Should it?

We like to think it pays an agency to be imaginative and unorthodox not only in hiring, but also in thinking. (There’s no animal as miserable as an unstimulated creative).

Does creativity make people buy what you’re selling?

Are creative ads more effective in inspiring people to buy products than ads that simply catalogue product attributes or benefits?

A study conducted in Germany of 437 TV advertising campaigns for 90 fast-moving consumer goods brands prove that yes, overall, more-creative campaigns are more effective—considerably so. However, the study also found that “certain dimensions of creativity are more effective than others in influencing purchasing behaviour” – and that many companies focus on the wrong dimensions in their campaigns.

In the early 2000s, Indiana University communications researcher Robert Smith redefined the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) dimensions of creativity to include the following executional elements: Originality, Flexibility, Elaboration, Synthesis and Artistic Value. Testing these dimensions against purchasing behaviour, it became clear that different elements resonated with different consumers depending on the product and its target market.

Reasons why divergent creatives needs a convergent creative director

The days are mostly gone when client budget can be used to create big-spend advertising designed to win the Creative Director and copywriter an award.

Chris Moerdyk, marketing analyst and all-round advertising pundit, put it this way:  “Great ads (in South Africa) were a dime a dozen. They were dinner table talking points. South Africa won relatively more international advertising awards than any other nation on earth.

“Unfortunately, however, those who hold the purse strings, the clients, are becoming less and less inclined to empower their agencies to do what is best, preferring rather, a low-profile, conservative approach that won’t get marketing and ad managers, brand and product managers into trouble with their boards.”

But does a greater quest for results-orientated advertising really have to put creativity on a back foot?

Not if you do your homework and find out exactly which dimension of creativity (as per Smith and colleagues) will resonate with which target market. Today creativity can be redefined as divergent thinking—namely, the ability to find unusual and nonobvious solutions to a problem. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner and unexpected connections are drawn. However, and all important, creativity needs to be strategic, and it needs to reflect the cultural preferences and triggers of consumers in different geographic markets with the aim to increase the effectiveness of our creative ads and thereby ensuring smarter investments for our clients.

This is why both before and after the divergent thinking process, Different, Novel, Unusual, Original and Unique ideas and information are strategically organized and structured, requiring a creative director to put on his strategist beanie to ensure his creatives’ thinking are constructive and aimed at solving challenges by designing a way forward to the benefit of our clients.

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