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Why TV Marketers Shouldn’t Discount the Power of Truly Innovative Creative

By Mikayla Shunk
08/22/19 3 MIN READ

When you watch Apple’s new ad “Bounce,” what do you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Will that ad continue to pop back in your mind later in the day? Was it the music? Colors? Tone? Voice? All of these elements are the basis for developing, designing and producing powerful, innovative creative. 

Bulova Watches aired the first TV commercial on July 1, 1941, which cost $9 and featured a watch floating on the screen for 10 seconds. TV soon became the dominant advertising platform. Now, conversations marketers have with their consumers are much more than a 15 or 30-second promotion of a product or company; they span digital and analog channels. They’re web banners, emails, out-of-home ads and so much more. Marketers have always had to carefully consider how they invest to build their brands, but today, in an increasingly complex and fragmented media environment, that responsibility has expanded. Data drives many brand-building decisions today, and more than ever, proficiency in analytics and measuring the success of creative is just as important as creativity itself. 

It follows that conversations in the industry around creativity focus on tangible results, data-driven messages and relevance. But we can’t forget about the power of a truly innovative creative.

In today’s attention economy, impactful creative still wins the day. And TV is a critical component of the brand-consumer relationship. As Cadent CEO Nick Troiano said, as brand advertising shifts to modern, data-driven techniques, “advertisers continue to rely on television as the most powerful vehicle for emotionally resonant storytelling.” From color to text to sound to movement, each part creates a unique message for the brand, influences the viewer’s opinions of the product and evokes emotion. 

Marketers drive business through creativity

Ads that attain iconic status have a few things in common: strong, consistent brand images and clearly communicated core values. Consumers can simply look at the logo and identify the brand. Creativity weaved into the ad differentiates the company – that’s the art aspect of advertising.

When a campaign is developed, the creative director must not only think about the product they are trying to sell, but the elements: will the beauty, the poetic, the humor, the heroism, the interesting, the bizarre, catch the viewers attention so they don’t click the fast forward or ‘skip ad’ button? Overall, campaigns that rely on creativity are considerably more effective, according to the Harvard Business Review. What makes a successful creative campaign effective? It all comes back to having a purpose – to connect to the viewer through aesthetic communication. 

As Creative Director Chuck McBride said, it’s not “very safe for people in advertising to think of their work as art, because it loses its purpose. We’re here to help business grow.”  

Iasmina Petrovici concludes in her “Role of Aesthetic Communication in Advertising” that “in order to be both expressive and successful, the advertisement imagery must not only convey information, but define an aesthetic function, and determine a positive reaction on the audience.” There is a fine line between art and advertising in many cases. In order to resonate with an audience, marketers must push the limits of creativity.  

According to Nielsen research, creative quality is still is the most important factor for driving sales.

The art and science behind marketing

Burger King CMO Fernando Machado’s approach to brand building is often celebrated, especially in the age of granular targeting and data-informed creative: “Machado remains a champion of creativity. He believes creative marketing truly drives business,” Digiday reports. One example of this is 66 Scenes of America, an ad that used footage of Andy Warhol eating a Whopper for 45 seconds. Millions of viewers during the Super Bowl buzzed about the ad, and searches for Andy Warhol spiked beyond any other search during the Super Bowl. In a survey of 1,200 people, there was a 49% lift in individuals talking about the ad two weeks following the Super Bowl. 

Andy Warhol, a renowned pop culture artist who liked to engage with the lines between art and advertising, was an intentional choice. Machado was quoted as saying that “it’s kind of cool that [Warhol] did a lot of art that looked like advertising and that we are using his art to advertise. It’s like a silent assassin in the clutter of the Super Bowl.” Similar to “Bounce,” this is an illustration of  the “artful business” that marketing is. The measures of success will follow, if powerful creative is implemented. 

Creating artful ads starts with the goal of championing creativity, investing in it, and empowering marketers to be creative and take advantage of aesthetic communication to uplevel their work.