What’s more important? Creativity or Effectiveness? Or both?

16 Dec,2011


By Shubhangi Mehta


[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6dEI6D_rcI[/youtube]

Regardless of how ‘simple’ the end product may seem, creating advertisements for a brand has never been child’s play. It’s a task which only a creative mind can understand. And the complexities have grown over the years. When we spoke about campaigns 20 years ago, expectations were not as high as they are today.


Today, it is the age of numerous and congregating media. While advertisers have many opportunities to reach to their desired audiences, the muddle can cause them to lose out. A beautifully executed campaign may not make its audience reach for their wallets, while an average one, creatively speaking, may end up garnering better results.


What is the most important element, then, for the campaign of today? Is it creativity? Or effectiveness? Or a magic mix of both?


MxMIndia posed the question to practitioners – people who create the campaign and people for whom the campaign is created.


[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odmcmnWjK10&feature=fvst[/youtube]

Abhijit Avasthi, NCD, Ogilvy&Mather, said, “We only believe in creating effective communication. According to me people who separate the two cannot be called creative. If we look at the past 3-4 years’ trend, most of the campaigns that win at the Abbys are the ones winning at the Effies as well. A brand communication is complete only when it is an effective creative.”


According to Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Group – Financial Services, “What is the use of a knife that does not cut, or a gun that cannot fire? Similarly there is no use for a creative which isn’t effective. Such a creative work is only meant for Jehangir Art Gallery and not product promotion. According to me each and every creative needs to be effective and only then does it fulfil its very purpose”.


The IPA/Gunn Report published in June 2011 examines the link between creativity and effectiveness. The original 2010 report had analyzed 257 campaigns over a period of ten years (1998-2008). The 2011 version of the report has been expanded to examine 435 campaigns over 16 years, from 1994 to 2010. The main aim of the report was to examine both effectiveness (a campaign’s ability to drive business like sales, profit and loyalty) and its efficiency for campaigns that have been awarded for their creativity and those that have not been.


Some of the findings of the report include: creatively-awarded campaigns were seven times more efficient than non-awarded ones; between 2003 and 2010 creatively-awarded campaigns were 12 times more efficient; there is a pronounced time trend – creatively awarded campaigns are becoming more efficient over time, while non-awarded campaigns are becoming less so; the much greater ‘buzz’ effects of creatively-awarded campaigns appears to be why they are becoming more effective: in the multichannel world creativity is becoming more closely associated with buzz, leaving non-awarded campaigns struggling.


Agnello Dias of Taproot said, “It is effectiveness that plays a key role. If the effectiveness is backed by a great creative it’s icing on the cake but if a particular campaign is effective for a brand then even mediocre creative can be accepted”.


KV (Pops) Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett India, said, “One cannot really separate creativity and effectiveness in a brand communication. Both of them are two sides of the same coin. If one of these two elements is missing then it does not fulfil the purpose of an advertisement for a brand. There has to be an insight, entertainment, cut-through idea and it must break barriers. Hence it is impossible to choose between creativity and effectiveness. A creative is created for effectiveness of the brand.”


Abraham Alapatt, Head – Brand & Corporate Communication at Future Generali India, said, “Neither the client nor the ad agency, have the luxury any longer, to choose one over the other. Given the growing media clutter, it is now more critical than ever to be creative and different to stand out and get noticed by customer prospects. I qualify ‘creative’ by using a phrase used by the Effie organizers – creative ‘work that works’ for real customers, in the marketplace. So put differently, both clients who are facing increasing competition, media clutter and tight budgets and agencies that are operating with these client constraints are now being called on to deliver marketing communication (which I don’t call advertising) that actively amplifies, complements and makes a tangible difference to the client’s pre-determined marketing efforts”.


The debate may well rage on, but the market reality is that effective communication is the child of a creative mind. Both creativity and effectiveness are, thus, essential when creating communication for a brand.

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