What it says on the tin
Sometimes the easy questions can be the hardest. Like what does a planner do? And, another one I thought of the other day, what is the point of creativity. We take it for granted that the advertising we create should be creative, so much so that we may be hard pressed to answer this question. Which is why I’ll give it a go. There are a few reasons I can think of:
Standing out – Creativity implies an element of originality and something we haven’t seen before. Creative ads grab our attention and stand out from the other three thousand odd messages that compete for our attention every day.
Differentiation – Creativity makes the brand different from the others in the category. If it is not different it is bland, and thus not creative. Differentiation means efficient positioning in the market place by considering the key drivers in the competitive landscape in order to reach the most beneficial target market, both with regards to size and demo/psycho-graphics.
Connecting – Creativity is necessary to create a personality and attitude for the brand, one which is interesting and unique and which people can identify and engage with.
So creativity is crucial on the macro, category and individual levels. Ads, and by extension, brands, that are bland and boring will remain unnoticed and not perceived as relevant by the target audience.
Creativity, of course, has to have a purpose, and it can be as much a feature of the strategy as of the execution. A couple of years ago Tontine pillows created expiration dates for pillows based on research that said pillows should be changed more often for health reasons. The creativity was in the strategy; by combining research with the concept of expiry date, known from food, a great strategy was born. When the strategy is creative, the executions can sometimes be very straight forward. All that was necessary in this case was to inform people about the health hazards of old pillow and that Tontine come with expiration dates.
The danger of this, however, is that the ads go unnoticed. Other times, when the strategy is straight forward, creativity in executions is crucial to achieve the objectives; this is particularly the case when attempting to inject the brand with personality and attitude. However, without a purpose, the ad feels inauthentic and in best case becomes 30 secs of forgettable entertainment. Such as this ad:
Arguably boosting inspiration is the purpose, but this is neither credible nor based on any substance; the real purpose, I believe, is to be in with da kidz. I don’t think being weird for the sake of it is a sustainable strategy, although, granted, chocolates aren’r the easiest to differentiate or create engagement for!