Creativity and advertising

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Articles

(Written on October 25, 2010)

When we think about advertising the connection with creativity it’s something automatic. Personally I’m persuaded that is possible to be creative also in new fields like Social Media. But what’s the opinion of people who has worked in this market for years, like Steve Close, Vice-President and Creative Director of CommCreative, marketing agency located in Framingham, MA (USA)?

Here follows his article.

Is Creativity Still Relevant In Advertising?
Most people would probably answer yes, but thanks to what’s going on in advertising these days, it may not seem so apparent.
Search engine marketing forces writers to tailor their message to sets of keywords. That’s great for linking an advertiser’s message to a consumer’s need but not so great for pithy, wordsmithed creative.
The explosion of mobile marketing means designing ads that squeeze your high falutin’ concept into a space befitting a fortune cookie.
What about emoticons and app icons? Granted, they’re (literally) a small part of a brand’s marketing but they still have to reflect a campaign’s big idea. How does one squeeze months of creative development into a 16 x 16 pixel space?
Spend a few hours watching TV and you’ll see more and more spots resorting to shock value rather than a solid concept to get their message across.

And let’s not forget the yearly offering of Super Bowl commercials—supposedly the year’s biggest showcase of “creativity.” The typical Super Bowl spot consists of thousands of hours in creative development, millions of dollars in media money and, 48-hours after the game, an eternity of obscurity.
Maybe it was one brand’s aversion to creating the usual big budget-big ho hum Super Bowl spot that they decided to elicit ideas from the general public last year. I don’t remember the spots but the brand did get some earned media coverage because of it.
Which brings me to the question: just what constitutes creativity in advertising these days? Personally, I subscribe to the idea that “it’s not creative unless it sells” (as coined by Al Hampel of Benton & Bowles in the 80s).
But agencies are not supposed to sell anymore, we’re supposed to “involve” people (see above example). Forces like social media and user-generated content are making us take a softer approach to getting the word out for our clients. For some clients, that’s fine, but the majority still want to see some bang for their buck—and usually fast.
In the end, I believe creativity will always be relevant in advertising. Coming up with big ideas is still at the heart of what we do. Executing those ideas memorably is as important as ever. The trick is to make sure the creativity comes through in every aspect of what we do.

If you want to read the original article, click here.


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