What’s more important – Creativity or Effectiveness?

04 Dec,2012


By Ananya Saha


Creativity vs Effectiveness: what is more important for any brand’s advertising? What is the point of the other if only one is more important? Is creativity a means to communicate effectiveness, or a means or gather awards?

MxM India spoke to creative heads and marketers to get their views.


Vivek Srivastava

Vivek Srivastava, Jt. Managing Director, Innocean Worldwide India

This debate is perpetuated by people who wish to create a divide in the business of communication. To my mind creativity has always been evaluated. In the case of art by artists and art connoisseurs, in case of scientific discoveries by scientists and the far-reaching impact around us, and in the case of advertising by its beneficiaries. So it is a rather frivolous way to look at a serious commercial and business building endeavour by saying that creativity and effectiveness are separate perspectives. They are intertwined. One without the other does not and cannot exist. Those who claim otherwise are merely perpetuating shallow myths.


Not just Effies, but Cannes, Emvies or even Goafest, I presume, the endeavour is to reward creativity that causes impact to state it broadly. I guess if we allow ourselves to be driven by aimless scamsters who do one off ads/pieces for merely awards and succeed then we are giving too much credence to a set of renegades. The motto or credo for the business of advertising is one and will be that way forever – It isn’t creative if it doesn’t sell.


Ajay Kakar

Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Aditya Birla Group – Financial Services

If you have creativity for the sake of creativity, them someone someday will ask us to put it at the National Museum of Arts. If we are spending money and so much money as marketers, the only measure should be the creativity that works in the marketplace. And therefore, it works. More and more clients are demanding to know ‘what is their campaign doing in the market’. On one hand, everybody wants effectiveness and on the other, rupee and budget is a scarce commodity and you want every rupee to work. To create work that works is imperative.



Bipin Pandit

Bipin Pandit, COO, The Advertising Club

Effectiveness is supreme. How can one explain the rationale behind making an advertisement if it does not take the brand to the next level? The campaign should be designed or created in a way that it works in the marketplace. Yes, creativity is important but not at the cost of effectiveness.




Bindu Sethi

Bindu Sethi, Chief Strategy Officer, JWT

The effective campaign is based on creative thought. The creativity, however, should stem from the strategy behind the product just like a fire behind the rocket. Creativity is absence of strategy would not work. But creativity can work wonders for the campaign if executed in line with the thought behind the product.



N Rajaram

N Rajaram, CMO, Airtel Centre

It is important that the clients and creative agency sit and work together while devising campaign strategy. The agencies work for creative solutions while brands aim at effectiveness. There can be no mismatch between the two if both the parties work for creative solution for effectiveness.


Anil Dua, Sr VP – Sales and Marketing, Hero Honda

Effectiveness is about result. Effectiveness of a campaign lies in the saliency it delivers. A campaign grows your business and it should be sustainable in the longer run. A campaign, if creatively effective, will be advantageous for your brand and will take your business on higher growth trajectory. Of course, effectiveness is more important for a brand than creativity but creativity is important to attract more consumers.


Satbir Singh

Satbir Singh, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide India

Creative work that is effective works. Advertising exists speak about a product or service, effectively. If you belong to the brand or creative side, you cannot push people to buy your product or prefer your service. Yes, it is about effectiveness but not about boring people. The role of creative, depending on business strategy, is to entice people to prefer a brand’s product or service over another. How creatively can you do it is the question.


Raghav Subramanian

Raghav Subramanian, Founder, The Media Cafe

One cannot do without the other. Effectiveness and creativity, to me, are not different things. Effectiveness is a metric while creativity is a means. Both go together and both fail without each other. It is like asking of the body can work better without the brain or without the heart. Creativity and effectiveness are an essential part of a successful and meaningful campaign.


Prashant Mathur, GM, Contract Advertising

Creativity and effectiveness lead to each other. Unless the message is effective, creativity fails. Effectiveness of a campaign measures creativity. It is important to see how the message is received. Sometimes when agency loses the plot, which happens very rarely, the intent is not to be less effective. It only happens when the intent of a campaign is not clear.


Shiv Sethuraman, CEO TBWA\India

Creativity and Effectiveness – these two words cannot and must not ever be used in opposition. There is no conflict; only complementarity. To ask which is more important is akin to asking, “Would you like a great journey or a great destination?” Obviously both.


Effectiveness is the end. Creativity is the means to that end. If you focus only on the means you may have a lot of fun on the way but there is no telling where you will end up. If the end is your exclusive focus then you might find the ride there uninteresting and (often) more expensive than you’d imagined.


The verdict on this particular case has come in many years ago. You need both. And both together provides better results than either alone. Effectiveness through Creativity is the Holy Grail.


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