Why Creativity is Not Enough
Your eyes fall on a word…try not reading it. Try not reacting to a compelling image. It is quite literally impossible. In a time when mass media has given way to the media of the masses, content is ubiquitous. With so many voices competing for attention, content is not king; the ability to get attention is, and the power behind the throne is the skillful execution of strategic creativity. The best brand messages are at once bold and subtle, so that they effectively capture human attention and then hold it.
Today’s brand communications must be densely packed with meaning and capable of producing immediate emotional impact. “A brand or advertising proposition is the densest possible articulation of an idea,” wrote marketer and author Faris Yakob, “the work of a planner who has compressed everything necessary down to the smallest possible space.” He also rightly wrote that, “Advertising agencies are not [just]in the business of making cool stuff, they are in the business of making money for clients, using creativity.”
David Ogilvy, one of the original “Mad Men” of advertising, once called “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry” by Time magazine, created some of the most iconic and successful ad campaigns of all time. He was (like me) a Creative Director and Copywriter. Ogilvy said that, “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can sell what you create.”
Beyond getting attention, brilliant creativity must be mindfully planned to produce tangible returns. Skillfully-written copy is the crux of truly creative brand development and advertising: compelling headlines, strategically witty ad content, website copy that captures and holds attention; scripts and voiceovers for video, podcast and radio. Paired with strategic creativity, execution of professional design and experienced media placement, great copy is the foundation of exceptional brand communications.
“Advertising is a business of words,” said Ogilvy, but unfortunately, “advertising agencies are infested with men and women who cannot write. They cannot write advertisements, and they cannot write plans. They are helpless as deaf mutes on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.”
It is not enough to know advertising media, where to place your ads, or even to produce creative work; your ads must resonate at a level that grabs attention, creates an indelible emotional impact, and ultimately leads people to change their behavior. “Bad advertising can unsell a product,” said Ogilvy…but that is a story for another day and another article.
Kelly Walker, MS is brand development and advertising specialist, senior copywriter and creative director. Over the past decade and a half, he has created award-winning, strategically-creative campaigns that have grown scores of companies. www.resonantagency.com