Feature

A BIG Awards Promotion: BIG GING Up British - Digital

It's big. And it's clever. It sat by and took a kicking from TV and all its other disruptive cousins for years. But now it's payback time - in more ways than one.

Digital has finally come into its own. It's lost all its zits, straightened its teeth and had a massive growth spurt. And people are noticing. They finally get that it's time to move from interruption to interaction.

Today, digital is often the lead component of a campaign - or at least the one that rings everyone up and gets them round for a drink on Saturday night.

So what exactly is it about our interactive friend that's now so attractive? For one, where else can you get stuff such as layers and clouds? They hover high above, giving you the ability to access information that's personal and relevant to you and in real time, independent of your location.

What about that mobile thingy everyone's still on about? Risking a Bill Murray moment from Groundhog Day, could this really be the year of mobile? Apple and Google seem to think so. Millions of apps and intelligent operating systems are turning smartphones into clever canvases ready to be creatively exploited.

And so the list goes on. IPad: super-cool or superfluous? Mr Jobs has guaranteed the future existence of entire industries through his handy device. He's managed to fit creativity comfortably into the palm of your hand and now it's up to you to populate it. You could say you got the easy bit. So make it memorable, interesting. Make it big.

Facebook, the undisputed king of social media (hope that isn't a PointCast moment years from now), also has big plans. Its Open Graph protocol aims to "connect disparate corners of the web and pull them all together to create a web that's smarter, more social, more personalised and more semantically aware", as the man Mark Zuckerberg puts it. (With quotes like that, you can see why digital was picked on and bullied for so long.)

And how about "smart digital advertising"? Where you create a suite of digital assets of specific messages and visuals which are instantly compiled in real time. These magically appear before your eyes, telling you something that you might just be interested in. This is the era when "context is king", relevance reigns and data should sit comfortably next to your box of Sharpies.

So all this then begs the question: how do you really begin to define "digital creativity"? How do you acknowledge it, or award it? How do you judge usefulness, utility, connection, fun? These things are now as vital as the creative idea, the craft and the design. Today, technology is to advertising what art was to copy.

It feels as if digital has finally broken down that barrier between brands and people. It's told one side to stop patronising and start helping and entertaining. And it's let the other side know that it's OK to let your guard down, relax and start enjoying. Creative lives and breathes in the digital world and constantly needs to be fed by both advertiser and audience.

A while back, some bloke said that we needed "a big bank for a big world". Really? What a big world really needs is big ideas, in all shapes, sizes and flavours. Especially the digital ones, because you can do so much more with them. This is the year of Big Digital, and it's huge.

- For more information and to enter the BIG awards, visit campaignbigawards.com.

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