Things I hear:
“That shower gel ad is great, but it’s only famous in the ad world.
“That VW Force was lovely but it’s got nothing to do with the product”
“Did that Gorilla actually sell any chocolate?”
There’s an all too pervasive assumption in the world of marketing that genuine creativity and commercial returns are uncomfortable bedfellows. Sure, people say, “creativity brings awards and all that, but does nothing for our bottom line.”
Why do these myths pervade the corridors of brands and, let’s be honest, agencies?
I guess in an industry where we analyse everything, test every idea, develop contact strategies and use key performance indicators to measure our output, we often lose sight of the power of creativity. Most marketing degrees teach people how to build brand awareness and how to establish brand metrics (anything that looks like a funnel or a pyramid mostly) and budgets are tied to them, and with that, a brands future.
Since brands pay the bills, agencies join in myth. It’s easier that way. If that’s the relationship that exists between an agency and a client then we are in the business of selling processes rather than ideas.
Which is a problem, because our creativity is something that clients are paying us for.
Creativity gets talked about. Creativity generates fame for a brand. It’s not a rational thing, it’s emotional. Emotions have far more effect on buying behaviour than rational messaging. In fact the rational often gets in the way of selling. We’ve just convinced/engineered ourselves it’s not like that.
My colleague Olle Svensson cited the IPA report from last year titled: “Proved: Creative Advertising = Business Success,” which in a summary sentence; revealed the direct correlation between strong advertising creativity and business success. The study shows that the most creatively-awarded advertising campaigns are 11 times more efficient at delivering business success.
At gyro, we spent a lot of time looking through some of the submissions for the D&AD awards this year. What’s striking when we look at the best work, is that it is transforming businesses from shower gels to opera houses.
We have to wake up to the fact that a powerful creative idea, which at first may seem difficult to understand, probably wouldn’t test well in focus groups, and looks nothing like advertising according to the text books, works. Works so unbelievably well that it moves mountains, transforms brands and businesses, and yes wins awards.
That Gorilla thing that said nothing about Cadburys chocolate? Sixty percent higher ROI than previous campaigns for chocolate.
That shower Gel advert? Sales are up 107 percent.
And even my mum talks about that VW ad.
by Ian Kerrigan
Executive Creative Director, gyro London
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network