all my ideas have string in them but shortly after USDAW I met with a new client from Collabor8online. He described to me a problem that his prospects were having. They needed a project management tool to keep their workflow neat and tidy.

The idea came to me! Tangled.

I filmed everything within a single shot. As the client spoke, objects such as project files were passed across screen. Each one trailed a piece of string and within seconds my client was sat in the middle of a tangled mess. Today (7 years later), I am confident I could do it better but the concept worked! Audiences connected with the message and it was far more interesting than a traditional sit-down interview.



A few years ago I created a series of videos for Team Karting. I must say, the sport and leisure industry is a lot of fun. I proposed a dozen ideas and the client selected his favourites. I was very happy with his choices with the the exception of one idea that he didn’t pick.

I insisted the idea would work but the client wanted to keep with his selection. I produced a video about an egg racing a chicken – guess which one came first? I live streamed a go-karting race between three football mascots (great influencer marketing by the way). I filmed a case study about a talented racer with autism as well as lots of general promotion content. The video series was very successful but I still wanted to do that remaining idea, so I did it anyway.

Every week, Team Karting announced a special offer on Facebook. I needed a way of generating awareness about the offer.

The idea came to me! The Godfather.

… I’m hoping you make the link. I spent only an hour filming the Godfather parody featuring the famous line, “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” It was a very simple setup but one that earned itself over 100k video views. A lot of the client’s Facebook followers tagged their friends in the post.

Pop culture references carry a lot of hidden weight. Our memories and emotions get tied up with films, TV shows, books and characters. Connecting a brand to a pop culture reference can change how an audience feels about that brand. It can also be very funny.



Continuing the theme of pop culture parodies, my next client Doris IT wanted to showcase how they made positive changes within other companies.

The idea came to me! Mary Poppins.

Who doesn’t like Mary Poppins? Most of us have a deep childhood connection with the character. She gets the job done and she does it with elegance and magic. Mary Poppins has the ability to change others in a positive way. It was a good match for Doris IT.



My first meeting with Neil from NJG was about two hours long. I must have asked him a dozen questions, trying to get under the skin of his company and tap into exactly what made it different from competitors. We finally landed on something. Neil said, “I truly believe we go to greater depths of detail that other procurement managers.”

The idea came to me! Deep sea diving.

If you have a USP then use it for your marketing. Tell everyone what makes you different. In Neil’s case, the deeper he went, the more savings he made for his clients.

I have worked in partnership with a number of marketing and social media agencies. Big agencies usually attract bigger budgets. I have directed video campaigns for Sky Bet, Sony Music and Kellogg’s and I won’t deny it is easier when you have budget to hire talent, locations, and fancier cameras. Some briefs do need a lot of money to pull off BUT not all of them do.

Consider what you will gain if you achieve your goal and then come to a decision about what you will invest in order to achieve it. I can appreciate it might feel like a big step but feel free to contact me to discuss some of the methods of tracking video metrics and how best to get a good return with video.

My email is

Thanks for reading!