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The link between creativity and effectiveness

I read a very interesting article this week describing recent IPA/Thinkbox research that claims to have found a direct link between creativity and effectiveness, citing that ‘…the most creatively awarded advertising is 11 times more efficient at delivering commercial success’ (John Tylee, campaign - 25 June 2010).

As the article discusses, the findings are based on analysis of 175 campaigns, with emphasis on TV and FMCG case studies, and therefore may not be a true reflection of what constitutes effectiveness.

The debate around the role of creativity in marketing effectiveness has rambled on for as long as I can remember.

Wearing my creative hat, I would argue that campaigns, advertising or otherwise, that achieve differentiating stand out from competitor marketing, memorable engagement with audiences, compelling offer/brand positioning and high levels of measurable success, require correspondingly high levels of considered, creative input.

Wearing my strategic planning hat, it is clear that creatively mediocre campaigns can succeed, if enough budget is thrown at them, by creating repetition based message cut through. On one level, provided marketing communication carries a strong singular offer message and clear branding, everything else is gloss. The key phrase here however, is ‘enough budget’.

Surely the answer lies somewhere between the two, with careful planning and creative excellence working well together and with clients and agencies developing open, rewarding and measurable relationships.

Creativity may not be the holy grail of marketing effectiveness, but marketers and agencies risk a great deal if they fail to embrace creative thinking and the undoubted benefits that great creative can deliver.

David Finch | Purple Frog

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