Friday, October 22, 2010

Are Metrics Killing Creativity In Advertising?

That’s the question that is supposed to be answered next Tuesday in San Francisco as four panelists hash out the roles of metrics and creativity in advertising. This “event” is being put on by the San Francisco Ad Club.

The way I see it, they're missing point. The fact is, it’s no longer about metrics versus creativity. Metrics are creativity. Metrics are media. Today, everything can be reduced to data and/or metrics.

This isn’t good or bad. It just is.

Data means that everything is, or soon will be, accountable. As we said in a recent post, if accountability is inevitable, then the goal is to make the inevitable, invaluable.

Creative agencies need to understand this. They don't want to, but they need to. Your work will be reduced to numbers. Does this mean creativity dies?

Just the opposite.

Let me ask the creative guys this. What's the difference between a good ad and a bad ad? While everyone has a different answer for this, especially when the scotch starts flowing, the one I’ve always liked best is the one Hal Riney told me.

According to Hal, a good ad is an ad that people want to see more of. A bad ad is an ad that people want to see less of.

In other words, the agency doesn't decide whether a commercial is good or not.

The viewer does.

Knowing that, the next question to the creative guys is this. Would you be willing to have your fee based on how good the viewer thinks your commercial is? In other words, the longer they watch your commercial for, the more you would make.

Keep in mind that the opposite would also hold true.

The lament of most good agencies is that their fee has nothing to do with how good they are. It’s all based on hours. In other words, their talent is sold as a commodity.

The interesting thing is that the metrics that many claim are killing creativity can actually measure whether the viewer thinks your commercial is worth watching or not. Monetize this view duration data and you, as an agency, can now be paid based on how good you are.

The monetization models exist. The data is there. The funny thing is that I haven’t seen many agencies clamoring for the right to be paid this way.

If one did agree to be paid this way, what do you think it would do to the work?

Would it make it worse? Or, better?

We both know the answer to that, don't we?

Metrics aren’t killing creativity.

Metrics are the only thing that can save creativity.

Chances are I won’t be invited to be a participant on the panel.

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