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Creativity makes financial sense

The cynics amongst you may believe that TV advertising is an easy game. How hard can 30-seconds be compared to a tautly plotted half hour? And that’s 30-seconds on a production budget that many a drama would drool over.

And yes, it is true that, rock bottom, if you put a brand name in an ad break that reaches the right audience demographic, you’ve met the fundamental requirements of advertising: to tell the right people that your brand exists.

It’s a comforting thought in these troubled economic times, when there’s a lingering, niggling feeling (particularly amongst risk-averse, recession-hit advertisers) that dazzling creativity is a bit of an indulgence. Maybe simply telling the right people that their brand exists – just doing the fundamental stuff -- is actually good enough, and bugger all those lavish location shots, expensive celebrities and days and days of post-production polishing.

Now this sort of thinking isn’t good for the advertising industry, the production industry or for TV audiences. It makes for a boring viewing experience (in the ad breaks, at least) and it makes advertising and production dull industries to work for. But, finally, thankfully, there’s proof that the more creative an ad is, the more product it’s likely to sell.

According to a new study by the IPA and TV marketing body Thinkbox, ads that win awards are at least 11 times more efficient and effective. And since TV ads are much more likely to win lots of creative awards than ads in other media, we can conclude (if we want to, which of course we do if we work in TV) that TV ads have a better chance of hitting the right creative buttons and therefore a better chance of actually selling the stuff they're promoting.

It's all about fame, you see. The sort of advertising that eschews great creativity might achieve the fundamentals of awareness, but it’s the ads that tell a story, that entertain, that make us laugh, that generate buzz and fame. These are the ads that really work. What a relief for anyone who believes in the power of creativity and the power of an engaged TV audience. Now there’s a wodge of statistical evidence to wave in front of cautious advertisers to prove that brilliant creativity is an investment, not a cost – and one that will more than pay for itself.

Posted 14 July 2010 by Claire Beale
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