So my ears perked up when Gary Vaynerchuk raised an interesting point: social media had become such that a really great product with a really lousy ad campaign will only be marginally affected.
Let's start with what's right about his assertion: there are many products that manage to overcome bad or forgettable ad campaigns. But that doesn't mean creativity is dead. Far from it. To begin with, we need to expand our definition of creativity: a great package design, a well-done retail store are both creative endeavours that help "create" an aura around a brand and the way we feel about it.
But perhaps the most important thing good creative can do is make us feel even better about products we already like. You need not look any further than Apple for proof of how this works.
Good creative also encourages trial. It can't make me like a bad product. But it can get me to look into a new one. And if what I find on Google and Twitter and Amazon and Facebook is universally positive, then that good creative will also increase sales.
So Vaynerchuk is right. Good products don't need advertising. Word of mouth amplified via social media is enough to make them successful even in the face of bad agency-created ads.