Is short-term thinking killing creativity?

8 months ago


As reported in Marketing Week recently, a new report from Peter Field that analysed the IPA databank has found creatively-awarded campaigns are now the least effective they have been in 24 years and no more effective than non-awarded campaigns.

“Historically, creativity has been the single most important tool we can harness to boost effectiveness,” says the report.

“The evidence of this link has been very strong, with enormous effectiveness multipliers evident for the most creative campaigns.

So it really matters that this link is now critically weakened and perhaps broken.”

To explore this topic, Marketing Magazine sat down with Rafiq Ridzwan, Partner / Engagement Director at Storyteller Bangkok, for his take on the issue.

Creativity is at heart of everything.

“For me, creativity needs to go hand in hand with effectiveness, so I was not surprised with the results of the study,” Ridzwan said.

He is adamant that creativity is still needed more than ever, but he does believe that awards shows like Cannes probably need to evolve their judging criteria to keep up with the times.

Ridzwan is a firm believer in creating campaigns for clients that also focus on solving business problems and formulating solutions that create maximum bang for the client’s buck.

“We all want creativity that is also effective, and these days the world is moving so fast, with consumers already ahead of the curve, and marketers struggling to keep up,” he explained.

Ridzwan cites an example of what Storyteller Bangkok did for their client, Johnnie Walker with the ‘Taste of Black’ campaign, and how they managed to circumvent local censorship laws to create a campaign that was creative yet efficient too.

“When I see reports like this, it’s not the end of the world, I think award shows also have outdated judging criteria that is not really evolving with the times as well,” he added.

He likens the situation to a cyclical situation. “Life is like a cycle sometimes, you hit a roadblock, evolve, and get moving again, it’s almost like a cycle of fashion,” he said.

Ridzwan does feel very strongly that creativity is at the heart of everything in advertising.

But his latest journey at Storyteller is also about harnessing the wonders of data and engagement strategies too.

“That’s where it’s at, it drives the heart of our business, and it’s also pushing everyone towards creative solutions,” he concluded.

In a lot of ways, the study by Field about the decline in creative effectiveness will go a long way in weakening the support for creativity among general management.

When it comes to budget cuts, a lot of money spent on creativity will become ‘non working’ budget and will be culled.

Field does suggest that creative award shows and judges need to stop awarding campaigns that only pursue short-term goals, and perhaps awards shows should differentiate between short-term and long-term creativity.

Ultimately, the importance of ideas that build brands over time should always be at the forefront for marketers.

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