CREATIVE DIRECTOR TBWA
To argue ’creativity’ versus ’hard sell’ is to miss the point. The real
issue is why the mightiest bulk of advertising out there falls under the
Why do I see no lengthy diatribes about the appalling dominance of
Probably because people find the work in question difficult to
It troubles no-one: the ASA, the client, the right-hand side of the
public’s brain, the creative teams’ careers or the sales figures. It
just sits there. Not getting noticed. That’s the real disgrace.
It has been proved a million times over that the most ’creative’ work
’sells’. Where would Haagen-Dazs, Tango, Orange, fcuk, Levi’s and
Guinness be without ’creative’ advertising?
Shite advertising is great as well. It sells stuff. Bounty kitchen roll
is a fine product and Sunny Delight is out of control. No-one talks
about mediocre ads, products or people. If you can describe the ad
without mentioning the brand, it has failed.
Yes, we sell, above anything else. But we also try in so doing not to
insult people’s intelligence or send them to sleep. Unless we’re selling
Nytol, of course.
Does creativity get in the way of a good sell? Never. But mediocrity
does, every single day.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE ASDA
There should be a joint responsibility between the client and the agency
to be custodians of the brand. Advertising can’t be effective unless you
have a great idea. But above all advertising should drive the bottom
I believe that advertising should be compelling rather than
It should encapsulate what the brand and the product stands for, and the
promises it makes should be easy to fulfil. Delivering on your
advertising promise is more important than how the message is
Advertising should be simple, as simplicity equals divinity. Asda’s
advertising conveys a clear message about value, presented in a
compelling way using Asda colleagues. This is important as our
colleagues’ image and attitude is central to our business, more so than
Our ads are not creative. Creativity for creativity’s sake risks the
life of the brand as it takes attention away from the idea.
Consistency is also key. Consistently bad advertising is often better
than inconsistently good advertising. What matters is what happens to
the brand. I hope we never win awards for creativity. I’m not interested
in winning an advertising beauty contest that declares we’re king or
queen of the pigs.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE THE HENLEY CENTRE
The amount of background noise going on in the world around our
consumers means it’s imperative to standout from the crowd. But standout
alone is not enough, it just ends up with everyone shouting all at once
Creativity really captures attention when it rewards the time consumers
have spent watching, reading or listening. If you want my attention then
you can at least pay for it with some creativity.
Advertising is rarely fortunate enough to coincide with the moment a
decision needs to be made. More often ads confirm what we already want
to believe (positive or negative).
One function of creativity is to make the advertising live in the memory
so that something remains when the consumer needs help with
I also believe that we have an environmental responsibility. Advertising
is commerce conducted not merely in the full gaze of the public, but
indeed for the full gaze of the public. We rightly criticise
architecture that is purely functional and does not enhance public
spaces - advertising should face the same scrutiny. If we continue to
pump out environmentally hazardous visual and noise pollution then we
can expect to face more demands for advertising to be restricted.
CHAIRMAN HHCL & PARTNERS/IPA PRESIDENT
I would describe creativity in advertising as an idea or device that
causes a target audience to sit up, take notice of, remember and act on
a commercial message.
Sit up and take notice because it is far too easy to be ignored and if
your message is ignored, it is a total waste of money.
I believe passionately that having something ’unusual’ in an ad,
something innovative, something different, is a mighty aid to
effectiveness because people sit up and take notice.
A creative idea should be ’memorable’. Memorability equals cost
You can get through to an audience with the ’chinese water torture’
approach - repetition until they submit - but that’s an expensive way of
My definition also requires people to ’act on’ the message, this is
where the client and agency account planners come in. Most of the ads we
deride as crap or self-indulgent are not the fault of the creatives, but
of the lack of a competitive strategy.
My final point is about the definition of ’effectiveness’. Leo Burnett
has conducted a study of Cannes award-winning TV ads over the last ten
years (one definition of ’creativity’) and found that around 90 per cent
had contributed to significant net sales increases (one definition of