What is creativity, as defined in 2014? The output of creative agencies has undergone a metamorphosis.
A product, service or staff engagement plan is as likely to emerge as an ad these days.
So when we talk about creativity in agencies, we mean so much more than the ability to come up with moving or witty copy and stunning art direction. But we do still mean these things too.
This is the task for the modern creative agency. To attract, build and nurture a collection of skills that together coalesce into a broader, richer, deeper and more altogether rounded product.
The challenge, then, is how to get marketers to buy this re-engineered product.
Agencies, for the most part, recognise the absolute imperative to morph with the moving times. But if a marketer turns up with a budget and a willingness to buy a version of the 30-second TV spot you created for brand X last year, it’s going to be tough to persuade them that what’s really needed is a cull of the product portfolio, a new online service or an overhaul of customer service and internal communications.
And if the client did realise the need for those things, would a creative agency be the first place they would look to supply them? Probably not.
And then there’s technology. All around us and all-consuming, there’s no way to strip it out from our definition of creativity, or sense in doing so. So what of its impact? Is tech creative now to be deemed the most potent agency output? Or does the rush to build in tech – because we can – sometimes take the shine off the best creative thinking?
How an agency answers those questions is as likely as anything to determine its client appeal. For that, see the following pages.
But there’s no right or wrong answer in creative thinking, as they say. The difference between a good idea and a brilliant (effective) one in advertising is so often down to a serendipitous confluence of people (agency and client), timings and circumstances, most of which are often beyond our control.
There’s no right or wrong answer in our points of view on the following pages either, yet it’s fascinating to see how one person’s creative straitjacket is another’s liberating force.
Suzanne Bidlake is the consultant editor, content solutions, at Campaign
Publicis Groupe is pulling out of all marketing activity for the next 365 days - and won't be entering awards at Cannes next year - as it focuses its resources on developing Marcel, described by chief executive Arthur Sadoun as a ground breaking new platform.
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