Creativity in Advertising Essay

Topic: Creativity in Advertising Outline 1. The Definition of “creativity”. 2. How creativity helps advertising. 3. How to measure it. 4. High levels creativity vs. low levels creativity. 5. Conclusion, my idea. It seems that verybody is talking about creativity today, especially when it comes to advertising. This article discusses the definition of it, and asks how creativity helps advertising, how to measure it, and gives some examples to show what is a high levels creativity and what is a low level creativity.

The Definition First, starts with the definition of “creativity”. So, what is “creativity”? According to Microsoft Encarta (a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation), the word “creativity” simply means “imaginative ability: the ability to use the imagination to develop new and original ideas or things, especially in an artistic context”. But in the field of advertising, according to Jaafar El-Murad and Douglas C. West, Creativity in advertising differs from creativity in the arts mainly in its purpose.

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Advertising creativity must achieve objectives set by others—this is not usually the case in the arts. Creativity in advertising is more about an aspect of problem solving, where the solution to the problem requires insight (e. g. , Simonton, 1999; Stcrnberg and Davidson, 1995). But mostly, “newness” or “originality” is important. Both of them are required but insufficient condition for creativity: the work must also be of value; it should be “appropriate ” (i. e. , useful, adaptive concerning task constraints)” (Stornberg and Lubart, 1999, p. ). This combination of “novelty” and “appropriateness” or “usefulness” has met with idespread acceptance (e. g. , Amabile, 1983; Gruber and Wallace, 1999; Lumsden, 1999; Martindale, 1999; Mumford and Gustafson, 1988; Unsworth, 2001). How creativity helps advertising During a whole advertising campaign, it is important to get positioning, targeting and then media right, but without high-levels creative, you have nothing, because the campaign will not work (Rossiter and Bellman, 2005).

Look at some statistics, for a 10% increase in Adspend over a year, the average ad campaign produces a 1. 4% increase in unit Sales. But with high-levels creativity, the Sales effect can be increased to 3. 9%, which means that high-levels creativity, on a relative basis, is 178% more sales-effective than average-quality creativity and almost certainly will be a big profit generator. (Rossiter and Bellman, 2005). As advertisers all want to gain attention from target consumers and establish their brand preference and hold it as long as possible. A high-levels creativity can do the job.

In 2008, Dahlen, Rosengren and Torn, did some experiments on consumers’ reaction of different level advertisement, the outcome suggests that consumers tend to pay more attention to the brands which has more creative advertisements, and consumers exposed to the more creative advertisements rated the brand’s ability significantly higher than those exposed to the less creative advertisements. And the brand’s perceived smartness, ability to develop valuable products, and ability as a problem solver are all rated higher in response to the more creative advertisements.

Here is a real example, years ago, when I was in university, once me and my friends were watching TV together, suddenly, an extremely creative ad showed up, it’s a Tiger Beer ad describes a man wants the beer so badly but he is so unlucky that every time he tries to approach it, he gets killed by accident, but the tough soul keeps reincarnate again and again until he finally got the beer…… (http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=LYYwaqKYgTo) It was so hilarious that we couldn’t help keeping talk about that for the whole week!

And then, we never have to think about which brand of beer we should choose when asked by waiters or waitress, not Budweiser, not Heineken, always Tiger, Tiger and Tiger. In this case, the creativity not only gained brand preference, but also established our brand loyalty. The measuring of creativity Theoretically, there are three kind of measuring methods for creativity, Psychometric Tests, Expert Opinion and Biometic (Hocevar, 1981). These pure theoretical thing actually doesn’t have much to do with creativity in advertising. We are talking about creativity in advertising here.

In fact, to measure the creativity in advertising is quite tricky. There are many awards for creative advertisement today all over the world, s as a conventional standards of the industry, award-winning seems like the only way to judge an ad is creative or not. Thus, a certain group of people who have reached national or international prominence in their field (the creative award panels) get to decide the creativity level of an ad. Is it not democratic enough? Is the award-winning the only measurement for creativity in advertising?

The answer is not really. As early as 1992, by testing the reaction of target audience, and taking the popularity of the creative product as a proxy for creativity, Bell involved audience into measuring the creativity of ads. This is the early awakening of taking effectiveness into account. According to Stone, Besser, and Lewis’s research, (2000), while 70 percent of the advertising that consumers remembered and liked was categorized as creative by trained judges, 47 percent of strongly disliked advertising was also categorized as creative by the judges.

And in 2001, White and Smith’s research found a similar outcome: the creativity ratings between advertising experts and the general public differed from each other. It is suggested by Kover, James, and Sonner (1997) that less professionalism is needed in the judgments of creativity, as at the end of the day, consumers’ perceptions are what matter. However, in industry, practitioners usually don’t use any formalized systems or techniques specifically for the direct measurement of advertising creativity because ultimately, clients get to judge whether the agency is sufficiently creative to be retained (White and Smith, 2001).

