Friday, June 03, 2011

Taking The Subjectivity Out Of Creativity

There are few advertisers who can tell a good idea when they see one. Usually good ideas, really breakthrough, new ideas, scare them.

The reason is that if the idea is truly new, it means the advertiser can’t compare it to other ideas or commercials that are out there. So they have no frame of reference in which to judge the idea.

That’s one reason why “truly new and exciting” creative ideas are so rarely seen in this business. The subjectivity of these ideas scares clients. The greater the agency says the idea is the more the client shies away from it.

So how can we remove the subjectivity from creativity while not squashing the ideas themselves? Focus group testing certainly doesn’t give a true and accurate representation as to how the idea will work on computer and TV screens across the country. Give consumers the chance to play creative director and they will become like clients.

When asked, consumers will tell you that a truly new idea can’t be any good because, well, they haven’t seen it before.

But what consumers say and what they do are two different things. And every day the digital data tells us how long viewers watch commercials for.

And guess what? The truly new and exciting ideas do work when it comes to engaging viewers in the commercial.

As you know, the argument from this writer has always been that a commercial cannot achieve its purpose if it is not watched through to completion. A thirty-second commercial that is watched for thirty seconds will work harder for the advertiser than a thirty-second commercial in which only five seconds are viewed.

When value is delivered to the advertiser in terms of time-spent with the commercial, then value in terms of income should be delivered to the agency that created the commercial.

In other words, remove the subjectivity from creativity by measuring how long viewers watch the commercial for and then pay the agency accordingly.

Under this model, longer works better for both advertiser and agency.

Of course, it also means the agency has to put their money where their mouth is. If they think the commercial is so great, then they need to be willing to be paid on that basis.

How many advertisers do you think would be willing to work under this scenario?

How many agencies?

Obviously, if the agency is going to put their ass on the line, the advertiser needs to give them more leeway in how the final commercial is produced. They need to back off and remove their heavy hand from the creative process.

In return, they receive a form of accountability over creativity.

And accountability works fairly well at removing subjectivity. Especially when it comes to creativity.

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