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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2008
CRE ATIVIT Y CREATIVE= I RECENTLY HAD A LIVELY QUARREL with a friend about the merits of creativity in advertising . A log ical and responsible cynic, he vented his fru str ation wi th our in dustr y’s immoderate appetite fo r c reativity, and particularly our much maligned mania for creative awards. “Creativity for creativity’s s ake is Are more creative agencies more effective agencies? Notes from a discourse on the virtues of creativity in advertising by James Hurman, planning director of Colenso BBDO, Auckland (above) who takes both an NZ centric and world view. A timely reminder - with the Australian Effies slated to start in 2009 - that creativity and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. 12 CAM PA I GN B RIE F both futi le and n eglig ent,” he expounded, echoing a scepticism that f ound its way l ong ag o i nto marketing’s common sense. “Clearly!” I agreed. “It’d be fool - ish to suggest that we should g ive precedence to the cr eativity of our work at the cost of its effectiveness. Our responsibilitie s to ou r cl ients are unambiguous.” It was a perfect day for such jubi- lant agreement, t he c louds having been banished now for over a fort- night and the breeze daring only to steal the burn away from the sun. “Yet,” he returned, “we se em al l too often to do just tha t. We con- tinue to pig out on creati vity, dis - tancing ourselves from the sobriety of our clients with our c onspicuous bias toward the artistic and ‘Cannes or bust’ catchcries.” I opened him a bottle of be er and passed it over the patio table. “Well, it’s the secret to success,” I reasoned. “Uncreative advertising simply doesn’t work as well. There’s a distinct correlation b etween cr e- ativity and effectiveness.” “It’s just, uh, kinda tricky to actu- ally prove,” he smirked. “Or is it?” Little did he know that he’d crawled out u pon a f limsy limb. Seren dipitou sly, this dis - cour se was happening j ust da ys aft er I ’d c ompl et ed a piece of research on the topic, and I entered into the aged squab ble with a freshly as sembled set of data per - taining to the creativity and effec - tivenes s o f advert ising a gencies from all over the world. “So,” he inquired, a s a m onarch flittered past, “you think that cr e- atively fundamentalist age ncies a re more effective than those concerned with strategy, with persuasion, with effectiveness itself?” I smiled as I s ipped on a particu- larly agreeable rosé. “Pah! You’ve become f ooled b y your own rhetoric!” While he adjust ed his chair to meet more of the sun I appealed to him to consider the performance of Auckland’s most creative agencies. Colenso BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB and Publicis Mojo ar e wh at you might cal l ‘crea tivel y dri ven’ when compared with th e likes of Og ilvy, JW T, G rey an d Y& R who’ve historically tak en a sof ter line on creativity. “As you’d expect , the agencies with the higher creative ambi tions are also the ones winning the most creative awards. Cam paign B rief magazine’s creative r ankings sh ow Colenso, Saatchis, DDB and Mojo as the top four globally awarded NZ agencies.” “Indeed,” he observed. “And holding true to my defence, they’re also the agencies that have had the most success at the local Effe ctiveness Awards. Based on performance at the last four cere- monies, Colenso, Saatch i’ s and DDB are the three ‘most effective’ age ncie s in New Zealand, wi th Mojo coming in fifth. And together they’ve won seven times as many effectiveness gongs as the not so creative foursome of Ogilvy, JWT, Y&R and Grey.” “A trouncing!” he cried. “Shellacked!” I concurred. “But,” he reproached, “your argu- ment is flawed. Those cre ativ e agencies are also the biggest agen- cies. They have the most chances to produce award winning work, the most chances to produce effective work. Purely by virtue of sc ale they should be at the top of those lists. Your observation proves nothing!” “I agree,” I told him. “We’re an anomaly here in New Zealand. Our biggest agencies are also our best in creative terms, which is unique to us. It’s ha rd to pro ve much in a market so small and idiosyncratic.” Of c ourse, I’d l ooked further a field i n the days past, to the two biggest advertising markets in the world – the UK and USA. Markets big enough to prov ide more robust data and to absorb the anomalies. MAY /JUN E 2 008
July August 2008
March April 2008