High levels creativity vs. low levels creativity To define a low level creativity, first let’s look at an example: there is a stupid TV commercial of a nurture product that everybody knows in China, in the video, there are a cartoon senior couple dancing and singing “we don’t accept any gift this Chinese new year except for Melatonin (the Branditem)”( http://www. youtube. com/watch? =3zMy1s8tk_Q), the slogan itself doesn’t make any sense, and sounds super stupid, and, moreover, this commercial is a media blast, it’s on almost all the TV and radio channels that makes everyone in China familiar with the brand, everybody knows what “Melatonin” is and everybody hates the ad. The ad is high in effectiveness but still, undoubtedly, a low levels creativity. In this case, by massive exposure, the ad reaches a wide range of audience, consequently, ublic brand acknowledge acquired, and to the people who have the category needs, the first brand pops up in their brain will be “Melatonin”, and, in fact, this advertising campaign did boosted the sales of “Melatonin”, measuring with effectiveness, you can say, it is a very successful advertising campaign. But, although there is a key spirit in the slogan that perfectly meets the local culture, the ad itself is still hated by most of the audience, it’s boring, stupid, annoying, and zero creativity. What a stupid ad, but I still want to buy it as a present to my parents…”many people expressed a negative emotion to the ad. No matter what method used to measure the creativity, it is always a low level creativity. However, what if they got a high level ad from the very beginning? My opinion is, they could have put much money on creating a more creative ad instead of on buying that much media.

What would happen is, there would not be so many people hate the ad, instead, according to the theory discussed above, people tend to love the ads with more creativity, and if the creativity is really on a high level, people would be impressed and remember it from the first exposure, and, more important, brand preference would be established which might lead to future purchase, even though they don’t have the category need at the moment.

So, conclusion is, with a higher level creative ad, they can still get the same or even better effect (people buy it and don’t hate the ad), and, they don’t have to spend that much money on buying the media to annoy people. In contrast, 2001, Shanghai, there was a TV commercial of Reeb beer which had struck a responsive chord in the hearts of all local Shanghai audience, in this commercial, there is a fair-sounding original song “reasons to love Shanghai” with a cinematic montage, and the lyrics of the song describes many must-experienced things for a local Shanghainese in a fast changing Shanghai. ( http://www. youtube. om/watch? v=xMRJctcjxDE) Almost all the local Shanghainese fell in love with the brand from the first exposure. With this commercial, Reeb successfully captured the heart of their target consumers and boosted their sales dramatically. At that time, every young shanghai local were singing that song, and “we are Shanghainese, we drink Reeb” became a kind of “fashion”. And even today, a decade after the launching of that ad, many Shanghai people still remember that ad clearly, and most of them are still able to sing that song. In this case, it is a high level creativity advertising that makes Reeb a favourite local brand.

Another example is the famous Dancing Pope Ad—-A nightclub leaflet showing the late Pope John Paul II holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a blonde woman (as the picture beside) It was distributed to promote a night called Berserk at Club Fire nightclub in Ipswich. But the content of it was highly offensive that it got banned by The Advertising Standards Authority on behalf of angry Poles and Catholics. This crazy piece of creativity made a lethal mistake. Being offensive should be the last thing an advertiser want. So, in this case, no matter how creative the content is, it would always be a low level creativity.

Conclusion Since the very beginning of the advertising industry, creativity has always been a hot topic. Being creative is a necessary but insufficient condition to be an advertising industry practitioner because creativity in advertising differs from creativity in other fields. Advertising creativity must achieve objectives set by others, it’s “limited”. A high level creativity can impress audience immediately and helps advertisers to gain brand preferences and brand loyalty of their target consumers. So in a whole advertising campaign, a high level creativity is quite important.

However, the important advertising creativity is very difficult to measure. Traditional psychometric methods are still in use while advertising industry tends to use expert opinion (award winning) to measure creativity in advertising. However, lately, effectiveness have been take into account. But, the effectiveness of an advertising campaign depends not only on the creativity, there are many other elements such as media strategy, brand positioning, target audience selection, etc which are equally important. (The Melatonin example shows that with a low level creativity, the whole campaign can still be successful if measured with sales)

A high level creativity is considered to be highly impressive, related to the brand, not-too-hard-to-understand, and not offensive. if applied correctly, a high level creativity could be an ace in the hole. References: Dalen M, Rosengren, S & Torn, F 2008 ‘Advertising Creativity Matters’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 48 No. 3, pp. 392-403. Drewniany, B & Jewler, A 2008, Creative Strategy in Advertising, Thomson, Boston. El-Murad, J & Prof West, D 2004, ‘The definition and measurement of creativity: what do we know? ’, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 188-201.

Heath, R, Nairn, A & Bottomley, P 2009, ‘How Effective is Creativity? Emotive Content in TV Advertising Does Not Increase Attention’ Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 450-463. Holman, R & Hecker, S 1983, ‘Advertising Impact: Creative Elements Affecting Brand Saliency’, Current Issues & Research in Advertising, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp157-171. Nyilasy, G & Reid, L 2009, ‘Agency practitioners’ meta-theories of advertising’ International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 639-668. Rossiter, J& Bellman, S 2005, Marketing communication:s theory and applications, Pearson Education Australia, Australia.


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