Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Advertising Still An Art?

There is much consternation on the parts of many in the ad business that advertising has morph from an art to a science.

The culprit? Digital data.

We can now know exactly how well the creative is working and tweak it until it bleeds results.

That’s one point of view. But, it’s not mine.

I think data is going to save creativity. Why do I say this?

It starts with what an advertiser wants the creative to do. Sell products, I know. But the question is, what has to happen for that to happen?

The spot has to be watched by someone. Not exposed to. Not put in front of. But actually watched.

Was it? Digital view duration data will tell us that.

No, I’m not saying that if a spot is watched to completion that someone will be convinced to go buy the product.

That said, I think it’s safe to say that people won’t buy the product if they don’t watch the spot. That viewing the spot is certainly a precursor to persuasion taking place.

Whether they buy or not is still dependent on price, discounts, weather, all kinds of things.

But, whether they watch all the way through or not is strictly dependent on the creative itself. So, why don’t advertisers hold their agencies accountable for delivering view duration? In other words, pay their agencies based on view duration data.

If view duration is high, so is the fee paid to the agency for that creative. If view duration is low, so is the fee paid to the agency for that creative.

Why would agencies participate in this kind of fee structure?

Because if they’re going to put skin in the game, so must the advertiser. And what the agency will want in return is more freedom to do what they do well.

Be creative.

The work will still be based on a sound strategy. And the client can certainly refuse executions they’re not comfortable with. But once they buy an approach, the client will need to back off.

Let the creatives be creative.

The result?

A creative renaissance.

Based on, of all things, data.

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